» 03/16/2007, 00.00
As the NPC comes to a close, Wen Jiabao tries to be reassuring but problems persist
At the end of the National People’s Congress, China’s premier meets the press and reassures the public about the government’s commitment to development, schools, health care and defence. As expected the right to private property is now guaranteed in law. However, some critical voices point out that China still lags behind in terms of health care and education spending.
In crisis-hit China the economy and social stability key goals for Premier Wen
Optimism and caution are the main ingredients in the prime minister’s keynote address to the National People’s Congress. He pledges a series of measures to improve the economy during the mainland’s “most difficult year”. But no actual data about the real situation in the country are given. No new stimulus package is envisaged. Military spending is twice that of health care. Social unrest is up requiring a new early warning system.
NPC: Wen Jiabao’s nice promises raise doubts
In his report to the People’s National Congress, China’s premier raises interest and many questions. For years the Communist Party has pledged help for farmers and schools and action against pollution and corruption. But it has little to show. Perhaps freedom of religion might . . . .
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Sri Lanka to increase defence spending to US$ 1.74 billion this year
Defence spending is rising steadily and now stands at 17 per cent of government spending. The number of people in uniform rises from 110,000 in 2006 to 350,000 this year. A new recruitment drive will be soon underway. At the same time one quarter of the population lives below the poverty level and the average annual income per person is just over a thousand dollars.
China's National People's Congress and its billionaire Communists to meet shortly
The mainland's second-richest man, Zong Qinghou, worth more than US 10 billion, and the country's richest woman, Wu Yajun, with almost US$ 7 billion in personal assets, are among the delegates. By comparison, China's average annual income is around US$ 2,400. The NPC adopts laws against pollution and land grabs but fails to implement them or bring to justice those of its members that break the law. Faced with growing social unrest, outgoing PM Wen Jiabao has called for political reforms. Instead, the answer so far has been tighter controls and more money for the military.
As NPC opens, Beijing holds back defence spending estimates
Breaking a tradition that began in 2006, China does not release defence spending estimates following rising military tensions with its Asian neighbours. The National People's Congress is getting ready to address issues like corruption, one-child policy and economic stability as well as crown Xi Jinping as China's new leader.
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