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Top reform group sets up 6 task forces

By Yang Jingjie, Jiang Jie and Wen Ya Source:Global Times Published: 2014-1-23 0:53:02

The central authority's leading group aimed at steering China's overall reform on Wednesday held its first meeting.

It set up six task forces targeting specific sectors ranging from the economy to disciplinary inspection.

The group was first unveiled at the conclusion of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee last November and was officially set up on December 30, 2013.

President Xi Jinping was appointed head of the leading group on the day of the group's establishment.

Wednesday's meeting, presided over by Xi, deliberated and passed a list of members to the group's six subordinate task forces, reported China Central Television. However, the report did not reveal the names and number of those members.

According to the report, the six task forces will champion reforms to the economic and ecological civilization systems, democracy and the rule of law, culture, social systems, Party building systems as well as in the disciplinary inspection system.

"As reform enters uncharted deep water, the problems are intertwined, which calls for a comprehensive plan to address the issues," Yin Yungong, an expert on the socialist system at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times, commenting on the setup of the sub-groups.

"Noticeably, one sub-group combines the reforms on economic and ecological systems because the two are closely connected. For example, resource tax levies and the implementation of a cap and trade system for carbon emissions would both require related economic measures," said Kuang Xianming, director of the Research Center for Economy at the Haikou-based China Institute for Reform and Development.

He added that the setting of a task force to reform the disciplinary inspection system could effectively push forward anti-corruption tasks in the future when the interests of particular groups are impacted as reform advances.

The report also revealed that Premier Li Keqiang, Liu Yunshan, secretary of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli were appointed deputy heads of the leading group.

All three leaders are members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, the Party's top decision making body.

Yin said the appointments reflect a "top-down design" in China's reform, and noted that it suggests that the reform will always be kept under the Party's firm grip.

"One of the plenum's key guiding principles is that the Party's leadership and the socialist system couldn't be changed, no matter how the reform is carried out," he added.

Among the three leaders, Li and Zhang are mainly responsible for the economy, while Liu is in charge of ideology and publicity.

Kuang noted that appointing the Party's top leaders to head the reform groups could better facilitate the reform by overcoming the obstacles set by some departments in the calculation of their own interests.

Addressing Wednesday's meeting, Xi reviewed the progress of reform following the key Party plenum in November, highlighting reforms to relax the one-child policy and abolishment of the re-education through labor system, among other achievements.

While hailing the enthusiasm throughout the country for pushing forward reform, Xi also acknowledged that some regions, departments and officials failed to accurately comprehend the spirit of the Party plenum and underestimated the difficulties and complexities in comprehensive reform.

As the reform continues to advance, interests of some groups will be further compromised, warned the president, asking officials to have sufficient preparation. He also noted that a timetable should be set up to realize the reform targets.

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