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New way of thinking bodes well for future
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-05 23:57

The government work report Premier Wen Jiabao submitted to the National People's Congress Friday morning reassures us this country has the right people at the helm.

From an impressive list of feats from the new cabinet's first year in office to what is scheduled for this year, Premier Wen's report was in a sense a satisfying answer sheet to the most pressing needs of our time.

In spite of the new administration's recent appeal to avoid single-minded pursuit of gross domestic product growth (GDP), it fared exceptionally well in terms of the economy.The country saw a 9.1 per cent rise in GDP last year. Correspondingly, our per capita GDP surpassed US$1,000.

The economy's rapid recovery from the debilitating ordeal of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) was not the outcome of an automatic process.The policy adjustments at both macro and micro levels staged during and after the SARS onslaught offered proof that they were fine-tuned, and timely, to face the severe challenge.

Premier Wen and his comrades know the weight of economic indices. That is why "steady and relatively speedy'' economic growth remains priority No 1 for 2004 in Wen's report.

The ability to look beyond the account books has distinguished the current administration.It gives a purpose to economic pursuits -- betterment of public welfare.

The government report is permeated with appreciation of balance and concern for the underprivileged, which stand at the core of the government's latest proposal of a "new concept of development.''

Premier Wen promised in his report to reduce agricultural tax by at least 1 per cent a year, until it is cancelled five years from now. That alone will save farmers 7 billion yuan (US$847 million) this year.

He also vowed to eliminate illiteracy among young and middle-aged citizens by 2007, to eradicate default of wages for migrant workers in three years, to offer 14 million new jobs in 2004, and to complete an all-inclusive disease prevention and control network in three years.

Besides the standard formula of review and preview in all government work reports, the one Wen delivered Friday had a third part dedicated specifically to the government's own transformation.

Concise as it was, the third chapter speaks highly of the new-generation leaders' commitment to repositioning the government in light of changed and changing conditions.

It proposes to institutionalize consultation with experts, public hearing, and liability investigation for decision-makers in the formulation of government policies. It calls upon governments at all levels to follow procedures stipulated in law and act in the limits of law.

Most conspicuous of all is the report's acknowledgement that "the government will not slack off only if the people supervises it.''

In the long past, in official texts, it used to be taken for granted that the government did everything out of and for public interests.

The report stresses the legitimacy and necessity of public supervision over the government.

It represents a remarkable breakthrough in an ideological sense. Behind it is the government's resolve to subject itself to public scrutiny.

That will turn out to be the best precaution ever employed to stem corruption in its ranks.

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