NEWSLETTER Issue Ⅴof 2017
2017/03/08

 

China's State Council Information Office brief on

2017 Government Work Report

On March 5, the State Council Information Office (SCIO) hosted a briefing on the 2017 Government Work Report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang to the National People's Congress. The briefing was hosted by Mr.Huang Shouhong, head of the State Council Research Office and leader of the report's drafting team, and Mr.Hu Kaihong, spokesperson of the SCIO. Here is a transcript of the briefing:

Hu Kaihong:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to this policy briefing conference organized by the State Council Information Office. In the morning, the Fifth Session of the 12th National People's Congress opened, and Premier Li Keqiang delivered the government work report, attracting much public attention. Today, we are delighted to have with us Mr. Huang Shouhong, head of the State Council Research Office and leader of the report's drafting team, to brief you on the drafting of the report and answer your questions.

Huang Shouhong:

Friends from the press, good afternoon.

This year is of great significance to China. It will see the opening of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress; it is an important year for the country to implement the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), and to press ahead with supply-side structural reform. It is also the last year of this particular government's term in office. With the increased complexity and uncertainties of the international situation, Chinese people, like the international community, are paying close attention to the thinking and the actions, as well as the future outlook of the national leaders. During his delivery of the government work report this morning, Premier Li Keqiang reviewed government work in 2016, clarified the government plans for this year and responded to various public concerns.

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council attached much importance to the drafting of the work report. CPC General-Secretary Xi Jinping presided over meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and meetings of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to discuss the report and provide some important instructions. Premier Li Keqiang personally chaired the work of drafting this report. During the initial stage, the Premier laid down specific requirements in terms of its guiding principles, structure, major contents and expressions. During the drafting process, he worked with the drafting team on revisions and contributed many important points to the report. He also chaired executive meetings and plenary sessions of the State Council to discuss the various drafts. Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and other State Council leaders also provided specific instructions. The report has the following features:

First, the report fully displays new visions, new thoughts and new strategies of governing the country created by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core. The report fully implements the major spirit of the 18th CPC National Congress, its third, fourth, fifth and sixth plenary sessions as well as the Central Economic Work Conference. It further explores the thinking laid out in the important speeches of General Secretary Xi Jinping as well as his new visions, new thoughts and new strategies on how to govern the country. It is drafted in accordance with the overall plan to seek economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress while adhering to the Four-pronged Strategy. The drafting work was developed in accordance with the working principles and new development visions of making progress while maintaining national stability

Second, the report fully responds to various social concerns, reflects the common understandings reached by various parties and pools the combined wisdom of various entities. Premier Li Keqiang emphasized that all the government work is undertaken for the people and that drafting the government work report should, therefore, solicit ideas and opinions from the people. He personally made various research trips to meet grassroots communities, and chaired three workshops with: non-Communist parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and personages without party affiliation; experts, scholars and entrepreneurs; and people in science, education, culture, health and sports circles, as well as local communities. He listened to the opinions and suggestions expressed in such events while also drawing on many other sources. Many policy measures were adopted after the Premier listened to the opinions of the public.

Huang Shouhong:

The State Council Research Office was in main charge of the drafting. Together with the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, it held a meeting with 11 foreign experts to solicit their opinions. The experts came from different countries, including the United States, U.K., Germany, Canada, Australia and Japan. They made many useful suggestions from their global perspective.

In China, 731 million people have access to the internet, and 95 percent of them use cell phones to go online. These people play an active and important part in modern society. As the internet has become a major tool for governing the country, collecting public opinion online has become increasingly efficient.

This year, the State Council and 27 media websites launched an online campaign called "Share your thoughts with Premier Li" to collect opinions on the drafting of the work report. By March 3, around 316,400 messages were posted online. The previous year, the number totaled 183,400. More than 1,500 messages were extremely constructive and were passed on to us, as compared to 590 messages the previous year. Some of the reports we received were based on similar suggestions from a large number of people; there were also some suggestions from foreign internet users. Besides, nearly 2 million people shared their thoughts via other platforms, such as new media, microblogs and online forums.

