Chinese leadership stresses tangible benefits for citizens

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 9, 2013
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During the ongoing annual sessions of the national legislature and political advisory body, Chinese leaders have pledged tangible benefits for citizens.

In a recent discussion with national lawmakers from northeast China's Liaoning Province, Xi Jinping, head of the Communist Party of China (CPC), urged greater efforts to guarantee and improve people's well-being, take better care of disadvantaged groups and offer the people noticeable and tangible benefits.

Vice Premier Li Keqiang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, urged greater efforts in alleviating poverty and progressively improving people's lives amid the course of development.

Analysts say China's new leadership is attaching more importance to improving people's quality of life.

In his first speech in front of reporters since being elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee in November, Xi spoke at length about the important role of the people and their desires for better education, more stable jobs, higher incomes, better medical and health care, improved housing conditions and a better environment.

"Meeting their desires for a happy life is our mission," Xi said.

Both China's GDP and its per capita income in 2020 should double that of 2010, according to the targets set by the 18th National Congress of the CPC in November. This was the first time that per capita income has been included in the country's 2020 blueprint for building a moderately prosperous society.

Realizing these goals in the next eight years is not going to be easy, given the country's economic growth slowdown and other challenges, including economic structural adjustment, the income gap and unbalanced development between the eastern, central and western regions.

China's economic growth further eased to a 13-year low of 7.8 percent in 2012 from 9.3 percent in 2011 and 10.3 percent in 2010. The country's GDP stood at 51.9 trillion yuan (about 8.3 trillion U.S. dollars) last year.

The country's GDP growth target for 2013 is around 7.5 percent, according to the central government.

Improving people's living standards was underlined in the government report delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao to the 12th National People's Congress, or the parliament, on March 5.

The central budget for 2013 features notable spending increases in areas closely related to quality of life, including education, healthcare, social security and public housing.

For example, government spending on medical and health care increased by 27.1 percent year on year to 260.25 billion yuan in 2013.

It is remarkable that the government report has pledged to ensure that the real per capita income for urban and rural residents increases in step with economic growth and that salaries will rise in line with increases in labor productivity.

These simultaneous increases are proof of efforts to better deal with problems related to people's well-being, said Liu Shucheng, an economic researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The tangible well-being of the people not only includes fattening wallets, but also solving problems regarding education, medical care, housing and pensions to achieve social fairness and justice, he said.

Without fair opportunities, it will be difficult to realize the "Chinese dream," analysts say. Xi Jinping described the "Chinese dream" as the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in November. The buzzword "Chinese dream" has encouraged individual Chinese people from all walks of life to contribute to the national goal.

Zhang Wencheng, secretary of the CPC branch committee of Sijia Village, Liaoning Province, said investment is needed for the construction of infrastructure facilities in villages, including health centers and retirement homes, as well as garbage collection and fire-fighting work.

"The basic living standards of farmers have improved significantly, but their quality of life needs to reach new levels. This is a great challenge," said Zhang, who is also an NPC deputy.

"The emphasis on tangible benefits is what ordinary citizens most want to hear and understand. It is the attitude and promise of the central authorities," he added.

The complex public social services should cover both the urban and vast rural areas, according to Jiang Hong, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, China's top political advisory body.

Income distribution should be more fair and transparent, said Jiang, who is also a public policy expert with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

"To make the improvement of people's well-being noticeable and tangible,the solutions to many problems require further reform in relevant sectors," said Jiang.

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