Full Text: Report on the Work of the Government
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The following is the full text of the Report on the Work of the Government delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao at the Second Session of the Eleventh National People's Congress on March 5, 2009 and adopted on March 13, 2009:
Report on the Work of the Government
Delivered at the Second Session of the Eleventh National People's Congress on March 5, 2009
Premier of the State Council
On behalf of the State Council, I now present to you my report on the work of the government for your deliberation and approval. I also solicit comments and suggestions on the report from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
I. Review of the Work in 2008
The year 2008 was truly eventful. Our country's economic and social development withstood severe challenges and tests that were rarely seen before. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the people of all our ethnic groups faced difficulties squarely, worked with courage and determination, surmounted all difficulties and obstacles, and made new achievements in reform, opening up and socialist modernization.
- The national economy continued to maintain steady and rapid growth. GDP topped 30 trillion yuan, an increase of 9% over the previous year. Overall price rises were held in check. Government revenue was 6.13 trillion yuan, an increase of 19.5%. Grain output rose for the fifth consecutive year and totaled 528.5 million tons, a record high.
- Reform and opening up were further deepened. New breakthroughs were made in reforms in key areas and crucial links, such as the fiscal, taxation, financial and pricing systems and administration. Imports and exports totaled US$ 2.56 trillion, an increase of 17.8%. Paid-in foreign direct investment reached $92.4billion.
- Development of social programs was accelerated, and the living standards of the people continued to rise. A total of 11.13million more urban residents entered the workforce. Urban per capita annual disposable income reached 15,781 yuan, an increase of 8.4% in real terms, and rural per capita net income reached 4,761 yuan, up by 8% in real terms.
- Great victories were won in the fight against massive natural disasters. The Beijing Olympics and Paralympics were held successfully, and the Shenzhou VII manned space mission was a complete success.
These achievements signify that we have taken new and solid steps along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. They have greatly fortified the courage and strength of the people of all our ethnic groups to surmount difficulties and will definitely encourage us to bravely forge ahead on the new historical course.
Last year, we accomplished the following important work:
1. Making timely and resolute adjustments to macroeconomic policies and doing everything possible to maintain steady and rapid economic development
We maintained the right direction, focus, intensity and pace of macro control, and adopted a series of policies and measures to promote steady and rapid economic development. In a complex and volatile situation, we actively responded to the severe impact of the global financial crisis and worked hard to make our macro control more proactive, targeted and effective. In the middle of the year, when energy and grain prices on the international market were high, world economic growth slowed, and exports from and economic growth in China's coastal regions began to decline, we promptly shifted the priority of macro control to maintaining steady and rapid economic development and controlling price hikes, and adopted relevant fiscal, taxation and financial measures. In September, the international economic situation started to deteriorate sharply and its negative impact became increasingly felt in China. We again resolutely shifted the focus of macro control to preventing economic growth from slowing down too quickly. We implemented a proactive fiscal policy and a moderately easy monetary policy. We raised export rebate rates three times, lowered the benchmark interest rates on savings and loans for financial institutions on five occasions, reduced required reserve ratios four times, suspended the individual income tax on interest earnings from savings, reduced securities transaction stamp tax rates, cut taxes and fees on housing transactions, and increased credit support to small and medium-sized enterprises. In accordance with the requirement that we act fast, be forceful, take targeted measures and stress implementation, we promptly introduced ten measures to further boost domestic demand and promote economic growth, and implemented them without delay. We adopted a succession of policies and measures to encourage financial institutions to support economic development, promote sound development of the textile and other light industries and the real estate market, expand consumption by improving distribution, maintain steady growth in foreign trade, and keep the employment situation stable. At the same time, we stepped up efforts to formulate plans for restructuring and revitalizing key industries. Together, these measures have played a crucial role in alleviating serious problems affecting economic performance, enhancing confidence, stabilizing expectations and maintaining steady and rapid economic development.
We continued to strengthen our work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers without any letup. Central government budgetary spending on agriculture, rural areas and farmers was 595.5 billion yuan for the whole year, a year-on-year increase of 163.7 billion yuan or 37.9%. This included 103 billion yuan, twice the figure for the previous year, in direct subsidies to grain producers, general subsidies for agricultural production supplies, and subsidies for superior crop varieties and the purchase of agricultural machinery and tools. We significantly raised minimum grain purchase prices three times, with the total increase exceeding 20%. We implemented a temporary policy for purchasing and stockpiling major agricultural products. We intensified the protection of arable land and the construction of agricultural water conservancy projects, and increased overall agricultural production capacity. We supported the production of hogs, oilseeds and dairy products. These policies and measures played an important role in maintaining and stimulating the enthusiasm of farmers, ensuring the supply of major farm products and increasing rural incomes, and provided strong support for maintaining overall stability in economic and social development.
