* China’s top leaders come together for condensed version of annual meeting after two-month delay because of the Covid-19 pandemic
* Government’s plans for reviving the economy, alleviating poverty and fiscal reform top the agenda
Beijing has announced an increase of 6.6 per cent in its military spending, but did not set a target for gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2020 as the National People’s Congress, China’s most important annual political event, got under way in Beijing on Friday.
Premier Li Keqiang said a sound legal system and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong should be established and separatist activities seeking Taiwan’s independence should be resolutely rejected.
Delayed for about two months because of the global health crisis, this year’s congress is expected to be several days shorter than usual. The thousands of deputies taking part were all tested for the coronavirus and isolated ahead of the event, while most of the interactions between deputies and reporters are expected to take place online.
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WNU Editor: There is going to be a reaction from the world over this Beijing move on Hong Kong …. China set to impose new Hong Kong security law, Trump warns of strong U.S. reaction (Reuters).
National People’s Congress: China’s parliament meets for post-virus show of strength — BBC
China promises funds to help economy, sets no growth target — AP
China’s premier warns of ‘immense’ challenges to economy — France 24
China drops GDP goal, pledges higher spending as parliament starts — Reuters
China doesn’t set GDP target, promises more than $400b to prop up coronavirus-hit economy — ABC News Online
China’s Premier Li Keqiang pledges to ‘ensure national security’ in Hong Kong and Macau — ABC News Online
China plans controversial security law in response to Hong Kong unrest — France 24
China lawmakers to vote on new security law for Hong Kong — DW
‘This is the end of Hong Kong’: China pushes controversial security laws — The Guardian
China’s leaders look to send message of control at annual political showcase — CNN
China congress: Leaders face unprecedented pressure — Al Jazeera