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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 April 2006, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
China worried over pace of growth
By Daniel Griffiths
BBC News, Beijing

Chinese President Hu Jintao
Hu said China does not seek 'high-speed' economic growth
Chinese President Hu Jintao has expressed concern over the rapid speed of the country's economic development.

He said the Chinese economy had grown by more than 10% in the past year, but that such high growth was not an official target.

He added the government wanted to pay more attention to improving the lives of ordinary people.

There are also fears that fast economic growth could impact on the country's resources and the environment.

These latest figures suggest that China's economy is still growing at a blistering pace.

That is good news for many here who have benefited from that stellar rise, but it is giving the government a headache.

Economic miracle

President Hu said the government does "not seek high-speed economic growth".

"We are concerned about the pace of development and the quality and the effect of our growth," he said during a meeting in Beijing with former Taiwan opposition leader Lien Chan.

"We are also concerned about saving our resources, environmental protection and the improvement of our people's livelihood," he said.

China needs fast growth to create jobs but President Hu's comments reflect increasing concern among the country's top leaders that the economy may be over-heating.

There are also fears that hundreds of millions of people living in the countryside have missed out on the nation's economic miracle.

Last year the government announced that it would adopt policies to improve that situation.

But any reforms will take time to sink in.

These new statistics are also likely to increase US criticism of China's economic policies ahead of President Hu's visit to Washington later in the week.

The US trade deficit with China is at an all-time high, and many in Washington are demanding that the Chinese government take action to change that.

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