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Resolve for reform

Updated: 2013-07-26 09:18
( China Daily)

When President Xi Jinping called for "greater political courage to deepen reforms", he assured us the world's second-largest economy has a sensible approach to sustaining its growth momentum.

During an inspection trip to Hubei province, Xi told officials on Tuesday that China must have greater political courage and wisdom to deepen reforms in important areas, overcome institutional ailments and break the entrenched vested interests to further release and develop productivity and ignite creativity.

"Reform and opening-up remain the source of vitality for China's development and progress at this time, and the country has no way out if it comes to a standstill or go backward," he said.

His remarks are the prescription for a variety of ills that now loom large, and highlight the way to fuel economic growth at a time when a slowdown has brewed doubts and a sense of uncertainty.

China has showcased exceptional economic performance over the past decades. But its economic model, which centers on economic size, has been achieved at the cost of irretrievable depletion of resources and intolerable environmental degradation, overproduction in some sectors and skyrocketing property prices.

There are many questions to be answered: How will the country narrow the gap between the rich and poor, which is continuing to widen despite the steep rise in national wealth? How will the country overcome the long-controversial urban-rural divide and the inequality between urban and rural residents, while accelerating urbanization? How will the country balance the State-owned and private sectors in the national economy, amid mounting complaints that State-owned companies seriously squeeze the space available for the development of the private sector? How will the country ensure the doubling of residents' income it has promised when it witnesses a decline in its fiscal revenues growth?

It is a consensus that China's rapid development over the past decades is to a large extent attributable to its "demographic dividend". It is also widely believed that its sustainable development at an era of an ageing population has to rest with the "dividends" to be produced by deepened reforms.

The fact that China has entered the "deep-water area" in reforms in some areas, including reform of its financial market, household registration system and income distribution pattern, means it will need to pluck up the courage to press ahead and overcome the obstacle of vested interest groups and deepen reforms in key areas.