BEIJING — China’s new central leaders will focus on paring back government spending and red tape, tamping down corruption and maintaining economic growth while improving wages and closing a widening income gap, the new Chinese premier pledged on Sunday.
In his first meeting with the press, newly installed Premier Li Keqiang said the government’s priorities during the next few years will lie in tackling critical fiscal issues, particularly widespread government corruption and overspending in government.
Li, who assumed the premier position as new President Xi Jinping took the helm, met with hundreds of journalists at the Great Hall of the People to close out this year’s session of the National People’s Congress — the capstone moment in China’s once-in-a-decade power transition process. As is always the case in this annual meeting between the Chinese premier and the press, reporters’ questions were pre-screened in advance from media organizations chosen ahead of the conference, removing opportunity for spontaneous dialogue.
Li said China is aiming for 7.5 percent economic growth through 2020, a reduced pace yet sustained pace that is apt to require dramatic and potentially painful shifts in the country’s financial structure.
“We need to maintain steady economic growth, control inflation and protect against major fluctuations,” said Li.
Maintaining 7.5 percent growth “will not be easy…the key is to have economic transformation,” he added.
Chinese leaders are aiming at innovation and spurring domestic demand as keys to that transformation. Although consumer demand and spending have grown quickly in China, the country’s leadership is intent on driving demand and spending up. Perhaps more importantly, there is wide recognition of the need to move away from low-cost manufacturing and incorporate creativity and invention as parts of the economic blueprint. Moving toward an economy based on innovation seems far off for China, however, when the country faces major roadblocks in education and similar critical areas.
The new premier said that quashing corruption and extravagant spending are key goals for the new regime. China’s leadership has come under intense scrutiny in the past two years for rampant corruption across all reaches of the government. Li said the new central government directionwould include limits on government building projects, entertainment budgets and salaries.
“The reform is about curbing government power. It’s about a self-imposed revolution,” said Li. “We are determined to make that sacrifice.”
Li said the government will also make a concerted effort to reduce China’s infamous web of bureaucratic red tape. The layers of government approvals for business endeavors will be reduced by one-third, he said, as part of a directive to make China’s system more efficient.
Li’s press conference was held after a speech from new President Xi Jinping, who spoke to similar themes with less specificity. Xi, who takes the presidency at a moment widely viewed as a transition point for China, spoke of the need for China’s government to work toward the “Chinese dream."
Though his speech lacked specifics on policy plans, Xi highlighted what has become an ongoing narrative, the opening of a "great renaissance of the Chinese nation.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty