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Tuesday, 5 March, 2002, 04:04 GMT
Chinese PM attacks corruption
Opening session of China's parliament at the Great Hall of the People
Impressive gathering but delegates have little power
test hello test
By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
BBC Beijing Correspondent
China's Prime Minister, Zhu Rongji, has launched a fierce tirade against government waste and corruption.

Addressing the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress, Mr Zhu reeled off a long list of corrupt and wasteful practices he said must be stamped out.

He also warned of a difficult year ahead for China's economy as it starts to feel the effects of joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Standing before the 3,000 deputies gathered in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Premier Zhu laid out his view of what is right and wrong with China's government and economy.

He praised China's continued economic growth, its winning of the right to host the Olympics and its entry into the WTO.

Market challenge

But he also had stern words of warning. He said the coming year will be an arduous one for China's economy.

Membership in the WTO means it must now throw open its markets to the outside world, just as the world economy is entering a slowdown.

He also dwelt at length on the growing problems in China's countryside, where incomes are falling and unrest is growing.

But he saved his most scathing attack for China's vast army of corrupt and wasteful bureaucrats.

He reeled off a long list of abuses - from using public funds for wining and dining and private travel abroad to local governments who build unfeasibly grand construction projects when they cannot even pay the wages of their workers on time.

One opinion poll after another in China has shown that official corruption is the number one concern of China's public.

The BBC's Fiona Werge
"China's leaders want the good will of the people"
See also:

05 Mar 02 | Media reports
Excerpts from Chinese premier's speech
22 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Bush preaches democracy to China
20 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Neither enemies nor friends
21 Feb 02 | Media reports
Chinese President's speech in full
21 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
China's heir apparent to visit US
13 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Corruption: End of China's Party?
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