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Premier Wen Jiabao Meets Press
China to unswervingly push forward reform, opening-up

China must unswervingly push forward its reform and opening-up drive and follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday.

"We need to consistently and unswervingly press ahead with reform and opening-up, and we need to continue to adhere to the road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics," the premier said while meeting with the press in the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

"Although in our way ahead there will be difficulties, we must not stop... Backpedaling offers no way out," said Wen.

The premier's meeting with the press is a routine event staged every year right after the conclusion of the annual full session of the Chinese legislature, the National People's Congress.

In his opening remarks, Wen thanked the general public of the country for their expectations on and encouragement for his government.

He mentioned that several hundred thousand questions had been raised to him in an online survey jointly launched by the country's leading websites, including xinhuanet.com, people.com.cn, cctv.com, sohu.com and sina.com.cn, in the run-up to the Tuesday press conference.

"Our country and Chinese nation now stand at a new historical point of development. Faced with new tasks, we must be more sober-minded, more steadfast and work even harder," Wen said.

China has just taken its first step on the road of modernization, and there is still a long way ahead full of arduous tasks, he noted.

"We need to remain cautious despite the comparatively good situation at present," he added.

Mainland keeps close watch over situation in Taiwan

The Chinese mainland is keeping close watch over the situation in Taiwan and making preparations to cope with any possible consequences from the change of the situation, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao here Tuesday.

"We will never give up our efforts for peaceful reunification, we will never sway in opposing 'Taiwan independence' secessionist activities, and never allow anyone to secede Taiwan from the motherland," the premier said.

Wen made the remarks at a press conference held in the Great Hall of People in downtown Beijing after the Fourth Annual Session of the Tenth National People's Congress (NPC) ended.

It is an overt defiance to the one-China principle for the Taiwan authorities to decide the cease of function of the "National Unification Council" and the cease of the application of the council's guidelines on unifying with the mainland, said Wen while answering a question raised by a reporter from Taiwan.

As an ancient Chinese saying goes, the leader of Taiwan authorities will "find little support" for his unjust cause, and his move was a hazardous, dangerous and deceitful step, Wen said.

The leader of Taiwan authorities "has forgotten his root" and attempted to cut the links of Chinese compatriots on both sides ofthe Taiwan Straits, the premier said.

"He ran counter to the trends of peace, stability and mutual benefit between Taiwan and the mainland, and also went against the wishes of the whole of the Chinese people including Taiwan compatriots," Wen said.

The Taiwan leader undermined the interests of Taiwan compatriots and "did no good" to Taiwan's economic development by obstructing the "three direct links" and restricting the trade between Taiwan and the mainland, Wen said.

Despite the provocative activities of the leadership of Taiwan authorities, the Chinese mainland is willing and ready to hold consultations and negotiations with any individuals or political parties in Taiwan, including the Democratic Progressive Party, on an equal footing on the basis of the one-China principle, Wen pledged.

"The negotiations will be held on an equal footing, and there is no question as one side will swallow up the other one," Wen said while answering a Taiwan reporter's question at the press conference.

"No matter what party affiliations they may have, no matter who they are, what they said or did in the past, so long as they are committed to the one-China principle, we are ready to have dialogues and negotiations with them, even including those people from the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan," Wen said.

The mainland is willing and ready to make positive responses to their move and have contact and negotiations with them, as long as the parties give up the stand of "Taiwan independence", he said.

The mainland's commitment to the one-China principle has been consistent and explicit, said Wen, reiterating that there is only one China in the world and both sides across the Taiwan Straits belong to one and the same China.

"China's state sovereignty and territorial integrity allows no division," Wen stressed.

Mainland ready for cross-Straits talks under one-China principle, on equal footing

The Chinese mainland is willing and ready to hold consultations and negotiations with any individuals or political parties in Taiwan, including the Democratic Progressive Party, on an equal footing on the basis of the one-China principle, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday.

"The negotiations will be held on an equal footing, and there is no question as one side will swallow up the other one," Wen said while answering a Taiwan reporter's question at the press conference held in the Great Hall of People in downtown Beijing after the conclusion of the annual session of China's national legislature.

"No matter what party affiliations they may have, no matter who they are, what they said or did in the past, so long as they are committed to the one-China principle, we are ready to have dialogues and negotiations with them, even including those people from the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan," Wen said.

