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Premier underlines importance of further economic development in New Year speech


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks at a grand gathering held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Feb. 16, 2007. (Xinhua Photo)

    BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday pledged to continue to boost economic development, deepen reform and opening-up and listen to the people in his New Year speech.

    "To solve the problems in people's daily lives, we must persevere with making economic development our central task," Wen said in his New Year speech at a gathering chaired by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

    Wen said China must adhere to the scientific, harmonious and peaceful development and "greatly increase social wealth to lay a solid material foundation" for the improvement of people's lives.

    Wen also highlighted China's reform of the socialist market economy, saying that China must continue to push forward economic, political, cultural and social reforms to protect people's democratic rights and legitimate interests, and safeguard social justice.

    The Premier urged the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the government to further improve their working styles and become closely connected with the people.

    Wen said the Party and the government must "understand people's concerns, listen to their opinions, care about their difficulties"and take concrete measures to address issues concerning the immediate interests of the people, including education, health care, employment, income distribution and social security.

    Wen said China would fully implement the scientific concept of development, speed up the building of a harmonious socialist society and strive to maintain the fast and stable development of the national economy to create favorable conditions and environment for the 17th National Conference of the CPC.

    The premier said China had made great achievements over the past year. "Looking into the new year, we are fully confident in the country's future development," he said.

    Spring Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year's day, falls on Feb. 18 this year.

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