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Premier Li Keqiang's 'open class'

(People's Daily Online)    08:21, June 17, 2014
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Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang gives a report on the economic situation at the 17th Assembly of Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Science and the 12th Assembly of Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering on June 10, 2014. (Chinanews/Liu Zhen)

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang gave a report on the economic situation at the 17th Assembly of Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Science and the 12th Assembly of Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering on June 10, 2014. This was his second "open class on economics" in six months. The first one was the economic situation report he gave at the 16th National Congress of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions last October.

On economic adjustment

Introducing the current economic situation, the Premier rattled off a series of statistics: from January to May this year, the newly added employed population was 6 million, accounting for 60 percent of the yearly target. The surveyed unemployment rates of March, April and May were respectively 5.17 percent, 5.15 percent, and 5.07 percent.

He concluded that "the economic operation of China is generally steady and the major economic indicators are within the reasonable range, and the steady employment rate and commodity price are actually an improvement. At the same time, we have made significant progress in industrial restructuring."

On renovation

The Premier used the phrase "fighting with one's back to the river" to describe his resolution on reform. He said decisively: "To further develop China, we must motivate people and bring their creativity into play."

He told the academicians a true story: a foreign politician promoted his domestic-produced plane by giving Li a model of the plane as gift. "I turned over the model, and 'made in China' was printed on the bottom," he said. "China made the model," he added, "while the foreigners sold the plane. Let us calculate how many models it takes to make up a real plane. This is not cost-effective at all!"

"The Chinese economy has to be promoted to the middle and high end," insisted Li. "And the only choice we have is innovation. This is China's fundamental path to development."

On reform

On fulfilling the requirements of social and economic development, the Premier emphasized that we must gain momentum from reform, and let the market play the decisive role in resource allocation. Reform would inevitably impinge on interests, especially vested interests. For now, the administrator's duty in many cases is only to supervise during and after an event.

"For the long-term development of China, in order to release millions of people's creativity, we must reform. There is no other choice."

On talent

"We should not only reward the scientists and engineers with honors, but also increase their income." The Premier pointed out: "The reformed research and development institutes should have the right to dispose of their scientific and technological achievements, and their scientists and engineers should enjoy stock rights and share options, so their incomes can rise to the middle and upper levels. We must prove to the whole of society that science has values that are tangible as well as intangible!"

He praised the academicians for their "irreplaceable" contribution to China's development and sincerely urged them to continue to make their "invaluable contributions". 

The article is edited and translated from《李克强经济公开课:要造多少机模才能换1架飞机》, source: China National Radio Website.

(Editor:Kong Defang、Liang Jun)

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