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This session of National People’s Congress will be more memorable for the fact that it marks the transition to the next generation of senior Chinese leaders than for any pronouncements. Premier Wen Jiabao will pass his mantle to Li Keqiang at a time when stalling growth, widening wealth disparities, pervasive corruption and mounting social unrest mean people are anxious for change.
Whereas Mr Wen took a populist approach on taking office a decade ago, emphasising the needs of the rural economy, Mr Li will embrace an ambitious urbanisation programme as the solution for China’s many ills. For the premier-designate, this is more than just a growth driver – it is the key to addressing many of the country’s challenges, from inequality and environmental degradation to exploitative land grabs by local officials.
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