Delegates from all over China have arrived for the opening of the country's parliament meeting. About 3,000 hand-picked delegates climbed the steps of the Great Hall of the People for the start of the National People's Congress.

Representatives of China's many ethnic minority communities, wearing traditional costumes, brought a splash of colour to the parliamentary session.

China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
Ethnic minority delegates from Guizhou Province pose ahead of the opening session of China's parliamentCarlos Barria/Reuters
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
A delegate wearing ethnic minority attire smiles as she attends the opening session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in BeijingWang Zhao/AFP
China National Peoples Congress NPC
A delegate from a minority ethnic group arrives for the NPCFred Dufour/AFP
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
Delegates attend the opening of the annual full session of the National People's CongressBarry Huang/Reuters
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
A delegate from the Oroqen ethnic minority, wearing a deer hat, arrives at the Great Hall of the PeopleCarlos Barria/Reuters
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
Ethnic minority delegates from Guizhou Province pose for pictures in front of the Great Hall of the PeopleCarlos Barria/Reuters
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
Ethnic minority delegates wearing traditional costume arrive for the opening of the National People's CongressKim Kyung Hoon/Reuters
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
Ethnic minority delegates leave the Great Hall of the PeopleGoh Chai Hin/AFP
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
Two delegates chat before the opening session of the National People's CongressFeng Li/Getty images
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
An ethnic minority delegate checks his mobile phone in the Great Hall of the PeopleFeng Li/Getty images
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
Two delegates from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region chat in the Great Hall of the PeopleFeng Li/Getty images

China announced a lower economic growth target for this year and promised to open more industries to foreign investors as it tries to make its slowing, state-dominated economy more productive.

The growth target of about 7%, down from last year's 7.5%, is in line with efforts to create a "moderately prosperous society," Premier Li Keqiang told China's ceremonial national legislature. Actual economic growth last year was 7.4%, the lowest since 1990.

The ruling Communist Party is in the midst of a marathon effort to guide the world's second-largest economy to slower but more self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption and services. It is trying to replace a worn-out model driven by trade and investment in construction and heavy industry that has left China's air and water badly polluted.

Many delegates hope this year's parliament session will yield results on the environment, an increasingly hot issue amongst members of the public.

China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
Two paramilitary policemen stand guard under red flags on the roof of the National Museum in BeijingJason Lee/Reuters
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
Paramilitary soldiers stand guard near the Great Hall of the PeopleKim Kyung Hoon/Reuters
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
A television anchorwoman works at Tiananmen Square during the opening session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the PeopleFeng Li/Getty images
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
A network journalist holds a selfie stick as delegates arrive at the Great Hall of the People for the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's CongressJason Lee/Reuters
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
Souvenir plates bearing the images of China's President Xi Jinping and the late Chairman Mao Tse-tung are displayed at a shop near the Great Hall of the PeopleKim Kyung Hoon/Reuters
China National Peoples Congress NPC Beijing
Hostesses jump on Tiananmen Square near the Great Hall of the People in BeijingFred Dufour/AFP

China's growth has declined steadily since peaking at 14.2% in 2007. Much of that reduction was intentional as Beijing tried to cool inflation and a boom in construction and investment that fueled worries about rising debt.