From the AP, via the Washington Post (link):
For months, Chinese leaders have been trying to quell tensions in the restive countryside with promises of more schools, health care and other aid to people who have missed out on the country's economic boom.
When parliament begins its annual session Sunday, they'll need to start explaining how their ambitious commitments will be carried out _ and paid for.
Chinese political leaders and delegates attending the opening ceremony of the Chinese Peoples' Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing's Great Hall of the People Thursday March 3, 2005. The panel that lets China's parliament know what's happening in the country's far-flung regions, traditionally a toothless advisory body, may play a more significant part this year as the leadership grapples with growing rural discontent and enduring poverty, analysts say. The National People's Congress is largely powerless, but the 10-day meeting provides a stage for strategies to address what the government says is now its priority _ spreading prosperity to rural China, home to 800 million people.