A photo blog of world events by Sacbee.com Assistant Director of Multimedia Tim Reese.
Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed
March 5, 2013
China's new priority: social wellbeing over growth

BEIJING (AP) - China's government pledged Tuesday to repair the country's ravaged environment and boost public services under its new leadership, an acknowledgment that quality of life was sidelined during the outgoing administration's decade of breakneck economic growth.

In a policy speech opening the national legislature's yearly session, soon-to-retire Premier Wen Jiabao went through a list of problems that had built up in recent years and was being left to his successors: a sputtering growth model; poisoned air, waterways and soil; a vast and growing rich-poor gap; and rampant official corruption that has alienated many Chinese.

"Is this a time bomb?" Yao Jianfu, a retirement government researcher, asked. Yao's specialty is China's army of migrant workers who are often deprived of access to housing, education and other government services. "If there's an economic downturn and massive unemployment, will the 200 million migrant workers become the main force of the next Cultural Revolution?" he said, referring to the excesses of the chaotic 1966-76 period.

The unfinished agenda of China's past decade are now central concerns of the new leadership as it seeks to assuage a public that is looking beyond pocket-book issues, empowered by the Internet and increasingly vocal about the need for change.

(29 images)




A Chinese tourist uses his smart phone to take videos of a flag raising ceremony on Tiananmen Square at dawn before the opening session of the annual National People's Congress held in the nearby Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Alexander F. Yuan
china_politics_2013_02.jpg
A street cleaner on an electronic bike passes by People's Liberation Army soldiers dressed as ushers while they stand guard in front of the Great Hall of the People before the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_03.jpg
Chinese military band members rehearse before the opening session of the National People's Congress at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, in China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. China's government promised its people Tuesday deficit-fueled spending to fight deep-seated corruption, improve the despoiled environment and address other quality-of-life issues demanded by an increasingly vocal public looking for change. AP / Kin Cheung
china_politics_2013_04.jpg
A Chinese military member adjusts a camera as he watches over Tiananmen Square from a rooftop against a sun rise, across from the Great Hall of the People before the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_05.jpg
A delegate, right, checks his mobile phone while officials' vehicles prepare to leave the Great Hall of the People after the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_06.jpg
A member of military music band yawns while others listen to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's work reports speech at the opening session of the annual National People's Congress at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, in China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_07.jpg
Ethnic minority delegates wearing traditional costumes pose for photographers as they arrive at the Great Hall of the People for the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_08.jpg
Ethnic minority delegates wearing a traditional costumes arrive at the Great Hall of the People for the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_09.jpg
Chinese police officers on electronic two wheel vehicles patrol on Tiananmen Square, before the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing Tuesday, March 5, 2013 AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_10.jpg
A cleaner sweeps in between the Chinese officials' vehicles parked inside the Great Hall of the People during the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_11.jpg
Members of the military music band line up to enter the Great Hall of the People before the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_12.jpg
A vendor watches the live telecast of the annual government work report by outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao on a television in a vegetable wholesale market in Fuyang in central China's Anhui province Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP /
china_politics_2013_13.jpg
A delegate walks past People's Liberation Army soldiers dressed as ushers at the Great Hall of the People during the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_14.jpg
A worker measures the distance between seats for China's top leaders before the opening session of the annual National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Ng Han Guan
china_politics_2013_15.jpg
Journalists film Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivers his work reports at the opening session of the annual National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_16.jpg
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao gives the work report at the opening session of the annual National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Kin Cheung
china_politics_2013_17.jpg
Hostesses refresh the cups for Chinese President Hu Jintao, left, and his expected successor and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping during the opening session of the annual National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013 AP / Ng Han Guan
china_politics_2013_18.jpg
An ethnic minority delegate attends the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Kin Cheung
china_politics_2013_19.jpg
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is displayed on a screen as he delivers the work report at the opening session of the annual National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Ng Han Guan
china_politics_2013_20.jpg
China's top leaders stand to sing the national anthem during the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Kin Cheung
china_politics_2013_21.jpg
Delegate leave after the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Kin Cheung
china_politics_2013_22.jpg
A delegate, wearing ethnic minority clothing, packs her bag near a military delegate after the opening session of the annual National People's Congress at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. AP / Ng Han Guan
china_politics_2013_23.jpg
A National People's Congress delegate, wearing an ethnic minority costume, walks towards the Great Hall of the People a day before the opening session in Beijing, China, Monday, March 4, 2013. AP / Ng Han Guan
china_politics_2013_24.jpg
A Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard on Tiananmen Square while sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference are held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Monday, March 4, 2013. AP / Kin Cheung
china_politics_2013_25.jpg
Hostesses, who serve delegates, pose for photographers on Tiananmen Square while sessions of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference are held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Monday, March 4, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_26.jpg
Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers dressed as ushers march outside the Great Hall of the People after sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing Monday, March 4, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_27.jpg
A hostess arranges the delegates' chairs before the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of People in Beijing Sunday, March 3, 2013. AP / Andy Wong
china_politics_2013_28.jpg
Hostesses pose for photograph during the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, Sunday, March 3, 2013. AP / Kin Cheung
china_politics_2013_29.jpg
A man talks on phone during the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, Sunday, March 3, 2013. AP / Kin Cheung

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.