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Premier Wen Jiabao's Press Conference at the Conclusion of the Second Session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC)

2004/03/15

 

   [Moderator]

Good afternoon. It is our great pleasure and honor to have Premier Wen Jiabao here with us to meet Chinese and overseas media and take your questions. To ensure that more journalists have the chance to ask questions, I would like to request each of you to limit yourself to one question only. Now I'd like to invite Premier Wen to make a few remarks.

 

    [Premier]

    Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to see you again. First of all, I'd like to extend my deep thanks to our people for their tremendous interest in the NPC and CPPCC sessions and in the Report on the Work of the Government. They are also showing a lot of attention and interest in this press conference. They have been putting to me a lot of questions, ideas and suggestions through various channels which moved me greatly. Here I also would like to express my thanks to international friends who are interested in and support the development of China. Not long ago I received a letter from more than 30 middle school students from Topeka, Kansas, the United States. In the letter they asked about 54 questions which touched upon China's political system, economic development and various cultural and social characteristics. They also asked about my personal life and hobbies. What food do I like? Do I practice kongfu? What size of shoes do I wear? That shows that people in the world are increasingly turning their eyes to China. I will select one question to address here as a token of my respect. A friend asked me to describe the work of the government this year and in the future in a few poetic lines, so I'd like to quote from poems written by two great men. The first quotation is from Chairman Mao. He wrote in a poem: "The strong pass of the enemy is like a wall of iron, yet with firm strides, we are conquering its summit". And the other is from the ancient poet Qu Yuan: "My way ahead is long; I see no ending; yet high and low I'll search with my will unbending." Thank you.

Now the floor is open for questions.

 

    CCTV: It was roughly about this time last year that the SARS epidemic had many people seriously worried. The pressure you felt then as the new Premier of China was probably unimaginably intense. I remember you often said what a nation lost to disasters will be compensated for in its progress. So my question is how would you comment on the year that has just passed? You also remarked that a nation's cohesion formed in the course of disastrous experiences would boost the unity and progress of that nation. Then what do you see are the most outstanding problems that we will face in China's development this year and what do you anticipate are the most difficult issue? Thank you.

 

    A: Last year has been most extraordinary for China. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee and with concerted efforts of all the Chinese people, we won the important victory against SARS and scored notable achievements in economic and social development. These achievements have not come by easily. However, they are only a reflection of the past. Today I want to add that a wise nation is a nation who is good at learning, especially learning from problems and difficulties. So what is important is not those achievements themselves, but rather the experiences, lessons and inspirations we gain from them.

In terms of the work of the government for this year, we must have a somber mind. In security, we should never forget the dangers and in times of peace, we should always beware of the potential for chaos. That is to say we should always keep high alert against potential risks and problems and clearly understand the difficulties and problems that may crop up on our way ahead. The most important aspect of our work is to maintain stable and relatively fast economic growth. The most difficult issues we have to deal with relate to agriculture, the rural areas and farmers. What I am most concerned about are those matters and issues that touch upon the vital interests of our people. And our most fundamental response to these problems is to reform, to innovate and to forge ahead despite difficulty. So we have the confidence and the means and it's highly likely that we will stand all new tests and not fail the expectation of the Chinese people.

 

CNN: During your last visit to Washington, President Bush clearly indicated his caution to both sides of the Taiwan Straits against taking unilateral steps that may change the status quo. But he also clearly indicated opposition to Taiwan's plan to hold the referendum next week, which is a departure from the usually ambiguous US position on Taiwan. What did you do to make the US change its position from this one? Did you scare them? Why is it important to China that the US and other countries state such a clear position on Taiwan? Will it change or influence the outcome of the election and referendum in Taiwan next week?

 

    A: There is but one China in the world. Both the mainland and Taiwan are part of China. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of China allow no division. China's sovereignty over Taiwan has been explicitly recognized by the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation and is universally recognized by the international community. However, some people in the Taiwan authorities have been trying to push for a referendum aimed at Taiwan independence under the pretext of promoting democracy. As a matter of fact, what they have been doing has undermined the "one China" principle which is universally recognized by the whole world and posed a threat to the Taiwan Straits area. Under such circumstances, it is only natural that all responsible countries in the world would make clear their positions on this question. Here I would like express my appreciation for the position that President Bush articulated on December 9th, 2003. And also I would like to express my appreciation for the solemn position expressed by various countries on this subject. I have to say that I did not use any kind of power or force to scare President Bush in this process. But I feel that such public statements about the commitment to "one China" by the United States and other countries are in the interest of peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits. I hope that the United States and other countries will faithfully abide by their commitment to one China and make due contribution to the maintenance of stability in the Taiwan Straits and peaceful reunification of the Chinese motherland.

