China's Xi to take personal charge of pushing through reforms

BEIJING Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:38am EST

China's President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with former U.S. President Bill Clinton (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, November 18, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China's President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with former U.S. President Bill Clinton (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, November 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping will head a group steer economic and social reforms, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday, underscoring his determination to push through change amid fears of resistance from vested interests.

China last month unveiled its boldest set of reforms in nearly three decades, relaxing its one-child policy and further freeing up markets in order to put the economy on a more stable footing.

The Communist Party pledged to let the market play a "decisive" role in the economy and said it would set up the group to steer the changes.

The announcement that Xi will take personal charge means the team will be more powerful than the State Commission for Restructuring the Economy, which drew up a reform blueprint that led to the shutdown of thousands of inefficient state-owned firms and the loss of millions of jobs in the 1990s.

The move could also ease market fears that promises of reform may not be matched with action in the face of resistance from vested interests, such as powerful state-owned companies.

There had been speculation that Premier Li Keqiang or Han Zheng, Shanghai's party chief, could head the leading group to plan and coordinate reforms among various state agencies.

(Reporting by China Economics Team; Writing by Kevin Yao; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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