China's chief economic planner blamed himself Monday for failing to rein in the country's consumer prices last year.
"China's consumer price growth hit 5.4 percent last year, exceeding the growth target of around 4 percent set at the beginning of 2011. As the head of the government department in charge of controlling prices, I would like to offer self-criticism on this occasion," Zhang Ping, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a press conference.
Zhang described last year's economic situation as "very grave," adding that the runaway growth was the result of unsatisfactory government work in certain aspects.
Zhang also noted that the country's inflation rate eased to 4.1 percent in December last year, after hitting a 37-month high of 6.5 percent in July, due to "considerable and hard" work on the part of the government.
China aims to continue to limit this year's consumer price growth to around 4 percent, according to a government work report delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao at the annual parliamentary session on Monday.
Keeping overall prices basically stable is "a key task affecting people's interests and China's overall economic and social development," according to Wen.
"I have confidence in keeping inflation within around 4 percent this year," claimed Zhang.
To contain runaway inflation, China's central bank raised banks' reserve requirement ratio 12 times to a record high of 21.5 percent between 2010 and December 2011. It has also hiked interest rates five times since October 2010.