BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) — China opened its annual parliamentary session on Monday, cutting the economic growth to 7.5 percent and vowing to “make progress while maintaining stability” in 2012.
This is the first time for China to lower its annual economic growth target after setting it around 8 percent since 2005.
China’s economy grew by 9.2 percent in 2011 after an expansion of 10.4 percent in 2010.
Premier Wen Jiabao delivers a report on the work of the government at the opening meeting, which is presided over by National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Chairman Wu Bangguo.
Nearly 3,000 NPC deputies from across the country are present at the opening meeting along with top Communist Party and state leaders Hu Jintao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang.
The year 2012 is important for China amid a leadership transition at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to be convened later this year.
Reviewing the government work in 2011, Wen said, “We consolidated and built upon our achievements in responding to the global financial crisis, and got the 12th Five-Year Plan period off to a good start.”
However, he said, “We are keenly aware that China still faces many difficulties and challenges in economic and social development.”
Internationally, the road to global economic recovery will be tortuous, the global financial crisis is still evolving, and some countries will find it hard to ease the sovereign debt crisis any time soon, according the report.
The unemployment rate remains high in major developed economies, and they lack impetus for growth. Emerging economies face the dual pressures of inflation and slowing economic growth, the report said.
Domestically, it has become more urgent but also more difficult to solve institutional and structural problems and alleviate the problem of unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable development, it added.
Despite all the challenges, Wen noted that China is still in “an important period of strategic opportunities” for development, and there are a number of favorable conditions to maintain steady and robust economic development for a long time.
Industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization are proceeding rapidly, and improvements in the consumption pattern and the industrial structure will create huge potential demand, he said.
China still has its traditional strengths in economic development, as well as rich human resources and a more skilled workforce, he said.
“We have a good balance between government revenue and expenditures and a sound financial system, and there is ample nongovernmental capital,” he said.
This year, the Chinese government will “make progress while maintaining stability”, the premier stressed.