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China starts parliament session amid global crisis
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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Thursday called on the nation to strengthen "conviction for victory" as he unveiled an unprecedented stimulus package to shore up economic growth amid global downturn.

Premier Wen Jiabao Thursday called on the nation to strengthen conviction for victory while he envisaged "arduous and formidable" tasks in 2009 as the country tried to keep economic growth amid a global downturn. 


In a work report to the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's parliament, Wen said China is facing "unprecedented difficulties and challenges" as economic growth slows, employment pressure mounts and social uncertainties increase in 2009, the most difficult year since the new millennium.

Premier's economics

China's economy cooled to a seven-year low of 9 percent last year, and broke a five-year streak of double-digit expansion, as the global financial crisis took its toll on the world's fastest growing economy.

The country, however, is "able to achieve" an economic growth at about 8 percent as long as right policies and appropriate measures are adopted and implemented, Wen said.

In his report, Wen outlined an aggressive stimulus package, including huge government investment, tax reform, industrial restructuring, scientific innovation, social welfare and promoting employment.

In addition to a 4-trillion yuan (585.5 billion U.S.dollars) stimulus package that was announced in November, the premier also proposed a budgeted fiscal deficit of 950 billion yuan (139 billion U.S. dollars) for 2009, a record high in six decades and nearly three times over the last record of 319.8 billion yuan set in 2003.

The deficit accounted for less than 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), nearly surpassing an internationally accepted risky line.

Wen said increasing government spending is the most active, direct and efficient way to expand domestic demand, while economists believe China's 2-trillion U.S. dollar foreign reserves, current-account surplus and budget surplus offers the government lots of room to do so.

Other key economic and social targets included creating more than 9 million jobs in the city, controlling urban registered unemployment rate under 4.6 percent and keeping the rise of Consumer Price Index (CPI) at about 4 percent.

Expectations of a migrant worker and more

While nearly 3,000 lawmakers convened at the Great Hall of the People in the center of Beijing, Zhang You, a migrant worker from central Anhui Province who was waiting in his rented room for a job opportunity in the outskirts of the capital, also watched Wen's nationally televised speech, though the Premier's economics might be beyond his imagination.

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