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China sets economic growth target at 6.5 to 7 percent

China's Premier Li Keqiang announced a growth target of 6.5 to 7 per cent. Credit: CCTV

China has set its economic growth target at 6.5 to 7 percent for 2016, according to Premier Li Keqiang.

Premier Li revealed the figure at the opening meeting of the fourth annual session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing.

We have tried to balance it with the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and the needs for advancing structural reform.

The growth rate should also be conducive to stabilising and guiding market expectations. The aim of maintaining stable growth is primarily to ensure employment and promote people's wellbeing.

And a growth rate of between 6.5 percent to 7 percent will allow for a relatively adequate employment.

– China's Premier Li Keqiang
The 12th National People's Congress is taking place in Beijing. Credit: CCTV

He also said that China will keep the registered urban unemployment rate within 4.5%, ensure the stability and a steady growth of import and export volumes and continue to cut the emissions of major pollutants.

A comprehensive analysis of all factors shows that China will face more and tougher problems and challenges in its development this year, so we must be fully prepared to fight a difficult battle, Premier Li added.

China 'aiming to make at least 5m redundancies'

Officials in China are drawing up plans to axe between five and six million jobs over the next three years in a bid to curb oversupply problems and pollution, Reuters news agency reports.

The cooling towers at a Shougang Group steel plant on the outskirts of Beijing, as reports suggest millions of Chinese workers may be laid off in the next three years Credit: Reuters

Citing sources with ties to the country's leadership, the workers would be laid off in industries suffering from overcapacity, in what would be the country's biggest restructure in public spending in almost two decades.

It comes after the minister for human resources, Yin Weimin, said 1.8 million workers would be made redundant from the coal and steel industries.

Between 1998 and 2003, China made around 28 million workers redundant from state-owned enterprises, costing the government around 73.1 billion yuan (£8bn) in resettlement payouts.

The ministry for industry has not yet commented on the reports.


China 'detects first imported case of Zika virus'

China has detected its first imported case of the Zika virus, according to the country's Xinhua news agency.

A 34-year-old man from Ganxian county of Jiangxi province tested positive for the disease, Xinhua said, citing China's National Health and Family Planning Commission.

The man was reportedly recovering well, with a normal body temperature and fading rash.

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