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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2005, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
China plan to focus on wealth gap
Chinese rural area
Rural areas are being left behind by growing urban affluence
China's ruling party has ended its annual plenary session by approving a new five-year plan to address the growing gap between rich and poor.

Few details have come out of the four-day meeting, but delegates are thought to have discussed ways to improve social services.

Correspondents say China's leaders are worried that rising discontent may threaten their grip on power.

Public unrest over corruption and inequality is rising in rural areas.

Last year, the government documented more than 70,000 protests involving over three million people.

The so-called Five-Year Plan for National Economy and Social Development is expected to put greater emphasis on improving social services rather than the fast growth model that Beijing has emphasised in the past.

President Hu Jintao said before the meeting began that the priority should be to balance economic, environmental and social development to build a "more balanced and harmonious society".

The new plan will call for "stable and rapid economic growth" while urging a number of "strategic adjustments" to avoid economic swings, the People's Daily newspaper reported last week.

The four-day plenary session was the first in which President Hu's predecessor Jiang Zemin did not hold some kind of official position.

Mr Hu replaced Mr Jiang as party chief in 2002, state president in 2003 and military chief last year.





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