China's economy faces increased downward pressure, the premier has said, as the country prepares to announce first-quarter economic growth.
The government must "stand up to the downward pressure," Premier Li Keqiang said late on Friday, to avoid an impact on employment and incomes, according to a statement on the government's website.
"At this time, the national economy is running smoothly, but downward pressure continues to grow," Li said.
Li also called for speeding up reforms in the northeast, a centre of mining and heavy industry that has been lagging in growth.
The central government will funnel more support to the region for infrastructure, agriculture and equipment export, he said.