Chinese Parliamentary Sessions 2013
March 2013 sees the annual meeting of the two legislative and consultative bodies of China, where major policies are decided and key government officials appointed. The National People's Congress (NPC) is held in the Great Hall of the People in China's capital, Beijing, and with 2,987 members, is the largest parliament in the world. It gathers alongside the People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) whose members represent various groups of society.
Live updates: Li Keqiang's first news conference
Li Keqiang pledged to reduce the number of bureaucrats and practise frugality in government affairs as he gave his first press conference as Chinese premier
10.30am Li Keqiang gives a welcoming address at his first press conference as premier.
10.40am Li says State Council will reduce the number of officials and drive down costs.
He plans to cut the existing 1,700 administrative approval items by at least one-third.
Funds flowing into central government coffers increased by just 1.6 per cent over January and February.
Spending on social programmes will only increase, forcing the government to cut back in other areas.
No new central government offices, halls or guest houses will be built, staff numbers will tumble, and spending on government hospitality, overseas trips and new vehicles will be curtailed. -Associated Press
"I am confident that the previous administration led by Wen Jiabao has created the necessary preconditions for continued growth and development."
11.00am China attaches great importance to its relationship with the United States.
Bilateral trade volume has increased to more than US$500 billion last year, from only US$1 billion three decades ago.
Both China and the US want to uphold regional peace and stability.
Li Keqiang laughs during response to @charleshutzler question: When will China stop hack attacks against the US?
— April Rabkin (@AprilRabkin) March 17, 2013
Cyber-hacking is a worldwide problem and China itself is a main target of the attacks.
"We should not make groundless accusations at each other."
Both countries should do more to reduce the problem of cyber security.
11.15am "Reform pays the biggest dividend for China."
Still room for improvement in our socialist economy.
Country needs to reform the social security system.
Must make sure benefits from reform reach entire population.
Must improve people’s well-being. In order to do this, we must confront China’s income gap.
"Vested interests must be stirred."
We need to take action to gradually narrow this gap. We also need to reform the social security system.
11.30am Two sides of the straits belong to the same China.
Taiwan and Taiwanese compatriots should make better use of development opportunities provided by the mainland.
Should work hard to identify pillars for cross-straits relations.
Need to develop this common homeland so it will be "full of flowers".
Xinhua reporter asks Li if government's urbanisation push may be creating a new "urban poor" class.
— Eric Fish (@ericfish85) March 17, 2013
11.34am The scale of urbanisation in China is unprecedented in human history...
Urbanisation is the logical product of modernisation...
Urbanisation is not about building big sprawling cities...
It is important for this new type of urbanisation to go hand in hand with agricultural modernisation.
Must keep the supply of farmland above 20m hectares and safeguard food security as well as farmer interests.
"Food safety is of utmost importance as it pertains to people’s quality of life and health. This government will take measures to punish heartless producers of sub-standard and fake food."
"It is no good to be poor in a beautiful environment, nor is it good to be well-off and live with environmental degradation."
"We will need to develop a clear understanding of water and ground pollution safety before we can solve this problem".
RT @tomaszsajewicz: Le Monde. Question about pollution and food safety. Chinese journos next to me are laughing again...
— Tom Lasseter (@TomLasseter) March 17, 2013
I want to fully upgrade the Chinese economy - that includes providing clean drinking water, safe food and clean air.
11.55am China Daily asks about reform of reeducation through the labor system. Li said reform of the reeducation through labour system may be completed before the end of this year.
On Hong Kong...
During my 2011 trip to Hong Kong, I was deeply impressed when I saw that Hong Kong’s one country, two systems was booming with vitality.
The central government will do its best to advance Hong Kong's development.
There is great space for deepening cross-border co-operation.
We will work to enhance the well-being of our compatriots in Hong Kong and Macau.
RT @s_rabinovitch: A premier without the pauses. Watching Li Keqiang is akin to watching Wen Jiabao fast-forwarded to normal-talking speed.
— Li Yaoqiang (@lilailiqu) March 17, 2013
12.10pm China and Russia are each other’s biggest neighbours.
President Xi Jinping will be visiting soon, demonstrating how important the bilateral relationship is.
China has been working with neighbouring countries to make peace, development and co-operation in the Asia Pacific an irreversible trend.
China in the world
12.15pm "We require an international environment of lasting peace. Even if China becomes stronger, we will not seek hegemony."
"We are willing to work with countries around the world for global prosperity and peace."
A near-fist fight just broke out among Chinese reporters desperate to get limited-edition "You've been invited to Li Keqiang's presser"
— Mark MacKinnon/马凯 (@markmackinnon) March 17, 2013
Strikes me that Xi and Li were more philosophical this morning than usual, but still steadfastly dull.
— malcolmmoore (@MalcolmMoore) March 17, 2013
I found Li Keqiang straightforward and has a plan but challenges are huge.
— Shang Yang (@ShangYang2) March 17, 2013