China's Wen Jiabao bids farewell to people ahead of retirement
Beijing: China's outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday bid farewell to Chinese people, thanking them for giving him a chance to serve them and sought their forgiveness for any mistakes.
"As I am about to retire, I have deep respect and gratitude for the people. I hope our country's future will be better and better and that its people will be happier and happier," Wen, who held the post for a decade, said.
Wen,70, is due to retire in the next few days along with President Hu Jintao paving the way for a new administration headed by new leader, Xi Jinping.
Addressing a panel discussion with deputies from southwest China's Sichuan Province during a meeting with group of legislators of the National People's Congress (NPC), he expressed confidence in his successor, Li Keqiang, who is slated to take over in the next few days.
Quoting an ancient Chinese poem suggesting that young birds sing more beautifully than older ones, Wen said he believes his successor will do a better job than he did.
"The past decade was extraordinary in the country's development history. I am very grateful and have cherished the chance to serve the country," he said.
Wen said he has pushed reform forward, boosted the economy, improved livelihoods and promoted social progress since the beginning of his tenure.
The government worked to realise the wishes of the people and that its performance is subject to the evaluation of the people.
"In those years, if I did something good for the people, it would be the result of their trust, understanding and support. All credit should go to the people," state-run Xinhua quoted him as saying.
"If I did not do enough, it would mean that I was not competent enough. I beg forgiveness from the people," he said.
Wen, who has served as premier since 2003, presented a government work report at the opening meeting of the national legislative session on Tuesday for the last time.