|Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivers a government work report during the opening meeting of the Fourth Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2011. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
BEIJING, March 6 (Xinhua) -- China will seek lower economic growth in the coming five years as the constant pursuit of rapid expansion in past years has brought about unbalanced economic and social development.
China is targeting an annual average growth rate of seven percent in the next five years to 2015, Premier Wen Jiabao told nearly 3,000 national legislators Saturday.
The move is meant to bring a "significant improvement in the quality and performance of economic growth," Wen said.
The new target is quite impressive for the developed nations still struggling to stimulate economic growth after the international financial crisis. However, it seems modest in comparison with the target of 7.5 percent five years ago.
During the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010), in fact, China's economy expanded at an annual average of 11.2 percent despite impacts of the global economic turmoil.
It's true that official targets often underestimate actual economic growth, however, economists believe the new target for the 12th Five-Year Plan reflects the government's determination to shift the focus from speed to quality.
Such a message was also signaled in Wen's remarks on Feb. 27 during an online chat with netizens. The premier said the government must no longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid growth.