China's leaders pledged at a key policy meeting to keep the economy on track next year while raising farm incomes, promoting energy conservation and holding down investment in overheated industries, state media reports said yesterday. \nThe Chinese economy is forecast to grow by a blistering 9 percent this year -- far above the official target of 7 percent -- and Beijing is watching warily for signs of possible inflation that could fuel social unrest and threaten the country's banks. \nPresident Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and other members of the Communist Party's ruling Standing Committee issued the plans at a three-day conference that ended on Sunday, state media said in reports that received blanket coverage in newspapers, radio and television. \nThe government "will continue to put macroeconomic control on top of the agenda for next year's plan in order to maintain a steady and comparatively fast economic development and basically stable prices," the reports said. \nFiscal Control \nThe commitment to low inflation and fiscal control marks a firm turn away from Beijing's former policy of fueling faster economic growth by pouring money into the economy through heavy spending on highway-building and other public projects. \nThe reports didn't say whether Beijing is any closer to granting demands by its trading partners to let its tightly controlled currency, the yuan, trade freely on world markets. \nThe US and others contend the yuan's government-set value is too low, making Chinese exports unfairly inexpensive and hurting competitors. \nBut they affirmed Beijing's commitment to closer integration with the global market, saying, "China is to open its door wider to the outside world." \nFarmers Targeted \nHu and other Chinese leaders promised to ensure that the populous but poor countryside isn't left behind by the galloping boom, so as to build "a harmonious society," the reports said. \nIt said incomes for farm families were up 11 percent this year. \nThe average farmer made 2,110 yuan (US$255) in the first nine months of this year, the report said. The average city income is more than three times higher. \nRural Support \n"Our support for the rural areas will be further strengthened next year," the government statement said. \nEfforts reportedly already under way include improving irrigation, building roads to connect farmers to city markets and cracking down on officials who seize farmland to construct unneeded hotels and factories. \nAt the same time, the reports said Chinese leaders recognized the movement of workers from the countryside to cities as "an important part" of China's growth strategy. \nOther urgent tasks include creating jobs, improving the pension system for the country's ballooning population of retirees and nudging investment from prosperous coastal cities into the vast, undeveloped hinterland, the reports said. \nChinese leaders also plan to step up energy conservation, it said.
Dignitaries from 47 countries yesterday congratulated President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on the commencement of her second term and highlighted Taiwan’s achievements in democracy and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent his congratulations a day earlier. As of noon yesterday, 263 high-ranking officials from 47 countries and global organizations had congratulated Tsai via statements, letters, social media posts or recorded footage, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, while releasing a collection of footage sent by selected dignitaries. The governments of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies sent their congratulations, as did the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy,
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