The Fifth Session of the 12th National People’s Congress opened at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing at 9 a.m. on March 5. Premier Li Keqiang delivered the 2017 Government Work Report. An edited bilingual excerpt follows:
The Chinese people have the courage, ingenuity, and ability to overcome any difficulty or hardship. The Chinese economy possesses potential, resilience, and strengths, so we can be sure there is even better development ahead for China.
Last year, we faced difficult choices in conducting macro-level regulation, but we stood firm in not adopting strong stimulus policies that would have had an economy-wide impact, and strived instead to maintain steady growth, adjust the structure, and guard against risks through reform and innovation. We strengthened targeted and well-timed regulation on the basis of range-based regulation.
As we pushed ahead with the Belt and Road Initiative, we worked to increase complementarity between the development strategies of, and practical cooperation between, China and other countries along the routes.
China is at a crucial and challenging stage in its own development endeavors, and there are many salient challenges and problems in the economy.
Governments at all levels should tighten their belts, and central government departments should take the lead by cutting no less than 5 percent of their general expenditures. No increase in spending on official overseas visits, official vehicles, or official hospitality is permitted; and we will squeeze out more funds to cover cuts in taxes and fees. We will keep government spending low and enrich our people.
Like the struggle from chrysalis to butterfly, this process of transformation and upgrading is filled with promise but also accompanied by great pain; it is urgent, formidable and complicated.
We must make dedicated efforts to deliver services to the people, resolve the difficulties they face, promote social equity and justice, and demonstrate that development does better people's lives.
The system for ensuring responsibility for poverty elimination will be effectively enforced, the strictest possible evaluations and assessments of poverty alleviation will be carried out, and stern measures will be taken to address deception, falsification, and the manipulation of numbers in poverty elimination work. We must see that the results of our poverty elimination earn the approval of our people and stand the test of time.
To enable the market to play the decisive role in resource allocation and to give better play to the role of government, we must deepen reforms to streamline government administration, delegate more powers, and improve regulation and service.
We will do more to make SOEs leaner and healthier, and perform better; and we will redouble efforts to relieve SOEs of their obligations to operate social programs and help them resolve other longstanding issues.
Government must take the lead in acting in good faith and must never arbitrarily change agreements, and new officials must not disavow obligations undertaken by their predecessors.
We will promote coordinated urban development above and below the ground. A three-year initiative will be launched to remove the risk of flooding in highly vulnerable urban areas; and further progress will be made in the development of sponge cities. All these efforts will make our cities more attractive and function better.
We will promote workmanship and foster a culture of workmanship where workers have a strong work ethic and tirelessly seek improvement. We will see great numbers of Chinese workers exemplify workmanship and more Chinese brands enjoy international recognition. We will usher in an era of quality for economic development in China.
Illegal dischargers and fraud will be severely penalized. Officials who do a poor job in enforcing the law, knowingly allow environmental violations, or respond inadequately to worsening air quality will be fully held accountable. Tackling smog is down to every last one of us, and success depends on action and commitment.
The wellbeing of the people is at the center of governance; it must be always on our minds and the responsibility for it must never leave our shoulders.
County-level governments must put in place coordination mechanisms for meeting people's most basic needs. They must make sure there is a social cushion in place, letting those in real need feel support is there and see hope up ahead.
We will improve mechanisms that give incentives and allow for and address mistakes so as to support those who are dedicated to their work and stand behind those who live up to their responsibilities.