|Premier Wen meets the press|
Premier Wen Jiabao gave a press conference after the conclusion of the third session of the 10th National People's Congress in Beijing on March 14, and talked a wide range of issues, from economy to foreign policy, and from the newly adopted Anti-secession Law to stock market.
No letup in macro economic control efforts
He said that China would have no letup in its efforts of macro economic control, which has contributed to the country's steady and rapid economic growth and stabilization of market prices over the past year.
"The top priority for the government is to further strengthen and improve macro-regulative policy and measures in order to maintain a steady and fairly rapid economic growth," said Wen.
Citing problems such as greater difficulties in raising grain output and farmers' income and a serious strain of energy supply and transportation capacity, Wen conceded that China is now faced with "many dilemmas" in its "overstretched" economy.
He pointed out that these problems were actually problems with the economic growth mode and institutional problems, and therefore would "take time to be addressed".
He also promised that his government would "give different treatment to different situations" in its macro-control efforts, adding that "we must take both administrative and economic means to achieve macro-regulative objectives".
No foreign interference allowed in Taiwan issue
The Premier said that China will never allow any foreign interference with the Taiwan issue, and it is not afraid of any such interference should it occur.
Taiwan issue is entirely an internal issue of China and solving the Taiwan issue "subjects to no interference by any outside forces," Wen said.
"We are not willing to see that any foreign interference would occur, but we are not afraid of any interference should it occur,"Wen said.
Wen said the ten-article Anti-Secession Law is not targeted against Taiwan compatriots, but opposing and checking "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities.
"It is not a law of war but one for the peaceful reunification of the motherland," he said. "It is not a law intended to change the status quo that both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to one China, but one conducive to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits."
The Taiwan issue is one left over from China's civil war of the late 1940s. Wen stressed that although the mainland and Taiwan are yet to be reunified, that does not change the fact there is only one China in the world.
The premier said China is unwilling to see such circumstance to occur. "So long as there is a glimmer of hope for peaceful reunification, we will exert our utmost to make it happen rather than give it up," he said.
The purpose of making such a law, Wen said, is to demonstrate "the common will and strong resolve" of the entire Chinese people, the 23 million Taiwan compatriots included, to safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and never to allow the "Taiwan independence" forces to make Taiwan secede from China.
Wen cited two US laws against secession made in 1861 before the Civil War of the United States, which have similar contents as China's.
Wen also hoped that all Taiwan compatriots would understand the purpose of the legislation, and that nations and people who uphold the one-China policy and wish peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits would understand and support the law.
On the issue of China's national defense, Wen said China exercises a defense-oriented policy, and its national defense expenditure cannot compare with that of the United States.
"I want to clarify a fact that over the past hundred years, China has always been bullied by others," he said. "China has never sent a single soldier to occupy even an inch of foreign land."
Farmers' autonomy to manage land never changes
Premier Wen comfirmed that the farmers' rights to manage and use their land will not change in the long run, or "forever."
According to him, the country's reform started in rural areas, to be more specific, from readjusting the right to "manage and use land",and a household contract responsibility system for farm production was established in the late 1970s, allowing farmers to utilize their land in due course.
"Their rights have been continuously extended," said Wen, reaffirming that rural land is under collective ownership in China.
As for rural reform and development, the Premier said that it has entered its second phase, with industry expected to nurture agriculture and cities to support rural areas.
"We should give more, take less and further liberalize the rural productivity," Wen said.
He listed four jobs as the central tasks for the second phase. Firstly, efforts should be made to promote rural reforms with focus on rural tax and administrative fee reform.
Secondly, productivity in the rural areas should be improved by building more water conservation projects and promoting wider application of agriculture-related science and technologies.
Thirdly, "we should also further develop education, science and technology, culture as well as other social undertakings in the rural areas," Wen said.
And finally, grass-roots democracy should be promoted by enhancing the ability of self-governance among villagers, implementing direct election at the village level and giving greater transparency in administration affairs at the village and county level, he added.
In the first phase for rural reform and development, China has introduced to the rural areas the family contract responsibility system, which has granted farmers greater autonomy in land use, production and management. "As a result, it has greatly liberalized productivity in the rural areas," Wen said.