14 March 2011 VOA News Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has rejected comparisons between China and the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.
At a press briefing Monday, Mr. Wen told reporters that “it is not right” to compare China with countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, whose leaders were forced out by peaceful mass uprisings.
Mr. Wen's comments came at the close of the National People's Congress, which approved a five-year economic plan aimed at empowering consumers, but rejected any political reforms.
The plan promises more rural health care spending and job help for unemployed farmers, a step that could promote the growth of service industries and consumption.
Social stability in China, where there is a growing gap between rich and poor, is a big concern for the government.
Although activists have called for Middle East-type demonstrations, security forces have intervened before they could start.
China has expressed concern over a U.S. decision to put some Chinese firms on a list of companies that sell fake and pirated goods.
Li Chenggang, head of the Chinese commerce ministry's department of treaty and law, said Sunday that putting companies on the list could harm their reputation.
Li also questioned the validity of the list, which he said was not based either on an investigation or an evaluation by the U.S. government.
Last month, the Office of the United States Trade Representative issued a list of so-called “notorious markets” in an effort to stem global piracy and the counterfeiting of brand-name products.
The list includes several Chinese businesses, including the Internet search engine Baidu, Beijing's Silk Street Market and online commerce sites such as Alibaba and Taobao.
Li said China has strengthened efforts to protect intellectual property rights and will continue to do so.
China is one of the world's largest producer of counterfeit goods, including imitations of Louis Vuitton bags, Apple mobile phones, Rolex watches and other renowned products.