China media: Growth target

China's Premier Li Keqiang delivers the government work report during the opening ceremony of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Li Keqiang said economic development was the central task of his government

Media are backing Premier Li Keqiang's reforms and growth targets outlined in his speech at the annual parliament session in Beijing.

Mr Li delivered his work report at the National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature, which opened its meeting on Wednesday.

"The report reflects strongly the style of Mr Li. For the first two minutes, he did not even look at the scripts, this shows his familiarity with the report… and his emphasis on the phrase 'rule of law' is signalling that the government will be one that is ruled by law," says the Beijing News.

The Southern Metropolis Daily and the Beijing Times point out that the new leadership has emphasised determination to deepen reforms - and hope the promises will be delivered soon.

On the economy, Mr Li set a growth target of 7.5%, which the People's Daily says is "achievable" and shows the government's confidence in maintaining sustainable growth.

The China Daily describes Mr Li's speech as "inspiring". Other media outlets noted that he departed from the script to condemn the Kunming attack while talking about national security and anti-terrorism efforts.

Meanwhile, media are defending the government's plans to increase the military budget by 12.2% after Japan voiced concerns over the move.

In response, Qin Gang, spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, quipped that "the People's Liberation Army are not just Boy Scouts holding on to spears. Some countries are always expecting that China is a boy scout that will never grow up".

The Beijing News quotes a report from Xinhua News agency saying the increased expenditure will be used in areas including modernising military equipment, improving soldiers' living conditions, as well as adjusting expenses for army maintenance.

"China's defence budget might seem to be on the increase, but it has actually gone down in terms of GDP. In recent years, it has been only just above 5% of the GDP. However in the past, defence expenditure has even gone up to 7%," Qian Lihua, former director-general of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defence, is quoted on China Military Online as saying.

The Global Times Chinese edition refutes Japan's concerns and says Beijing is "not competing with anyone". It adds that China's military capability is not even on a par with Russia's.

Chen Zhou, a researcher from Academy of Military Science, brushes off concerns regarding the lack of transparency in the expenditure.

"China has insisted on using a stringent auditing system on defence expenses. The government will allocate the defence budget in strict accordance with the defence and budget law," he tells the Beijing Youth Daily.

'K-pop' fan

Anti-terrorism efforts also continue to be the focus of the media after the Kunming attack.

According to the Global Times Chinese edition, Qin Guangrong, party chief of Yunnan province, has revealed that the eight attackers had tried to leave China to participate in "jihad" but came back to Yunnan when they failed to leave the country.

Li Jiheng, governor of Yunnan province, called for a better intelligence and anti-terrorism warning mechanism as the current system is inadequate, obstructing the flow of information, the Yunnan Info Daily reports.

Zhang Chunxian, party chief of Xinjiang region, tells the Beijing Youth Daily that Xinjiang is now the "frontline and main battlefield in anti-terrorism" and it is "in a painful period" in the fight against "separatism".

Beijing blamed the Kunming attacks on separatists from Xinjiang Autonomous Region, home to the Muslim Uighur minority group.

And finally, the "K-pop" has a new admirer after Wang Qishan, head of the Chinese Communist Party's anti-corruption body, admits he is a fan of a Korean TV series.

On the sidelines of the National People's Congress, Mr Wang said that the latest popular TV series, My Love from the Star, was his favourite.

He said core values in Korean TV series represented Chinese traditional culture, adding that the future of China's cultural industries would "not stay far from what our ancestors have left behind for us".

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