[BEIJING] China's Premier Li Keqiang said the government needs to push ahead with reforms and provide more public services amid challenges to the economy.
"China will still face relatively significant downward pressure this year, and it might face more difficulties than before," Mr Li said at a State Council meeting in Beijing on Monday, according to a statement posted on the cabinet's website.
"China must promote structural reform to push for economic restructuring, and provide more public goods and services."
The government is scheduled to release data tomorrow that's forecast to show the economy grew in the fourth quarter at the slowest quarterly pace since 2009. Chinese equities plunged the most in six years on Monday after regulatory efforts to rein in record margin lending sparked concern that speculative traders will pull back from the world's best-performing stock market.
China will also deepen reforms in the medical-care system and add doctors in rural areas, Mr Li said, according to a separate statement on the State Council's Weibo microblog.