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Near-full transcript of Premier Li Keqiang's Press Conference
The economy and the people's livelihoods.
Li Keqiang today - Friday, March 11, 2022 - held the 10th and also his last press conference in the capacity of China’s Premier immediately after the closing of an annual National People’s Congress session.
Your Pekingnologist spent the day transcribing and typing up this near-full English-language transcript of the presser, which he believes is the first and currently only one available .
The translation comes from the on-site female translator which was aired nationally. The questions have been omitted. Purely domestic issues in the Chinese mainland - mainly concerning the economy and people’s livelihoods - have been deliberately put upfront.
That is partly because your Pekingnologist feels that the unprecedented scrutiny of Beijing’s stance on external affairs is increasingly sucking up the air of English-language China watching and reporting.
It was a two-hour event so you can imagine this is a long newsletter. But if you need a comprehensive look at Li’s thought on how he has tried to steer the world’s second-largest economy, the social spending his State Council directs to, and in the process his views on a range of economic policies, this is well worth your time. As usual, any errors belong to Pekingnology only.
On the economy:
I want to say, last year, China's economic aggregate reached 110 trillion yuan RMB. We expect China's economy to continue to grow on this high base, but experience in the global sphere had shown that it will be very hard for such a big economy to keep up a medium-high growth rate.
You said that if 5.5% GDP growth target for this year is viewed as ambitious by many economists. I recall that at last year's press conference, a journalist asked me whether a 6 percent GDP growth target for that year was a bit too modest. My response was that we were actually aware of the possibility for even faster growth of the Chinese economy, because of a low base of the previous year (2020).
But still, we decided to set the growth target at above six percent, meaning that we left possibilities open for even faster growth, say, eight percent, we would welcome that.
But at the same time, we sat all our macro economic policies, including fiscal, monetary, and employment policies, against this 6percent GDP growth target. Under such circumstances, we cut our budget deficit ratio. There was a steady decrease in China's macro leverage ratio, and we reserved policy space for coping with new challenges this year.
In spite of the severe situations in 2020 , we refused to resort to flooding the economy with massive stimulus or excessive money supply.
Hence, we saw that last year China’s CPI rose less than 1% despite the high inflation worldwide. I think that very much has to do with our reasonable macroeconomic policies.
We formulate China's own macroeconomic policies based on China's own national conditions, and I have no intention to make comments on the policies formulated by other countries here.
Last year, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, and thanks to the joint efforts of people across the country, we successfully achieved the major economic and social development tasks and goals and laid a good foundation for our development this year.
This year, we face new, a downside risks and challenges. There is a lot of complexities and rising uncertainty.
On the basis of over 110 trillion yuan RMB of GDP in China today, 5.5 percent increase would generate the same amount of output equivalent to the size of a medium economy.
Say, for ten years ago, when China’s GDP was just about 50 trillion RMB yuan, this growth rate would only add some six to seven trillion yuan of output. But now the figure would reach eight to nine trillion yuan.
An analogy with mountain climbing is climbing a 1,000 meter high mountain. Covering ten percent of it is a distance of 100 metres, but for climbing a three thousand meter high mountain, five percent will already cover distance of 150 meters. Moreover, the higher one climbs, the lower the pressure, the less oxygen. So a slower growth on surface actually now carries more weight.
We aim to achieve this about 5.5% GDP growth targets for China's economy this year, this kind of steady progress is very important in itself, and it needs to be enabled by the support of a series of macroeconomic policies.
Take fiscal policy, for example, we lowered our budget deficit ratio to 2.8 percent this year, a decrease of 200 billion yuan over last year.
But we will beef up government spending this year. One may actually ask how to pay for that. I have set it out in the government work report. We will draw on the savings that we did not tap into over the past two years, meaning we will use the surplus profits from state owned financial institutions and state monopolies, and there will also be some surplus from the fiscal funds.
