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Pride in decade's feats

China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-06 07:08

Premier Wen Jiabao handed in a proud scoresheet on Wednesday in his Government Work Report, which made a graceful finale to his Cabinet's term of office and to his duet with President Hu Jintao at the helm of the nation.

Although not all of our pressing needs and wants have been met at their hands, and not all of people's most outstanding concerns have been addressed during their tenure, that in no way diminishes the collective Chinese pride in what the country has achieved over the past decade.

As they bid farewell to the center stage of national politics, Wen and Hu have left behind a list of feats that have changed the country's development orientations forever.

The rise in national strength is beyond doubt. We are the world's second-largest economy and the world's largest exporter. We are catching up rapidly in space technology and have developed an independent navigation satellite system and high-speed railways, as well as made advancements in many other crucial sectors.

Such achievements appear even more pride-worthy given the gloomy global economic landscape that emerged with the financial crisis of 2008. That our economy grew at an average 9.3 percent over the past five years speaks volumes about their competence and dexterity.

And people gained real benefits, such as the abolition of the agricultural tax, the waiving of tuition fees for nine-year compulsory education and the inclusion of rural residents into the national social security system.

However, the most far-reaching changes during the Hu-Wen era came from the breakthroughs in governance philosophies.

From the "people first" concept to the Scientific Outlook on Development, and to such proposals as a "harmonious society" and "inclusive growth", Hu and Wen woke the nation from single-minded pursuit of GDP growth. Obligating the State to protect human rights and property rights in Constitutional amendments were milestones in Chinese jurisprudence.

Hu's and Wen's fine scores are in a large part attributable to their emphasis on balance, which reoriented the country's development strategies and is set to yield greater benefits to the nation's future well-being.

But as Wen highlighted, there are tough challenges ahead. Among which are the systematic blockades to further reforms that need to be overcome, inadequate definition of government functions and a "conspicuous increase" in social conflicts.

Party leader Xi Jinping has displayed respectable political will to maneuver changes. He and his colleagues have already inspired high hopes they will follow through on the unfinished tasks.

(China Daily 03/06/2013 page9)

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