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China vows to close rich-poor gap at opening of parliament

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China vows to close rich-poor gap at opening of parliament


China’s outgoing Premier has promised to close the chasm between the country’s urban rich and rural poor at the opening of the annual National People’s Congress (NPC).

In a 100-minute speech Wen Jiabao put forward the economic blueprint for the next year.

He said that unleashing the power of the country’s 1.3 billion consumers is vital to the future of the world’s second largest economy, so the fruits of economic growth should be spread more evenly.

He set a GDP growth target of 7.5 percent which he said is “necessary and appropriate”.

The Prime Minister also spoke repeatedly of the massive environmental cost of China’s economic success, shortly after choking smog enveloped swathes of the north of the country sparking widespread public anger.

On top of this he vowed to “unwaveringly combat corruption and strengthen political integrity.”

This will be one of Wen’s last acts as Premier as president-in-waiting Xi Jinping and premier-designate Li Keqiang are set to take up their government posts by the end of the parliamentary session, which is scheduled to conclude on March 17.

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