Province reviews year of difficulty

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 January, 1999, 12:00am

Economic concerns and fears about rampant corruption are certain to top the agenda when the Guangdong People's Congress opens its annual session tomorrow.

Zhang Guoying, deputy vice-chairman of the congress, said yesterday that 1998 had been a year of unprecedented difficulty for the province.

'In 1999, unfavourable elements in some areas will be even more pronounced than last year,' she said.

Guangdong Governor Lu Ruihua said earlier that the province would only aim for an 8.5 per cent growth in the economy this year - the lowest in recent years. Last year's growth was 10 per cent.

Heated discussions at the group meetings were expected among some local representatives airing grievances, a source said.

Anger may be targeted at Communist Party Secretary Li Changchun, 'who was sent down here from the north', the source said.

Meanwhile, the Guangdong People's Political Consultative Conference opened its annual session yesterday.

In his opening address, Huang Zongchun, vice-chairman of the conference, urged members to put forward suggestions to help restore the province's economic health.

On Sunday, Wang Huayuan, party secretary of the Guangdong Discipline Inspection Commission, said that corruption remained rampant in the bureaucracy.

There had been an increase in violations by leading cadres in party organs, the judiciary and law enforcement bodies, Mr Wang said.