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Planning up to date despite NPC delay

By CAO YIN | China Daily | Updated: 2020-05-18 08:45
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The compilation and review of the central government's annual economic and social development plan has continued, despite the postponement of this year's full session of the National People's Congress, China's most important political event, according to an official of the top legislature.

In response to concerns over whether the planning had been affected by the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, Li Mingzhi, of the NPC Financial and Economic Committee, said on Saturday, "The third plenary session of the 13th NPC was delayed due to the epidemic, but the plan-related work hasn't stopped and has been steadily conducted in an orderly manner."

The report and the draft of the economic and social development plan for 2020, as well as the budget report and draft, will be submitted to this year's NPC full session for review, Li said.

The session customarily opens in early March, but it is now scheduled to start in Beijing on Friday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Li said the documents have been revised since February, in line with China's work on coordinating epidemic control and economic and social development, with an eye on the domestic and overseas situations the country faces, especially the pandemic.

"The main targets, policy direction and key tasks and measures for economic and social development in 2020 have been adjusted, with corresponding adjustments made to the budget arrangements," he said. "They're fact-based and fully respect the economic and social development rules."

After being approved at the upcoming NPC plenary session, the documents will support China's efforts to secure a decisive victory in eradicating poverty and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, he said.

Because of the pandemic and to ensure public health security, some arrangements for the session have been adjusted.

On Friday, Zhang Yesui, chairman of the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee, told Xinhua News Agency that the duration of the session will be appropriately shortened, adding that the agenda and schedule will need to be approved at meetings before the session.

Some Chinese and foreign journalists in Beijing will be invited to cover the session, but journalists who are overseas will not be invited to Beijing for reporting, he said.

"News conferences, briefings and other interview activities will be appropriately streamlined and conducted in innovative forms, such as by video link," he said.

The session's news center has received applications from more than 3,000 Chinese and foreign reporters to cover the event, he said and expressed his gratitude for the journalists' attention to China's economic and social development and the legislative work.

"Foreign envoys will be invited to observe the session's plenary meetings, and some of the Chinese and foreign journalists in Beijing will also be invited to cover the meetings in the Great Hall of the People," he said.

Unlike in past years, no opening day activities or other group interviews will be held by delegations this year, "but spokespersons will be appointed by delegations, and media liaison officers will assist journalists' interviews," he said. "Studios will be set up at the hotels where the delegations stay in order to encourage NPC deputies to talk to media and as a convenience for them to grant interviews."

Information and main documents in Chinese and foreign languages will be posted on the website of the news center in a timely manner, "and the session is committed to being open and transparent to provide services to Chinese and foreign journalists for news reporting," he said.

Xinhua contributed to this story.


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