The China Dream: new leadership pledges reform
President Xi Jinping promises renaissance while cutting corruption and tackling pollution
In their first speeches since being elected last week, China’s new leaders today outlined a broad programme of reforms aimed at kickstarting the economy, cutting corruption and doing something about the country’s appalling pollution.
The broad sweep of the reformist message came from President Xi Jinping, who is now China’s supreme leader as head of the Communist Party, the army and the state. He promised to fight for “the great renaissance of the Chinese nation” and to do all he can to realise “the China Dream”.
“We must resolutely reject formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance, and resolutely fight against corruption and other misconduct in all manifestations,” Mr Xi told 3,000 legislators in a speech to close the country’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress.
But the real signposts on where the country is heading came in remarks by the new Premier, Li Keqiang, who addressed the media for the first time at an annual news conference.
“The highest priority will be to maintain sustainable economic growth,” Mr Li said during the lengthy briefing, which was peppered with regular references to the need for reform. Without giving details, Mr Li recognised the need to address the environment.
“We shouldn’t pursue economic growth at the expense of the environment. Such growth won’t satisfy the people,” he said. He expressed a willingness to accept supervision from society on clean governance, a sign that the tightly controlled media might be given more leeway.
However, pursuing reform would be a difficult task and involve “navigating uncharted waters,” he said, as the government would need to shake up “vested interests”.
He said: “This is because we have no alternative. Reform concerns the destiny of our country and the future of our nation.”
China will have to push hard to meet its economic growth target of 7.5 per cent for the year, and the government is calling a halt to spending on new government offices, perks and guesthouses along with a reduction in government wage bills and official cars.
He reached out to the US, offering President Barack Obama to forge “a new type of relationship” for the sake of peace in the Asia-Pacific region and said an ongoing spat with Washington over cyber hacking must end.
Li Keqiang’s style is more businesslike and open than that of his predecessor, Wen Jiabao, who was often accused of being like an actor and wooden in his delivery. “His words are very honest and clear. His attitude is very firm and he is very confident,” wrote Zhu Defu, a chief executive of China’s online retail giant, Alibaba.
The economist Mao Yushi, who has made regular calls for a free market and a more transparent government, welcomed the decision to clean up abuses by public servants, which he said created “a new atmosphere”.
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
The ten coldest places on Earth
Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Nelson Mandela memorial: Cheers, jeers and a masterclass from Barack Obama that stole the show
- 1 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 2 Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- 5 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- < Previous
- Next >
£30k - 35k : Charter Selection: Leading property consultancy firm based in Sou...
£55000 - £66000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Top 10 Seeking Ma...
£50000 - £55000 per annum + excellent benefits : Pro-Recruitment Group: Senior...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Pro-Recruitment Group: Our leadi...