01 Mar '11, 2am

Political tension high ahead of China congress

Political tension high ahead of China congress

BEIJING: China's parliament opens its annual session this week in the most tense climate in years, after unrest in the Middle East highlighted a tinder box of social issues that have jangled nerves in Beijing. The National People's Congress, which is made up of about 3,000 delegates, has limited power and its week-long meeting serves more as a rally exalting the ruling Communist Party than a forum for real parliamentary debate. But it is used by the government to outline its priorities for each year via an address by Premier Wen Jiabao at the start of the session on Saturday. Wen gave a preview last weekend -- and offered a clear sign of official unease. Wen pledged in a chat with Internet users on Sunday to tackle soaring inflation, a widening wealth gap and official corruption in the world's second-largest economy. Those are among the hot-button issues that sparked popul...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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