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Deepening reform to drive progress, avoid crisis

Updated: 2013-08-29 08:40
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - China's deepening of reform is expected to be revealed soon as the country's top leadership vows to proceed with its policy to maintain growth and social progress.

The 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee will hold its third plenary session in November to discuss how to deepen comprehensive reform.

While preparing for the meeting, the CPC, China's sole ruling party, looks to reforms to keep the wheels of the world's second-largest economy running sound and stable.

Over the past three decades, China has created the miracle of keeping  almost two-digit annual economic growth, pulling more than 200 million people out of poverty.

During this period, China has been initially industrialized, an achievement that took some developed countries several hundred years to attain, thanks largely to the reform and opening-up drive launched in the late 1970s.

It has earned itself such titles as "global workshop" and "emerging power," but great challenges, or even a potential crisis, still lie ahead, warn analysts.

The Party and government are trying to find ways to maintain steady and sound growth while safeguard social fairness and stability.

The Chinese economy has been stuck in a protracted slowdown, with growth easing to 7.5 percent in the second quarter after softening for 10 straight quarters.

Restructuring the economy, which started many years ago, has not been successful, and improving growth model is hard, said Wu Jinglian, a renowned Chinese economist.

The energy-inefficient growth pattern Chinese leaders want to shift has relied too much on investment, leading to shortages of resources and environmental degradation.

Massive protests against construction of chemical projects are rising at multiple places across the country, indicating more people are seeking to block any growth that sacrifice the environment and public health.

Citizens are increasingly concerned about their access to affordable housing, medical care, fair education, food safety and social insurance. The burgeoning social media make it difficult for local officials to cover up negative news.

Under the current growth model whereby problems are not handled properly, "economic growth would not be sustainable and a social crisis may follow," Wu warned.

Furthermore, China's demographic dividend, which refers to a relatively large proportion of working population, have been dwindling after decades of rapid development.

Corrupt officials, like former railway minister Liu Zhijun, who received a suspended death sentence over graft, and a widening rich-poor gap are also fanning social discontent.

Bureaucratism, formalism, hedonism and extravagance among officials also alienate the Party from the people, prompting the Party to reverse such undesirable work styles.

To solve problems and avoid crisis, deepening comprehensive reform is imperative.

Since the Party's new leadership was elected in November of last year, a series of reform moves have been launched. Government departments were restructured, and administrative bureaucratism is targeted.

In the latest step, the State Council, China's Cabinet, recently approved Shanghai to establish a pilot free trade zone to spearhead the country's deepened reform and further free up the economy.

The people have widely expected reforms in the power structures and government transparency, hoping positive changes will befall in the administration, rural land, and household registration systems.

If the upcoming meeting of the Party comes up with a clear road map and schedule for reforms, the national enthusiasm and confidence will be inspired.