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新华网 2020-06-01 15:07



China Daily: In this year’s Government Work Report, the target of new urban jobs has been revised downward, and the target of surveyed urban unemployment rate upward, compared with the levels last year. In the face of the severe employment situation, what will the government do to avert massive job losses and help college graduates and rural migrant workers find jobs?



Premier Li: We have set this year’s target of new urban jobs at over 9 million, somewhat below last year’s level. To attain this goal, we need to maintain a certain level of economic growth. The urban surveyed unemployment rate target is set at around 6 percent. In fact, in April, that figure already hit 6 percent, so such a target was set on the basis of the situation on the ground.



Employment matters the most in people’s lives. It is something of paramount importance for all families. Of all the comments posted by netizens on the Chinese government portal website, some one third are about jobs. One of them was posted by a rural migrant worker in his 50s. He said that over the past 30 plus years, he had been working in cities every year. But so far this year he has been unable to find a job and the whole family is now in difficulty. Many self-employed individuals have seen their businesses grinding to a halt for several months. And some export companies have also been in great difficulty for lack of orders. This is affecting the jobs of their employees. We must provide support to all these people. But most importantly, we must help them land jobs. There is a labor force of 900 million in China. If they are out of work, there will be 900 million mouths to feed; if they are all put to work, 900 million pairs of hands will be able to generate tremendous wealth.



In order to retain existing jobs, all our pro-job measures will be fully employed with the largest input of funds. Such sizable policy funds can be used by primary-level governments to implement tax and fee cuts, and subsidize rents or interest payment in support of companies. So all these measures are designed to keep companies in business and secure the jobs of their employees and they will be implemented in a fair and reasonable way. We will also finance skills training initiatives by businesses to stabilize employment. This year and the next, we will tap into the balance of the unemployment insurance fund to provide some 35 million vocational skills training opportunities. This will cushion the impact of unemployment, and we will help people who lose their jobs get reemployed as soon as possible.



We also need to do our best to create new jobs. Nowadays, some 100 million people are employed in new forms of business and industry, and some 200 million people are working in the gig economy. The government must continue to provide support and at the same time lift all unwarranted restrictions that prevent the development of those industries and sectors. We also need to create a favorable environment for the increase of new job opportunities. Last year, more than 10,000 new businesses were created on an average day, and we will continue to work hard to see that the figure stays at this level this year.



We can certainly rely on the innovation and initiative of the Chinese people in this respect. One may recall when young people returned to the cities from the countryside in large numbers in the early days of reform and opening-up, the opening of roadside tea stands helped to put many of them to work. About two weeks ago, I saw in the news that a city in China’s western region, in keeping with local rules and regulations, set up 36,000 mobile stalls, adding some 100,000 new jobs overnight.

Our people are hardworking, and the Chinese market keeps expanding and upgrading. In this process, the government must focus on providing support to key groups in their employment. The number of new college graduates will reach a record high of 8.74 million this year. We must provide employment services to these people, both this year and next, so that they will not be left to their own devices. And for rural migrant workers, no matter whether they are still working in a city or have returned to their hometown, we will put in place employment service platforms to support them in landing jobs. We must also fully implement all the support measures for demobilized military personnel as well.



Phoenix TV: At this year’s NPC Session, a decision was adopted on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR. The Standing Committee of the NPC will also set in motion a legislative process in this respect. Does this mean that the Central Government has adjusted its policy toward Hong Kong and abandoned “one country, two systems”? How do you respond to the various comments in this respect?



Premier Li: “One country, two systems” is China’s basic state policy. The Central Government has all along fully and faithfully implemented the “one country, two systems” under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, acted in strict accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law, and supported the Hong Kong SAR government and the Chief Executive in exercising administration according to law. The decision adopted at the NPC Session to safeguard national security is designed for the steady implementation of “one country, two systems” and for Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability.



NBC News: The United States continues to blame China for the global pandemic. There’s more and more talk of a cold war between the US and China. At the same time, Chinese and American officials talk of creating favorable conditions for the phase one trade deal that could help stabilize the relationship. Are you still confident that more economic reforms and concessions of China can adequately address America’s concerns, given that China’s economy has been weakened? Or if the efforts for cooperation fail, can China’s economy withstand the threat of a “cold war” and “decoupling”?