The mainland is willing and ready to make positive responses to their move and have contact and negotiations with them, as long as the parties give up the stand of "Taiwan independence", he said.

Wen pledged that the mainland will never give up its efforts for peaceful reunification of the motherland, and will never sway in opposing the "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities. "We will never allow Taiwan to be separated from the motherland."

The mainland's commitment to the one-China principle has been consistent and explicit, said Wen, reiterating that there is only one China in the world and both sides across the Taiwan Straits belong to one and the same China.

"China's state sovereignty and territorial integrity allows no division," Wen stressed.

China to give harsh punishment to illicit land seizure

China will mete out harsh punishment to those who illicitly seize land from the farmers, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao here Tuesday.

Wen made the remarks at a press conference rightly after the annual session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) was closed.

"The core issue concerning Chinese farmers is the land issue, "he said. "We must give adequate and due compensation to farmers whose land are seized. The land transfer revenue should mainly be paid to farmers."

Wen said China must adopt the strictest arable-land protection system and must protect farmers' right to independent farming on their contracted land.

China's reforms started from the countryside and the most important policy adopted is the introduction of household responsibility system. According to the system, the land belongs to the collective entity in the villages, while the right to production and farming belong to farmers.

Wen said the system is a major feature as well as a major advantage in Chinese countryside. China will guarantee the long-term right to independent farming for the farmers. "This guarantee will remain unchanged for fifteen years, for thirty years, or even forever."

Premier stresses building new socialist countryside

Chinese Premier stressed the importance of building new socialist countryside here on Tuesday.

"The issues concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers are fundamental ones that have bearings on the overall China's modernization drive," Wen said while meeting the press following the concluding meeting of the 4th Session of the Tenth National People's Congress (NPC)

Building the new socialist countryside refers to putting agriculture and rural areas "more prominently on the agenda of China's modernization drive, " Wen said.

Apart from completely rescinding agricultural taxes, China plans to earmark 339.7 billion yuan (about 43 billion U.S. dollars)for agriculture, rural areas and farmers in 2006, 42.2 billion yuan more than last year, according to Wen's work report at this year's NPC session.

Wen said China need to implement a policy of getting industry to support agriculture and cities to support the countryside, strengthen support for agriculture, rural areas and farmers.

"This is a major fundamental step to be taken in the overall modernization drive," Wen said.

Building the new socialist countryside should focus on developing modern agriculture and improving the comprehensive agriculture capacity.

In building new socialist countryside, democratic rights of the farmers should be safeguarded, especially their rights on land contracting and management, Wen said.

Wen also called for delivering "tangible interest to the farmers" and targeting "practical results rather than formalism."

Premier Wen's press conference was telecast live in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday morning.

Premier vows never to back away in resolving problems concerning public interest

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday that the issues worry him most are overly expensive medical and education services, high housing prices and safety problems during his first three years as premier.

He attributed all achievements to the efforts of the people. "Our government is a government of the people. I, as a Chinese, is the son of the people," Wen said at a press conference shortly after the annual session of China's parliament was closed.

"What touches me most is the popular support of the people, which is generated not only by public encouragement, but also critical public opinion. The support has always been rendered with warmth in a consistent manner," the premier said.

While saying he was most distressed by no better solutions for the problems concerning public interest, he vowed to take the problems and difficulties head on and never back away.

"Failure is never the option," he stressed.

Sino-Japanese ties hard to develop if shrine issue not resolved

It will be very difficult for the Sino-Japanese relations to make progress if the issue of Japanese leaders' visits to a shrine worshipping war criminals cannot be well resolved, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here on Tuesday.

It is not China nor the Japanese people, but the leaders of Japan, to blame for the souring Sino-Japanese ties, Wen said at a press conference following the concluding meeting of the 4th Session of the Tenth National People's Congress (NPC).

The premier stressed that the China-Japan relations could "hardly develop in a smooth manner "if the issue of Japanese leaders' visits to Yasukuni Shrine worshipping class-A WWII war criminals can not be well resolved.

It is China's unswerving effort to develop Sino-Japanese friendly relations from generation to generation, Wen said.

The development of the Sino-Japanese relations should follow the spirit and principle of "taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future" and the three political documents signed by the two countries.

