On Thursday Michael Minhong Yu, President of the New Oriental Education & Technology Group and also a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) participated in an open panel discussion covering government expenditure.
As an educator and businessman, his self-made "from rags to riches" story affords a revealing snapshot of the "American Dream" in China. He has witnessed modern China over many decades and has many feelings to share. "Over the past years, China has amassed enormous wealth and has a cash-rich government. Nevertheless the people are still relatively lagging behind in wealth accumulation," he said, giving a new twist in understanding the Premier Wen's government report.
He described how some local governments had unnecessarily splurged on luxury items such as imposing office buildings. He urged the government to keep a tight grip on their purse strings and devise strict guidelines for government expenditures.
He singled out the expenditures for subsidizing China's farmers. "The current budget is still not adequate. The government should give more support to the farmers to supplement their meager income," he said.
Zhang Meiying, Vice Chairman of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), echoed Yu's remarks, saying that China needs a "'frugal" and uncorrupted government. "It is a tough and urgent task for the government to spend the taxpayer's money in a proper way," said Ms. Zhang.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter He Shan, March 8, 2008)