The reports received reflected the opinions of different regions and departments. The central government's decisions and plans have to be carried out by individual local governments and many government departments. Therefore, only when the work report responds to their perceived needs, can they be really enthusiastic about undertaking what is required. We have studied the opinions from all circles, including those online ones. We have done our best to reflect these in the work report. In fact, most of them have been written into the report. In the next few days, we will make further improvements according to the opinions of NPC deputies and CPPCC members.

Third, the report strongly adheres to facts. On March 1, the State Council released a report on how the goals set in last year's government work report were fulfilled. There were more than 30 mandatory goals. Some were fulfilled as planned and some went beyond expectation. It ensured a good beginning for the implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).

According to estimates, China regained first place among the world's major economies in terms of the overall economic growth rate. However, I think, what is more important is the accelerated improvement and the upgrading of our economic structure, the marked enhancement of economic performance, the development of new engines of growth, and the stronger public sense of benefits, happiness and security.

Now, I'd like to invite you to read through the report. You will find specific measures for all major social concerns, including the treatment of smog, the relief of enterprises' financial burdens, increase of broadband speed, and the reduction of the rates for internet services.

Fourth, the report seeks to place people first. At the end of December, General Secretary Xi Jinping presided over the 14th meeting of the Central Leading Group on Finance and Economic Affairs. Six major issues concerning people's livelihood were discussed. They included the use of clean energy in winter heating, sorted treatment of waste, housing market reform, old-age care and food safety.

Premier Li Keqiang has repeatedly stressed that the wishes of the people should always determine our way of governance. We have done our utmost to respond to people's wishes in the government work report. In this year's report, it was stated explicitly that an important reason for maintaining stable growth is to ensure employment and improve people's lives. It was also stressed that we should solve prominent problems of public concern. There were specific measures to promote employment, cut the mobile rates for roaming and long-distance calls, increase government subsidies for basic health insurance for rural and nonworking urban residents, build a nationwide information network for basic health insurance so healthcare costs can be settled directly where incurred, and adjust and improve the natural disaster subsidy mechanism. All this shows the Chinese government continues to give top priority to the people in governance. It also shows that China's economic growth is oriented to people, ensuring they can enjoy their life.

Huang Shouhong:

The aforementioned facts show the drafting of the government work report is a complex and systemic social undertaking. A rough calculation indicates millions of people contributed their opinions and suggestions for the drafting of the report, and some 9,000 people were directly involved in related discussions and revisions. The number includes more than 4,000 assorted heads of all localities and central government agencies, up to 3,000 NPC deputies and over 2,100 CPPCC members. For a report on government work, it is not commonly seen in other countries to extensively and intensively seek opinions from all sectors of society and draft targeted policies and measures.

It's worthy of note that Premier Li Keqiang's requirement to improve the textual style and keep the report concise resulted in a wordage count this time of 18,600 Chinese characters, 1,000 characters less than last year's report.

The tasks of seeking reform, development and stability impose extremely heavy pressure on us, not to mention the difficulties and challenges we face. In the government work report, Premier Li Keqiang said that just as we shouldn't underestimate the difficulties, we shouldn't let anything shake our confidence, either. We have confidence to achieve the yearly objectives of economic and social development and provide more social benefits that greatly surprise the world.

Hu Kaihong:

Let's thank Mr. Huang for his detailed yet succinct briefing. Now the floor is open to questions. Before you ask your questions, please identify which media you represent. Today we have many friends from international news agencies, and we have simultaneous interpretation for you.

Hong Kong Cable Television:

I noticed that the government work report delivered this year mentioned for the first time "Hong Kong independence," saying that the notion leads nowhere. What was the purpose of this mention?

Huang Shouhong:

The statement about "Hong Kong independence" in the report, I would say, is not aimless. What happened in the past two years, last year in particular, has revealed there are indeed remarks and actions advocating "Hong Kong independence." Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland in 1997, it has made achievements obvious to all. The region's prosperity and development would not be possible without the strong support of the motherland. This is a point I believe you know deeply from your own experience. Without the support of the mainland, what would Hong Kong be like? What would Hong Kong people's life be like? I think the answer is self-evident. Therefore, "Hong Kong independence" goes against the interests of all Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots. The premier's statement in the government report is a responsible one both for the country as a whole and for Hong Kong compatriots and Hong Kong's future. Thank you.

