"We watch (the official GDP announcement) as closely as we do in some sense out of a sense of obligation," Donald Straszheim, head of China Research at Evercore ISI, told CNBC in 2016.
Li also said in remarks prepared for delivery at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament that China will push forward with supply-side reforms this year and achieve new progress in structural adjustments in key areas.
China will also take steps to control risks and ensure safety in the financial sector, the premier said.
China should have higher levels of vigilance against risks from non-performing assets, debt defaults, shadow banking and internet finance, Li said.
It will steadily push forward with de-leveraging this year, mainly in the non-financial corporate sector, he added.
China also plans to push forward with asset securitization and debt-to-equity swaps this year.
China will continue to implement a city-based policy to reduce real estate inventories, mainly in the third and fourth-tier cities, Li said.
On Sunday, the country also set a budget deficit target of 3 percent of gross domestic product for 2017, the finance ministry said in its work plan, in line with the target set a year earlier.
China set a fiscal deficit target for the year of 2.38 trillion yuan ($345.16 billion). Last year, Beijing set a 2016 budget deficit target of 3 percent of GDP.
Notable targets from Li's prepared remarks on Sunday:
- China targets 2017 GDP growth target of around 6.5 percent
- China targets 2017 CPI target of around 3 percent
- China targets 2017 budget deficit target at 3 percent of GDP
- China targets 2017 M2 growth target of around 12 percent
Li also said in his prepared remarks that China will resolutely oppose and contain Taiwan
"We will never tolerate any activity, in any form or name, which attempts to separate Taiwan from the motherland," Li said.
Li additionally commented that the notion of Hong Kong independence would lead nowhere and China would strengthen its maritime and air defense capabilities.
—CNBC's Sophia Yan and Everett Rosenfeld contributed to this report.