We unswervingly promoted independent innovation and economic restructuring. We launched 16 major national science and technology projects, and established a number of new national engineering centers, key laboratories and enterprise technology centers in such fields as information technology, biotechnology and environmental protection. We successfully developed a number of key technologies and major equipment in the areas of regional aircraft, automobiles powered by new energy sources and high-speed railways. The central government invested 116.3 billion yuan in science and technology, an increase of 16.4%. Significant steps were taken in reorganization of the telecommunications and civil aviation industries. We continued to eliminate backward production facilities. Last year, we shut down small thermal power plants with a total capacity of 16.69 million kilowatts and closed 1,054 small coalmines. Investment in infrastructure and basic industries was increased, and a number of major projects in energy, transportation and water conservancy were completed or launched. Steady progress was made in implementing the master strategy for regional development, and economic development in different regions became better coordinated.
We steadfastly promoted energy conservation, emissions reduction and ecological and environmental protection. The central government allocated 42.3 billion yuan to support development of ten key energy conservation projects and environmental protection facilities. The daily sewage treatment capacity rose by an additional 11.49 million tons in urban areas, and desulfurization equipment was installed in coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of 97.12 million kilowatts. Energy consumption per unit of GDP fell by 4.59% from the previous year; chemical oxygen demand fell by 4.42%; and sulfur dioxide emissions fell by 5.95%. For the past three years combined, total energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped by 10.08%; chemical oxygen demand dropped by 6.61%; and sulfur dioxide emissions dropped by 8.95%. We built on the achievements in returning farmland to forests and restoring livestock pastures to grasslands, and carried out ecological conservation projects such as protecting virgin forests and developing the Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve in Qinghai Province. We implemented the plan to prevent and control water pollution in major river valleys and regions and issued the white paper China's Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change.
2. Balancing economic and social development and strengthening all aspects of social development with the focus on improving people's lives
Efforts were intensified to increase employment and improve the social safety net. We improved our policy to stimulate and expand employment by encouraging business startups, and enforced the minimum wage system. The coverage of all social security schemes continued to expand, with 17.53 million more urban workers subscribing to basic old-age insurance, 20.28 million more subscribing to basic medical insurance, and the unemployment, workers' compensation and maternity insurance steadily expanding to cover more workers. Pensions of enterprise retirees rose by 110 yuan per month per person. We launched trials to reform the basic old-age insurance system for employees of government-affiliated institutions. We actively explored ways to establish a new system of old-age insurance for rural residents and made steady progress in making social security available to rural migrant workers in urban areas and farmers whose land has been expropriated. We comprehensively improved the system of cost of living allowances for both urban and rural residents, and provided allowances to 66.19 million residents. We raised living allowances for low-income groups and university students in a timely fashion. Preferential treatment enjoyed by key entitled groups was increased substantially. We intensified efforts to develop low-income housing and renovate shantytowns, thus alleviating some of the housing difficulties of the low-income population. An additional of more than 48 million rural people gained access to safe drinking water.
Further progress was made in promoting fair education for all. Free compulsory education became available to all students, urban or rural, throughout the country, and all rural students receiving compulsory education obtained free textbooks. The standards for repairing and renovating school buildings in the central and western regions were raised, and the government allocated 3.25 billion yuan to provide heating to rural primary and secondary schools in the north. Development of vocational education was accelerated. The national financial aid system for students was further improved. The central government spent 22.3 billion yuan and local governments increased funding as well to assist more than 20 million students. Grants of 1,500 yuan per student per annum were given to secondary vocational school students from rural areas or needy urban families, benefiting 90% of the current student population in these vocational schools.
Steady progress was made in reform and development of the pharmaceutical and health care system. A total of 814 million people, accounting for 91.5% of the rural population, now benefit from the new type of rural cooperative medical care system. The number of selected cities participating in trials of the basic medical insurance system for urban residents increased from 88 to 317, and the number of participating individuals increased by 73.59 million to 117 million. Significant progress was made in developing a system of community-based health services in urban areas. We continued to expand the coverage of the reward and assistance system for rural families complying with family planning regulations, and implemented the "lower birthrate equals faster prosperity" program in more places in the countryside.
We accelerated the development of culture and sports. Public cultural infrastructure facilities were improved, the cultural industries developed rapidly, and reform of the cultural management system was constantly deepened. We mobilized all resources and hosted a distinctive and high-level Beijing Olympicsand Paralympics, thus fulfilling the century-old dream of the Chinese nation, and Chinese athletes competed hard and brave and scored excellent achievements in the Games. This greatly aroused the patriotism of all our people and strengthened the cohesiveness of our nation.
We continued to strengthen democracy and the legal system. The system of local-level democracy was further improved. Significant progress was made in enhancing law-based government. Last year, the State Council submitted eight bills, including a draft of the Social Insurance Law and draft amendments to the Law on Protecting Against and Mitigating Earthquake Disasters, to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for deliberation. It also formulated or revised 30 administrative laws and regulations. The Regulations on Making Government Information Public was fully implemented. The public security system for crime prevention and control was strengthened. We battled against secessionist and terrorist activities, protected China's national security and maintained social stability. Our work related to ethnic minority, religious and overseas Chinese affairs further improved.