Total government spending this year will rise by no less than two trillion yuan RMB, most of which will be used for tax and fee reductions and tax refunds, just like providing oxygen supply for mountain climbing. And same time, we are prepared to roll out a series of financial and pro-job policies too.
Our policies set for this year are based on the current realities and have also taken into account long-term development needs. They are sustainable. China is still faced with a series of challenges from, say, climate change, income gap, debt, and demographics. We are prepared to forcefully respond to all these challenges for now and beyond. China's modernization is a long process, and we will address issues rising in the course of development through development.
On tax and fee cuts
We can only make informed decisions based on actual practices. The practices of our in recent years have shown that tax and fee reductions have worked the best.
I recall that last year I had a conversation with a dozen business representatives in an eastern province. They talked about their corporate difficulties. And they hope for more policy support from the government. I said that the central government had a host of tools in its policy kit. But we need to use them to the best effective.
So I gave them a three options to choose, but one that they prefer the most. They are massive investment, which will help them get orders. The second is handing out consumption vouchers, to boost consumer spending and third is tax and fee reductions to help drive up employment, consumption and investment.
Only quiet for a moment, and almost unanimously chose the third policy option because they believe it would work most directly in the most fair and efficient way.
Many reports I have received have shown that tax and fee cuts are the number one aspiration among business entities out of the government's macro policies. It seems that indeed, we need to ensure that fertilizer goes right way to the root of plants when the root is strong, the plants can grow well.
There is this kind of worry that tax and fee reductions have been in place for several years. They wonder whether the marginal effect will be fading. In other words, whether this policy will work as well as before.
This year, we will combine tax and fee reductions with massive tax refunds with a total amount of 2.5 trillion yuan RMB.
We recall that with these policies, we successfully pulled through those very difficult times back in 2020. Tax refund will be the highlight of policy this year. Under the current tax code, there will be tax collection first, and then there will be tax refund, and this year we will make a 1.5 trillion yuan RMB amount of VAT credit refunds. If this works well, we are prepared to even step it up.
Priority will be given to micro and small firms, and the refunding of VAT credits, because these firms cover a wide range of sectors and are of a large amount. They support a massive amount of job opportunities. Currently, many of them are financially strapped and are in great difficulty. The goal is to refund all the VAT credits to micro and small firms in a lump sum by the end of June, and for the newly increased VAT credits, they will be refunded to these firms over time on a monthly basis, and within this year, the existing VATe credits to manufacturing and R&D-intensive firms will also be refunded.
I recall that in my discussion with the CPPCC National Committee members, a member who is also a business representative told me that as effective as tax and fee cuts and other investment-related and other policies are, he believes that the VAT credit refunds will work at the fastest and the best. For instance, if you go for an investment project, it may also involve a lot of procedures, but this VAT refunds will be like direct funding support for the liquidity of businesses.
So are we must get one real important, solid thing done. I think that's more important than making a thousand promises. We must see to it that this highlight of policy this year will be fully delivered.
Tax refunds at the moment will lead to increase in tax revenue in the future. For example, at last year, our newly registered market entities already paid more taxes than the amount of tax reductions. There are clear records for these developments.
Since 2013 with the launch of VAT reform, we have cut taxes by the amount of 8.7 trillion yuan RMB. Back then, our fiscal revenue was about 11 trillion yuan last year, China's fiscal revenue already exceeded 20 trillion yuan, almost doubling the amount back in 2013.
In this process, businesses have truly benefited and improved their performance. It's like building a deeper pool to farm more fish. Our tax and fee cut and refund measures have helped to nurture business growth and created more sources of fiscal of tax revenue.
[Comment: Tax cuts pay for themselves.]
You mentioned the financial difficulty of local governments. The central government is aware of that.
This year, the central government’s transfer payments to local governments will rise 18 percent and reach 9.8 trillion yuan, a rare amount in recent years. Most tax refunds will be funded by the central government, and a certain amount will also be shared by a local governments.
