Chinese leader sets priorities

At the grand opening of the 17th communist Party Congress in Beijing yesterday, President Hu Jintao called for more co-operation on resources and highlighted the prime goal of quadrupling China’s per capita gross domestic product by 2020.

He promised to:

  • Improve the exchange rate regime and to gradually make the yuan convertible.
  • Make the banking and insurance sectors more competitive.
  • Promote the development on individually-owned businesses and private companies.
  • Stress quality on the development of foreign trade.

Hu has set himself apart from his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, who sought growth at all costs by expressing his wish to attack income inequality and focus on sustainable environmental practice.

“We will increase transfer payments, intensify the regulation of incomes through taxation, break business monopolies, create equal opportunities, and overhaul income distribution practices with a view to gradually reversing the growing income disparity,” he said at the opening of the congress.

India’s national newspaper, The Hindi, reports that from 2002 to 2006, the per capita income of Chinese farmers has risen by an annual average of 6.2%. For the first time since 1985, the growth rate has exceeded 6% for three straight years. But the gap is widening.

The income of urban residents in 2006 was 3.28 times that of rural ones, up from 3.22 in 2005 and 3.21 in 2004. The Gini coefficient, an international measurement of income disparity, is estimated to have exceeded the danger level of 0.4. The country’s richest 10% of families possess more than 40% of the nation’s wealth, while the poorest 10% only have 2%.


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