China's prime minister announced a slate of new construction projects and increased subsidies to keep the country growing amid the global financial crisis. In his annual speech to the country's legislature, Wen Jiabao admitted that China faces "unprecedented difficulties and challenges" and would need to shift policies to push citizens to spend and consume more goods as exports fall. But Wen did not announce any new spending beyond last fall's $585 billion stimulus, reports the New York Times.
Wen set a target of 8% GDP growth for 2009, the same as in previous years, although economists see that figure as optimistic. China analysts said that the government's economic program had two intertwined goals: riding out the crisis and maintaining social order as joblessness rises. "Everything from delivering growth to holding down unemployment, it’s all about stability," said one economist.