Chinese Premier Wen in his opening address to the National People’s Congress said China will do more to save energy and cut pollution. Speaking in the Great Hall of the People, Wen also promised an increase in wages for those toiling in the countryside.
In the past protests and riots have flared across China’s agricultural lands as aggrieved farmers fought against corrupt land grabs, lawless officials and stagnating incomes. Premier Wen vowed to expand rural cooperative medical insurance intended to offer farmers basic healthcare currently unavailable to most. Grassland depletion is another concern particularly in the Northwestern province of Gansu. Some 130 million hectares of grasslands in the country are under threat and this is increasing at a rate of 2 million hectares per year.