Mar.5 - Delegates arrive for China's National People's Congress and Premier Li Keqiang promises to fight economic slowdown in opening parliament speech. Sarah Toms reports.
China raises its national flag over Tiananmen Square on the opening of the National People's Congress parliament session. Security is tight here after a mass knife attack at a railway station south west of the country. Officials blame separatists from Xinjiang - which is home to the Muslim Uighur minority. One woman threw dozens of leaflets into the air. She was dragged away screaming. It is not known what she was protesting about. Police also stopped television media from filming. The crowds, who gathered to watch, were ushered away, as 3000 hand-picked delegates started to arrive in the Beijing capital. The cars of political leaders, generals and even monks were searched by police with dogs before they entered the building. And as parliament opened, delegates held a moment of silence for the victims of the stabbing attack. But it was soon straight down to business, when Premier Li Keqiang highlighted China's economic targets for this year. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE PREMIER LI KEQIANG, SAYING: "Faced with a difficult recovery of the world's economy, increased downward pressure on the domestic economy, frequently occurring national disasters, and a complex situation caused by an array of interrelating contradictions, the people of all ethnic groups in China, under the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party headed by chairman and comrade Xi Jinping, confidently met the challenges, strove to overcome difficulties, and fully achieved the main targets for economic and social development for the past year." China announced a growth target of 7.5 percent this year and revealed plans to raise its defence budget by 12.2%. The NPC has the power to enact and amend legislation. But it is generally considered a rubber stamp for the ruling Communist Party. During this session, delegates are set to implement some of the country's boldest economic and social reforms that were unveiled four months ago.