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Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 09:25

Agendas wide-ranging for meetings

By Zhao Yinan

Editor's Note: The two sessions, or the annual meetings of the National People's Congress and National Committee of the Chinese Political Consultative Conference, will convene in early March to discuss major economic and social issues such as GDP growth, military expenditures and measures to push reforms forward. China Daily will present a series of stories on the major issues likely to be discussed at the sessions.

Rumblings that the Chinese government will sacrifice growth for reforms are swirling as a key political meeting approaches.

In two weeks, the target for economic growth this year and a list of reforms to be pushed in coming months will be discussed at the country's biggest political event of the year in Beijing.

On March 5, Premier Li Keqiang will present the annual Government Work Report at the opening of the annual plenary session of the National People's Congress, two days after the country's top political advisory body, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, convenes.

The meetings, usually referred to as the "two sessions", will last more than a week. Although the agenda this year will be long and procedures will be complex as usual, public attention is expected to focus on just a few items.

China's GDP growth target this year, which will affect many economies around the globe, will be discussed and decided by top legislators and political advisers from different walks of life.

Other issues, such as how to make the expansion of the economy more generally beneficial to the public, how to continue anti-graft efforts while preventing officials from adopting a wait-and-see attitude and pushing financial reforms while avoiding hidden risks, are all high on the agenda.

According to a survey of 3.45 million netizens, China's economic new normal is among the top three topics expected to be discussed, along with income distribution and anti-graft efforts.

The result is a bit different from that of previous years when economic issues were not the top concerns of the public. Judicial independence, housing, food safety and other subjects have topped the list in the past.

But today's public attention on the economy reflects widespread social anxiety as the country's growth rate hit a 24-year-low. Investors are expecting the two sessions to shed light on how the leadership will sacrifice some growth while painstakingly advancing reforms, said Zhao Zhenhua, an economist with the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The tolerance of leaders as they see a slowdown in GDP growth, and their determination to carry out reforms that were promised at the Third Plenum of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee in 2013, will affect the outlook of the economy this year, he said. And that will be a factor in designing other policies, either fiscal or industrial, to prop up growth.

The annual survey, now in its 14th year, was conducted by people.com.cn, a website affiliated with People's Daily. It identified the top concerns of people as the dual pension system and forced housing demolitions.

This year's two sessions will also see lawmakers discussing a draft amendment to the country's Legislation Law. If passed, the law will allow local legislative bodies to make laws, as opposed to only regulations implementing laws. The change would enlarge legislative powers at the local level.

The draft also proposes to allow lawmakers to reject a single clause in a draft bill while passing the rest of the bill. Previously, lawmakers were required to either approve or oppose a law in its entirety.

zhaoyinan@chinadaily.com.cn

 
 
 
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