Premier Li meets the press

Updated: 2014-03-13 10:14

Premier Li meets the press

Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a press conference after the closing meeting of the second annual session of China's 12th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 13, 2014. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/]

Premier Li Keqiang met journalists from home and abroad at a press conference Thursday, shortly after the annual parliamentary session ended in Beijing.

Click here to watch highlights of Li's press conference

It is the second time Li has met the press at the Great Hall of the People since he assumed the premiership.

In a wide-ranging interview session, the premier voiced zero tolerance for corruption and vowed to deepen reform, address job creation, local debt and Sino-US ties. gives an updated report.

Build sound social security net

Premier Li Keqiang vowed to build a sound social security net for the public, including an integrated pension arrangement for rural and urban residents.

More than 800 million of China's populace are covered by different pension programs, Li said.

The government will gradually enhance the pension level and merge scattered pension arrangements to promote equal access to social welfare, he said. [Read more...]

China, EU trade disputes not a big picture

Standalone cases of trade friction between China and the European Union account for "only a small percentage" of the two-way trade, and the problems can be solved, Premier Li Keqiang told a press conference on Thursday after the annual National People's Congress concluded.

Li made the remarks in response to a question about how to remove stumbling blocks for Chinese companies to do business in Europe. [Read more...]

Fight against pollution

PM 2.5, particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers or less, has become a crucial issue for the public, and society needs to work together to win the tough battle against the issue, Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday.

This year China will cut its coal consumption by 22 million metric tons, Li told a press conference after the conclusion of the annual session of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature. [Read more...]

Property strategy meets local needs

A regulatory strategy for the property market, recognizing local conditions and aspects, will be implemented, Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday.

The government will ramp up building of publicly funded apartments, increasing the supply of residential properties and curb speculative purchases, Li pledged.

He stressed the importance of rebuilding urban rundown areas, describing harsh living conditions in these areas as "deeply distressing" for the government. [Read more...]

New progress in mainland-Taiwan ties

Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday called for new progress in relations between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

Li said people-to-people exchanges and business cooperation are important components of ties across the Taiwan Strait.

"I hope to see even greater, new progress in cross-Straits ties this year," Li said. [Read more...]

Reform drive smashes vested interests

Reform will be deepened and strengthened by smashing the fences of vested interests, Premier Li Keqiang vowed on Thursday.

"Some people's cheese might be removed," Li said, adding that the government will carry out comprehensive reforms.

The government will also deepen reform of State-owned Enterprises and open market access for private businesses so that there will be greater competition in the market, Li said. [Read more...]

Li looks to bolstering Sino-US ties

Shared interests between China and the US must be expanded, and differences properly managed, to bring relations to a new level, Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday.

China and the US have different histories, culture and are in a different stage of development, so it is only natural that both countries have some differences or friction during a time of growing cooperation, Li said.

As long as the two countries respect each other's core interests and major concerns, properly manage their differences and engage in equal consultation, and particularly continue to expand their common interests, they will be able to further raise the level of their relationship," he said. [Read more...]

Beijing continues to support Hong Kong

The Chinese central government will continue supporting Hong Kong to maintain and promote its status as an international center of finance, trade and shipment, Premier Li Keqiang told a press conference.

Li made the remarks to address the fears of some in Hong Kong that "Hong Kong's competitive edge is declining" as neighboring countries and regions develop rapidly.

"The central government's policy toward Hong Kong and Macao is consistent and clear-cut," Li said. [Read more...]

Focus on job creation

Premier Li Keqiang said employment was his primary concern when considering whether or not to roll out stimulus measures.

He was answering a media conference question on what he would consider the lowest acceptable growth rate.

The main consideration for setting the 7.5 percent GDP growth target this year was "to ensure employment, improve people's lives and increase urban and rural income," he said. [Read more...]

Relations between government and markets

Premier Li Keqiang vowed to let the market play a decisive role amid the government's efforts to streamline administrative procedures.

The number of newly registered businesses increased by 27.6 percent in 2013. Of these, private business registrations increased by 30 percent, the highest in more than a decade, Li said on Thursday during a media conference.

Streamlining administrative procedures became a government priority last year and the proper delegation of responsibility was a key part of the reform agenda. The central government abolished, or delegated to local governments, 416 approval procedures in 2013. [Read more...]

Li positive about Chinese economy

Premier Li Keqiang is positive about the Chinese economic growth potential this year and confident with the government's ability to deal with challenges ahead.

A Reuters reporter asked what were the biggest challenges to realize the 7.7 percent economic growth last year and what are the pressing issues for Li to solve now?

"The downward pressure for Chinese economic growth is the largest challenge last year," Li said. [Read more...]

Narrow disputes with neighbors

Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday pledged to enhance shared interests with China's neighboring countries and narrow disputes for the sake of peace and stability.

"When neighbors interact with each other, it's only natural that sometimes they will come across problems of one kind or another," Li said.

"But as long as they respect each other, properly manage their differences and pursue mutual benefits, there will be harmonious sounds, instead of annoying noise." [Read more...]

Zero tolerance of corruption

Premier Li Keqiang vowed on Thursday to make consistent efforts and have zero tolerance in the fight against corruption.

The government will release a list of activities that require government approval as soon as possible to set clear boundaries and ensure that power will not be abused, Li said.

This year, the government will continue to streamline administration and delegate public power, and will carry out comprehensive audits in areas that people are highly concerned about, including revenues on the transfer of land usage, Li said. [Read more...]

Oversight of shadow banking

China has set a timetable for improving oversight of the ballooning shadow banking sector and will implement Basel III requirements, Premier Li Keqiang said.

Asked whether he would like to see some individual cases of default, Li responded, "How could I possibly want to see that? What we should do is to step up monitoring, properly handle relevant matters and ensure there is no regional and systemic financial risk." [Read more...]

Local government debt 'under control'

The potential risks from China's local government debts cannot be overlooked, and China will open its "front doors" while blocking the "side doors" to tackle those risks, Premier Li Keqiang said.

He said China is going to take further regulatory measures to put those debts under budgetary management, and enhance the oversight of local government financial vehicles.

"We'll keep the front door open and block the side doors," he said, referring to the government plan to ensure local governments get finance through well-regulated channels. [Read more...]

China will not give up any hope of finding jet

China will not give up its efforts in searching for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane and urged other countries to help locate the plane as soon as possible, Premier Li Keqiang told the press conference.

China has launched comprehensive emergency response, sent 8 vessels, with one more on its way, to join the international search effort, and mobilized 10 satellites.

"China will not give up the search as long as there remains a glimmer of hope," Premier Li said. [Read more...]