Premier Wen Jiabao focused on serving the needs of the rural poor in his speech opening the National People’s Congress annual meeting in Beijing on Sunday. While emphasizing that China isnï¿½t turning its back on rapid economic growth or the reforms that are coming with it, Wen acknowledged the need for a more inclusive program to create a ï¿½harmonious societyï¿½. He referred to a number of measures aimed at closing the gap between rich and poor ï¿½ most of them already announced ï¿½ such as free education in rural areas, the abolition of agricultural tax and improving the rural hospital network. Wen also outlined an official economic growth target of 8% for 2006 and indicated that spending would fall, the budget deficit reaching US$36.7 billion, a US$5 billion fall on 2005. But the budget does include a 15% rise in military spending to US$35.1 billion.