Xi promises deep reforms

By Zhang Yiwei and Chen Yang Source:Global Times Published: 2013-11-4 1:08:00

China will firmly continue to push ahead with the drive of reform and opening-up, though the modernization process will still take a long time, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang said over the weekend during a conference held by the 21st Century Council.

While meeting with a group of foreign members of the global think tank on Saturday, Xi said that a blueprint for comprehensive reform will be put forward during the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, to be held between November 9 and 12 in Beijing.

Expressing confidence that the Chinese economy will keep growing in a "sustained and healthy way," Xi said that China will not fall into the middle-income trap, a term to describe countries whose economy stagnates when the per capita income reaches the middle level.

At the opening ceremony of the conference on Friday, Li said the government's top priority remains economic development and improving people's livelihoods.

Li noted that economic development cannot be sustained if the economy doesn't transform as development has encountered a series of deep-rooted conflicts and structural problems to date, vowing to comprehensively deepen the reform.

"China still has a long way to go in achieving modernization, which will benefit the Chinese and the world's people," Li said.

Members of the 21st Century Council expressed their high expectations on the reforms to be put forward during the Party's forthcoming plenum.

"From the dialogue, we believe that the political reform that may be announced in about a week will be ambitious and useful for China's prosperity," former Mexican president Ernesto Zedill told reporters at a media briefing held Sunday, noting that "it would be a comprehensive package of reforms," which means it would be economic, social and political.

China's future development is about transformation and upgrading on expanding domestic demand, promoting the new pattern of industrialization, informatization, urbanization, agricultural modernization and pursuing green growth, Premier Li said Friday.

Scholars agreed that it is urgent for the country to carry out deeper reforms to clear the blocks that are holding the country from moving further ahead.

"The inequality in society and the severe problem of resources and the environment are outstanding problems that call for reform," said Chang Xiuze, a researcher with the National Center for Economic Research at Tsinghua University.

Chang said that the reform also needs to remove obstacles in the political system, such as corruption.

The financial crisis since 2008 has brought an end to the old economic growth pattern. A set of reform measures are now on the table to steer the country to more efficient growth. However, the process of reform will face some difficulties, as many reform plans will affect the interests of those who have been better off under the old development pattern, Tian Yun, a scholar with the China Macro Economics Institute, told the Global Times.

Tian said even some local government officials might not be eager to make a change.

The authorities have been cutting the administrative approval power of  governments at various levels and instead given the market more space to make its own decisions.

"The leaders are confident about the China's economy as they have clearly identified the problems the reform is faced with," Tian said, noting that there's still some concern as the authorities said reform will be "comprehensive" but how much will be carried out remains to be seen.

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