China’s top leaders gathering in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday also flagged a further crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, as they outlined plans for the country’s post-coronavirus economic recovery.
Premier Li Keqiang surprised markets by setting a 6 per cent gross domestic product growth target. This compared to 2.3 per cent growth last year after the pandemic forced the country’s factories to close for two months.
While economists had predicted growth of up to 8 per cent, it was widely believed the Chinese government would not set a target for the second consecutive year because of the uncertainties caused by the pandemic.
Presenting his annual budget for the world’s second-largest economy, Mr Li also announced plans to create 11 million jobs, an increase on last year’s 9 million jobs target. China set an urban unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent.