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Sunday, 10 November 2013

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Chinese leaders start key economic 'reform' summit

9 Nov AFP

China's ruling Communist Party began a key meeting Saturday to dictate the direction of the world's second-biggest economy for the next decade.

The official Xinhua news agency said the gathering of the party Central Committee would discuss a draft document on "major issues concerning comprehensively deepening reforms" in the Chinese economy, a key driver of regional and global growth. Recent reports in party and state media have singled out key issues at the four-day meeting as potentially including land and administrative reforms, as well as reducing protections for powerful state-owned enterprises.

A government think-tank, meanwhile, called for dismantling the residency registration system known as "hukou", which restricts access to medical insurance and other benefits for migrants. China also faces important issues including oppressive air and environmental pollution, and how to retool its economy to ensure more sustainable growth.

The party gathering, known as the Third Plenum and which takes place amid intense security and secrecy, has traditionally set the economic tone for a new government, and past meetings have been used to signal far-reaching changes.

It comes a year after China embarked on a once-a-decade leadership transition, with Xi Jinping taking over as party general secretary before becoming state president in March.

Although the economy is no longer completely party- and state-controlled, the ruling body holds huge sway, with officials in charge of key elements, such as the exchange rate, that in other countries are left mostly to markets.

 

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