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Premier Li Keqiang Meets the Press: Full Transcript of Questions and Answers

China Daily | Updated: 2020-05-30 09:31
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Premier Li Keqiang meets the press after the closing of the third session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 28, 2020. Premier Li took questions from Chinese and foreign reporters via video link. [Photo/Xinhua]

People's Daily: This year, China plans to win its battle against poverty. But because of COVID-19, many families have seen a decline in their household income. And some are even at the risk of falling back into poverty. So are we able to fulfill the task of winning the battle against poverty this year? And what will the government do to meet people's essential needs?

Premier Li: Our country is a developing country with a big population. The per capita annual disposable income in China is 30,000 RMB yuan. But there are still some 600 million people earning a medium or low income, or even less. Their monthly income is barely 1,000 RMB yuan. It's not even enough to rent a room in a medium Chinese city. And because of COVID-19, many families have encountered difficulties. So it is a very high priority on the government's work agenda to meet the essential needs of vulnerable groups and those families who have encountered new difficulties because of COVID-19. This is a very important part of the government's work agenda. And a fairly big part of our support policies are designed for this very purpose.

This year, we are determined to end poverty as scheduled. This is a serious commitment made by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core to the whole of Chinese society. Before COVID-19 struck, there were some 5 million people living below the poverty line. But because of the disease, some may have fallen back into poverty. Hence we now face a greater task in meeting our goal. But with our multi-pronged policies and measures to ensure the essential needs of our people, we have the confidence to win the battle against poverty this year.

Governments at all levels must always put people's interests first and bear in mind the hardships of the Chinese people. In introducing each and every policy, we must make sure that it contributes to the well-being of all families and to the better lives of our people. In responding to COVID-19 this year, we must make thoughtful and meticulous plans to ensure the basic needs of all vulnerable groups. In this respect, we have decided to expand the coverage of subsistence allowance and unemployment benefits. Some 60 million people in China still live on subsistence allowance or receive unemployment benefits, penury assistance, or other relief or support. This year, we are expected to see a big increase in the number of recipients. We have sufficient funds to support these vulnerable groups. We must use the money wisely to ensure that every cent will be well spent. Some 300 million senior Chinese citizens live on old-age pension. We decided to raise the pensions for these retirees this year. We must fully deliver all our commitments.

Actions count, and actions always speak louder than words. We have sufficient balance in our social security fund to ensure that pension benefits will be paid on time and in full, and there should be no loopholes in the operation of the fund. This way, we will be able to give our people more hope about their future. More importantly, the Chinese have a tradition of respecting and taking good care of the elderly. We must ensure that all the benefits and support will be duly provided. This will reassure our people and also help us promote China's economic development. As the saying goes, the people is the foundation of a state. When the foundation is strong, the state will be secure. So we must fully deliver on all those policies and measures. And that will make our people more hopeful about their future.

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