China Focus: Top leaders point way for reform
                 English.news.cn | 2014-03-08 19:47:13 | Editor: Zhu Ningzhu

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- From FTZ to PM2.5, from economic powerhouse to poverty belt, top Chinese leaders have placed the focus on the country's ambitious reform drive at the ongoing parliamentary session.

It is established practice for the Chinese president and premier and other leaders to take part in panel discussions with delegations from different provincial-level regions at the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature.

Topics are usually wide-ranging and mainly center on the government's work and how to improve people's wellbeing. That can also be considered a mode of democracy with Chinese characteristics.

From the delegations President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang chose to meet this year and the speeches they delivered, observers can get a glimpse of the priorities for government work in the future.

"To deepen reform with bold moves and cleaner growth" -- that is the promise top leaders have made to their people this year.

So far, Xi has joined panel discussions with lawmakers from Shanghai, Guangdong and Guizhou, with the first two being the forerunners of reform while the third is an economically underdeveloped region.

Meanwhile, Li has talked to lawmakers from Qinghai, Shandong, Yunnan and Shanxi.

From the speeches they made, a signal is clear: China is looking to open up wider to the world.

In a panel discussion with lawmakers from China's financial hub of Shanghai on Wednesday, Xi urged the city to continue to spearhead the country's ongoing reform and opening-up drive.

He encouraged officials to make bold moves in the Shanghai free trade zone (FTZ) to explore systems to be replicated nationwide.

China launched the Shanghai FTZ in September 2013 to test a broad range of economic reforms, especially those in the financial sector, in anticipation that these experiments could eventually be duplicated in other parts of the country.

"We will ensure the successful building and management of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone so that this model can be copied and extended, and we will launch a number of new trials," Li said in his first government work report on Wednesday.

It is the first time that the central government has confirmed that new trial free trade zones will be carried out outside of Shanghai.

Xi also said Wednesday that the FTZs are a national strategy.

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