Premier Li: It is true that at the moment, China-US relations have encountered some new problems and challenges. This is a very important bilateral relationship. Both countries are permanent members of the UN Security Council. There are many areas where the two countries can and should work with each other in tackling both traditional and non-traditional challenges. There are also extensive exchanges between the two countries in the economic, trade, scientific, technological, cultural and other fields. So it is fair to say that there is extensive common interest between China and the United States. Both countries stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Getting Sino-US relationship right is in the interest of people of both countries and the whole world. Given the importance of this relationship, the problems that occurred in this relationship have been a cause for concern for the international community. As for a cold war, you know that we have all along rejected the “cold war” mentality. And “decoupling” between major economies will do neither side any good. It is also harmful to the world. I believe we should continue to work together to follow through on the important consensus reached between our two presidents and work jointly to foster a Sino-US relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability.



The economies of our two countries have become closely interconnected. Our economic and trade ties have come a long way, and both sides have benefited tremendously. Just a few days ago, an American high-tech firm announced the launch of an investment project in Wuhan. I shouldn’t do any commercial promotion for any company, but I highly appreciate this move and sent my message of congratulations to mark the occasion. I believe this example shows that the business communities of our two countries need each other, and our business cooperation can be of mutual benefit.



I believe the economic cooperation and trade between our two countries should follow commercial principles. We should leave the decisions to the market and to the business leaders. The job of the government is to establish platforms for the business communities of the two countries. China and the United States are the world’s largest developing and developed countries respectively. Given the differences in our social systems, cultural heritage and historical backgrounds, some disagreements and even frictions may be unavoidable. What’s important is how we manage them. The relationship has been moving forward amid twists and turns in the past several decades, featuring both growing cooperation and some bumps along the way. Indeed, this is a complex relationship. We must use our wisdom to expand common interests and manage differences and disagreements. In a word, I believe that the two countries should develop a relationship on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, and embrace cooperation. That will be conducive to the interests of both countries and the world.



Xinhua News Agency: When we talk about the economic work agenda for the Chinese government this year, the words we have heard most frequently are stability and protections. What are their relations with market-oriented reforms? What will be the priorities of reform this year?



Premier Li: Our experience in the past 40-plus years of reform and opening-up shows that the greater difficulty we face, the more important it is for us to keep to reform. In our macro policies, we outlined sets of priority areas where stability is key and where protections are needed. Our measures are designed to help those vast numbers of market entities and are built around addressing their difficulties and concerns. This in itself is consistent with our market-oriented reform.



First and foremost, we must help all our businesses survive. Our solid measures must serve to provide vital relief to businesses and revitalize the market. Hence, all these measures must deliver real gains to companies and support self-employed individuals. As I said in the Government Work Report, we must do our utmost to help the 120 million market entities in China sustain themselves, and that will help us assure success for the future.



At the same time, we must work hard to help our businesses thrive by pressing ahead with reform of government functions. We will continue to foster a market-oriented and world-class business environment governed by a sound legal framework. The government must lift all unnecessary restrictions on market entities to facilitate fair competition. Such policies and measures, intangible as they are, will create tangible wealth in our businesses just like real investments.



Furthermore, we must work hard to help more new market entities emerge. We have seen a trend-bucking surge of growth in new forms of business and industry during the COVID-19 response, including online shopping, express delivery services, and teleworking. Some new forms of business have even seen their revenues increase by two thirds. I believe such developments are very much attributable to our initiatives and reforms in recent years, including the supply-side structural reform, our efforts to promote high-quality development and foster new drivers of growth, and our initiative of encouraging business start-ups and innovation. We must use the experience gained in this process to the fullest extent to foster more growth drivers and help more market entities grow. This year, our goal is to see that the number of newly registered businesses stay at about 20,000 on an average day. And that figure has become an important indicator gauging the economic vitality of China.



We pay close attention to these smaller firms, but we also highly value the role of big companies. We hope that companies of all sizes will be able to thrive together through close cooperation and collaboration. We also expect that more smaller firms will one day grow into large companies. This year, we must ensure full delivery of all these relief and support measures, and at the same time work for notable improvement in China’s business environment. These measures, when combined, will produce multiplying effects.

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