 

    Xinhua News Agency: During the NPC and CPPCC sessions, some deputies and members voiced different opinions as to whether the Chinese economy is overheating. I wonder how do you look at this question? What macro-control measures will you adopt to prevent wild swings in the Chinese economy? I also noticed your personal interest in questions relating to agriculture, the rural areas and farmers. It was also last year that you helped a farmer worker named Xiong Deming to get back her wage arrears and this has led to a wave of efforts nationwide to get back unpaid wages for farmer workers. But I have to say many people are not as lucky as Xiong Deming. Sometimes they encounter problems and grievances that they cannot resolve by themselves. Their last recourse is to petition to or visit higher authorities themselves. I wonder how do you look at this social phenomenon? Have you received any letters of petition and how did you handle them?

 

    A: Your first question is a very good one. Indeed I remarked on many occasions that at present the Chinese economy is at a critical juncture. On the one hand, the economy has been growing very rapidly with much better efficiency and more dynamism in economic activities. But on the other hand, the deep-seated problems and imbalances in the economy that have accumulated for many years have not been fundamentally resolved. And new problem and imbalances keep cropping up in the process of rapid development, such as excessive investment scale, shortages in energy, transportation capacity and important raw materials, decreasing grain output for quite a number of years, and the obvious trend of rising prices. All these problems must be addressed appropriately and that presents a new and very big test to the government, which is no less severe than the SARS epidemic we had to deal with last year. If we exercised the right macro-control, we would be able to steer the big ship of the Chinese economy forward in a stable and relatively fast manner. But if we failed to manage the situation well, setbacks to the economy would be inevitable. Therefore, we have to clearly understand the severity of these problems. At a time when market mechanisms are expanding their role in China and when China is ever widely open to outside world, macro-control is more difficult than ever. So the government is required to exercise sound and effective macro-control at the right time and with appropriate intensity. We must properly address and resolve outstanding problems and imbalances in our economic operation to ensure stable development of our economy. As for your second question, let me make a very brief remark on it. The fundamental way to resolve the various problems and issues that affect the interest of our people lies in institutions, policies and laws. 

 

     Lian He Zao Bao of Singapore: Recent years have witnessed ever closer relations between China and ASEAN countries and the latter have started to see the benefits of the big market in China. China might evolve into the largest economy in this century. But under the current development model, China requires a lot of raw materials. My question is what impact will the peaceful rise of China have on China's relations with other countries in the region in the long-term perspective?

 

    A: Your mention of ASEAN puts me in mind of an ASEAN meeting I attended last year. I remember on that occasion Mr. Mahatir and Mr. Goh Chok Tong drew a vivid analogy between China and a "friendly elephant". They told me the rise of China would not pose a threat to their countries. To answer your question, let me say China has a history of 5,000 years. We had a glorious past, but we also suffered humiliation and subjugation. The rise of China and its rejuvenation are the dreams of the Chinese people for many generations. What are the connotations of China's peaceful rise? Let me make the following points. Firstly, in promoting China's peaceful rise, we must take full advantage of the very good opportunity of world peace to endeavor to develop and strengthen ourselves, and at the same time safeguard world peace with our own development. Secondly, the rise of China can only be based on our own strength and on our independent, self-reliant and hard efforts. It also has to be based on the broad market of China, the abundant human resources and capital reserves as well as the innovation of our systems as a result of reform. Thirdly, China's rise could not be achieved without the rest of the world. We must always maintain the opening up policy and develop economic and trade exchanges with all friendly countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. Fourthly, China's rise will require a long period of time and probably the hard work of many generations of Chinese people. Fifthly, the rise of China will not stand in the way of any other country or pose a threat to any other country, or be achieved at the expense of any particular nation. China does not seek hegemony now. Nor will we ever seek hegemony even after China becomes more powerful.

 

    China National Radio: China has scored impressive achievements in economic development. Many people are interested in the question of political restructuring. My question is what are the specific objectives for political restructuring this year and during the rest of the government's tenure? Could you describe to us your vision of a political system that is consistent with China's conditions and the interests of the people?

