BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Sunday the government is to set its annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for the 2011-2015 period at 7 percent, highlighting the need to raise the quality of growth and improve living standards.
The target was lower than the 7.5 percent for the previous five years, when China's economy grew at an annual rate of about 10 percent from 2006 to 2010.
"We'll never seek a high economic growth rate and size at the price of the environment, as that would result in unsustainable growth with industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption," Wen said during an on-line chat with the public.
The central government would adopt new performance evaluation criteria for local governments and give more weight to efficiency, environment protection and living standards, said Wen.
He said transforming the growth pattern was not easy.
"In some places, I have seen, urban construction is very fast, but as you walk along, you see shabby rural streets and housing, and some farmers are still hard pressed to pay schools the 100-yuan heating fees for their kids," Wen said.
"Therefore, I tell local officials, wouldn't it be better if we construct fewer high buildings and spend the funds for expanding the urban scale on raising living standards?" he said.
"In the final analysis, we should change the criteria for evaluating officials' work. The supreme criterion for assessing their performance is whether the people feel happy and satisfied, rather than skyscrapers."