Sun, Oct 27, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Chinese leader promises ‘unprecedented’ reforms

MAJOR CHANGES?Yu Zhengsheng said the party would push for broad reforms, which are expected to focus more on consumption, services and innovation

Reuters, BEIJING

Yu Zhengseng, the fourth-ranked member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, pauses during a plenary meeting of the 12th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.

Photo: Reuters

A top Chinese leader has promised “unprecedented” economic and societal reforms at the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) much anticipated plenum meeting next month, state media reported yesterday.

Yu Zhengsheng (俞正聲), the fourth-ranked member in the party’s elite Politburo Standing Committee, said the closed-door meeting would “principally explore the issue of deep and comprehensive reforms.”

“The reforms this time will be broad, with major strength, and will be unprecedented,” he said, according to Xinhua news agency.

“Inevitably, they will strongly push forward profound transformations in the economy, society and other spheres,” Yu added.

Yu’s comments are among the first from China’s top leaders about the plenum, where Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is expected to press for greater economic reforms.

The broad reform agenda is expected to steer the second-largest economy in the world, which is experiencing slowing growth, from a reliance on debt-fueled investment to a more balanced model driven more by consumption, services and innovation.

The meeting will mark the third time China’s elite 200-member Central Committee has gathered since a leadership transition last year.

Historically, third plenums in China have served as a springboard for key economic reforms. Political reform is not expected to be a major point of discussion.

China’s Cabinet has called for greater effort in revamping the economy because a recovery is not yet solid.

China’s US$8.5 trillion economy grew at its fastest pace this year between July and last month in a rebound fueled largely by investment, although signs are already emerging the pickup in activity may lose some vigor. China still expects to meet its economic targets for this year, including growth of 7.5 percent.

China this week launched a new benchmark lending rate, aimed at letting markets set the cost of funds and reducing distortions that have led to excessive investment and overcapacity now dogging the economy.

At the plenum, the reform agenda is likely to feature financial and tax reforms, but may also address persistent issues such as hastening urbanization through land reforms and liberalizing China’s household registration system, which restricts migration between rural areas and cities.

Critics have said that vested interests, especially state-owned enterprises, could stymie reforms.

Former leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) launched historic reforms at the third plenum of the 11th party committee in 1978 to rescue the economy from the verge of collapse after Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) disastrous Cultural Revolution.

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