Foreign media focus on five topics of NPC, CPPCC sessions

Recently many foreign media carried news reports or editorials on China's ongoing NPC and CPPCC sessions. These reports covered a wide range of hot issues but most of them are focused on the five most crucial questions - problems facing agriculture, rural areas and farmers (or "the three farm-related aspects"); economy, Constitution amendment, diplomacy and anti-corruption.

Rural problems - lowered tax promised to boost rural economy
American mainstream newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press (AP) all zoomed in on China's problems stressing on agriculture, rural areas and farmers. They say the three farm-related aspects occupied a large part in Premier Wen's government work report, speaking highly of the premier's remarks with regard to these problems.

In an article entitled "China's new priorities: farmer and land", AP said that after an effort of more than two decades to boost urban prosperity, China's leadership defined on Friday that they would shift their attention and resources onto tens of thousands Chinese citizens toiling on the soil.

An article of the New York Times reads "Chinese leaders urge to shift development focus to rural areas" and a Wall Street Journal article entitled "China begins to show concern for disadvantaged groups in economic development". American media believes that Premier Wen's full attention to rural problems reflects a "human-orientated" social development concept.

However, British media laid their focuses on the phase-out of agricultural tax within five years. In a report entitled "Chinese Premier promises tax-cutting to boost rural economy", the Financial Times said Premier Wen declared the country will lower its agricultural tax by over one percentage point each year and get rid of it within five years. The measure indicates the Chinese government's pursuit to distribute the wealth in a more even way, which, if implemented, would greatly push forward the nation¡¯s rural economy.

Japan's Tokyo Shimbun reported that the three farm-related aspects prove to be a focus of the NPC session this year. The government will not only ease the tax burden on farmers but will also work out a subsidy policy for them.

French paper Le Figaro said that China now is in urgent need to "mend cracks in society" and must pay attention to the problem of farmer's low-income growth. The report also said the Chinese government is to make great efforts in this regard, such as to increase 20 percent fund for improving rural infrastructure and cracking down on abuse of land proprietary rights.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said in a report entitled "Chinese government promises increase of farmer's income" that the Chinese government promised at the NPC meeting to solve the widening urban-rural gap. One of its goals this year is to increase its 900 million farmers¡¯ income by five percent.

Thailand-based Asia New Time carried an editorial entitled "Being human-oriented and responsible for people" on March 6, saying that the "three farm-related aspects" is on top of the eight major tasks for this year put forward in the government work report. This is a piece of news very inspiring as well as a hope for a further development of China¡¯s farmers, agriculture and rural areas.

Economy -being "human oriented" and an introspection on GDP
Sing Tao Daily, a Chinese-language newspaper printed in Britain, ran a special report reading "Being human-oriented and reflect on GDP¡±, saying people is no longer enthusiastic in predicting the GDP growth rate this year. Since the new leadership called for an ¡°overall, coordinated and sustainable development concept¡±, China is re-estimating GDP in a more scientific and rational viewpoint and seeking for human-oriented development objectives.

The government work report set the GDP growth rate for this year at around 7 percent, the Guardian commented. This shows that the Chinese government is trying to slow down the economy a bit and expand the benefits brought by economic prosperity from eastern coastal areas to other regions, especially to inland rural areas.

In a March 6 article named "China seeking for ways to get rid of disadvantages brought about by fast growing economy¡±, Japan Economic News said that China prepares to give priority to rural areas, western and northeastern regions when distributing funds raised through issuing national debt.

ROK-based Korea Daily said that after 25 years' opening up China's economic policy has shifted from high-speed growth to stressing on stability and balance. In his government work report, Premier Wen made it clear that the policy task this year is for stable economic growth, rural exploration, balanced development between regions and sustainable development. This proves that the Chinese government has stopped seeking for one-sided growth, but focused on stabilizing the people's livelihood by considering population, resources and environment factors in economic development, increasing farmer's income, developing backward areas and creating more jobs.

The Russian media not only covered the two sessions, but also took the chance to introduce China's dramatic changes since the reform and opening up two decades ago. Izvestia said China's GDP increased by five times since 1978, with the annual growth rate reaching 9.1 percent and per capita GDP soaring from 619 US dollars to 1000 dollars. Both China's consumption of steel and coal exceeded those of the United States and this year the Chinese people plans to buy 4 million cars.

