AFP: Over the last year, there have been a series of self-immolation in the Tibetan area of China. Is this a matter of great concern to you personally? What do you think your government can do? What's the best way for your government to address this situation?
Wen: In the past weeks and months, there have been several instances of self-immolation on the part of monks in the Tibetan-inhabited areas of China. We are opposed to taking such radical moves, which disturb and undermine social harmony. The young Tibetans are innocent. We feel deeply distressed by their behavior. At the same time, I must point out that all should recognize that Tibet and the Tibetan-inhabited areas of four provinces are inseparable parts of China's territory. The so-called Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala in India is in nature a theocratic one both under the direct control of the Dalai Lama and under his indirect influence. Its purpose is to separate Tibet and the Tibetan-inhabited areas of four provinces from China. We have a firm position and principle on this matter.
Tibet practices regional ethnic autonomy system. Over the past years, Tibet has made significant progress in economic and social development, but we also recognize that Tibet is still behind the central and eastern part of China in terms of economic and social progress. The Chinese government has taken strong measures to accelerate the economic and social development in Tibet, including the formulation of a new plan for that purpose in the hope that we would be able to further promote the living standards of the farmers and herdsmen in Tibet. Tibet needs to develop its economy on a sustained basis and at the same time we must pay close attention to eco environment conservation and preservation of cultural heritages in Tibet. We respect the freedom of religious belief of Tibetan compatriots and their religious belief is protected by the law. We must treat all our Tibetan compatriots as equals and with respect and make continuous improvement in our work in this area.
If you are not too tired, I would like to take two more questions?
China News Service: The Chinese economy has sustained a robust growth over the recent years, but at the same time, the problem of widening income gap has become more acute. In your government reports in recent years, you have said several times that the government wants to reverse the trend of the widening wealth gap in China. What step will the government take to resolve this problem so that more Chinese people will be truly sharing the fruits of China's reform and development?
Wen: To address the problem of income distribution gap, I believe that it is important to take steps in the following four areas. First, we will continue to increase the income of urban and rural residents. We will raise the level of minimum wage so that people's income would be able to rise in tandem with economic growth and the increase in productivity. Second, we will make adjustments to income distribution. We will further regulate the incomes of high-income groups, in particular the pay and bonuses of senior managers of state-owned enterprises and state-owned financial institutions. We will increase the proportion of middle-income groups. Third, we will further improve the social security system. Fourth, we will protect lawful incomes and resolutely ban illegal incomes.
To promote the income equality, I think that the following three points are very important: first, the government must create equal conditions for all in terms of education, employment and starting one's own businesses so that all people will be able to get started from the same starting line; second, we must pay close attention to the wellbeing of the vulnerable groups in the society. I believe if the living conditions of the those groups can be improved, in essence there will be a sweeping improvement of the living standards of all the people in the society; and third, we must continue to reform the fiscal system and income distribution system so as to put in place the institutional arrangements for us to achieve the goal of common prosperity.