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China's parliament starts annual session
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The 11th National People's Congress (NPC) of China, the parliament, started its first session in Beijing on Wednesday with the GDP growth rate this year targeted about 8 percent and CPI increase around 4.8 percent.

Premier Wen Jiabao evaluated government work in the past five years as "making major achievements in reform, opening up and modernization", but also admitted that there are still some prominent issues and deep-rooted problems affecting economic performance.

"We vigorously responded to the complex and volatile international environment, strove to overcome various difficulties hindering economic and social development, and prevailed over the sudden and severe outbreak of SARS and catastrophic natural disasters such as the recent snow and ice storms," Wen said in his government work report.

China's GDP in 2007 reached 24.66 trillion yuan, an increase of 65.5 percent over 2002 and an average annual increase of 10.6 percent, rising from the sixth highest one in the world to the fourth. Total government revenue reached 5.13 trillion yuan, a 171 percent increase over 2002. Foreign exchange reserves exceeded 1.52 trillion U.S. dollars.

The agricultural tax was rescinded, ending the centuries-old practice of farmers paying taxes. China's grain output rose four consecutive years to top 500 billion kilograms in 2007, he said.

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