NPC & CPPCC > From Foreign Press

Advisory body to address economy, stimulus

Updated: 2009-03-03 13:51

Economic troubles, including creating jobs and ensuring a massive stimulus package is properly used, are the main concerns for China's the main legislative advisory body meeting this week, the group's spokesman said Monday.

The annual meeting of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which opens Tuesday, and the session of the National People's Congress (NPC), which begins Thursday, are the first for China since the worldwide financial meltdown started last year.

Both are widely expected to yield further measures to stimulate the economy.

"The economy is now the issue the CPPCC members are most interested in," said Zhao Qizheng, spokesman for the conference. Most of the group's more than 2,200 members are political figures, celebrities and scholars.

"The advisers all believe that if China wants to remain well placed in the face of a severe economic crisis, it has to do everything to ensure steady and relatively fast economic growth," Zhao said.

Although China is one of the few major economies still growing, growth fell to a seven-year low of 6.8 percent in the final quarter of 2008 compared with the same period a year earlier. The slip has hit export industries hard, causing 20 million migrant workers to lose their jobs in recent months.

China announced a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus plan in November aimed at boosting domestic consumption to help cushion the impact of the global slowdown, though the effects of massive spending will take time to show.

Zhao said the body's members suggested that the use of the funds must be "reasonable" and efforts must be made to prevent overlaps in projects. Zhao said the members were also worried about difficulties in expanding domestic consumption in a country where many remain frugal, concerned about saving for health care and retirement.

Zhao said China should still meet its goal of 8 percent economic growth this year.

An editorial of the People's Daily has called on China's top political advisory body to made due contributions to help the country weather through difficulties.