 

    A: I think it was in this room last year that I compared socialism to a big ocean. The ocean never turns away streams, so it becomes wide and deep. That means socialism can only develop itself by drawing upon all the fine fruits of advanced human civilization. Today I would like to make a further comparison of socialism to a high mountain. The mountain never turns away stones, so it becomes towering and strong. That means that socialism can only make progress by constant self-improvement and self-readjustment. I must make it very clear that from the very beginning China's reform program is comprehensive in nature and covers both economic reform and political restructuring. Without success in political restructuring, economic reform could not eventually succeed. 

 

    Here I would like to emphasize the institutional reform of the government. From the very first day when I assumed my office, I set for myself three objectives. The first was the establishment of a scientific and democratic decision-making mechanism, which includes collective decision-making, consultations with experts and the people, the holding of public hearings and the accountability mechanism. The government must administer the country according to law and builds itself on the rule of law. Only when the government abides by the law and exercises administration by law can we have a country under the rule of law. In terms of the elements of the administration by law, I would like to highlight the need for the government to abide by the law, to be rational, to put into place full-fledged procedures, to be fair and just in administration, and to provide efficient services to the convenience of the people. The government must also be clean, honest and honors its commitments. And there must be a combination of power and responsibility. Thirdly, the government must be put under the supervision of the people, including through the NPC and democratic supervision through the CPPCC. The government must listen to the views of various quarters, including public opinions and views from the people.

 

    Hong Kong TVB: Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, each time Hong Kong encountered economic difficulties, the central government would extend vigorous support. For example, CEPA was implemented, and at the end of last year, Hong Kong opened itself for tourists from the mainland. So my question is whether the political disputes in Hong Kong in recent times will affect the central government's commitment to economic development of Hong Kong. What new measures will the central government take to support Hong Kong's economic growth? How do you see the prospects of Hong Kong's development?

 

     A: Towards the end of June last year, I was in Hong Kong for the signing ceremony of CEPA. Following that I made a speech in which I mentioned that some people believed that CEPA was a big gift I've brought to Hong Kong. But I believed that the true big gift that was brought to Hong Kong was the message of firm resolve of the new collective central leadership in China to unswervingly follow the "one country, tow systems" policy, Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong and a high degree of autonomy, and our commitment to complying with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR. Not long ago, I reaffirmed these principles held by the central government in my Government Work Report.

 

    I note with pleasure that since last year Hong Kong's economy has started to rebound and people's livelihood has continued to improve. The general situation is moving towards more stability. The central government has always cared a lot for our Hong Kong compatriots. To support the economic recovery and development in Hong Kong, we have adopted many measures in terms of commodities and services trades, the financial sector, liberalization of tourism and infrastructure projects. Not long ago in my meeting with Mr. Tung Chee-hwa from Hong Kong SAR, he made new requests in terms of the central government's assistance for Hong Kong's economic development. The relevant agencies of the central government are carefully studying his suggestions. I can tell you one thing. That is, recently Hong Kong decided to issue treasury bonds worth 20 billion HK dollars. The central government is quite positive about that. The principle we always follow is that we will actively undertake and give our full support to whatever is in the interests of prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and common development between the mainland and Hong Kong. In terms of my hopes for our Hong Kong compatriots, I sincerely hope that the broad masses of our Hong Kong compatriots can set store by the interests of long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and the long-term and fundamental interests of our Hong Kong compatriots. I hope they will focus on the interests of the whole nation, strengthen unity and make determined and hard efforts to develop Hong Kong. Hong Kong will surely have a better tomorrow. That is the unswerving conviction held by the entire Chinese nation, including our Hong Kong compatriots.

 

     Air de German TV: About the constitution, I was impressed to see how little Chinese citizens seem to care for the changes in the constitution. Wherever we talked to them during the past few months it was told that the constitution and rights and freedom that are guaranteed on paper don't appeal much to them, as long as the ruling party considers itself above the law. So people complained in reality that even though the constitution is rather progressive, there is still no right to assembly, no real right to freedom of speech and right to press freedom. So my question is what do you plan to do to make sure that in the future the law is above the Communist Party rather than today that the Communist Party is above the law? Thanks.

