China opened a 11-day session of the National People’s Congress last week at a time when its economic growth is slowing. In setting various targets for the world’s second-largest economy before some 3,000 delegates, Premier Li Keqiang and other leaders stressed the importance of “comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society … deepening reform … advancing the rule of law … and strictly governing the Communist Party of China.” As its period of rapid economic growth appears over, these goals conversely highlight massive problems that China must overcome. The Chinese leadership needs to implement the necessary policies to steer the country through this difficult time without being bound by party ideology.

China’s economy in 2014 grew 7.4 percent from the previous year — just shy of its target of around 7.5 percent growth. In presenting the Government Work Report for 2015, Li set the growth target for 2015 even lower at 7 percent — the lowest in 24 years. The Chinese leadership says that the country’s economic development entered a “new normal” after the end of the rapid growth period. The premier’s statement indicates that the policy focus will shift to improving quality and efficiency of the economy while pursuing moderate growth. He stressed the need for “deepening reforms and making structural adjustments” as a prerequisite for stable development.

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