At a press conference to close the annual NPC meetings, Premier Wen Jiabao rejected any comparisons between the situation in China and those in Tunisia and Egypt that led to popular revolutions there. From AP:
Social stability in China, where there is a growing gap between rich and poor, is a big concern of the government. The National People’s Congress that closed Monday promised higher social spending, controls on inflation and measures to urgently close the divisive rich-poor gap, betting that rising living standards and better services will dampen growing public expectations for political change.
The emphasis comes as the government seems increasingly anxious about online calls of unknown origin urging Chinese to stage peaceful rallies every Sunday like the ones in Tunisia and Egypt. Beijing has been smothering under ever-heavier security since the Internet messages first appeared more than a month ago. No similar protests have emerged in China.
Wen’s comments came after the congress approved economic plans for the next five years that aim to empower consumers but rejected any hints of political reforms.