Premier Li vowed to crack down on corruption


China’s premier said on Thursday that Beijing will try to keep this year’s economic growth at an appropriate level to generate needed new jobs and vowed to crack down on corruption and smog.

Li Keqiang said that Chinese leaders were “not preoccupied” with the level of economic growth and the official target of “about 7.5 percent” shows flexibility is possible.

He said a higher priority was hitting the official target of generating about 10 million new jobs.

Li said Chinese leaders wanted to nurture sustainable and environmentally friendly growth.

He also promised to “declare war” against the smog that is choking Chinese cities and corruption that he said was harming society and holding back efforts to make the economy more efficient and productive.

But a professor at the Centre for China Studies and the Chinese University of Hong Kong said that long-term reform was deeply dependent on political reform, and that Chinese President Xi Jingping “doesn’t seem to be too interested in political and institutional reform.”

“This heavy-handed, top-down chain of command may not succeed in the long run, in liberalising the economic structure,” said Willy Lam.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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