I want to emphasise that tax refunds will go straight to businesses and the central government will also see to it, but physical founding support will also go directly to these primary level governments, especially prefecture and county level governments.
I also want to emphasise that we, in governments at all levels must count every cent and make every cent count to ensure that all funding support will go to businesses.
[Comment: The tax cuts talked about here are almost entirely for businesses. In choosing tax cuts for businesses over consumer subsidies or massive (likely government-directed) investment, that’s how pro-business the People’s Republic of China is.]
Employment bears on people's lives and the country's development. A job helps to generate income makes life promising and helps to create wealth. I recall that in my discussions with business leaders, many of them told me that about August every year, many of their employees would ask for an advance on their wages, because they will need to pay for their children's tuition fees in September.
Before this year’s Spring Festival, I paid a visit to rural areas in China's northwest. A local farmer told me that he has one child going to college, whose tuition fee is some ten thousand yuan each year, and for another child in senior high school, the tuition fee is eight thousand yuan every year. He says that he had to go to work in the city, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to make enough money to cover all these expenses by just growing grain on his small, land plot.
So a job bears directly on the life of our people, and I have been always deeply touched by the hard work that our people have been putting in to earn enough to support their younger generations.
We need to implement our fiscal and monetary policies to all help us to achieve our goal over employment, that is why we say that policy of employment or our employment-first policy is also a macro economic policy.
[Comment: Jobs, jobs, jobs.]
Each year we need to generate at least 11 million, or preferably 13 million new urban jobs. If we could achieve maximum employment, we would be able to achieve what some people say as China's potential economic growth rate.
There is one example here back in 2020 with things were so difficult, we decided not to set a GDP growth target. But we set the target of new urban jobs at above 9 million. Our outcome was that we created over 11 million new urban jobs, and kept China's growth in the positive territory - 2.2 percent. China's economy was the only one among major economies to achieve a positive growth.
This year, we will see a record high increase of new job seekers into the labour force totaling some 16 million.
There will be 10.46 million students graduating from college, another record high. We also need to provide jobs for some 3 hundred million rural migrant workers. Employment also needs to be provided for ex-PLA servicemen and women. And some people are waiting to get re-employed.
There is a steady increase in the labor force of China and new platforms of employment need to be created. The government will provide these new job seekers with our training programs and opportunities, but more importantly, we need to rely on market-oriented avenues and means to resolve issues related to employment.
In recent years, we have been promoting the initiative of mass entrepreneurship and innovation, and we have been encouraging the growth of new technologies, new industries, and new business models to create new drivers of growth.
We believe that there is great intelligence and potential in each and every common person, if we can give them opportunities to bring the potential out we will be able to open new vistas.
I should also mention flexible employment here. There are about two hundred million people engaged in flexible employment taking multiple forms and covering a wide range of sectors, this will continue to exist in a big developing country like China.
Many of these people engaged in these jobs are express delivery service providers. They have to work in braving winds and rains, and many localities these have provided these people with heart-warming services. We need to protect their lawful rights and interests, and the government will also continue to improve policies related to providing social protection for these people. It's like providing a safety belt for the delivery persons.
In this way, these new forms of employment will not only meet people's pressing need, but also help bring greater vitality to the market and the public.
On China’s business environment:
Over the past ten years, each year, the State Council will hold a nationwide working conference on the reform of government functions and improvement of china's business climate. I've also noted that improving business climate has also been high on the agenda of the first meetings of many local governments in the new year.
By reforming government functions, we are like improving the soils for the growth of market, and it is our policy of tax and fee reductions is like applying fertilizer and water and the initiative of mass entrepreneurship and innovation also helps market entities to take root and further grow by leveraging the creativity of the general public and the vitality of market entities, we will be able to bring a lot of vitality to China's economic growth.
