Government report heard 03-06-2004 09:08

The annual plenary session of China's top legislature is underway in Beijing now, which opened on Friday. During the session, the National People's Congress will be reviewing the government's work over the past year. The lawmakers will also consider next year's development plans and vote on proposed amendments to the Constitution. On Friday, the highlight of the session was Premier Wen Jiabao's government work report.

China's legislators gather every year at this time in the capital Beijing. The main work of the annual session is to hear the government's report on its work, as well as reports from other key government departments.

But this year, the NPC deputies have more than the reports on their minds: the revision of the Constitution is expected to be a major focus of the session.

NPC Deputy Pi Qiansheng told CCTV:"I am concerned about two things: the first is what the government work report has to say about this year's national and regional economic plans; and the other is revising the constitution, which is an extremely important issue for the country's long-term stability and economic restructuring."

NPC Deputy Zhang Zhiyin said: "We hope revisions will further improve the constitution and be good for political and democratic causes."

"The draft revisions are the consolidation of all we have learnt in the past years of reform and opening up. It is of great importance that the Constitution revisions be adopted," said NPC Deputy Yao Wencang.

The NPC's nearly 3,000 law-makers will have the final say on the 14 proposed amendments to the Constitution. The revisions cover issues such as protecting human rights and private property, as well as encouraging the growth of the non-public sector.

Some of the suggested revisions appeared in Premier Wen Jiabao's first government report since he took office.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said: "The government will make great efforts in developing and guiding the non-public sectors. Governments at all levels should eliminate and modify the laws and policies that hinder the growth of these sectors and implement measures to help expand their market access."

The premier reported last year's economy grew by more than 9 percent. But this year, he's stressed that the focus should not be on how fast the economy grows, but rather how it grows.

Wen went on: "The central committee of the party proposed a 7 percent growth rate for this year. This takes into consideration both the need to stick to the target of macro-adjustment and the need to keep growth within the realistic limits delineated by such things as energy, raw materials, and transport infrastructure. We want to reduce the pressure on resources and the environment."

The premier said the government will focus on creating more jobs for the unemployed and narrowing the income gap. It will also work harder to improve farmers' livelihoods and develop backward regions.

Over the next ten days, law-makers will hear and discuss more reports on the nation's social and economic development. They will vote on these reports at the end of the session. But, their most important task will be to mull over the proposed amendments to the Constitution, for the fourth time in 16 years.


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