Wen: I have said before that equity and justice shine more brightly than the sun. Equity and justice are the defining features of socialism. As a matter of fact, over the past 9 years, the government has put in a large amount of effort in promoting social equity and justice. I believe that these efforts should be widely recognized. On the legal front, we have amended the Chinese Constitution and we have incorporated the requirement that the state respects and protects human rights into the Chinese Constitution. We have formulated the Property Law to protect, on the basis of law, the legal private assets of the Chinese people. We have amended the Election Law to ensure equal right of election of urban and rural residents. We have abolished the regulations that put restrictions on the freedom of mobility of rural residents into the cities. In a short span of these years, the urbanization rate in China has exceeded 50%. Secondly, in the rural areas, we have abolished the agricultural tax so as to ease the burden on the part of Chinese farmers. Thirdly, as far as education is concerned, we have basically made the 9-year free compulsory education universally available. We have exempted the tuition fees for the students from rural areas who are engaged in the vocational education. We have provided scholarships and financial aid for students from rural areas during their senior middle school and college education. We have provided subsidies for students from poor families who are engaged in the rural boarding school education. Fourth, we have established and improved the social security system that covers old-age support, unemployment insurance, medical insurance and subsistence allowance. The program of medical insurance for both working and non-working urban residents and the program of the rural cooperative medical care now cover 1.3 billion people in China. All these are the institutional arrangements we have made to promote social equity and justice. But I'm fully aware that the people are still complaining about the income disparities, judicial injustice and some other problems. We must continue to do a conscientious job in promoting social equity and justice.
In the last year in office, this government plans to take on some tough tasks. We are determined to accomplish these tasks rather than pass the problems to the next government. First, we have the plan to formulate an overall plan for the reform of income distribution system in China. Second, we will formulate and introduce a regulation on the expropriation and compensation of the collectively-owned rural land so as to ensure farmers' property right to the land they have contracted. Third, we will extend the coverage of old-age insurance programs to the entire Chinese population. Fourth, on the basis of the newly-set poverty standard, we are going to press ahead with the work of poverty elimination. Fifth, the government has arranged the budget for meeting the target of raising the government’s expenditure on education to 4% of Chinese GDP. We must make every effort to meet these targets and ensure that every piece of the spending will be wisely used.
All the power of the government comes from the people. The government should create conditions for the people to criticize the government's work. I don't feel surprised at all that there have been some critical comments on the Internet about the performance of the government. I think it is only natural for that to happen. I believe that the government must seriously reflect on the critical views that the people have made. As a matter of fact, the government has often found food for thought from those critical comments and views made by the public while making decisions on many major issues. I have often thought about inviting some representatives of people who on a regularly basis make critical comments on the work of the government to Zhongnanhai so that we can have a face-to-face discussion about the issues that they are interested in. If you have followed the news coverage about my work of soliciting views on the report of the work of the government, you may have found out that actually such a practice has been tried, but I don't think it's enough yet.
During my term of office as the premier, there have been some slanders about me. I have not allowed myself to be disturbed by those slanders. But still, they have caused some pain, not the pain because a man of integrity and loyalty has been questioned and wronged, but because my independent character has not won people's understanding. That has made me feel a little worried about this society. I'll continue to press ahead with my work and to uphold my ideals without hesitation and misgivings and with the courage that one should not fear the rumors and slanders from others.