This requires the government pursues self-targeted reform to see that government power is not about departmental or other interests, but to help market entities to flourish.
Shaking up vested interests could be more difficult than touching the depths of souls. In recent years, we have ensured the consistency in our policies we have been pressing ahead with market-oriented reforms and the reform of the government's own functions.
For example, we have either cancelled or delegated to lower level authorities some one thousand administrative approval items. The non-administrative approval requirement was made a thing of the past.
In the past, it took some several dozen days, or even up to one hundred days to open a business, but now it takes only four days, or just one day in some places. Currently, some 90 percent of government services can be accessed to interprovincially, online, or through cell phone apps.
[Comment: In a word that Americans may be more familiar with: deregulation.]
We are doing all these to upset or break down the thickets of vested interests and changing the way of thinking of the governments in exercising governance so as to bring greater benefits to companies and the people, and we will continue to do so in the future.
By improving the business climate, in recent years, we have seen that the number of market entities in China has reached 150 million, an increase of 100 million over ten years ago. Most of these market entities are privately held firms. There is some 100 million self-employed households who must not be underestimated because they support the livelihoods of many families, and they also help to meet consumer demand.
In my discussions with business leaders, they told me that it is those very micro and small firms and self-employed households who are playing a significant role in supporting the circulation of the economy, otherwise, without them even big companies, even state-owned enterprises will be hamstrung.
When there are good reform measures and sound business climate and a large number of markets entities, there will be greater prospects for economic development. That has been true in many places across this country.
At the same time, I want to emphasise that we have been attaching equal importance to streamlining administration and enhancing compliance oversight. Streamlining administration does not mean diminishing in the responsibilities of the people and delegation of authority shouldn't give rise to regulatory gaps. The governments must fully perform its responsibility in exercising supervision and regulation for malpractices, such as counterfeiting or cheating of marketplace, they should be cracked down upon and regulation in areas concerning people's life and health and public interests like food, drugs, workplace safety, and the financial sector, it should be further stepped up in accordance with the law.
There are also burgeoning new forms of industry and new business models. They are continuously developing and we also need to keep improving our regulatory approaches in these areas, so as to ensure that they will always be a level playing fields for all market entities to grow.
On hard-hit sectors by COVID-19
COVID-19 has hit the services sector in particular contact-based service industries particularly hard. Many firms in these industries, micro, small and medium sized enterprises who are already quite weak financially, and there are a host of difficulties making things more difficult for these market entities.
100 million self employed households have supported some three hundred million jobs. We must provide timely help to all these market entities because they play a very important leveraging role. Timely help is critical, just as it will be too late to water a plant if the root is dried out and rotten.
For these industries in special difficulty, we have worked out over forty supportive measures. The tax refund alone for catering, tourism, passenger transport and the cultural sector will amount to 180 billion yuan RMB. In addition to fiscal support, we also encourage banks to provide loan extension for promising and businesses.
And we also encourage the employers where possible to provide the exemption of or temporary exemption of rental and electricity bills for these market entities. This is also a way of keeping your clients.
Currently, consumer demand is indeed quite subdued and in particular, consumption in bricks and mortar shops is muted.
There's only vibrancy in the economy when hustle and bustle can return to the marketplaces and shops. So business closure is something that no one wants to see - it actually kind of our daily lives. Our policy support for the industries in special difficulty is not just about providing these industries with timely help. It will also help bring great warmth to our people's lives and add greater vibrancy to China's economy.
On the challenges to this five-year term of the government
Since the formation of this government, there has been much complexity and change. In the international environment, there are interconnected, entwined difficulties and challenges at home. But the biggest challenge came from the COVID-19 pandemic, which dealt a heavy blow to China's economy. In responding to the challenge, we have not settled for easy or shied away from what's difficult or the risks, and we have put in our greatest efforts.
