Reforms to mark new change as 'two sessions' open

Updated: 2014-03-02 15:51

BEIJING - Years from now when the world looks back at what changes could occur in China in 2014 and onward, and what they mean to the entire community of nations, it would remember the year as equally transformative as the one when the rollercoaster ride of reshaping China began 36 years ago.

At a key plenary session of the CPC (Communist Party of China) central committee held in November last year, the party leadership surprised the world by introducing a host of sweeping reform proposals. These measures touched upon almost every major aspect of the Chinese society, including curbing corruption, streamlining administration of all levels, adjusting family planning policy and combating environmental problems. Many of them have already been implemented.

As China's top legislative body and political consultative arm are reopening their annual sessions, the latest reforms are expected to be converted into the laws of the land and policies of the executive organs, the first step to ensure that China could materialize a more just, balanced and sustainable development that could also benefit the world.

Indian-American journalist Fareed Zakaria wrote in his editorial in a January edition of the Time magazine that 2014 is "a make or break year for China," adding that the country "faces a historic turning point."

The dense and noxious smog that cloaked 15 percent of China's territory for days last month proved that China now has a one-way ticket down the path of rough yet rewarding reforms. And a strong consensus for weathering all kinds of reform-related difficulties is quickly building up from all walks of life in the nation.

For the past 36 years, the world has witnessed China's dramatic transformation from a locked-up and command economy to the world's second largest economic power, and top trading nation.

Yet Beijing still faces mounting challenges and problems.

The country seems too enthusiastic about its GDP growth figures, while lacking adequate attention on the quality of development. It relies too much on trade and infrastructure investment, while lagging behind in weaving a reliable social security net that can help its citizens feel more secure and spend more.

These problems have to be addressed in order to ensure that China can keep up with its growth trajectory in the coming decades. Luckily, the latest all-inclusive reform bill to be elaborated at the two sessions can be taken as a starting point of more bold actions by the new generation of Chinese leadership.

Meanwhile, the world should not miss another palpable move Beijing has already launched to make sure that the country's economic growth will stay on the right track.

Instead of keeping its egregiously energy-consuming and environmentally-hazardous growth pattern, China has taken the initiative to lower the speed so as to facilitate economic restructuring.

For the world, which has already benefitted from China's economic growth over the recent years, a more healthy and better structured Chinese economy is a real blessing.

Michael Shuman, a US journalist specializing in Asian economy, published a commentary in January, saying that "China's economic growth is slowing, and we should all be thankful."

He also wrote that if China could carry out reforms quickly and deeply enough, then "the Chinese economy could emerge more healthier and more market-driven, which would lay the foundation for further growth."

Similar to China, the international community is also at a critical crossroad, as its economic and political governance system is expected to be fixed. The global financial dysfunction triggered by the crumble of the U.S. sub-prime mortgage market in 2007 has sounded the alarm, which clearly demonstrated the unbalanced and unjust nature of existing global financial governing mechanism.

The emerging economies, in the thick of the global economic crisis, have played a key role in leading the economically paralyzed world out of crisis and into a recovery, though still fragile.

For the world to avoid future financial avalanche, the developed economies should work with the emerging markets, notably Beijing, in revamping major international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank so that they can better function.

While Beijing, together with the developing world and wealthy nations, is trying to improve the global economic and financial governing superstructures by making them more rational and fair, it is also working in a meticulous manner to ensure that its rise is done in a peaceful way.

The old theory of a rising power's inevitable clash with the established power is only a lame excuse for imprudent and unwise policy-making. Beijing understands that its current economic achievement is a product of blending itself with the rest of the world, while turning against its promise for peaceful development would put its future development on the line.

Also, despite the fact that the world economy is slowly picking up, it still faces all kinds of uncertainty originating from uncoordinated monetary policies among all capitals, the reemergence of trade protectionism, the thorny employment problems, and the weak banking industries.

In today's highly interdependent world, all nations are in the same boat. They rise and fall together. Therefore, the set of reforms China now seeks to embrace concerns not only its own population, but all others worldwide.

Thus, to sustain and promote a strong and lasting global economic recovery, all nations need to make concerted efforts while they tread the uncharted waters of change. Besides, there seems to be no other alternative.