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Incumbent cabinet holds final meeting


08:04, February 21, 2013

BEIJING, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The incumbent State Council, China's cabinet, held its final executive meeting on Wednesday, as this administration's term nears its end.

Premier Wen Jiabao presided over the meeting that reiterated policies to tame the hot property market, a major source of public concern in recent years.

The cabinet has held a total of 234 executive meetings since it took office on March 19, 2008.

It studied and discussed 611 topics, including how to combat the global financial crisis, improve people's livelihoods, deepen the reform and opening up and strengthen the government's ability to improve itself.

All of these are prominent issues that have emerged amid China's economic and social development over the past five years.

Zhang Liqun, an analyst with the Development Research Center of the State Council, said the country has stood up to all sorts of difficulties and challenges and made great achievements in the past five years.

"The government's work has laid a solid foundation for the country's future reforms and development," Zhang said.

Tackling the global financial crisis is the main theme tying together this government's work in the past five years.

Between 2008 and 2009, when the global economy bottomed out, China also felt the pinch, as a slew of enterprises suspended production, thousands of migrant workers lost employment and all economic indicators dropped sharply.

The State Council held a flurry of intensive meetings during that period. It convened twice on Nov. 5, 2008, rolling out a package of 10 stimulus measures aimed at boosting domestic consumption and economic growth.

Economic conditions have been extremely volatile both at home and abroad over the past five years. The cabinet decided to hold an executive meeting every quarter to study the changes, in addition to other meetings scheduled when necessary.

The timely responses proved effective. It only took half a year for China to reverse the country's economic downward trend.

During the past five years, China's economy has maintained an average annual growth rate of 9 percent. Meanwhile, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) doubled from 26 trillion yuan (4.14 trillion U.S. dollars) to 52 trillion yuan to become the world's second-largest economy.

Improving people's livelihoods has been at the center of the government's work during the past five years. Executive meetings focused on more than 100 topics, including housing, medical care, education, employment and social security.

The central government spent around two-thirds of its budget on improving people's lives during the past five years.

The establishment of a social security network covering both urban and rural areas highlights China's efforts to improve people's livelihoods in the past five years.

A basic pension system, the world's largest such pension network, now covers the entire country.

Over 95 percent of China's 1.3 billion people enjoy the benefits of a basic medical insurance system formed in the past five years.

China launched affordable housing construction on an unprecedented scale over the past years. The country started construction on 30 million units of affordable homes and housing units renovated from shantytowns.

Some 17 million units have been completed to date.

An executive meeting was convened to study how to help low-income families and orphans and allocate subsidies for them. In addition, the basic pension level for company retirees rose for nine consecutive years.

Issues regarding agriculture, rural areas and farmers remained among the government's priorities in the past five years.

The central government earmarked a total of 4.47 trillion yuan over the past five years for the development of agriculture, rural areas and farmers, representing an annual growth rate of 23 percent.

Pushing forward reforms in major areas has also been an important point in executive meetings since 2008.

The cabinet has also concentrated on significant reform areas, including value added tax (VAT), the pricing mechanism of refined oil products and fuel tax.

The VAT reform reduced companies' tax burden by more than 120 billion yuan in 2009.

Other fields of reform have included determining taxation on natural resources, promoting private investment and the development of small enterprises, improving the income distribution system and streamlining the administrative approval process.

Over the past five years, the cabinet has worked on improving the country's pharmaceutical and healthcare systems at least seven times.

Every year, the State Council also held a meeting on comprehensive arrangements for the reform of the country's economic structure.

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