CCTV:

Mr. Huang, China's economic performance this year is one of the key points of common interest. At the beginning of last year, many people, both at home and abroad, expressed pessimistic views about China's economic performance. However, figures published today show that performance has beaten their expectations. But, there are still talks of pessimism. Why is this? What is the real picture of our economy?

Huang Shouhong:

China's economic development has always been surprising in a good way these past years. As we all know, some international media have kept dampening expectations of the Chinese economy, predicting a hard landing from time to time. I once noticed a cover picture showing a skier speeding down a mountain trail comparing China's economic development to such a trajectory. However, facts have proven such reports wrong. Why? China's economy has its own resilience, potential and advantages; it also has a unique and effective internal mechanism for maintaining balance to resist risks. Likewise, China's economic growth was also surprising last year. The situation at the beginning of last year and the time when the annual session of the National People's Congress was held was quite different from how things are going now. Back then, people from various quarters were bearish about China's economy. We were indeed facing a tough time back then as major economic indicators had slipped in the preceding months. Premier Li Keqiang stressed when delivering the government work report last year the need to be prepared for handling a more difficult and complicated situation.

Through efforts on different sides, the Chinese economy started to improve gradually from the third quarter last year, and growth momentum has continued until today. As an ancient Chinese poem goes, "Where hills bend, streams wind and the pathway seems to end. Past dark willows and flowers in bloom lies another village". Every cloud has a silver lining. There are multiple reasons for the improvement. I will only stress one important point here: New growth drivers are picking up pace and strongly supporting the economy. There are two aspects important to the new growth drivers. The first is: new technologies, new industries, new business forms and new models. The Chinese economy has exhibited great vitality and grown rapidly during the transformation. I believe all of you here have already deeply felt this. For example, information industry and online shopping have witnessed a massive upsurge. Tmall.com sales exceeded 120 billion yuan during Taobao's annual Singles' Day shopping event this year.

Huang Shouhong:

For another example, someone said tourism is either a weather vane or barometer for the Chinese economy. Chinese people would like to live within their means. In the past, they saw tourism was a luxury item of consumption; now, it has become a necessity. If Chinese people don't have much money, and their families can't live a good life, who will be in the mood for touring? They will not go. So, when they go on a tour, they must have enough money as well as time and be in a good mood. Therefore, the life of ordinary Chinese people is a very important aspect in observing the economy,.

Second, traditional industries have revived in the process of transformation and upgrading, and now form a strong new momentum. Many traditional industries were forced by market demands to cut excessive industrial capacity and speed up their upgrading, which was beneficial to creating new momentum. So, when observing the development of the Chinese economy in the past year, as well as considering its development in the future, you have to look closely at new momentum being imparted for China's economic development. Today Premier Li also listed several statistics, including the number of newly-registered enterprises and other market entities of various kinds. The number of newly-registered enterprise grew 24.5 percent last year, which means an average of 15,000 new enterprises being registered every day. Adding individually-owned businesses, the number of various market entities saw an increase of 45,000 every day. Those new market entities will definitely become a new source of power for economic development. Of course, there will be elements of life and death for those new entities, but if consider that, currently, 70 percent of them are active, the incremental growth is still very big. Among them, there will be giant enterprises standing out in the future.

All in all, new momentum in the Chinese economy will come from either the new industries and new market entities, or the traditional industries that have been able to achieve transformation and upgrading. When you add the two together, these not only promoted great development for the past year, but also ensures better development for this year, as well as greater hopes for the future. Thank you.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun:

The Chinese government releases detailed figures for the military budget annually during the two sessions period, so would you share the detailed budget numbers for 2017?

Huang Shouhong:

China is adamant in following a path of peaceful development, upholding the strategic guideline of positive defense; so every year, China will determine the scale of the national defense budget based on the defense construction demands and the level of economic development. The defense budget's proportion in China's GDP is much lower than the average international level. This year there will be some increase, but the extent will not be very high. As for the detailed figures, you may check the fiscal budget report, or check with relevant departments. Thanks.