Wen called for the two countries to continue strategic dialogue between the governments so as to remove obstacles affecting the bilateral relations.

"We should also strengthen people-to-people exchanges and enhance mutual understanding and trust," Wen said.

Wen also urged to stabilize and develop Sino-Japanese trade and economic ties, in a bid to expand "mutual beneficial cooperation for win-win results."

Premier Wen's press conference was telecast live in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday morning.

China pursues self-defense policy

China pursues a national defense policy of self-defense, and its limited increase of military expenditure is mainly used to improve the living conditions of officers and soldiers and improve self-defense capability, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao here Tuesday.

The country's defense policy is transparent, said Wen, adding that China has never dispatched even one soldier abroad except its peacekeepers, and has not occupied one inch of foreign land.

Wen made the remarks while meeting with the press following the conclusion of the annual full session of the Chinese legislature, the Tenth National People's Congress.

The Chinese premier said China sticks to a road of peaceful development, which primarily results from China's traditional culture, development needs and national interests, emphasizing that China is already "a responsible country" of the international community.

Wen added that through reform and development, China has successfully solved the problem of feeding 1.3 billion people and lifting 200 million out of poverty.

After years of efforts, China has found a more scientific development road, which stresses the resources conservation and environmental protection, he said.

China firmly carries out an independent foreign policy of peace, and is willing to develop good-neighborly relationships with surrounding countries, he said.

China has taken part in over 100 international organizations and signed nearly 300 international treaties, and is ready to work shoulder by shoulder with the international community for the establishment of a new international political and economic order.

The premier said China is a country that firmly safeguard world peace, and resolutely oppose terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

After China's entry in the World Trade Organization, the country has faithfully fulfilled its commitments, the premier said.

Despite the fact that China is still a developing country, it has played an active role in implementing the millennium goal of the United Nations, said the premier, adding that China has reduced 20 billion RMB yuan of debts for 44 underdeveloped nations, and in the forthcoming three years, China is scheduled to provide 10 billion U.S. dollars of favorable loans for world's underdeveloped countries.

Economic development conducive to HK's democratic construction

The improvement in Hong Kong's economy and people's living standards is conducive to promoting the democratic and political system according to the Basic Law of the special administrative region, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday.

Nearly nine years after Hong Kong returned to the motherland, the capitalist system and legal system have remained unchanged in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong compatriots enjoy due guarantee of their freedom and rights, Wen said at a press conference held shortly after the end of the annual session of China's top legislature.

Wen called Hong Kong one of the freest and most open economies in the world with a "fully-fledged" legal system, "very favorable"business environment, and extensive connections with the world market, and a large number of professionals who are very familiar with the international economy.

He stressed these assets of Hong Kong are not only favorable factors contributing to Hong Kong's development, they also have played an "important and irreplaceable" role in boosting the development of the mainland.

"I believe that with the implementation of the mainland's next five-year economic and social development plan for 2006-2010, the role of these favorable factors will be brought into full play," the premier said.

China's management of Internet conforms to int'l practice

The Chinese government supports the development of Internet and the management of the Internet conforms to international common practice, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao here Tuesday.

Being the people's government, it should subject to the democratic supervision from the masses, and listen to the various opinions on the Internet, said Wen.

He noted that the Internet is developing rapidly in China. Up to now, the number of netizens has exceeded 100 million. The Chinese government supports the development and wide application of the Internet.

The premier made the remarks at a press conference shortly after the closing of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

Only when supervised by people, will the government not be slack in its work; only when every one bears his/her responsibility, will every cause of the country develop smoothly, Wen said.

China's Constitution stipulates that every citizen has the right and freedom of using the Internet, at the same time every citizen should consciously abide by the laws and regulations and safeguard national and social interests, the premier said.

China's management of the Internet is strictly based on law. Inthe meantime, China calls for self-discipline and self-management of the Internet industry, Wen said.

"Websites should convey correct information, rather than mislead people and bring negative impact on the social order," he added.

Mainland to open 5 more cities to HK for individual traveling

Chinese mainland will open five more cities to individual travel program to Hong Kong starting this May, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced here Tuesday.

At a press conference held shortly after the annual session of China's parliament was closed, the premier said 38 mainland cities have already joined the scheme.

The mainland has forged a closer economic partnership with Hong Kong over the past few years, he said, adding that some infrastructural facilities linking Hong Kong and the mainland are under construction of some others is being stepped up.

