Chinese Premeir Wen Jiabao pledged for environmental and equitable growth in the future for the Chinese Economy.
As the Australian reports:
Launching the annual session of the National People’s Congress, Mr Wen said future economic growth would hinge on “environmentally friendly industries”.
Projects would be assessed for “energy consumption and environmental impact”. Those that failed to meet such standards would be stopped. Mr Wen said China would close “backward” iron foundries with a production capacity of less than 30 million tonnes and “backward” steel mills that could produce 35million tonnes.
Mr Wen said “key energy-saving projects” would be introduced in industries including steel, other metals, coal, chemicals, building materials and construction.
Mr Wen also signalled the Government would control the scale of urban development and instead direct resources towards water conservation projects, energy production bases and trunk rail lines and highways.
The Guardian tackles the emphasis on Education and the rural poor:
`We must put people first, promote faster progress in social programs, work energetically to solve the most practical problems that are of greatest concern to the people … and ensure that all of the people share in the fruits of reform and development,” Wen said in a speech to China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress.
Tuition and other fees for all rural students will be eliminated, easing financial burdens on 150 million rural households, the premier said. The education program and an expansion of a subsidized rural health insurance system would complete in two years projects originally scheduled to be fazed in over five years.
“Education is the bedrock of China’s development, and fairness in education is an important form of social fairness,” Wen said in a 2 hour and 15 minute speech at the cavernous Great Hall of the People in central Beijing
In the countryside, where most Chinese live, spending on agriculture, schools, medical clinics and other programs will rise 15 percent to $51 billion, Wen announced.
With growing concern over China’s role in climate change and the increasing un-sustainable nature of its growth, the Chinese Premier’s speech comes at the right moment.
It remains to be seen what specific programs and policies will be announced and how it will be implemented.