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China vows economic reforms with steady growth, stronger military amid regional tensions
Dali Yang talks to the Associated Press about China’s war on pollution.
China's government responded to public demands for bold leadership with vows Wednesday to press long-sought market reforms, defend against terrorism after a horrific slashing attack, and heavily boost military spending amid rising tensions with Japan.
The promises delivered by Premier Li Keqiang in his first annual policy speech also included cutting official waste, combatting persistent smog and pushing ahead with President Xi Jinping's signature campaign to fight the rampant graft that has undermined public faith in the ruling Communist Party…
... On the domestic front, Li said the government will work harder to reduce pollution by shutting more coal-fired furnaces and controlling the tainting of rivers. He referred to the stifling smog spreading over increasing areas of China and the fouling of the country's air, water and soil as "nature's red-light warning against the model of inefficient and blind development."
More money will be spent on improving schools in underdeveloped rural areas and increasing government subsidies for health insurance, Li said, highlighting the administration's stated goals of emphasizing social wellbeing over breakneck growth.
"The essential slogan that Li gave was a declaration of war on poverty and war on pollution," said Dali Yang, a China expert at the University of Chicago. "It's part of a stronger emphasis on the social safety net..."