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Chinese public flood Premier Wen with ideas, suggestions as annual legislative, advisory sessions approach

2010-02-23 17:05 BJT

Special Report: 2010 NPC & CPPCC Sessions |

BEIJING, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese citizens are flooding Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao with suggestions and questions as the nation's top legislative and advisory sessions approach.

An online survey to hear the voice of citizens at www.news.cn has received more than 5,300 responses within three days of going live, with house prices, personal income and medical reform being the hot topics.

"(Skyrocketing) house prices are seriously challenging the central government," wrote one person from east China's Jiangsu Province.

"The income gap is rapidly widening. I hope the government can discuss this issue seriously at the upcoming National People's Congress (NPC) and introduce countermeasures," said another from north China's Inner Mongolia.

The public's expectations for policymakers is high as the NPC, China's top legislature, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top advisory body, begin their annual sessions in Beijing next week.

The NPC is expected to review the government's work report for last year, vote on the central and local governments' draft budgets for 2010 and map out this year's development blueprint.

The 11th National Committee of the CPPCC will also open its third session next week, where its members can air their suggestions on what the government should focus on this year.

Analysts said although China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 8.7 percent year on year to 33.54 trillion yuan (about 4.91 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2009 on the back of the massive economic stimulus package, resolving the public's major concerns -- such as housing affordability and the gap between rich and poor -- remains an uphill battle for policymakers.

"Before the global financial crisis, China's economy was mainly driven by massive investment and exports. Such an economic growth pattern was not sustainable, " said Jian Zhuang, senior economist at the Asian Development Bank's China mission.

"In this post-crisis era, how can China optimize its economic structure will be closely monitored at this year's two annual sessions," he said.

Zhuang's watchlist for the two sessions include: the reform of the income distribution system; the transformation of the economic growth pattern; the restructuring of industry; the Renminbi exchange rate; and measures to tackle inflation and asset price bubbles.

"Many of these are old problems," Zhuang said, "but some are new. I want to see how China addresses these issues."

According to the latest figures by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China's consumer price index (CPI), an indicator of inflation, rose 1.5 percent year on year in January.

The NBS' statistics also showed the producer price index (PPI), an inflation indicator at the wholesale level, rose 4.3 percent in January from a year earlier, up from 1.7 percent in December 2009 when the figure ended 12 months of decline.

Editor: Jin Lin | Source: Xinhua