Phoenix TV:

We have noticed that this year's government work report uses very strong words in stressing environmental pollution and measures to tackle it, such as "working hard to tackle smog, pledging to make skies blue again….and sticking to the bottom line of environmental protection." In fact, previous government reports also used quite a lot of similar strong words in this regard, but people generally don't believe the results have been satisfactory. So, in terms of the public sense of security, what kind of measures do you think in this year's government work report can be put into place, so as to make people feel happier? Thank you.

Huang Shouhong:

From statistical analysis, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions have continuously been declining in recent years, which is a basic fact. Statistics released by the Beijing Municipality some time ago also show the number of blue-sky days has been increasing, while the number of smoggy days has fallen, and the ecological environment has taken a turn for the better, which is also the real situation.

The premier's government work report this time has greatly increased the wordage devoted to tackling smog, and provided a detailed introduction of many relevant measures. This is actually a message conveyed by the Chinese government that greater efforts will be made in dealing with smog. As you said just now, the government made similar remarks in the past, such as "we will do this and we will do that." But, I think the current situation is quite different.

First, there is consensus in society. That doesn't mean there was no consensus in the past in strengthening environmental protection and tackling pollution. The fact is that the consensus was not as strong as now. The situation was complicated. Some local officials thought there might be a contradiction between tackling environmental pollution and ensuring economic growth in a certain period. To tackle environmental pollution, we have to increase investment and shut down some enterprises, and this is a price we have to pay. In many cases, a bad thing can be turned into a good one. As soon as a crisis comes, and when the situation becomes serious, the society can quickly form a consensus. Now, after several rounds of severe smoggy days, a consensus has been reached and has become much stronger than before. Otherwise, it's hard for us to convince people and it's hard for us to persuade local governments in this regard.

Second, the government certainly has a determination to tackle the problem. Nothing can be done without such determination. We have both the determination and the means to control pollution. After continuous research and exploration, we know better now about the sources of smog. As we all know, smog is mainly caused by coal burning, industrial activity and motor vehicle emissions, as well as meteorological conditions and other factors. Now we have found the sources of pollution, we can take appropriate measures to deal with them. Our measures are also powerful. As mentioned in Premier Li Keqiang's government work report, a 24-hour online monitoring system will be implemented in regard to all major industrial pollution sources, and a deadline is set for polluting enterprises to meet the required standards. These enterprises will be resolutely shut down if they fail to attain the required standards in due time.

These are unprecedentedly powerful measures. We also have legal protection. The Environmental Protection Law is known as the strictest law in Chinese judicial history. It clarified the behaviors that violate the law and can be treated as criminal acts. The government has created a proper accountability system, and Premier Li Keqiang has stated that, in three specific circumstances, offenders will severely be held accountable.

While tackling smog, we must have a sense of urgency, a sense of responsibility, and sufficient patience. As it takes more than one cold day to freeze ice hard, the trouble is deep-rooted, and it is impossible for us to eliminate it within a single day. So, the idea to accomplish the whole task at one stroke is unrealistic. Tackling smog and environmental pollution and the development are not completely consistent within a certain period. That's why many countries contend for discharge capacities in climate negotiations. Such contradiction occurs in every country, the key is to have a sense of propriety in this process.

We must unswervingly control pollution and improve the environment. We must be prepared to tackle outstanding problems and get ready for a prolonged struggle. In the age of famine, people were only worried about being adequately fed; now, when living standards are steadily improving, they have wider concerns. In the same way, people had only one requirement in starving days, but they will have more requirements in well-fed days.

Some people have said that the fastest way to control pollution is to shut down all the polluting enterprises and turn off all the boilers. It might be the simplest, but it is not feasible. So, we have to find a balance, to find a win-win and multi-win way for economic development and improve the ecological environment.

CNR:

There are many contents about the improvement and the protection of the people's livelihood in different parts of the 2017 government work report. As you have mentioned, it is a big gift package. Can you summarize the details of the gift package?