Noting that Hong Kong has become the fourth largest trade partner of the mainland, the mainland has so far opened 27 service and trade sectors to Hong Kong covering finance, accounting and legal affairs in a bid to give more convenient market access to Hong Kong companies, the premier said.

State must take dominant share in reform of state-owned banks

The reform of China's state-owned commercial banks must ensure that the state takes a dominant share to control the economic lifeline and guard against financial risks, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao here on Tuesday.

The state should also strengthen management of the banks in the whole reform process and improve their internal control mechanism and supervision system to prevent the erosion of state-owned assets, Wen said at a press conference at the end of the national legislature's annual session.

"The goal of reforming the state-owned commercial banks is to establish a modern commercial banking system," the premier reiterated, adding that the sharing-holding system is an effective way in realizing public ownership.

He said the adoption of the share-holding system is to improve the corporate governance structure, to learn and draw upon the advanced managerial expertise, so as to improve the management and efficiency of state-owned commercial banks.

Noting China has scored "some achievements" in the reform of state-owned commercial banks, the premier said, "we will continue the reform and come up with the experience to prevent losses, particularly major losses."

Premier stresses role of trade unions in work safety supervision

Trade unions should and can play their role in work safety supervision, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday.

Trade unions at all levels should bring their role into full play "especially in work safety supervision" to better safeguard workers' interest, the premier said.

Wen made the remarks at a press conference following the conclusion of the annual session of the National People's Congress(NPC), China's top legislature.

Referring to a series of serious work safety accidents in the country, Wen said it is imperative to strengthen work safety training on workers.

"We shall promote their awareness of safety and strengthen their ability of self-protection," the premier said.

"Trade unions in China are workers' own organizations, and they are not set up by employers," Wen told the press conference when answering a question raised by a French reporter about the "independence" of China's trade unions.

No more unexpected changes of RMB exchange rates

China will introduce no more unexpected changes in reforming the exchange rate of its currency, the RMB yuan, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced here on Tuesday.

"There will be no more surprise," said Wen at a press conference in the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing, atthe end of the national legislature's annual session.

Such practice as making the RMB exchange rate fluctuate upward or downward by administrative means once and for all will no longer exist, said the premier.

While meeting the press on the same occasion last year, the premier said that China would take unexpected moves regarding the RMB exchange rate.

In July, the country announced it had abandoned its longtime practice of pegging the RMB to the U.S. dollar, and the RMB yuan has since appreciated against the dollar by a margin of nearly 3 percent.

Wen said efforts will be continued to further improve the RMB exchange rate system, expand the capacity of its foreign currency market and enhance the flexibility of the RMB exchange rate.

"Based on the current RMB exchange rate system, there is room for the RMB exchange rate to fluctuate on its own. Such practice as making the RMB exchange rate go up or down by administrative means once and for all will no longer exist. There will be no more surprise," he said.

Some local govts infringe on people's legal rights

Some local governments have infringed upon the legitimate rights and interests of the people, and social conflicts have subsequently occurred, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday.

The premier noted that more problems and conflicts have appeared in the process of land requisition by the government, the demolition of old houses and relevant resettlement, and corporate restructuring in recent years when China has experienced fast economic growth.

The premier called on governments and institutions at all levels to properly deal with such conflicts and protect the legal rights and interests of the people.

In addition, education should be reinforced to guide the peopleto express their requests through legal channels and lawful means, Wen said.

The premier reaffirmed that every citizen of China enjoys the freedom of speech and publication, and that such a right must be realized in line with the law.

Wen made the remarks while meeting with the press following the closing of the annual session of the National People's Congress, China's parliament.

Focus of education must be oriented toward general public

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday that China will try to have the educational cause be targeted at the general public and ensure everyone the opportunity to receive education.

"Education is the footstone of a modernized country and a country's development depends at last on improving the competence of the public," the premier said at a press conference held after the annual session of the Tenth China's National People's Congress was closed.

The competence of the ordinary people has a direct bearing on the competence of the general public in a country as most people in the world belong to common class, he said.

China, with a 1.3 billion population and 900 million of them in the countryside, has a higher proportion of ordinary people. "The reason why we prioritize compulsory and occupational education is that we will make our education orientated toward the common people and have everyone receive education," said the premier

China has set up a structure to consolidate and popularize compulsory education, highly develop occupational education and improve higher education, he said, adding that the government will try to achieve further results in the three areas.