Constitutional amendment - enhanced ability for constructing political civilization
Two items attracted wide attention in the Constitution revision this year¡ªrespect for and protection of human rights, and protection of citizens' lawful private property.

Devoting a large part to the constitutional amendment, the New York Times on March 5 published an article by its journalist in Beijing, saying that the Chinese government is making efforts to strengthen its code of law by adding respect for human rights and protection of private property into the Constitution.

America-based Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao USA gave a detailed list of main points about and suggestions to the revision this time. On top of putting the important thought "Three Represents" into the Constitution, the protection of citizens' rights is also raised to an unprecedented constitutional height. The paper analyzed and commented on four items concerning concrete citizen rights out of the 14 suggestions in the amendment proposal by the CPC central committee, saying they will serve an inestimable motive force for China's economic and social development in the future. Putting "The state respects and protects human rights" into the Constitution, the report particularly pointed out, not only serves as a summary in law of past successful practices in the human rights field, but also establishes the principle as a basic norm in the work of all state organs.

The China Press carried an editorial hailing the opening of the two sessions, saying that the entry of human rights article into the Constitution indicates higher human rights implementation as well as a stronger ability to construct political civilization.

Entitled "China's private property not to be deprived", an article by a French newspaper said the NPC annual session is preparing for a fourth revision to the Constitution to better protect private property.

Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany) said that the amendment this time is the fourth revision to the country's 1982 Constitution. The "Three Represents" important thought will be put into the Constitution and placed at the same footing with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory.

Diplomacy - international environment established to ensure paying attention to internal affairs
Many foreign media expressed interest in China's diplomatic achievements.

When mentioning Premier Wen's government work report, the Associated Press of Pakistan stressed that China persists in an independent foreign policy of peace, believing that in the past year China won more understanding, trust, respect and support from the international community, with its international influence and status further lifted. The report highly praised China's development strategy of rising peacefully, holding high the banner of peace, development and cooperation, pushing forward friendly contacts and cooperation with countries in the world, deepening cooperation with developing countries in particular and supporting alliance among and self-reliance of vast developing countries. The report praised China's policy of good neighborliness and partnership, saying the country made active contributions to deepening friendly contacts with neighboring countries and maintaining regional peace and stability.

A Switzerland newspaper carried a long article saying Chinese leaders as Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao have strengthened cooperation with multilateral international organizations and further improved relations with their Asian neighbors. Beijing hosted the six-party talks in its diplomatic efforts to solve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. China's relations with India and EU are also improved.

Japan's Mainichi Shimbum also commented on China's remarkable diplomatic achievements on March 6. The government work report approved the diplomatic work in the past year, the report said, saying much progress was made in foreign related work and China's international status and influence further lifted. As a Chinese leader, President Hu Jintao for the first time attended the North-South Leaders' Informal Dialogue Meeting held in France last June. Premier Wen Jiabao visited the United States last December and President Bush made remarks opposing "Taiwan referendum". Acting as host of the six-party talks China has done an unprecedented good job in stabilizing China-US relations. The government work report showed confidence in the international environment already set up in which attention can be given to internal affairs.

Anti-corruption - government should conscientiously accept supervision from public opinion and the masses
Japan's "Tokyo Shimbum" carried an article entitled "Wen Jiabao shows determination to root out corruption", saying his government work report demonstrates the Chinese government's determination to resolutely root out corruption. Premier Wen stressed that ¡°all power comes from the people¡±, the article said, and the government should conscientiously accept supervision from public opinion and the masses, and suggestions from all sides must be heard and considered before important policies are launched.

In its article entitled "CPPCC member suggests system to 'take blame and resign'", BBC highlighted CPPCC member Wu Zhengde's suggestion to set up a system to "take blame and resign" for civil servants, so that the government and civil servants can be responsible for their behaviors and prevent the abuse of power. This is a matter worth attention, the report concluded.

French newspaper Nouvelles D'europe said that last year the Chinese government worked even harder to fight corruption, with 13 corrupted officials of provincial or ministerial levels investigated and disciplined. Not long ago the CPC Central Committee put out its internal supervision regulation, and concrete and effective anti-corruption measures are expected from the two sessions.

Compared with 2003, China's corruption has been much curbed according to a survey conducted on March 4 among foreign business managers, AFP reported.

By People's Daily Online

People's Daily Online ---