Business / Economy

Rural land reform and SOE reform vex renowned economist

By Zheng Yangpeng ( Updated: 2015-11-23 15:06

On a Sunday's event that celebrated Li Yining 60 year teaching career, the former dean of Guanghua Management School at Peking University said there are still uncompleted reform issues that were his nagging worries.

The main issue is China's rural land reform. Hundreds of millions of rural residents have yet to receive certificates that confirm the legal rights of their small plots of contracted land. The lack of confirmation discourages farmers to take care of the land and constitute obstacles for farmers to legally transfer their lands to professional farm companies that could boost productivity.

The second issue is the unfinished State-owned enterprise (SOE) reform. The central problem of the SOE reform, according to Li, is the change in the ownership structure. A key meeting in 2013 promised mix-ownership reform but so far the progress has been slow. Li said unless the issues of shareholder rights of SOEs are solved, SOEs' vitality can hardly be invigorated and China would find it hard to become a real market economy.

In the 90s, Li was at the forefront of restructuring the shareholding SOEs. He talked about the subject so often that he got the nickname "shareholding Li".

The third issue is China's urbanization, which promises to transform China but still encounters institutional barriers.

Other issues he cares about include fostering China's service industry, revamping the education system, bolstering the nation's middle class, and enhancing upward mobility in the society.

As renowned economist, who's also a standing committee member of China's top advisory body, Li has deeply engaged in the country's reform and opening-up process. His economic philosophy has widespread influence on China's top policymakers, business elites, and academics.

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