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Bracing for "most complicated" year, Premier web chat focuses on domestic challenges

2010-02-28 08:03 BJT

By Xinhua Writers Meng Na, Miao Xiaojuan, Wang Cong

BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao mainly focused on domestic issues and challenges during his second annual online chat here Saturday with the public, in which he described 2010 as "the most complicated year" for the country.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) chats on-line with netizens at two state news portals in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 27, 2010. The two major portals, namely www.gov.cn of the central government, and www.xinhuanet.com of Xinhua News Agency, jointly interviewed Premier Wen on Saturday with chosen questions raised by netizens. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) chats on-line with netizens at two state news
portals in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 27, 2010. The two major portals,
namely www.gov.cn of the central government, and www.xinhuanet.com of Xinhua
News Agency, jointly interviewed Premier Wen on Saturday with chosen questions
raised by netizens. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)

In the two-hour live webcast, Wen answered more than 20 questions, touching on the country's severe employment situation, fledgling economic recovery, soaring housing prices, inflation, corruption, and a cross-Strait economic pact.  

Wen did not touch much on major international issues, except trade conflicts with the United States. The Premier vowed the country would keep open to the outside world when mentioning the up-coming Shanghai World Expo.

In a white shirt and a dark jacket, Wen answered questions with "frankness and sincerity" as netizens described. Some scrupulous watchers even posted messages, saying that "He dressed exactly the same as in last year's online chat," which was also ahead of the country's annual Parliament session.

In his opening remark, Wen said, "I do not feel so nervous this time, but still cherish this opportunity, as such kind of opportunities remain limited."  

"The problems of public concern often keep me up night after night, searching for solutions," he said.

Noticing that both netizens' questions and premier's remarks focused on domestic issues in this high-profile event, observers said the phenomenon may exactly illustrate that China was still a developing country with numerous thorny issues of its own.

The chat seems to support the belief of Chinese leaders that the country's most pressing task is to address domestic issues, they said.

Wen did not talk too much about the widely concerned international affairs, such as climate change or the relations with neighboring countries.

Prof. Zheng Yongnian, director of East Asia Institute of National University of Singapore said, "it is reasonable that China is paying more attention to domestic issues, as China's handling of domestic issues, if properly, is itself a contribution to the international society.

"The adroit handling of domestic issues is the foundation for China to hold other responsibilities in the international society, " he added.