 

    A: This amendment to the Chinese Constitution is of great significance for the development of China. In fact, just a few minutes ago, the amended version of the Chinese Constitution was adopted by the National People's Congress with overwhelming support. That is the reflection of the will of the Chinese people. In particular, the amended constitution established the important thought of "three represents" together with Marxism, Leninism, Mao Tse-Tung Thought and the Deng Xiaoping Theory as the guiding ideology of the whole party and country. This is of far-reaching significance for our country. Just now you asked about whether this amendment will truly be enforced. Let me tell you that we always follow two principles. Firstly the party leads the people in the formulation of the constitution. So the party leadership and the entire membership should set an example in complying with the constitution. Secondly the constitution is the fundamental law of China. So both the constitution and other laws are fundamental and long-term in nature. That means that the constitution will not be affected by the changes in the leadership or the changes in the attention of the leadership. So I believe that following the adoption of the constitutional amendments, we will make serious efforts to carry them out in practice.

 

    Taiwan United Daily News: Taiwan is going to hold an election and a referendum on March 20th. What implications will this referendum and election have on cross-Straits relations? Are you following these developments in Taiwan yourself? How do you look at the prospects for the cross-Straits relations after the election and referendum?

 

    A: As for the issue of the referendum, I have clearly stated the position of the Chinese government. Here, I would like to make a few remarks to our Taiwan compatriots through your newspaper.

 

    There is but one China in the world. The Chinese people, whether living on the mainland or living in Taiwan, are linked together by flesh and blood. The Straits that separates us can never cut off such bonds of flesh and blood. Next year marks the 110th anniversary of the Shimonoseki Treaty. This reminded me of a poem composed of 28 Chinese characters, written by a poet from Taiwan with blood and tears on the day of April 17th 1896. The poet was named Qiu Fengjia, a native of Zhanghua, Taiwan. His poem reads like this: "On such a nice spring day, my heart was so heavy with sadness. So I went out sightseeing in the mountain, however, my mind always went back to this day last year when 4 million people on Taiwan cried the same tears of sorrow as Taiwan was ceded." And I also want to quote from another very famous literary figure in Taiwan, an indigenous writer named Zhong Lihe. He wrote: "Only when the blood of the native son flows back to his native place will it stop boiling." The reason why we put forward the policies of peaceful reunification and "one-country, two systems" is because we believe that this policy is in the immediate and long-term interests of all the Chinese people on the mainland and on Taiwan. The process for China's peaceful reunification will also be a process of development and prosperity of both sides of the Taiwan Straits. Therefore we will exert our utmost to safeguard stability in the Taiwan Straits. We will exert our utmost to promote the three direct links and economic, cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. We will exert our utmost to press ahead with an early resumption of dialogue and negotiations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits on the basis of the one-China principle. We will exert our utmost efforts to advance the cause of peaceful reunification of the motherland. However, we firmly oppose "Taiwan independence". We firmly oppose any attempt by any people to split Taiwan from the rest of China through any means. I think that is also the common will of all the Chinese people, including our Taiwan compatriots.

    Interfax: Could you identify to us the major international issues or questions where China and Russia share the same positions? Could you update us on the development of energy cooperation between our two countries and what is the prospect of such cooperation?

 

    A: China and Russia are friendly neighbors to each other. As a Russian saying goes: "We are predestined to be each other's neighbors." Our two countries share a common boundary line of more than 4,300 kilometers and indeed our two countries should be friends forever and never fight against each other. At present there is a sound momentum in the development of China-Russia relations. We set our objective of establishing a strategic partnership of cooperation. We put in place a mechanism, that is, annual meeting between the two presidents and regular meetings between the two prime ministers. We signed a treaty, that is, China-Russia good neighborly friendship and cooperation treaty. We also adopted four targets, which are to strengthen political mutual trust, enhance economic cooperation and trade, promote consultation on strategic matters and expand non-governmental exchanges. Tremendous potentials still exist in our economic exchanges and trade. A most important reason for that is because our two countries are highly complementary economically. We have the advantage of geographical proximity. Although some problems have occurred in the oil pipeline issue, we are still confident about energy cooperation between our two countries. I trust that President Putin and the Russian people will work to strengthen their friendly cooperation with China in the exploration and development of oil and natural gas, the construction of oil pipelines and also in power generation.

