Li says reform key for PRC growth

AFP, BEIJING

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 - Page 15

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) has said China’s economic growth can only continue if the country reforms, state media reported yesterday.

“Reform and opening is essential to allowing people to enjoy a better life,” the China News Service quoted Li as saying while meeting officials overseeing 11 cities and provinces that are test-beds for reforms.

“If we don’t do it, then we won’t make mistakes, but will bear historic responsibility,” he said on Wednesday, according to state media yesterday.

Li focused on social and economic — rather than political — development, singling out uneven growth and the rural-urban imbalance as problems, both of which have generated popular resentment.

Strict residency rules needed to be fixed, as did land management and the social service system, he said, without giving specific details.

China’s leaders have repeatedly promised reforms.

Li, who is considered to be a cautious reformer, also warned that economic growth was likely to slow from the double digits of past years to around seven percent annually.

He added that he believed it would still be possible to achieve a “moderately prosperous” society by 2020.

The Chinese word for reform is made up of two characters, both meaning change, and the China News Service said: “If there were two characters to summarize Li’s speech at the conference, they would be reform.”

“To describe it in four characters would be, without a doubt: reform, reform. And to describe it in six would be: reform, reform, reform,” it said.

Additional reporting by Staff writer