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German media: economy tops agenda at China's annual parliament session
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19:45, March 05, 2009

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China's economy is considered a top priority during the Chinese parliament's annual session that started on Thursday, German media reported.

This year's session of the National People's Congress (NPC) will focus on the effects of the global financial crisis, German newspaper Neues Deutschland reported.

According to the report, China's massive economic stimulus plan is vital to boost the domestic demand and keep the economy going amid the global financial and economic downturn.

The State Council, the cabinet, announced a 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package last November to shore up economic growth, which dropped to 9 percent in 2008, the lowest since 2001.

The 4-trillion-yuan package includes 1.18 trillion yuan investment from the central government in two years and the rest will come from local governments and the public.

However, Neues Deutschland voiced concerns that "privileged and corrupt persons" may take a big bite out of the package and thus intensify social conflicts.

Meanwhile, Austrian paper Die Presse reported that Chinese media, economists and members of the Communist Party have demanded that they should be told where the money of the stimulus packages goes.

China's National Development and Reform Commission has promised transparency on this issue, according to Die Presse.

Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) said there have been "first signs of recovery in China" as a key Chinese manufacturing index improved in February for the third month in a row.

The Chinese economy may start to "bottom out," said FAZ. The daily paper also speculated that the NPC would advance the health care system and extend further help to the poor, a move also expected to boost domestic consumption.

Su Ning from China's central bank, the People's Bank of China, was quoted by FAZ as saying that China's economic recovery is "most likely" to come in the first half of 2009. But FAZ also reported that analysts warned against too much optimism.

Jing Ulrich, chairman of J.P. Morgan China, said it remains to be seen whether the first signs of stability can be sustained.

Online edition of Der Spiegel reported that "China's stimulus package pushes the stock markets."

According to Spiegel online, the German stock index Dax reached more than 3,800 points on Wednesday, thanks to speculation that the Chinese government is taking further measures to shore up the economy. The U.S. Dow Jones also added 2 percent on Wednesday.

Paul Mendelsohn from Windham Financial Services is quoted by Spiegel online as saying that "good news for China is good news for the world."

Source: Xinhua

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