Reform is key to solving problems, premier says
When Premier Li Keqiang asked Niang Maoxian for advice on Thursday, the physician didn’t hesitate to give it.
“We want more medical devices,” she said. “It would be great if the government could provide enough of them for 56 hospitals that are still short of equipment in our prefecture.”
The director of the obstetrics and gynecology department at People’s Hospital in the Huangnan Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Qinghai province made the appeal at a National People’s Congress panel discussion.
Niang, from the Tibetan ethnic group, is a deputy to the top legislature.
The premier took notes as he listened to Niang. He said he will ask the government to follow up on the matter. “We will definitely address the problem (of medical equipment shortages),” he said.
But to solve the problem at its roots, the key is healthcare reform, which helps to allocate medical resources more efficiently across the country, Li said.
“Qinghai has taken a lead in healthcare reform,” he said. “Its experience can be promoted nationwide.”
The province, with one of the largest impoverished populations in China, has taken a lead by increasing medical insurance coverage and developing lower-tier clinics.
Reform will solve problems in not only the medical sector but elsewhere, the premier said as he joined panel discussions with lawmakers from Shandong and Qinghai provinces.
With reforms expected to deepen, China will be able to achieve its economic targets this year despite tough and complicated conditions, Li said after hearing suggestions from deputies. “The 1.3 billion Chinese have a lot of potential. We must continue to release dividends of reform and keep the economy running within a reasonable range,” Premier Li Keqiang said.
The reasonable range, as previously explained by Li, means that GDP growth should be no lower than 7.5 percent and inflation no higher than 3.5 percent year-on-year.
Like Niang, 12 other deputies from the two provinces voiced their suggestions, all saying that reform should be the work priority this year for the central and local governments.
Zhang Hui, a deputy and also mayor of Weihai in Shandong province, said innovation is needed urgently in the development of fisheries in distant waters, the city’s primary industry.
Weihai is home to 313 distant fishing vessels, comprising 15 percent of the nation’s total, Zhang said.
However, Zhang said the industry is underdeveloped as China lags behind in building the vessels required and in the technology for quick-freezing and ocean shipping.
Lawmaker Hao Peng, governor of Qinghai province, recalled difficult times during the first half of last year, and thought the central government would announce short-term stimulus measures soon.
During those times, Hao said he waited for the 7 pm news program every Wednesday, when the statement from the latest State Council executive meeting was broadcast.
“I hoped that I would sense any change in policies from the programs, but shortly afterwards I realized we have to rely on reform to motivate the market, instead of stimulus policies” he said.