I recall that at my first press conference as premier held in the same place, I once laid out the basic tasks and missions for the government as maintaining economic development, improving people's lives, and promoting social fairness and said that I believed in following the great way - putting people first and delivering benefits for all. Indeed, we should ensure that the people's wish always points the way for the government.
This is what we have been doing consistently and diligently throughout the years. We have followed innovative approaches to exercising governance. For example, we have adopted a range-based approach and in dealing with cyclical fluctuations in economic activity. We have ensured that macro policies are directly responsive to the needs of market entities. We have pressed ahead with reforms to cut red tape and promote fairness and justice, we have supported the growth of market entities and new drivers of growth to boost the market, and public vitality and creativity.
[Comment: Lost count how many times 市场主体 market entities, i.e. businesses, appear.]
We have implemented an employment-first policy and grounded our efforts in China's national realities, with a focus on improving the people's basic lives. We are also aware that while our people are happy with some aspects of the government's work, there are also areas in the government's work that are falling short of our people's expectations.
You said this year is the last year in the current term of the Chinese government. This year is the also the last year in my Premiership. We are still faced with a complicated international environment that is very challenging, and there are also still many difficulties and challenges in work at home as to how to respond to these challenges and difficulties, I have set out our policies in the government work report and also, in my answers to some previous questions.
Me and my colleagues will make persistent efforts and conscientiously perform our duties and take solid steps to live up to our promises.
I'm confident that under the strong leadership of the CPC central committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, with the strong support of very sectors and especially with the joint hard work of the Chinese people across the country, China’s economy will be able to overcome difficulties. We will be able to achieve all the major goals and tasks for economic and social development set for the whole year and lay a new due, solid foundation for the development of the country in the future.
On people’s livelihoods
Indeed, in recent years, our people's income has been growing in step with GDP. However, China remains a developing country. There is still a notable urban-rural gap, and it will take a long time for us to achieve equal access to public services across the country.
I received a report early this year, listing the top ten hopes our people have for their life this year, most of them concern basic living needs or involve chinese farmers. Protecting and promoting people's lives is a fundamental purpose for the government's effort in growing the economy. The government must continue to do its utmost within its capacity to keep making improvements to people's lives.
China's fiscal revenue has reached 20 trillion yuan RMB, but the country still faces fiscal strains in some instances.
However, we have ensured that government spending on education had stayed above 4 percent of GDP for 10 consecutive years. This is by no means easy. Most of the government funding increase going to compulsory education has supportted rural areas, which are still housing some 760 million people according to household registrations.
We will ensure that more government funds will be channelled to support compulsory education in rural and remote areas.
We have established in China, the world's largest medical insurance system, covering some 1.4 billion people. However, the benefits are still quite modest at the moment. This year, the government will increase fiscal inputs in support of this development by 30 yuan RMB per person.
[Comment: Your Pekingnologist believes the fantastic on-site translation made only one error and it’s here, which mistook the 30 yuan per person subsidy for a three billion yuan lump-sum.]
In particular, we have established a program of medical insurance for major illnesses whereby we have combined government inputs with the purchase of commercial insurance policies. Even a lower amount of reimbursement under this scheme can reach three hunreds thousand to five hundred thousand yuan, and in some places, no particular numerical cap is put on the amount of reimbursement. On average, some seventy percent of medical bills on the part of our rural and urban non-working residents can be reimbursed under our medical insurance, and we will continue to step up the level of benefits under the program.
In particular, we need to consolidate the outcomes and ending absolute poverty and provide particular support to prevent people from falling back into poverty because of major illnesses.
Meeting basic living needs concerns people's daily lives. Nowadays, some 100 million Chinese are in cross-provincial mobility, some are elderly people living away from hometowns with her children in cities. Some are for employment or education.
So getting things down inter-provincially has become a new constant demand for the Chinese people. ID cards are in most frequent use in people's daily lives nowadays. One policy from the government this year is to make ID cards electronic so that relevant information can be accessed by a simple scan of the code on cellphones. We will also provide convenience for especially the elderly people who do not use smartphones that often. At the same time, we will also protect information security and individual privacy.
Resolving these concerns of our people, we must take every bit of solid effort and put our heart into it. We must be fully aware of the situation on the ground and always heed the people's call because these issues bear on how our people live, the public opinion and even popular support.
It is the responsibility of the government to always follow the aspirations of the people, help them resolve concerns and difficulties, and enable them to lead a better life.
Here I want to emphasize that it is the very important duty of the people's governments to always protect the lawful rights and interests of the people. The recent incident involving gross violation of women's rights and interests is indeed deeply distressing and we feel indignant about it. Those who show disregard for the people's pains and sufferings must be held to account. Perpetrators in the trafficking of women must be brought to justice and prosecuted to the full extent of law.
[Comment: apparent reference to the mentally ill woman chained in shack.]
People’s safety and better life are closely interconnected. So it is the mission of governments at all levels to do everything we can to protect the people’s safety and improve their lives.
On China’s opening-up:
China is a very big country, so it is natural for some individual cases to exist. But overall, China's economy has deeply integrated into the world economy. Imports and exports in goods now contribute to one-third of China's GDP and imports have contributed over 70% of industrial added value. For the past ten years, China has remained the world's second-largest import market and for the past five years the largest trader in goods. Chinese goods and industries at the moment are transitioning from a lower-middle end of the industrial chain to a medium high end. But all these Chinese industries and consumption are in the process of upgrading, and there is tremendous potential, and there's a broad space for the growth of all types of investment.
Together with many East Asian countries, China with these countries have signed the regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP) agreement. And this agreement has officially entered into force this year. It creates the world's largest free trade area. We will make the most of the opportunity of RCEP and continue to advance free trade we will treat state-owned enterprises, privately held firms, and foreign-invested enterprises as equals and continue to work hard to keep China a popular destination for global foreign investment.
I can tell you very clearly that no matter how the international environment may change, China will keep to the course of wider openness. Just as the course of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers will not be reversed. China has all along developed itself in the course of reform and opening up. For anything that is conducive to our higher-level opening up of this country, we will go for it.
It has been forty years since China got on the journey of opening up. Opening up has brought benefits to the country and to its people. We will not and must not close this door of opportunity.
On COVID-19 control
The novel coronavirus is a common enemy of humankind. It has been with us for two years, but the virus is still changing. Much remains to be learned about the virus, and the same time the protection of vaccines and R&D of effective drugs should also be further enhanced.
We believe the international community should embrace unity and cooperation and show greater understanding and accommodation and make joint efforts to create conditions for early return to normal of our world.
China has adopters a coordinated approach to COVID response and economic and social development. And we have been promoting actively international exchanges and cooperation, we will continue to work to make our response more scientific and targeted based on the COVID situation, new developments and features of the virus to protect people's life, health and safety to keep up the normal running of work and life and to ensure security of industrial and supply chains.
In my conversations with heads of international institutions and business community, many of them expressed the hope for the keeping of business exchanges as needed. China has opened the fast track lanes and green corridors to see the normal running of companies and important projects in key areas, we will continue to gain experience and be adaptive to new developments so as to keep up the flow of goods and personnel.
When asked about Ukraine:
On Ukraine, indeed, the current situation there is grave, and China is deeply concerned and aggrieved. We sincerely hope that the situation will ease and peace will return at an early date.
China has all long followed an independent foreign policy of peace and never targets third parties in developing bilateral ties. We want to develop cooperation with all countries on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit to bring greater stability to today's world.
When asked about Ukraine again:
As I just said, China follows an independent foreign policy of peace regarding the situation in Ukraine. China maintains that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, the purposes and principles of the UN charter should be observed and the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously on that basis. China makes its own assessment and will work with the international community to play a positive role for early return of peace.
