03/13/2014, 00.00
CHINA
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Prime Minister Li ends NPC in Beijing promising reforms and economic stability

In his traditional press conference, China's prime minister focused on economic growth, noting that the government would refrain from adopting "artificial" stimulus measures to reach its target of "7.5 per cent growth". However, the government will continue to deepen fiscal and financial reforms, but "The key will be how to implement those steps". Meanwhile, China will continue search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight "as long as there is a glimmer of hope".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - China will continue to resist downward pressure on the economy, which was last year's biggest threat. So, despite "some pessimistic views on" the "Chinese economy. [. . .] We set this year's growth target at 7.5 per cent," said Prime Minister Li Keqiang. Hence, as "We achieved our goals without undertaking stimulus measures last year, so why can't we [do the same] this year?"

Following tradition, Li spoke at a press conference after the end of 12th session of the National People's Congress, China's "legislative body," which each year approves decisions taken by the government and the Politburo of the Communist Party.

In addition to a pledge to continue search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight "as long as there is a glimmer of hope," Li touched on several topics, and giving details about the results of voting on the reports he, the Procuratorate and the Supreme Court presented to the NPC.

With the economy as the main issue, Li noted that the country's debt risks were under control and the government was confident of keeping economic growth within a proper range this year.

This was the clearest message yet that GDP growth might be allowed to slip below the annual target.

For Li, the important thing is to transform the old model that focused on speed into a healthier and more sustainable pattern of growth. At the same time, the government would aim to make "breakthroughs" in certain key areas of reform, such as streamlining administrative procedures and deepening fiscal and financial reforms.

The government, he explained, plans to further reduce the tax burden on small and micro-sized companies whilst deepening reform of state-owned enterprises and broadening market access, particularly in the services sector. However, "The key will be how to implement those steps," he said.

Reflecting the official statement with which the prime minister closed the NPC session, Li secured 2,887 affirmative votes, 15 objections and 5 abstentions.

This was the best performance since 2004, when former Premier Wen Jiabao's government work report obtained only 7 opposition votes and 15 abstentions.

According to several analysts, although the outcome of the vote was a foregone conclusion, a certain leeway is allowed to NPC delegates to give the government a chance to measure the national political mood.

The Supreme People's Court report, by the Court's president Zhou Qiang, rated much better this year, with 2,425 approvals, 378 opposition votes and 95 abstentions, compared to 605 opposition votes and 120 abstentions last year.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate report, by China's chief prosecutor Cao Jianming, won 390 opposition votes and 108 abstentions, compared to last year's 485 objections and 121 abstentions.

 "This reflects delegates are not satisfied about the NPC's supervision work and the rampant corruption and social conflicts these days," said Huang Yun, a delegate from Chongqing.

In his view, the "NPC should play a better role in the supervision of the government work and the Supreme Procuratorate should do a better job in preventing corruption".

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