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China targets 8-percent GDP growth in 2008
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China targets an eight-percent GDP growth this year on the basis of energy conservation and emission reduction, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday.

"On the basis of improving the economic structure, productivity, energy efficiency and environmental protection, the GDP should grow by about eight percent," Wen said in his report to the First Session of the 11th National People's Congress opening here on Wednesday.

"Our goal is to maintain both steady and fast economic growth, and guide all sectors of society in concentrating on changing the pattern of development, deepening reform and accelerating social development," he said.

Different regions should not just seek faster growth or compete with each other to have the highest growth rate, said Wen. "We should promote both sound and fast economic and social development."

China's economy grew by 65.5 percent over the past five years, or an average annual increase of 10.6 percent, to become the fourth largest economy in the world.

Last year its gross domestic product reached 24.66 trillion yuan (about 3.425 trillion U.S. dollars).

In the meantime, the country also reported success in reducing energy consumption and cutting emission.

China saw a 3.27 percent year-on-year drop in energy consumption for each 10,000 yuan of GDP in 2007.

Meanwhile, for the first time in recent years, the country reported a reduction in both chemical oxygen demand and the total emission of sulfur dioxide, by 3.14 percent and 4.66 percent respectively from the previous year.

(Xinhua News Agency March 5, 2008)

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