Strong China-India relations to usher

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday highly valued relations between China and India, saying strong bilateral ties will usher in a true Asian century.

It is when China and India are really strong enough and fully bring out their vitality that it will "usher in a new true Asian century," Wen said at a press conference shortly after the end of national legislature's annual session.

We recalled his successful visit to India last year, and said the two countries reached a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity, signed a political principle guiding the settlement of the border issue and worked out a five-year plan for China-India trade and economic development.

This year marks the year of friendship between China and India,Wen said, adding, "cultural exchanges will be high on the agenda."

"Now China-India relations have entered a new historical stage," he said, hoping the China-India "fraternal friendship will become vibrant and strong" and remain in the hearts of the two oriental states.

The press conference was telecast live in the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

Environmental pollution major problem in development

Environmental pollution has become a major problem in China's current development and it has not been addressed well, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday.

China finished most of the targets for the Tenth Five-Year Planperiod (2000-2005), but the targets for environment were not done well, Wen said at a press conference shortly after the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC).

China should not follow the old path of pollution first and then treatment, the premier said. "We should leave green mountains and clear water to our offspring."

"First, we should not only focus our eyes on economic growth, instead we should pay attention to energy conservation and environmental protection," Wen said, noting that in the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010), energy consumption in terms of per capita GDP growth should go down 20 percent, and pollutant emission should decrease 10 percent.

Secondly, China will implement a strict industrial policy. Those enterprises and infrastructure projects which cause environmental pollution and resources waste should be prohibited, the premier said.

Thirdly, China will carry out special programs to treat environmental pollution, especially the step-by-step treatment of water, air and land pollution.

In addition, the government will toughen law-enforcement and protect the environment in line with the law. Enterprises which consume huge energy and cause high pollution will be shut down, and the enterprises and individuals which bring heavy pollution and losses to the society will be punished, Wen said.

Chinese premier calls for proper handling of social conflicts in new era

Governments at all levels must learn to properly deal with problems and conflicts looming up in the new era of economic and social development, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao here Tuesday.

Some local governments have infringed upon the legitimate rights and interests of the people, and social conflicts have subsequently occurred amid the rapid economic growth in China, Wen told a press conference shortly after the closing of the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC).

The premier noted that more problems and conflicts have appeared in the process of land requisition by the government, the demolition of old houses and relevant resettlement, and corporate restructuring in recent years.

Government organs must handle the conflicts in a legitimate way and protect the legal rights and interests of the people, while education should be reinforced to guide the people to express their requests through legal channels and lawful means, Wen urged.

Referring to a series of fatal work safety accidents in the country, the premier called on trade unions at all levels to play their due role in production safety supervision to better safeguard workers' interests.

Wen said it is imperative to strengthen work safety training on workers to "promote their awareness of safety and strengthen their ability of self-protection."

In response to the question of a French reporter about the "independence" of China's trade unions, Wen noted that Chinese trade unions are workers' own organizations, and they are not set up by employers.

The premier reaffirmed that every citizen of China enjoys the freedom of speech, publication, and using the Internet, and that such a right must be realized in line with the law to safeguard national and social interests.

He stressed that the Chinese government supports the development of Internet and its extensive application, and the management of the Internet conforms to international common practice.

Being the people's government, it should subject to the democratic supervision from the masses, and listen to the various opinions on the Internet, said Wen, adding that only when supervised by people will the government not be slack in its work; only when every one bears his/her responsibility will every cause of the country develop smoothly.

China's management of the Internet is strictly based on law. In the meantime, China calls for self-discipline and self-management of the Internet industry, Wen said.

"Websites should convey correct information, rather than mislead people and bring negative impact on the social order," he added.

What is most harrowing is that the government did not do an excellent job over the past three years in solving the problems of health care, education, residential buildings and safety that are of great concern among the people, the premier noted.

"All our achievements should be attributed to the people, and what touched me most is the zealous and consistent support, either encouragement or criticism, that the people have rendered to the government," Wen said.

"China's premiers have been sharing the notion of never surrendering to difficulties," Wen pledged, with a connotation that he and his government will work even harder facing great challenges.

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