BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao began his online chat with netizens here at 9 a.m. Sunday jointly hosted by the central government website (www.gov.cn) and Xinhua News Agency website (www.news.cn).
The following are some quotable quotes made by Premier Wen.
Pension for retirees
To address the issue that retirees in governmental departments and institutions have enjoyed much better treatment than those retiring from businesses, Wen said that the government had increased pension by up to 10 percent every year for business retirees over the past seven years, but their wages were still relatively low.
"We will continue to improve their treatment, especially for those engineers with high education," he said.
He added pension system reform would be steadily carried out in governmental departments and institutions.
People's living standards
To enhance the people's living standards is "our work's starting point as well as the final aim," Wen said, adding that China's development blueprint for the coming five years will place high emphasis on the efforts to improve the people's livelihood.
When answering netizens' questions online concerning rising price pressures, he said that maintaining the stability of prices has always been the priority of China's economic development as excessive increase in consumer prices would not only affect people's life but also hamper social stability.
Migrant workers' children
Wen pledged the country will build more high-quality rural schools and take measures to make the nine-year compulsory education in cities more accessible to migrant workers' children.
In response to netizens complaints about soaring housing prices, Wen reiterated his determination to tame the country's runaway housing prices.
"We have to contain the excessive price growth and keep housing prices at a reasonable level," Wen said.
"I am still confident that we will achieve the goal of policies," he noted.
Wen said the government would work to increase housing supplies, with 36 million affordable homes planned in the five years to 2015, including 10 million this year.
Wen also said the government would "resolutely" curb demand of home purchases for investment and speculation.
"We will use economic, legal and administrative methods if necessary to restrict speculation," Wen said, adding he was confident the measures would eventually reduce speculation.
Wen said that China's rise lies in talents and education, not gross domestic product (GDP).
"The whole world is talking about China's rise, and what the people talk about most is (China's) GDP. But I think China's rise lies in talents and education," he said.
He said he attaches greater importance to two other figures: the proportion of education expenditure in GDP and the proportion of scientific R&D expenditure in production.
He also said an important aspect for China's higher-learning education reform is to encourage students' creative spirit and independent thinking, in a bid to foster more high-calibre talents.
While answering a netizen' online question about tax payment，Wen said that the State Council, the Cabinet, would discuss on Wednesday a plan to raise the threshold of personal income tax.
He said that the plan, if coming into effect, would benefit China's whole medium and low-income groups, adding the plan would be delivered later to the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, for review.
Wen said that the country aims to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 16 to 17 percent by 2015 from the current levels.
Wen criticized the mandatory black-out of residential power supply by local governments. He decried such actions as "self-deceptive" and harmful to people's lives, ordering the localities to resume residential power supply immediately.
The goal of energy saving and emission cut should be met through the closure of high energy-consuming enterprises such as small power plants and steel mills, he noted.
Wen said the government is to set its annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for the 2011-2015 period at 7 percent.
"We'll never seek high economic growth rate and big size at the price of environment, as that would result in unsustainable growth featuring industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption," Wen said.
The central government would adopt new performance evaluation criteria for local governments and give more weight to efficiency, environment protection and the people's living standards, said Wen.
Special Report: Premier Wen gives online interview at Xinhuanet, Gov't Portal