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China's Parliament endorses major economic policy changes

    The National People's Congress, China's Parliament, endorsed Premier Wen Jiabao's work report and the country's 11th Five-Year Plan on Tuesday with votes close to unanimity, which enshrined the country's new economic policies of relying on rural development and sci-tech progress.

    The government work report and the Five-Year Plan projected an eight percent growth rate for 2006, and 7.5 percent for the five years by 2010 on the basis of reduced energy consumption and pollutant discharge.

    Premier Wen's report was approved with a supporting rate of 98.86 percent, and the Outline of the Five-Year Plan for Economic andSocial Development passed with supportive votes of more than 97 percent among 2,891 deputies presenting at the closing meeting of the Tenth NPC's fourth session.

    "The final validation of the Government's action plan for the next five years by the Parliament signifies China's major shift of economic policies from urban development and heavy investment in billion-dollar projects to boosting rural and sci-tech investment for sustainable development," said Li Chong'an, an NPC deputy and vice-chairman of the NPC Law Committee.

    In the past five years, China maintained an average 9.5-percentannual economic growth. In 2005, economic growth rate mounted to 9.9 percent and per capita GDP exceeded 1,700 U.S. dollars.

    It also shows that while putting more emphasis on economic efficiency, China will also stress social equity by narrowing the gap between the rich and poor "for the ultimate goal of easing social confrontations and maintaining social stability," said Dr. Ding Yuanzhu with the Macro-Economic Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission.

    On Tuesday, the Parliament also ratified the plan for economic and social development in 2006, central budget for 2006, as well as the work reports of the NPC Standing Committee, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate to the Tenth NPC's fourth session.

Xinhuanet