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Special> NPC & CPPCC Sessions 2009> Latest
UPDATED: March 4, 2009
Advisory Body Session Focuses on Economic Growth
As top advisors to the government began their annual meeting in Beijing, their minds were mostly on how China can continue on the fast track of development amid the global financial crisis


 Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), delivers a report on the work of the CPPCC National Committee's Standing Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 3, 2009. The Second Session of the 11th CPPCC National Committee opens on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing) 

More than 2,000 men and women. Only one focus of debate: The economy.

As top advisors to the government began their annual meeting in Beijing, their minds were mostly on how China can continue on the fast track of development amid the global financial crisis.

The theme running through the opening speech by Jia Qinglin, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, was along the same lines.

The estimated 2,235 members of the CPPCC National Committee are scheduled to participate in a joint session with deputies to the National People's Congress - the top legislature - tomorrow to review the report on government work delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao, and other important annual reports from the top government departments.

The global crisis is hurting the country badly, CPPCC members told China Daily reporters candidly.

But that should make the "two sessions" (of the NPC and the CPPCC) this year focus more clearly on ways and means to overcome current difficulties and make the country even stronger, they said.

The country faced many challenges last year, and the CPPCC made great contributions toward handling them. This year, too, Jia promised, the CPPCC will be more active in promoting economic and social development.

CPPCC members noted with satisfaction that China is in a strong position to avoid the bleak conditions in some countries.

Thanks to the past reforms, said Ma Honglie, chairman of Jiuquan Iron and Steel Group, it is possible for the nation to notch up 8 percent GDP growth, which observers believe will be set as the target this year.

The US$586 billion economic stimulus plan, which the central government rolled out in November, has been welcomed by the CPPCC members as a much-needed fillip to raise growth.

Hu Keyi, a senior executive at Shanghai-based Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co Ltd, one of the nation's largest shipbuilders, said that even though the impact of the crisis is "far worse than anyone could have anticipated", and new orders all but dried up, industry had the cushion of the stimulus to fall back on.

Other members were more concerned about the disadvantaged groups of society, such as farmers and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Farmer-turned-entrepreneur Liu Yonghao, founder and chairman of the New Hope Group, cited the number of the migrant workers who recently lost their jobs - an estimated 20 million in all.

"They are not just 20 million individuals," he said. "They may represent about 15 million families."

Liu called for more effective measures to provide jobs and new income sources to rural dwellers, now that many farm products are facing deflationary pressure.

Feng Jun, president of the private Beijing Huaqi Information Digital Technology Co, wants more government support for SMEs to expand business overseas.

(China Daily March 4, 2009)

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