3. Vigorously advancing reform and opening up and injecting fresh vitality and impetus into economic and social development
Institutional restructuring of the State Council was basically completed and that of local governments is progressing steadily. Comprehensive rural reforms continued to deepen, and reform of collective forest rights was instituted throughout the country. SOE reform was deepened. The transformation of the Agricultural Bank of China and China Development Bank into joint stock companies proceeded smoothly. The new Law on Corporate Income Tax went into effect, and real estate taxes were unified for domestic and overseas-funded enterprises and Chinese and foreign individuals. After years of deliberation, reform in pricing, taxes and fees for refined petroleum products was smoothly introduced. Aplan for reform of the pharmaceutical and health care system was devised and referred to the general public for comments. These innovations in systems and mechanisms have laid a solid foundation for our long-term development.
The country opened wider to the outside world. We vigorously implemented the strategy of competing on quality and diversifying export markets. We increased efforts to establish innovation bases to invigorate trade through science and technology and bases for providing services outsourced from other countries. We supported the export of products with Chinese trademarks and intellectual property rights. We improved the policy system for the processing trade. We steadily opened service industries wider to the outside world and provided more guidance to orient foreign investment in China. We integrated existing funds and set up new ones designed to promote external economic and technological cooperation. We promulgated regulations on managing overseas contracted projects and rectified the system of administration of cooperative overseas labor services. We actively promoted energy and resources cooperation overseas, further expanded our assistances to other countries, and the pace of enterprises going global was accelerated. Further progress was made in the development of free trade zones, and in our economic dialogues with major trading partners and mutually beneficial cooperation with other developing countries.
A massive earthquake that shocked the world struck Wenchuan on May 12. Under the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, people of all ethnic groups in China, especially in the quake zone, worked as one and fought in unison against the earthquake disaster. The people's army rushed to the frontlines without thinking of their own safety. We launched an earthquake rescue and relief operation that accomplished its work faster, mobilized more personnel and committed more resources than ever before in China's history. We steadfastly gave top priority to saving people's lives. We pulled 84,000 survivors out of the rubble. We promptly repaired damaged infrastructure, and resolutely unblocked the Mount Tangjia quake lake to avert potential secondary disasters. We did our utmost to prevent an epidemic from occurring and ensured that there was no major outbreak of diseases after the deadly earthquake. The central government allocated 38.4 billion yuan for quake relief and 74 billion yuan for post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction. We promptly introduced a host of policies and measures to support the quake zone. We energetically organized one-to-one assistance to designated areas affected by the earthquake. People from all sectors of society in China made generous donations, both in cash and in kind; our compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as well as overseas Chinese contributed generously to the disaster relief campaign; and the international community provided us with earthquake rescue and relief assistance. All this combined to forma boundless source of strength for the Chinese people to overcome the disaster. This hard struggle against the earthquake produced uncountable touching and brave exploits and fully demonstrated the great indomitable and unyielding spirit of the Chinese people, thus writing a heroic chapter in the history of the nation.
None of the achievements we made last year came easily. They were the result of overall planning and correct leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary, as well as the concerted and strenuous efforts of the whole Party, the entire army and the people of all our ethnic groups. On behalf of the State Council, I hereby express our sincere gratitude to the people of all our ethnic groups and to the democratic parties, mass organizations and people from all sectors of society. I also express our sincere thanks to compatriots in the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions and Taiwan and to overseas Chinese, as well as to foreign governments, international organizations and friends in other countries that take an interest in and support China's modernization drive.
While acknowledging our achievements, we must be clearly aware that we face unprecedented difficulties and challenges.
First, the global financial crisis continues to spread and get worse. Demand continues to shrink on international markets; the trend toward global deflation is obvious; and trade protectionism is resurging. The external economic environment has become more serious, and uncertainties have increased significantly.
Second, continuous drop in economic growth rate due to the impact of the global financial crisis has become a major problem affecting the overall situation. This has resulted in excess production capacity in some industries, caused some enterprises to experience operating difficulties and exerted severe pressure on employment. Factors leading to decline in government revenues and increase in government expenditures have increased. It has become more difficult to maintain steady agricultural development and keep rural incomes growing.
Third, institutional and structural problems that have long hindered healthy economic development still remain, and some of them are still prominent. Consumption demand is insufficient, and development of tertiary industries is sluggish. Our capacity for independent innovation is weak. Consumption of energy and other resources is high. Environmental pollution is serious. Disparities in development between urban and rural areas and between regions are widening.
Fourth, some problems affecting the vital interests of the people have not been fundamentally alleviated. There are still many problems demanding urgent solution in the areas of social security, education, health care, income distribution and public security.
Fifth, order in the market is not well standardized; market oversight and law enforcement are not fully in place, and the social credit rating system is still in need of improvement. A number of serious and major incidents concerning food and workplace safety have occurred, which have inflicted serious loss of life and property on the people and taught us a sobering lesson.
We need to thoroughly appreciate how serious and complex the international and domestic economic situations are, be more mindful of potential perils and crises, fully exploit favorable conditions and actively respond to all challenges so that we can successfully accomplish all our tasks and prove worthy of the great expectations and trust conferred on us by the people.