Huang Shouhong:

Everything we care about is included in the gift package. Employment has a vital bearing on people's livelihood. As long as the employment rate is high, it is acceptable, no matter whether the economic growth rate is higher or lower. Why has the steady growth been highlighted in recent years? It is to maintain a steady employment rate and benefit the people, which will mean that our society will be stable and our economy will grow. We will carry out a more active employment policy this year and increase our support [in this regard]. The number of college graduates will reach an historical high this year. Therefore, we must carry out the plans for employment promotion, encouragement of business startups, and grassroots growth. We need to eliminate any pockets of zero employment and ensure work for people from low income urban families and the disabled families.

Classified regulation is highlighted in the government work report to boost the healthy development of the real estate sector. Low-income housing will be guaranteed. Six million houses will be built during the renovation of shanty areas this year. What do six million houses mean? It means more than 20 million people can improve their living conditions if we judge this from the viewpoint of a family of three or four. There are many measures to ensure educational equality. For instance, we will unify the "Two Exemptions and One Subsidy" policy for compulsory education in urban and rural areas, which means exempting students from tuition fees, providing free textbooks for students, and providing living subsidy for student boarders in compulsory education. This means great support for rural students. Taking another example, we will speed up the coverage rate for all residents in regard to urban compulsory education public services and make sure migrant workers' children can gain an equal education in urban areas. Also, for several years we have been expanding the enrollment in key universities for students from poor areas. The enrollment ratio increased 20 percent last year and will continue to rise this year. This is aimed at creating a fair and better chance for children from poor areas.

Huang Shouhong:

In medical treatment, the medical insurance subsidy will be increased by 30 yuan (US$4.4) per capita from 420 yuan (US$60.9) to 450 yuan (US$65.2). The medicine coverage will also be expanded, with more reimbursement this year. The coverage of critical illness insurance program will also be expanded. The work report stresses the program of medical treatment combination will be enhanced this year. It means we will integrate hospitals of different levels from first-class hospitals to grass-root ones, with the aim of sharing the good medical resources. Therefore, patients can go to nearby hospitals and get good medical treatment close to their homes. The aim of the measures of medical treatment combination, the hierarchical medical system and family doctor signing service is to provide convenient medical service to the patients.

In social security, pensions will be increased this year. It is proposed that the natural disaster living allowance mechanism should be adjusted and improved. The government work report highlights that a coordinating mechanism should be established to guarantee the basic cost of living allowances in all county governments. It means we will do a better job in social security.

More efforts will be made in administrative reform with the aim of providing convenient public services in 2017. The government will reduce unnecessary procedure and other troublesome aspects by cancelling some licenses and sharing government information better with the public. There are a lot of measures not listed in government work report due to space limitations. For instance, the mode of one-stop service will be promoted in China.

To sum up, the big gift package is concerned with the aspects of employment, medical care, education, pension, housing and social security. All issues related with the people's livelihood are included in the big gift package. More specific measures will be introduced in the future.

New York Times:

Many economists are concerned about fast-rising Chinese debt, while the growth speed of credit loans has outpaced that of GDP. Is the Chinese government going to take some measures to control the growth of credit loans? And which kind of loans in particular? It may be the easiest to control the loans to medium and small enterprises, but they best represent entrepreneurship and vitality. Thank you.

Huang Shouhong:

Debt in China has received much attention. We should consider this issue in a comprehensive, scientific and adequate way. The debt ratio of the Chinese government is not high - 40 percent in the last two years. It has now been reduced to 37 percent, of which central government debt makes up 16 percent. The debt ratio of the Chinese government is the lowest among world major economies.

The debt ratio of Chinese residents is not high, either. The Chinese people have a long tradition of deposit to make ends meet.

As for the financial institutions, the overall debt ratio is not very high set against the international level. Moreover, the debt ratio of financial institutions has been stabilizing in recent two years. It began to move in a good direction from last year. For example, at the end of last year, the non-performing loans of Chinese commercial banks was 1.74 percent, 0.02 percentage points lower than the previous quarter, which was also the first decline since 2012. In other words, the risk of non-performing loans is decreasing.

