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Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: March 23, 2015 NO. 13 MARCH 26, 2015
Signals of Further Reform

The press conference hosted by Premier Li Keqiang after the conclusion of the annual session of the NPC is considered to be one of the most important events on the schedule. Four analysts offer their views in the following selected excerpts.

Growth Target

Mao Shoulong, Executive Deputy Director of the Academy of Public Policy, Renmin University of China

The growth target set for this year is lower than it was in the past, reflecting what has been termed the "new normal." Even though the GDP growth target has been set at around 7 percent, this is by no means an easy task considering the current state of the global economy.

Lowering the target also means pursuing growth with improved quality and ensuring China's economy operates within a proper range instead of just focusing on growth figures.

Streamlining administrative procedures and properly delegating powers is a must to ensure this goal.

As the premier said, this process is like "taking a knife to one's own flesh." Some officials relied on their power too much and this has limited the function of the market itself. The premier expressed his determination on pushing this ahead. "However painful it may be, we are determined to keep going."


Sun Xingjie, an expert at the Institute of International Studies at Jilin University

Another form of corruption is government officials being indolent or sloppy in performing their duties. This is caused by two factors: the pressure of the anti-corruption campaign is so high that the officials dare not do anything; another is that the officials are not clear on how to perform their duties.

As China's economic growth model transforms, it also presents challenge for officials who have to figure out a new way to implement their administrative duties.

The premier announced that the government has completed the five-year task of canceling and delegating State Council review items by one third within just two years. This is actually a reform on public administration.

The premier mentioned three areas concerning this year's work focus: canceling all non-governmental review items; requiring all provincial-level governments to release the list of powers and responsibilities; as well as exploring new models for strengthening ongoing and export regulation. The core of these areas is to build a new market order through the law.

Pollution Control

Liu Yuanju, a researcher with Shanghai Institute of Finance and Law
To fight against pollution, China's government has to take many things into consideration. At the moment, it is unnecessary to the worry about environmental protection affecting economy and employment.

It is crucial to ensure full implementation of the newly revised environmental protection law, demanding the related departments to shoulder this responsibility. Officials with higher ranks including mayors or governors should take the lead in implementing the law.

The future of environmental protection is promising. Even though ensuring economic growth was used as an excuse by local governments in the past, the "new normal" requires healthier economic development and this will change the current environmental situation.

Premier Li last year said that the Chinese Government would declare war on environmental pollution, and tremendous efforts have been made in this regard since then. The premier admitted that the progress achieved so far still falls far short of people's expectations.

A big difference in this year's government work report is that the targets for energy conservation and emission reduction are put together with all the major targets of economic and social development.

Real Estate Market

Liu Yuanju

The renovation of shantytown areas was a huge part of the government's work in 2014. As the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development revealed, in 2015, our country will start the construction of 7 million affordable houses and by the end of this year, 4.8 million will be completed. At the press conference, Premier Li announced 1 million more, showing just how important this issue is to the government.

Shen Yachuan, Chief Editor of Blog Weekly magazine:

"Differentiated policies will be adopted in the light of local conditions"--this is what the premier previously said about the real estate policy and he repeated it at the press conference. This is how our government will regulate the real estate market.


Copyedited by Kieran Pringle

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