In his last speech to the National People's Congress as premier, Zhu Rongji warned delegates that China could not afford to neglect the problems of rural areas. He said that if conditions in the countryside were not improved, farmers would be discouraged from producing, which would threaten the health of the whole economy. One measure he urged to be implemented was the nationwide application of a pilot scheme in Anhui to decrease the imposition of fees on farmers and replace them with taxes. He also announced a new bond issue of Yn140bn to provide funds for infrastructure spending.
Following Zhu's speech, the State Development Planning Commission said that government action would focus on four areas to narrow the gap between rural and urban areas. They involve restructuring agricultural production to meet market demand, replacing fees with taxes, investing more in rural infrastructure and making it easier for the surplus rural labour force to find work in urban areas.