Though steeped in tradition, the annual National People’s Congress this year sought to break with the past with ambitious plans to tackle toxic pollution and economic imbalances.
At the opening of the 10-day-long session, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told the 3,000 delegates gathered in Beijing that nature had given a red-light warning to blind development. The plan is to cut emissions by taking six million old vehicles off the roads as well as closing 50,000 small coal-fired furnaces.
Addressing the recent militant knife attack in Kunming which left 29 people dead and 43 wounded, he said they would, “crack down hard on all forms of terrorism that disregard the law and dignity of the nation,” adding, “We will work together to build a safe China.”
He also pledged to increase growth by 7.5%, the same as 2013 – in order to make the economy more sustainable as well as take a hard line on corruption, which has been his signature campaign.
Perhaps the most contentious announcement was a 12.2% increase in defence spending, which led to upset in neighbouring Japan.