 

    People's Daily: Anti-corruption has always been a close concern for many people. Since last year the Party Central Committee has stepped up efforts to root out corruption. Quite a number of officials, including some at the ministerial level, were punished. We also mentioned in our government report that the tasks for the self-improvement of the government and the fight against corruption remain arduous. My question is, how do you see the current fight against corruption? In what aspects will your government strengthen its efforts to build a clean government and stamp out corruption?

 

    A: This year, according to Chinese chronology, happens to be the year of Jiashen. Mentioning counter-corruption, I remembered on the last year of Jiashen, which was 60 years ago, Chairman Mao recommended that all party members read an article written by Mr. Guo Muoruo, entitled "On the 3rd Centennial of the Demise of the Ming Dynasty". Chairman Mao admonished the entire party not to commit the mistake of becoming arrogant and adopting depraved lifestyles following our victory. Later on he urged the whole party to be sure to remain modest and prudent and guard against arrogance and rashness and to be sure to continue to live plainly and work hard. Sixty years have passed and many members of our party have stood this test, but some failed and some succumbed to the sugar-coated shells. It is my long-held view that at stake in the counter-corruption struggle is the very survival of our party and our country. The government has adopted counter-corruption and building a clean government as one of its priorities. Specifically we will focus on the following three areas:

 

    Firstly, we will endeavor to put in place corruption prevention and punishment system that includes education, laws and regulations and supervision. Secondly, I made the solemn commitment in front of NPC session that we will firmly investigate into and punish all breaches of laws and regulations. We will firmly deal with and punish corrupt officials. We will make firm efforts to reverse the unhealthy conducts on the part of officials. Thirdly, we've also incorporated eight areas of specific endeavors that bear on the interests of our population as the main elements in our counter-corruption struggle. Here I want to tell all of you that my colleagues and I readily submit ourselves to the supervision of our people. In my mind, I can see happy and smiling faces of our people. But I also see them put forward their requests and demands out of frustration. But what I see first and foremost are the expectations that people have on our work. So we as government must always forge ahead and make unswerving efforts despite of difficulties and hardships. We as government must devote all our energy, commitment and hard work for the interests of our people. 

 

    Press Trust of India: How do you evaluate India-China relations during the past year? And I'd like to know if any positive achievements have been made during the boundary negotiations between our two countries. Thank you. 

 

    A: On this subject I recall one remark I made to Mr. Fernandes of India in my conversation with him. I later learned that it has  spread to many people in India. I told him that the time when China and India enjoyed friendly relations lasted 2,000 years, or 99.9% of total time of our interactions. In terms of conflicts, the conflicts between our two countries only lasted two years, or less than 0.01% of total time of our interactions. Even in the case of conflicts, we could always beat swords into ploughs. Last year Prime Minister Vajpayee paid a friendly visit to China and that visit was very important. We signed the declaration on the principles and comprehensive cooperation in China-India relations. That ushered in a stage of all-round development of our relations based on comprehensive cooperation. I can tell you that our special envoys on the boundary question of the two countries have already held two rounds of talks. I'm confident that as long as we adhere to the principle of coexistence, respecting each other, seeking mutual understanding and accommodation, we will surely be able to resolve the issues left over from history. Our two countries, as two biggest countries in Asia, can always be friends and partners for cooperation. Here I also want to say a few words about South Asia. The development of relations between China and South Asian countries is not targeted at any third country. I note with pleasure the sound and friendly momentum that has lately emerged in India-Pakistan relations. China hopes to see peace and stability in South Asia.

 

    South China Morning Post of Hong Kong: At present the reform of state-owned commercial banks has entered into a substantive stage. The government has recapitalized these banks three times in a roll. But are you fearful of the potential for moral hazards on the part of these banks? Secondly, in a recent meeting, you raised the hope that the Bank of China (BOC) and China Construction Bank (CCB) would become true commercial banks in three years' time. Does this signify a change in the timetable for the listing of these two banks?

