More striking was a vision Li outlined of a more limited government and its ties to reducing graft and unleashing the dynamism of entrepreneurs, migrant workers and the middle class. To do so will require taking on vested interests, he said, without identifying by name the powerful state-run enterprises and well-connected businesses.
"The government should be the guardian of social fairness. We need to work hard to create equal opportunities for everyone," Li said. "So that people's hard work will be duly rewarded, and that whatever type of wealth creator you are -- a state-owned enterprise, a private enterprise or individually run business -- as long as you compete on level playing and conduct business in a clean and honest way then you will be able to taste success."
Li said that a government restructuring approved by the legislature is intended to streamline decision-making and limit interference in people's lives. He promised to reduce by at least a third the 1,700 approvals required by the State Council, or Cabinet, for financing of projects and other work.
"We need to leave to the market and society what they can do well, and on the part of the government we need to manage well the matters that fall within its purview," Li said.