China’s People’s Congress intends to approve the planned reorganization of the Chinese government at its annual meeting, which runs until March 13.

The spokesman for the conference, Wang Chao, told the press in Beijing on Saturday that nearly 3,000 delegates had registered for the session in the Great Hall of the People.

Prime Minister Li Keqiang will open the plenary session of Parliament in the Great Hall of the People on Sunday with his final statement of accounts. The 67-year-old prime minister, who is leaving after two terms in office, is likely to set a growth target of around five percent or even slightly more for this year.

Only three percent growth due to the Covid pandemic

A similar figure of around 5.5 percent was aimed for last year. Under the pressure of the zero-Covid policy with lockdowns, forced quarantine and mass tests, which was only abandoned in December, the second-largest economy had only achieved three percent. It was the second-worst growth rate since 1976 and only slightly better than 2020’s 2.2 percent at the start of the pandemic.

The new budget will also be presented at the beginning of the meeting. Against the background of growing tensions with Taiwan, observers are once again expecting an above-average increase in military spending of possibly around seven percent.

The main focus of the conference is the extensive reform of the government, which only takes place every ten years. The all-powerful head of state and party leader Xi Jinping is to be confirmed as president for an unprecedented third term. The 69-year-old had already ignored earlier age and term limits at the party conference in October.

Former Shanghai party leader Li Qiang is to become the new prime minister. The 63-year-old has had a long career, most of which he has spent on the prosperous east coast of China. He is said to have economic expertise and a friendly attitude towards private companies.