 

    A: In the past few years, the state-owned commercial banks have made some progress in their operations, but problems are still numerous. The first problem is the high NPL ratio. The total non-performing assets in the big four account for about 20% of the total or nearly 2 trillion yuan. The second problem is the low capital adequacy in these banks. Thirdly, the banks are not performing well in terms of profitability. I think the fundamental reasons for this lie in institutions and mechanisms. The central government has made the decisive move of adopting share-holding reforms in the BOC and CCB and has injected capital to the amount of USD 45 billion to these banks for that purpose. This measure has generally drawn a positive response from within China and outside. But many people are still worried. So here I want to make it clear that this latest move in reform is different from other reform measures in the sense that it puts down clear-cut objectives, that is: state-owned commercial banks should adopt market mechanisms, reform their ownership structure and corporate governance standards. So all in all the reform is designed to turn these state-owned commercial banks into modern commercial banks. Secondly, they have put in place safeguard measures and clearly assigned responsibilities. For example, in the reform process, the leaders of these two banks must institute safety measures for the state-injected capital to ensure the maintenance and appreciation of the value of state capital. They must undertake the responsibility of lowering NPL ratios. Thirdly, the crucial aspect of the success of this reform lies in management and the competence of the people in the banks. I always call a spade a spade. I think I'm somewhat worried about the last two aspects. But there is no alternative. This reform for us is a make-or-break reform and success is the only acceptable option. We cannot afford to lose and we cannot afford to see failure, when such a dramatic step was taken. So we must make determined efforts to ensure the success of the reform.

 

    NHK: I have a question about China-Japan relations. We all feel that China-Japan relationship is basically quite good. But because of the historical problem and the lack of understanding about each other's cultures and national conditions, there has been nothing like true friendship between the two countries at the level of top leaders and among the people. I learned from a speech you made when you were young, your family experienced the trauma of the Japanese War of Aggression against China. So what's your personal view about Japan? What do you think China and Japan should do in the future to realize a true friendship?

 

    A: It is fair to say that the mainstream in China-Japan relations is quite good. Since the normalization of relations between our two countries, we have moved forward constantly in the exchanges of various areas, such as political affairs, economy, non-governmental and cultural exchanges. Trade between our two countries topped USD 130 billion. Each year there are 3 million visits between the two countries. We also have more than 200 pairs of sister cities. Now the main problems in China-Japan relations lie in the fact that some leaders in Japan keep on visiting the Yasukuni Shrine which enshrined class-A war criminals. This has hurt the pride of the Chinese people and people in other Asian countries. In fact in China those who suffered from the Japanese War of Aggression were by no means just individual families. More than 20 million people died as a result of Japanese aggression. We hope that the Japanese leaders will strictly abide by the three China-Japan political documents and can truly draw lessons from history and look forward to the future. We hope they will refrain from doing anything that hurts the dignity of the Chinese people or that affects the normal exchange of high-level visits and the normal development of relations between our two countries. I sincerely hope that Japanese leaders will set store by the larger interests in China-Japan relations, faithfully live by the spirits of the three China-Japan political documents and make efforts to take China-Japan friendly cooperation forward.

 

    We still have a few minutes. So we should allow one more question preferably from a foreign journalist.

 

    Associated Press: Premier Wen, you firmly promise to make ordinary people your priority. One of the things that has been  discussed among them in recent days is Dr. Jiang Yanyong's letter. "I'm asking the government to declare the 1989 Tian'anmen demonstrations a patriotic movement and to admit that it made a mistake by crashing them." What's the government's response to this and how is China going to address people's concern about this? And also are you going to declare the 1989 demonstrations a patriotic movement? Thank you.

 

     A: Indeed I have addressed this question many times. Let me give you my answer on this occasion too. At the end of 1980s and in the beginning of 1990s, China faced a very serious political disturbance. At that time, the Soviet Union disintegrated and drastic changes took place in Eastern Europe. So at that critical moment, what hanged in the balance was the future of our party and the future of our country. At that time, the Party's Central Committee closely rallied the whole party and all the Chinese people together. We adhered to the lines and policies adopted since the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Party Central Committee. We successfully stabilized the general situation of reform and opening-up in China and safeguarded the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Fifteen years have passed. During this time tremendous achievements were made in China's reform, opening-up and socialist modernization. These achievements are self-evident to all. I think a very important contributing factor is the fact that we have always upheld unity of the party and safeguarded social and political stability in this country. The next twenty years will be a very important period of strategic opportunities for China's development. We must concentrate all our time, energy and efforts on the development of our country. We should never lose any opportunities. We can imagine that if China could have another 20 to 50 years of development, our country would surely emerge stronger than ever before. So unity and stability are of overriding importance and they are also what I'm most concerned about as Premier of this country. Thank you very much.

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