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President Stresses Stable Food Prices, Supply of Farm Produce

Chinese President Hu Jintao urged local governments to ensure stable food prices and supply of major farm produce on Sunday.

Hu's remarks came after the country's consumer price index (CPI) scored 4.8 percent last year and an 11-year-high of 7.1 percent in January this year, triggering inflation fears.

"We must ensure stable production and prices of 'vegetable basket' products (nonstaple food) for urban and rural consumers," Hu said, speaking at a panel discussion of the delegation of Shandong Province at the ongoing annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament.

The president also accentuated the significance of changing the modes of economic development to promote a sound and rapid development.

Senior leaders including Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang also joined panel discussions of different delegations on Saturday.

Top legislator Wu Bangguo, while talking with lawmakers from the Fujian Province delegation who were deliberating his Saturday's work report of the 10th NPC Standing Committee, pledged to make greater efforts to improve the committee's work with the oversight of NPC deputies.

"We must hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, unswervingly pursue the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics... in a bid to uphold and improve the system of people's congresses and do a good job in this regard under new circumstances," Wu said.

Premier Wen Jiabao, who joined deputies from the northeastern Jilin Province, said northeast China should fully exploit its advantages to boost the manufacturing sector, particularly the production of heavy equipment.

Rejuvenation of the old industrial base is not a short-term mission, Wen said. "Our ultimate goal is to achieve sustainable development, which demands energy conservation, ecological recovery and environmental protection."

He said Jilin Province, which boasts rich natural and ecological resources, should take the lead in environmental protection by preserving well the resources and ecology of the Changbai Mountains, stepping up pollution control along the Songhua River and protecting its soil, forests, grassland, wild animals and wetlands. "All these are valuable assets of Jilin, and advantages for its development."

Joining the Yunnan delegation to deliberate the NPC Standing Committee work report, Li Changchun exchanged ideas with the deputies on how to build democracy, boost education in the border regions inhabited by ethnic minorities, and foster the cultural industry in rural areas.

He called for innovation in the cultural sector to enhance diversity, and application of new technologies to renovate conventional means of communication.

During discussions with the Shaanxi delegation, Xi Jinping said the northwestern province should underscore innovation to develop itself into an economic powerhouse in western China.

Shaanxi should give fully play to its advantages in science and technology, balance urban and rural development, foster the private sector while reinforcing the public sector.

He said the province needs also to improve the livelihood of the people and explore new ways in the betterment of the people's lives in underdeveloped regions.

While joining the lawmakers from the Chongqing delegation, Li Keqiang said that China, as a country with a big population of farmers, must balance urban and rural development in the modernization process.

Chongqing should accelerate the pace of rejuvenating the old industrial base, make great efforts to develop the Three Gorges area, improve people's livelihood and make new strides in social and economic development, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2008)

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