Top Leaders Join Panel Discussions

Premier Zhu Rongji yesterday discussed a wide range of rural issues, from reducing farmers' financial burdens to restructuring rural economies, in a meeting held by Anhui Province deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC).

Premier Zhu praised Anhui, known as the cradle of rural reforms, for its ground-breaking local governments and people and encouraged the province to continue its efforts towards change and economic development.

"Agriculture is the foundation of the economy, and it must be put on the top of the agenda," the premier said. "China cannot achieve long-term stability and a sustained development without developing its agriculture, increasing farmers' income and stabilizing the countryside."

The premier called for giving top priority to increasing farmers' income, deepening various reforms, restructuring the farming sector and alleviating farmers' financial burdens.

At yesterday's group discussion of the Tianjin delegation on Premier Zhu's report on the draft five-year plan, Li Ruihuan, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, called on leaders to pay special attention to the difficulties of ordinary people.

"We must take practical measures to attend to their difficulties," Li said.

At the group discussion with NPC deputies from Heilongjiang Province, Wei Jianxing, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said further promoting the nationwide anti-corruption campaign is a major guarantee for development in the next five years.

To prevent and curb corruption from the source, Wei said, efforts should focus on strengthening ideological and ethical education of Party members and officials and further promoting the reform of various systems so as to eradicate the root cause of corruption.

Joining Hong Kong deputies in their group discussion, Vice-Premier Qian Qichen said the situation in Hong Kong has remained stable over the past three years since it returned to the motherland. This must continue, Qian said.

(Xinhua 03/08/2001)