CPC resolved to deepen reforms

By ZHAO YINAN (China Daily)
Updated: 2012-11-08 02:34

Spokesman says narrowing of income gap will be major issue facing nation in next few years

The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will uphold the policy of reform and opening-up and set out specific goals, missions and guidelines for future development.

The congress will also eliminate all ideological and institutional hurdles to clear the way for scientific development, Cai Mingzhao, the spokesman for the congress, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

CPC resolved to deepen reforms

China Daily reporter Zhu Zhe asks a question during the first news conference for the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on Wednesday. DONG DE / FOR CHINA DAILY

Experts said his pledge shows the Party's resolve to continue and deepen reform at all levels.

Cai regarded reform and opening-up as a "distinctive feature" of China in the new era, and said that the Party will resolutely advance the policy as well as avoid dogmatism and stagnation.

"Going forward, China will place more emphasis on top-down designs, on building supporting systems and on following the people-first principle," Cai said.

He said future reforms will involve more "keynote sectors and links", such as improving the economic system, market economic mechanisms, the basic distribution system, the socialist democratic system, cultural management and social management.

In particular, he noted ideas have been generated on the reform of the income-distribution system after soliciting suggestions from various social fields.

He said income distribution is an issue getting a lot of attention and relates to people's livelihood and social justice.

In a survey conducted by China Youth Daily last week, more than 75 percent of nearly 11,300 respondents nationwide cited the wealth gap as their biggest concern in the following decade for China's development.

China's Gini coefficient, a measurement of income disparity, stood at 0.39 in rural areas in 2011, approaching the warning threshold of 0.4 set by the United Nations. The figure was 0.33 in urban areas, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The long-awaited reform plan, first initiated in 2004 and which came out this year, is expected to ease public concerns over the widening gap between rich and poor as well as between urban and rural areas, said Chi Fulin, president of China Institute for Reform and Development, a think tank based in Hainan province.

Chi said there are different expectations among interest groups at the moment on how to share the benefits of economic growth, and a reform plan on income disparity is difficult to work out and needs time and coordination among related groups.

Chi, who is involved in the process of mapping out the reform plan, said the current draft focuses on "enriching the poor, enlarging the middle group and restricting the rich".

Economic issues were also addressed by congress spokesman Cai at the news conference.

Cai acknowledged China is confronted by the far-reaching influence of the global financial crisis, sluggish economic recovery, and unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development at home.

He has called for confidence in the world's second-largest economy to overcome the difficulties, pledging to adjust policies in timely manner to meet real situations and ensure steady economic growth.

China's economic growth rate slowed to 7.8 percent in the first half of this year.