China cuts growth aim as world recovery remains elusive | News | DW | 05.03.2012
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China cuts growth aim as world recovery remains elusive

China has cut its economic growth target for 2012 as the world economy struggles to recover. In a speech to parliament's annual meeting, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao also promised to protect rights for farmers.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao announced the relatively cautious target of 7.5 percent economic growth in 2012, as he addressed the opening Beijing's annual parliamentary meeting.

The figure is below a longstanding annual goal of 8 percent. The Chinese economy expanded by 9.2 percent last year, and 10.4 percent in 2010.

The new target was seen widely as official acknowledgement that the economy is slowing as the eurozone debt crisis continues and the United States experiences sluggish recovery.

"We aim to promote steady and robust economic development, keep prices stable, and guard against financial risks by keeping the total money and credit supply at an appropriate level, and taking a cautious and flexible approach," Wen said, detailing his annual work report to the National People's Congress (NPC).

Farmers' rights 'to be respected'

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Asian markets lower after China cuts prospects

Wen also addressed the topic of farmers' rights to their land, announcing that these "must not be violated." The comments came a day after elections were held in one village, a concession that officials agreed to in light of protests.

"Farmers' rights to the land they contract to work on, to the land on which their houses sit, and to proceeds from collective undertakings, are property rights conferred by law, and these rights must not be violated by anyone," he said.

Government seizures of land are a key source of discontent in China, and led to a major revolt last December in Wukan, with officials agreeing to both the election and an investigation into land snatches.

Wen also reiterated China's commitment to military spending to enhance the ability of its military to win "local wars," Wen said. China on Sunday announced military spending would be more than $100 billion in 2012 - a double-digit increase on the previous year.

The session is the last legislative gathering before a handover of power later this year, with both the premier and President Hu Jintao standing down.

rc/ncy (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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