Redefining progress

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-06 07:59
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"Dilemma" is the word used in the report on government work to describe the tasks facing China. The word describes appropriately the real challenges facing the country on the socio-economic road ahead.

We do possess some "systematic advantages" that few others can rival, such as efficiency in mobilizing public resources. But even the old conundrums such as runaway housing prices and wasteful and polluting growth now demand more a sophisticated weighing and balancing act.

An inspiring sign in Wen's report to the National People's Congress comes from what he said should be learnt from last year's achievement - to properly address both short-term and long-term concerns.

The single-minded pursuit of growth has entered a blind alley, and the potential of low-cost reform has almost been exhausted. We are now at a stage where stopgap measures are no longer effective as before.

We were willing to do whatever it took to boost GDP growth. Now, the polluted environment and dwindling resources are pressing for a break from that unhealthy growth model - which in turn entails sophistication in balancing the speed and quality of growth.

Unwavering concentration on efficiency was the main driving force behind our economic locomotive. But that approach seems to have backfired as the sense of injustice brews.

What is inspiring is the promise Wen has made that more will be done to make it easier for the general public to supervise and criticize governments at all levels. This, we believe, is crucial to clean and honest governance.

For many others, however, the most impressive lines in Wen's report could be those on political reform. The premier said that the country's economic reform and modernization drive will not succeed without political reform.

Transferring government functions and introducing transparency entails new thinking and a strong political will.

Like many others, such reform may be painful in the short term. But they will do us tremendous good in the long run.