As for non-financial sectors, the leverage ratio is relatively high in State-owned enterprises. However, with our efforts, the debt-to-assets ratio of industrial enterprises began moving downwards last year, however, the fall was not so obvious - less than one percentage point.

Huang Shouhong:

At present, Chinese financial sectors have two major tasks: one is to provide more support to the real economy, especially the development of medium-small-micro enterprises. Premier Li Keqiang put forward several practical measures in the government work report. For example, large and medium-sized commercial banks will be encouraged to establish departments for financial inclusion. The government will roll out stimulatory policies and specific measures in this regard so as to provide better services and financial support for medium-small-micro enterprises. The other task is to guard against financial risk. The government work report pointed out that we have a slew of methods to prevent systemic financial risks. Despite some increase, the ratio of non-performing loans has been stabilizing. The financial sectors have a strong capability to cope with risk. The provision coverage ratio was as high as 176.4% last year. and the required reserve ratios are 17 to 18 percent, a level rarely seen in the world. Therefore, we have a plenty of tools to guard against risk. The main tasks now are to enhance supports for medium and small enterprises and improve risk prevention and control mechanism, which has always been on our agenda.

We have been strengthening our support for medium and small businesses. Last year, loans to small and micro enterprises, including self-employed people, rose by 13.8 percent. However, there were still complaints about loan approval and high interest rates. One of the reasons is the increasing number of new enterprises. There are five to six million new businesses each year. They have to compete for loans with established enterprises. In these circumstances, enterprises face much pressure of obtaining loans in spite of hard work of financial institutions. To address this problem, the premier put forward many requirements and measures in the government work report. In summary, China will guard against risk while focusing on supporting the transformation and upgrading of the real economy, the development of small and micro enterprises in particular, giving full play to those enterprises in boosting employment and start-ups.

Lianhe Zaobao:

In regard to your response about the Japanese journalist on the issue of military spending, we, in spite of flipping several times through the government work report and budget report issued by the Ministry of Finance, didn't find any data that relates to the defense budget, which some media have accused lacking transparency.

Huang Shouhong:

We have nothing to hide, as the NPC spokeswoman Madam Fu Ying said during yesterday's press conference that the general growth, which constitutes 1.3 percent of the GDP, is around 7 percent, a comparatively low rate in the international community. The average military spending in the world last year was 2.4 percent, while, some countries, that I do not intend to name here today, have spending that far exceeds the rate.

China Chemical Industry News:

My question is on behalf of the concerns of our farmer friends, who care most about the significance of modern agriculture being managed in appropriate scales. Like you said, there will be insurance for disasters launched in the 13 provinces which are considered as the country's major crops producers. It seems like the first time that the insurance for disasters has enjoyed such priority. What are the reasons for the government work report to address the issue and how should we implement the policy? For instance, who will pay for the premiums, the growers or the government, how to define the disasters, and to what extent will they be evaluated?

Huang Shouhong:

The significance of the three major agricultural issues (namely, agriculture, rural areas and farmers) is obvious. It is logically correct to develop massive production as long as the agriculture is involved in the drive towards modernization. As I've said, the diversified forms of farming at appropriate large scales face the risk of market volatility and, worst of all, natural disasters. Within its interconnected processes of natural and economic reproduction, the farmers may have a good harvest when the weather and the market are fine. But if there is a disaster, the investment amassed throughout the years will all be gone. Agricultural insurance in China has developed rapidly during the past few years, ranking second around the world by the size of premiums and covering all major field crops. The Chinese government has made considerable progresses with the program from which insurance coverage can be granted. The Green Box Policies are among the fundamentals adopted by all governments in the world to support their agricultural industries. Despite systematic insurance in our country, there are still weaknesses, such as the lacking of disaster insurance for the farmers on mass production. So the government work report decided this time that the adoption of disaster insurance in 13 major provinces should be considered an important measure to be carried forward.

In view of its implementation, the government will play a major role in supporting the disaster insurance, of which the premium will be paid mostly by the government. If we ask the farmers to pay for it, it would become a business-like model that would be a different story. How can we ensure its implementation? The government work report pointed out that we should dedicate portions of anti-disaster funds to cover the costs of insurance, while supporting it and increasing its efficacy. In other words, the central government, with colossal annual anti-disasters funds, will spare parts of them in the form of insurance premiums to guarantee the interests of farmers who have succumbed to disasters.

