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Reform will be nation's watchword this year

China Daily,January 12, 2018 Adjust font size:

This year, the Communist Party of China is expected to put forward a number of measures to deepen reform and mark the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up policy, analysts said.

In several key speeches recently, President Xi Jinping has highlighted deepening reform and opening-up as a priority, sending a strong signal that changes will be implemented to stimulate further development.

In his New Year speech, Xi pledged to resolutely carry out the task because "reform and opening-up is the path we must take to make progress in contemporary China and realize the Chinese dream".

He cited a traditional adage, saying the Chinese people would "cut paths through mountains and build bridges across rivers" to move reform forward.

"Reforms in all areas should be further advanced to constantly improve the level of modernization of China's system and our capacity for governance," he said.

When he addressed the BRICS Business Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province, in September, Xi said China would commemorate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up in a grand manner.

"Thanks to the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people have found the successful path of socialism with Chinese characteristics," he said, adding that despite challenges and difficulties, the people have made great progress thanks to their diligence, bravery and wisdom.

In his speech at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, in November, Xi stressed the importance of marking the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up policy. He pledged that China would continue the opening-up process, and her development would deliver even greater benefits to the world.

"For nearly four decades, China has opened its arms to embrace the world and achieved 'leapfrog development' for itself through this process," he said.

Since Xi became General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, reform has emerged as the hallmark of his administration. In late 2012, his first trip outside Beijing as General Secretary was to Guangdong province, which has been at the forefront of China's reform and opening-up drive for decades.

Xi also heads the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform, which was established in late 2013. Last year, 79 major reform tasks were completed, while 399 reform plans were formulated by the central authorities.

In his report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi mentioned the word "reform" 71 times, indicating his determination to introduce a raft of amendments and new measures.

"Only with socialism can we save China; only with reform and opening-up can we develop China, develop socialism and develop Marxism," he said.

The launch of more than 1,500 reform measures in the past five years has seen breakthroughs in a number of key areas, while a general framework for reform has been established in major fields, he added.

Zhu Lijia, a professor of public administration at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said comprehensively deepening reform will be the Party's main task in the coming years.

The CPC faces many uncertainties and challenges, both domestically and internationally, and only by deepening reform will it really solve problems, he added.

Last month's Central Economic Work Conference identified three 'tough battles' in the coming three years: resolving risks; targeting poverty; and controlling pollution.

Liu Yuanchun, vice-president of Renmin University of China, said pursuing high-quality growth will be the long-term target of reform, given that the country is facing the challenge of unbalanced, unsustainable and inadequate development.

Speaking to the 21st Century Business Herald, Liu said deepening supply-side structural reform and invigorating market entities will be on the country's reform agenda this year.

Wide-ranging structural reforms, designed to improve the supply-side economy, produced the desired outcomes in 2017 and are expected to be used again this year.

Combating overcapacity will be a major task of the reforms. Last year, China achieved its target of slashing steel production capacity by around 50 million metric tons and reducing coal production capacity by at least 150 million tons.