Govt pledges more affordable housing

Updated: 2013-10-30 23:48

By He Dan and Yang Yao (China Daily)

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The country's top leaders have vowed to improve people's livelihoods by building more affordable housing and speeding up legislation for social relief work.

President Xi Jinping said the government should meet its goal of building 36 million affordable homes from 2011 to 2015, as he presided over a meeting on Tuesday of the Political Bureau, the Party's top decision-making body.

Xi said the government should focus on providing affordable housing while allowing the market to play a dominant role in housing supply to meet the diverse needs of the people.

China will also expand its efforts through legislation to help disadvantaged groups such as the disabled, the poor, childless elderly and people affected by natural disasters, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.

A sound social relief network for the disadvantaged is vital for promoting social justice and helping all people enjoy the fruit of development, the statement said.

Formulating a law on social relief has been included in the five-year legislative agenda of the National People's Congress, the top legislature.

The legislative process should be accelerated by drawing on successful practices and experience at home and abroad to help the underprivileged, the statement said.

Governments should also improve transparency by publishing information on social relief funds and resources.

Ge Daoshun, a sociologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China urgently needs a law on social relief to regulate activities of governments, charity organizations and volunteers.

Wang Yan, an official in the social relief office of the Beijing Civil Affairs Bureau, said she believed a social relief law would provide a legal basis to punish fraud and corruption.

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