5-year plan will address wealth gap, China says5-year plan will address wealth gap, China says
China's Communist Party leadership, concluding its annual planning session, approved a new economic blueprint that it says will address the country's yawning wealth gap and reduce "outstanding contradictions" that have led to a rash of social unrest. Hu Jintao, president and Communist Party chief, put his oratorical stamp on China's forthcoming five-year economic plan, his first since becoming the party's top boss in 2002. The work report describing the plan - read verbatim on the main evening newscast on Tuesday - was filled with his slogans, such as building a "harmonious society" through "scientific development." The leadership is also alarmed by a surge of protests, especially in the vast countryside, where corruption, land grabs by government agencies and private developers, a crumbling health care system and worsening pollution have sparked the worst outbreak of unrest since the Beijing democracy demonstration in 1989. After more than a decade of city-centered economic growth, urban residents on average take home more than three times as much money as their rural counterparts, one of the largest wealth gaps in the world. The number of mass protests in China increased to 74,000 last year from 10,000 in 1994, according to police figures.