China leader promises 'unprecedented' reforms at key Party meeting

BEIJING Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:18am EDT

Newly elected chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Yu Zhengsheng (C), speaks as China's President Hu Jintao (L) and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping look on during the closing ceremony of the CPPCC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 12, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

Newly elected chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Yu Zhengsheng (C), speaks as China's President Hu Jintao (L) and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping look on during the closing ceremony of the CPPCC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/China Daily

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BEIJING (Reuters) - A top Chinese leader has promised "unprecedented" economic and societal reforms at the Communist Party's much anticipated plenum meeting next month, state media reported on Saturday.

Yu Zhengsheng, the fourth-ranked member in the elite Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party, 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 the official Xinhua news agency.

"Inevitably they will strongly push forward profound transformations in the economy, society and other spheres."

Yu's comments are among the first from China's top leaders about the plenum, where President Xi Jinping is expected to press for greater economic reforms.

The broad reform agenda is expected to steer the world's second-largest economy, which is experiencing slowing growth, from a reliance on debt-fuelled 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 $8.5 trillion economy grew at its fastest pace this year between July and September in a rebound fuelled largely by investment, although signs are already emerging the pick-up 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 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 disastrous Cultural Revolution.

(Reporting By Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Michael Perry)

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Comments (7)
leungsite wrote:
A big thunderstorm with little rain, as usual. History shows a reform in China was sometimes a minor change for the worse…inadvertently.

Oct 26, 2013 8:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Vuenbelvue wrote:
In a unprecedented action, The Chinese leader is cancelling the entire US debt for the US Environmental Protection Agency and it’s employees to a 5 year contract working for the Chinese government. Cough, hack, cough.

Oct 26, 2013 9:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse
tmc wrote:
Very much looking forward to hearing what the future of China will be. They have historically done an excellent job following their Plenums. This one will describe how the new largest economy in the world will behave and how others will interact with it. There will be huge implications for the global economy.

Oct 26, 2013 9:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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