China's Premier promises stable growth as parliament opens
China's Premier, Wen Jiabao has promised stable growth, anti-corruption and better welfare provision as he opened an annual session of parliament.
Mr Wen, whose work report traditionally begins the session, also called for more balanced development in a lengthy speech on both achievements and plans.
The report set a target of 7.5% for economic growth , unchanged from 2012, with an inflation target of 3.5% , and promised to create more than nine million new urban jobs.
Mr Wen said boosting domestic consumption was key, calling it a "long-term strategy for economic development."
Noting that dramatic changes to Chinese society had led to a marked increase in social problems, Mr Wen said livelihood issues should be addressed.
"We must make ensuring and improving people's well-being the starting point and goal of all the government's work, give entire priority to it, and strive to strengthen social development,'' Mr Wen said.
He spoke of improving pension provision for the poor and also focused on the adverse effects of development on the environment.
"The state of the ecological environment affects the level of the people's well-being and also posterity and the future of our nation,'' he says.
Corruption was also on the agenda, with Mr Wen calling for strengthened "political integrity" and better checks on power.
"We should ensure that the powers of policy making, implementation and oversight both constrain each other and function in concert," he said.
State media also reported that defence spending would rise by 10.7% to 720.2bn yuan, a slight drop from the rise of 11.2% in 2012.
China's military spending has seen several years of double-digit growth - and observers say actual expenditure is believed to be far higher. But the figure falls well short of US military spending.
Nonetheless, increases to China's military budget are keenly watched both by the US and neighbouring countries with whom Beijing is currently engaged in a raft of territorial disputes.
Mr Wen also promised to " resolutely uphold China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity," drawing applause from delegates.
This work report - a 29 -page consensus document approved by the leadership - is Mr Wen's last. He is expected to be replaced by Li Keqiang as premier later in the parliament session.
This National People's Congress will see the final stage of the country's once-in-a-decade leadership change.
Communist Party chief Xi Jinping will become president, replacing Hu Jintao.
The event will be keenly watched to see who secures other top government posts.
Around 3,000 delegates are attending the Congress, including members of the military, monks, ethnic minority representatives and business leaders. The majority are members of China's Communist Party.
They are expected to approve plans to restructure several government departments as well as to amend some long-standing policies on the military, the virtual monopoly of some state enterprises and on individual freedoms.