Economy, military and anti-corruption focus of Premier Li’s work report

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China Politics Premier Li Keqiang Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers his work report during the opening session of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on March 5, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / WANG Zhao)

Deputies at China’s Two Sessions are focused on setting the course of China’s future. The 13th National People’s Congress opened its first session Monday in Beijing, kicking off a series of the national legislature’s most important meetings.

There, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivered a work report on the government’s accomplishments over the past five years, while also laying out the challenges ahead.

CGTN’s Han Peng reports.

This year’s political season in China will witness a leadership change that happens once every five years, and will offer a chance to review the government’s work since Xi Jinping became president in 2013.

In Premier Li Keqiang’s government work report, the economy came first.

“China now accounts for 15 percent of the world’s economy, an increase from just more than 11 percent five years ago,” he said. “It now contributes over 30 percent of global growth.”

The new growth target is approximately 6.5 percent, lower than the average of 7.1 percent over the past five years.

This is the same as last year’s target, and the lowest in a decade. The use of the word “approximately” signals it is tolerable should the government fail to meet the goal. This comes as the authorities are paying more attention to the quality of growth than to mere figures.

On the military front, Premier Li said China has reduced the armed forces by 300,000 troops. This was a promise President Xi made during a major military parade in 2015.

“We have work major missions involving the protection of maritime rights, countering terrorism and maintaining stability, disaster reduction and relief, international peacekeeping, escort services in the Gulf of Aden, and humanitarian rescue,” according to Li.

A security guard watches over delegates and journalists during the opening session of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on March 5, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER)

President Xi’s anti-corruption campaign punished over a million officials in five years, a number that was hard to imagine when he first took office. Now, the authorities are determined to make the fight more institutionalized by proposing a supervisory body.

In less than three years, the newly elected leadership will have to deliver on several major promises, including reducing poverty from 30 million to zero, providing internet access to everyone in the country, and building a moderately prosperous society.

The clock is ticking for the tough work ahead.


Afshin Molavi discusses China’s economic goals and the 13th NPC

The economy was a central focus of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s work report at the 13th National People’s Congress. Li said China now accounts for 15 percent of the world’s economy, and is hoping for 6.5 percent growth in 2018. Additionally, he outlined an expansive plan to lift millions of citizens out of poverty. Afshin Molavi, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, discusses with CGTN’s Elaine Reyes.