The current situation in Ukraine is indeed disconcerting. We believe utmost efforts should be made, and it is important to support Russia and Ukraine in carrying forward negotiations of ceasefire by overcoming difficulties.
To achieve peace, we support and encourage all efforts that are conducive to a peaceful settlement of the crisis. The pressing task now is to prevent tension from escalating or even getting out of control. There is consensus about this among the parties concerned and the international community. China calls for exercising utmost restraint and preventing a massive humanitarian crisis. China has put forward an initiative on the humanitarian situation there and has provided Ukraine with humanitarian assistance, and China will continue to do so.
Reeling from the COVID-19 induced shocks, the world economy today is already struggling. Relevant sanctions will hurt the world's economic recovery. It is in no one's interest. China is ready to make its own constructive efforts in promoting, in maintaining world peace and stability.
On China-U.S. relations
Fifty years ago, China and the United States broke the ice and started a journey of normalizing relations between the two countries. Half a century has passed. The China-U.S. relationship has been moving forward despite ups and downs. We hope that the two countries will act in accordance with the common understandings reached between Presidents of the two countries in their virtual meeting at the end of last year. We hope the two countries will respect each other and live together in peace, and pursue win, win cooperation. We hope that the two countries will properly manage differences in a rational and constructive manner and respect each other's core interests and major concerns.
There should be more dialogue and communication now that the door has been opened, it shouldn't be shut again, nor should there be decoupling.
Both countries are permanent members of the U. N. Security council and China, the United States are the world's largest developing and developed countries, respectively. Getting this relationship right is in the well-being of the people of both countries.
Currently, there are many global challenges that require the joint efforts and cooperation of both China and the United States, we believe that cooperation between two countries is in the interest of both countries and the world.
China, the U. S. are vastly different in social systems, history, culture, and stage of development. Disagreements are hardly avoidable, but we believe cooperation should be the mainstream because global peace and development hinge on cooperation. Even if there is market competition between the two countries’ economies and trade, we believe it should be healthy and fair.
Last year, china U, S, trade exceeded seven 750 billion U, S dollars, up 30 percent over the previous year. This shows China-U.S. cooperation has extensive areas and much-untapped potential. If the United States chooses to ease its export restrictions on China, the two-way trade volume will grow even bigger, delivering more benefits to both countries and their peoples. China is ready to work with the United States to expand common ground and pursue interests for the long run.
Our major principles and policies on work related to taiwan are clear cut. I have set them out in the government work report. That is, we are committed to the one china principle and the 1992 consensus. We firmly oppose separatist activities seeking “Taiwan Independence,” and we will advance peaceful growth of cross strait relations and the reunification of China.
Ultimately, compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are members of one big same family and this fraternal bond at no time, can be severed. We will continue to share with our taiwan compatriots development opportunities. We will provide time when compatriots coming to work and live on the mainland with equal treatment, and we will also take concrete measures to benefit them and help them resolve difficulties.
I believe that when the people on both sides of the strait come together and forge ahead in unity, we will be able to promote the peaceful growth of cross straits relations and sharing the well-being of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
On Hong Kong
The current COVID situation in Hong Kong is indeed serious. The Hong Kong SAR government has decided in accordance with the law to postpone the election of the chief executive and concentrate on dealing with the COVID situation. We have full understanding and support for that.
The central government follows the COVID situation/developments in Hong Kong every day, and has deep concern for the life, health and safety ofresidents in Hong Kong. The HK SAR government needs to fulfil its primary responsibility in tackling the situation and the central government will give its full support.
We are steadfast in our commitment to fully and faithfully implementing the principle of “one country, two systems,” under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy. Change of government in hong kong will happen in strict accordance with relevant provisions in the Basic Law. We hope that the sr government will unite and lead of people across sectors in hong kong to continue to develop the economy, improve people's lives, consolidate and elevate Hong Kong's status as an international financial, trading and shipping centre and maintain long term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong.