Hu calls for efforts to rein in economic boom
Updated: 2006-07-25 09:16
President Hu Jintao called Monday for more efforts to control sizzling
economic growth and spread the benefits of China's boom to the poor, state media
Hu's public appeal reflected mounting official urgency about the twin
challenges of managing China's surging growth and assuaging public anger at a
growing gap between rich and poor.
The president called for faster reforms and more
effective economic controls at a meeting of Communist Party leaders and prominent
figures outside the party, the Xinhua News Agency and state television said.
In keeping with those concerns, the leadership announced that its annual
Central Committee meeting will take place in October and focus on spreading
wealth to the millions left behind by reforms that have enriched an urban elite.
Hu rarely speaks out on economic issues, so his comments underscore the
leadership's dilemma about the galloping economy. They want the economy to grow
fast enough to help reduce poverty while reining in a boom in construction and
bank lending that they worry could spin out of control, setting off inflation
and financial problems.
The government must "control the scale of investment" in the second half of
this year, Hu said, after economic growth soared to 11.3 percent in the second
quarter, its highest rate in a decade.
Hu didn't mention any new initiatives. The government
has already tightened lending rules for banks and barred building of villas and
other luxury projects outright. Despite that, the number of new construction
projects soared by 22.2 percent in the first half. Economists expect Beijing to
raise interest rates for a second time this year.