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President Xi says people first in seeking economic growth

Updated: Dec 22,2016 9:16 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China should stick to its people-centered development philosophy and address people’s common concerns in promoting economic growth, President Xi Jinping said on Dec 21 at a meeting.

“The fundamental goal of maintaining growth pace and promoting economic development is to seek proper solutions to prominent issues of people’s common concerns,” President Xi said at the 14th meeting of the Central Leading Group on Finance and Economic Affairs.

The meeting reviewed progress in 165 major projects outlined in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) and discussed some major projects concerning people’s livelihoods, according to a statement released after the meeting.

Winter heating using clean energy is one of them, as the country still relies heavily on coal as a major energy source.

“Promoting clean winter heating in northern areas has a bearing on people’s warmth in north China and also on whether the number of smoggy days can drop,” according to President Xi, who heads the central leading group.

A large part of north China has been under heavy smog since last weekend, with more than 20 cities on red alerts, the highest level in a four-tier warning system.

Natural gas and electricity can be substitutes for coal in heating buildings in north China, he said.

Clean energy should be used as much as possible and supply a larger share of winter heating, he said, adding that the government will give enterprises a major role in the process to ensure heating is affordable.

He also said that regulating the housing rental market and curbing property bubbles are two major projects serving Chinese people’s residential needs.

The country should accurately understand the residential feature of housing and form a housing mechanism that serves both purchase and rental purposes and meets housing demands of a new urban population, he said.

The market will play the leading role in catering to multilayered demand, while the government will take care of basic housing demand.

China will take a varied approach to regulating the property market, adopting financial, fiscal, tax, land and regulation measures to build a long-term housing mechanism that provides housing for all people, according to President Xi.

China will roll out garbage classification nationwide to improve people’s living environment, President Xi said.

The country should emphasize classification in garbage collection, transportation and treatment, and strive to raise the coverage of the system.

The country will also raise the service quality at nursing homes for the aged and reinforce supervision over food safety, according to President Xi.

Members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Li Keqiang, Liu Yunshan and Zhang Gaoli also attended the meeting, along with other central and local government officials.