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Why is Wednesday's reform meeting important? by Xin Zhiming, January 23, 2014 Adjust font size:

Let's do a quick quiz: How many people know exactly what the "central leading group for overall reform" means?

I guess the jargon is strange even for many Chinese, let alone foreigners who are not proficient in Chinese politics.

There are various leading groups at varying levels of government in China, with some temporary and others having operated for years. Many people may not know the subtle difference between them

But this time, the central leading group for overall reform is really different — and very important.

Because, to sum up, it will to a large extent determine the pace and progress of China's reform agenda in the coming years.

Composed of the country's top leaders and led by President Xi Jinping, the group will press ahead with the reform plans mapped out at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Standing Committee in November.

The high-profile composition of the group signifies how seriously the Party leadership is committed to reform, something that is a must for China as both its economic and social development come to a crossroads.

And the central leading group for overall reform will work on both fronts to accelerate China's new-phase development.

After 30 years of development, the Chinese economy has become the world's second-largest. As the potential of the traditional way of production has been exhausted, however, the country is in dire need of restructuring to conjure up new sources of growth for the future.

Meanwhile, 30 years of growth has also produced many vested interest groups, which create hurdles for further reforms and call for an iron fist to break the impasse. For example, for the monopoly sectors such as banking and oil, political will and reform measures are needed to make them more market-oriented and efficient.

In social and political development, the management of governance and the operation of the Party need to become more transparent and open to the public. This will also be a Herculean task since many officials, as Xi has said, are not prepared for such a change. A push from a forceful and reform-minded leadership is needed to accomplish the task.

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