Annual growth was 7.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, down from the previous quarter's 7.9 percent, the government said on Monday.
That fell short of many forecasts which predicted growth would accelerate slightly to eight percent.
China's economy expanded 7.8 percent in 2012, its slowest pace for 13 years.
Inflation hit a 10-month high of 3.2 percent in February, up from January's 2.0 percent.
Beijing has set a 7.5 percent GDP growth target for 2013.
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