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Inflation pressure reflects 'Chinese characteristic' in economic growth
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China's economy is faced with the biggest price rise pressure since 1997. Talking of this issue, Liu Yonghao, CEO of a feedstuff enterprise New Hope Group who is dubbed "China's No. 1 pigman", believes he knows it as well as the central bank governor.

"The international price of corn has almost doubled, and so has the price of soybean. This pushed up pig-raising costs," said Liu, who is a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). "If we don't raise the price of pork, how could farmers earn their daily bread?"

The political advisor pointed out that increase of migrant workers also contributed to the nationwide price rise. "About 250 million farmers have flooded into cities and turned from being producers of agricultural products to being consumers," he said.

Premier Wen Jiabao, according to media report, agreed to Liu's opinion while joining discussion with the political advisors. In the Government Work Report he delivered on March 5, the Premier especially underscored the development of agriculture, including production of basic necessities like grain, edible oil and pork.

"We will continue to implement the system of provincial governors assuming responsibility for the "rice bag" (grain supply) program and city mayors for the "vegetable basket" (nonstaple food supply) program," Wen said.

"Increasing supply of agricultural products is crucial to curbing price spikes," said Chen Xiwen, director of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Rural Work and member of the CPPCC National Committee.

Food price rise contributes to more than 80 percent of last year's price spike, said Chen. The snow disaster earlier this year greatly plagued China's agriculture. "Guarantee of agricultural supply holds the sway in our anti-inflation efforts this year," he said.

Price rises are among the "topics of most concern" that Chinese netizens hope this year's parliament session would have addressed, including housing and social security, according to an online survey by several leading Chinese websites including xinhuanet.com and sina.com.

Last year, the country's gross domestic product grew 11.4 percent year-on-year to 24.6619 trillion yuan (3.43 trillion U.S. dollars), but the risks of spiraling inflation and economic overheating were also rising.

In 2007, China's consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, rose 4.8 percent year-on-year, well above the three percent target.

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