China’s annual parliamentary session is the media’s one chance every year to get up close to so many Chinese policymakers, influential businessmen and local government leaders all at the same time.
This year is no different.
Thousands of reporters have flocked to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing – where the annual “two sessions”, or “lianghui”, is being held – to approach the nation’s who’s who with their burning questions on the political scene, the economy, bilateral relations and so on.
READ MORE about China’s ‘Two Sessions’ 2016
The South China Morning Post’s team of reporters at the scene give you live updates on what China’s movers and shakers are saying at the country’s biggest political event of the year.
Li Daokui, former People’s Bank of China adviser, on China’s lowering of banks’ reserve requirement ratio
“[This does not mean that] China is going to flood the economy with liquidity again ... No, it is not intended to flood the economy with liquidity. Instead, it is part of a policy mix.
“[The next steps will be to] accelerate restructuring and reduce leverage ... But again, there should be no one-cut-for-all in de-leveraging.”
Li said China should not “learn from the United States” in blindly lowering the down payments of mortgage loans. Coordination among the central bank and financial regulators should be improved, he said, “but this doesn’t mean that we have to merge them”.
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Zhang Xiaoqiang, former vice-chairman with the National Development and Reform Commission, said the yuan had no fundamental reason to weaken.
As for merging the central bank and financial regulators, he said it was a big issue that required in-depth research.
China’s foreign exchange reserves were still sufficient if measured by common international standards of covering imports, he said, adding that the country’s outbound investment would continue to boom.
Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo, on the South China Sea
“Militarisation is an issue created by the United States. In fact, the US – the Americans – are the hero of the story. As a country outside the region, it deployed aircraft carriers and military bases [in the South China Sea] and intruded into our airspace with B52 bombers … Aren’t all these actions considered militarisation? Who’s militarising, if not them?”
READ MORE: China’s military is prepared ‘to defend sovereignty’ in South China Sea: military chief
Qian Lihua, former head of the foreign affairs office of the Ministry of National Defence, on North Korea
“North Korea is testing the bottom line of the United Nations and its neighbours with its short-range-missile-firing drill this morning ... As for the challenge for northeastern Asia, the army exists for wars. Chinese armies are ready for any challenge from any direction, including from the sea and the land.
“Over the past two decades, the UN has introduced a series of sanctions against North Korea, but none have worked. The recent resolution is the harshest in 20 years.
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“It remains to be observed whether it can work, because the development of nuclear weapons has been written into their law ... China still needs to keep non-governmental communication with North Korea, because it still needs to consider North Korean people’s livelihood.
Huang Shuxian, deputy chief of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
“We achieved great progress last year against corruption, but the situation this year remains complex. [We should] maintain the political determination, keep up the efforts and carry the fight against corruption through to the very end. [We should] maintain the high pressure on the corruption crackdown.”
READ MORE about Xi Jinping’s corruption crackdown
Huang said inspections in local governments were also a powerful way to unearth problems so as to fix them.
“We’ve sent inspectors to all local governments, and central-level financial corporates too. Later, we’ll be covering ministries under the central government. Also, we need to check whether the problems found during the inspections have been resolved, and strengthen efforts in fixing issues that have caused great public concern.”
Huang declined to answer when asked about the progress of the case regarding Ling Wancheng, brother of former presidential aide Ling Jihua. Ling Wancheng is now in the United States.