China eyes narrowing rural-urban wealth gap
Updated: 2006-03-02 19:44
The annual parliamentary sessions open on Sunday with the government
expecting to push through steps it hopes will narrow the wealth and development
gap between its cities and vast countryside.
Taiwan, will also spring into the spotlight after its leader, Chen Shui-bian,
scrapped a council on unification with the mainland, prompting a strong rebuke.
The National People's Congress (NPC) session will also discuss over the aim
to build a "new socialist countryside" .
China is worried that gaps in income, health care and schooling between rich
urban dwellers and the three-quarters of its 1.3 billion people who live in the
countryside could lead to the social instability.
The government is to unveil and formalise a raft of measures to better
protect the interests of farmers boost spending on rural health care and
According to an Internet survey by the People's Daily Web site
(www.people.com.cn), narrowing the wealth gap and cracking down on corruption
were two of the most important topics people were paying attention to at this
China aims to raise spending on education from 2.7 percent to 4 percent of
GDP as the world's most populous nation focuses on improving rural schooling to
stem a gap with rich coastal areas.
China has nine years of compulsory education.
CONDEMN TAIWAN'S CHEN
How the NPC responds to Chen's scrapping of the "National
Unification Council" and 15-year-old unification guidelines will be another focus
The top legislature passed an Anti-Secession Law last year, aiming
to prevent the island formally declaring statehood.
The mainland's most urgent task is to prevent Chen
pushing for de jure independence through "constitutional" amendments, the
Communist Party's Office for Taiwan Affairs and the cabinet's Taiwan Affairs
Office said this week in a joint statement.