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China to Reduce Cost of Economic Growth, Narrow Income Gap
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China will take measures to reduce the cost of economic growth and narrow a yawning income gap, said Ma Kai, minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), on Wednesday.

China is committed to the targets for saving energy and reducing pollutant emissions between 2006 and 2010, although it fell short of such targets for 2006, Ma said at a press conference held on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People 's Congress (NPC).

The State Council will make annual reports on saving energy and reducing emissions to the NPC starting this year, and report on the overall progress made over the five years in the end, he said.

The top planning official also said China has taken a series of measures to narrow the income gap while admitting it is still yawning.

The country has been increasing investment in agriculture, rural areas and farmers to narrow the gap between rural and urban residents, and implementing the development strategy of west China to narrow the gap between west and east, Ma said.

A system of basic cost of living allowances for low-income people, set up to improve their living and working conditions, will expand to all rural areas this year, Ma added.

In response to a question whether China will become a threat to global energy security, the minister said China has met the energy demand since 1978 mainly on its own, and is able to do so in the future.

(Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2007)

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