Market News International (United States):

My question is about the GDP growth target of 6.5 percent. If the economy turns grim and fails to achieve 6.5-percent, what measures will you implement to ensure the growth target? In addition, the Government Work Report said that, this year, you will continue to promote the marketization of the yuan's exchange rate while preserving its international standing. Do you have actual measures already in place?

Huang Shouhong:

The Government Work Report said that this year's growth target is around 6.5 percent, but added that we would "seek better results in actual work." It means that we fully considered the complexity of the international environment, along with rising uncertainty and instability, and we also took into account domestic supply-side structural reform as well as the requirements for raising the quality and efficiency of the overall economy, before we came up with the 6.5-percent target for GDP growth, while retaining hope of better results in actual work.

This leaves some room for development, deepening reform and advancing restructuring. The current elasticity coefficient shows that each percent of GDP growth will create 1.9-2.0 million new jobs. Therefore, the 6.5-percent growth rate will satisfy the need of employment by creating more than 11 million new jobs.

The target is also well connected with the requirement to "comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society".Calculations suggest that, in the next few years, as long as the average growth rate remains above 6.4 percent, or close to 6.5 percent, it can satisfy the demand of the "two doubles", meaning that, by 2020, GDP and per capita income for both urban and rural residents will double the 2010 level.

The bottom line in regard to growth, as we have kept saying, is that the growth should be kept within a reasonable range. At the very least, the aim is to ensure employment. As long as we don't have any difficulty in ensuring employment, both a slightly higher or lower growth rate is acceptable.

As for your question about what measures and approaches we will take under special circumstances, I'd like to say we are fully equipped with innovative measures, as before. For example, this year's deficit-to-GDP ratio is three percent, same as last year. Many sides have suggested the government should raise the ratio. The reason we stayed at threepercent is that it is considered as adequate to sustain the overall economic growth while also leaving room for a buffer in case of any special situation. We follow the same approach for other things, too.

The Chinese economy features resilience, potential and advantages. It is particularly capable of balance along with ways to defend and respond to all sorts of risks. China's economic development will never experience what's called a "hard landing," or prolonged stagnation; instead, it will maintain long-term medium-to-high growth.

As for the yuan's exchange rate, the People's Bank of China and other authorities in charge of this matter have already made their statements. The basic conditions of the Chinese economy define that the yuan's exchange rate will remain basically stable at a reasonable level, given that this stability has all-round support. Therefore, the premier said we should continue to reform the exchange mechanism to make it more market-oriented, and keep the yuan basically stable at a reasonable and balanced level. We have such conditions for that. Thank you!

I would like to take this opportunity to make a point that the future is bright for China's economic development. I suggest those who hold a gloomy view should do their homework, by making a comparison between the pessimistic tones and China's actual situation. Then, they could analyse why claims the Chinese economy would go downward or even collapse are unfounded.

The Chinese economy is very complex. Traditional Western economics, development modes in other countries and even past Chinese patterns do not apply. It's because in China today, we have plural driving forces as well as measures of response to risk. In other words, the Chinese economy is well supported.

When you observe the Chinese economy, if you only see one industry or only see one place, then your conclusion may not be consistent with the reality. I sincerely wish you to conduct more reports about the real China, the changing China and the fast-progressing China, and, in return,bring to us the good, positive, beneficial things from the international community.

Mao Zedong once wrote in a poem: "the mountain goddess dwelling by the Yangtze River may have stayed unchanged over time/but she will certainly feel amazed that the world has already changed." I'm sure you are familiar with it. Quoting Mao's stanza, I think the same goddess would be amazed when considering the miracles China has accomplished in the past, achievements deemed by others to be impossible.

China will continue to reach its grand objective through each "small goal". China is certain to achieve better development, providing its people with more benefits and contributing more to the world. Thank you all!

Hu Kaihong:

Thank you, Mr Huang. That ends the briefing.

 

 

 

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