BEIJING, May 14 (UPI) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, calling for reform of government functions, said such efforts will help maintain growth, control inflation and reduce risks.
Li, an economist who became the country's No. 2 leader during the once-a-decade leadership transition last November, spoke at a Cabinet meeting on government reform, China Daily reported Tuesday.
Li said China will allow the market to play a bigger role in economic innovation, the report said.
He said as power is delegated to lower levels, the government should shift its focus on improving the policy environment for development, providing high-quality public service and upholding social fairness and justice.
Li said there should be better balance between the government and the market and between the government and society.
He said reform of government functions is a major effort to help the nation maintain growth, control inflation, reduce risks and enjoy healthy and sustainable economic development, the report said. Reform also will contribute to fair competition in the market and to corporate-level efforts to upgrade management and technology.
Li called for more effective administration to deal with issues of public concerns such as food safety, environment and work safety, adding there should be swift justice when laws are broken.
"China, in the next step, will continue to push forward the initiative (on transforming government functions), with greater courage and wisdom," Li said. "We will fight to the end of the uphill battle."
China is facing economic slowdown, blamed on global conditions and weak domestic demand. In 2012, the economy expanded 7.8 percent, the slowest growth in 13 years. The government has set a growth target of 7.5 percent for this year.