BEIJING — President Xi Jinping has called for the combination of top-level design and local innovations in comprehensively advancing the country’s reforms.
Xi made the remarks at the seventh meeting of the Leading Group for Overall Reform.
He noted that China owes every breakthrough in its reform and opening-up drive to experiments and wisdom of the people, hence efforts should be made to encourage experiments and explorations at local level and that there must be interactions between central policymakers and localities.
Senior leaders Li Keqiang, Liu Yunshan and Zhang Gaoli attended the meeting on Dec 2, which discussed major reforms concerning the administration of rural land, the establishment of a modern public cultural service system, civil servants at county-level.
It also reviewed and adopted pilot plans to set up circuit courts by the Supreme People’s Court and trans-regional courts and procuratorates.
The meeting debated on draft proposals on reforms to the rural land administration system, including the acquisition of rural land for public projects, the sale of rural land for commercial uses and the administration of assigned residential lots.
A statement from the meeting said these reform plans were vital to the country’s urbanization and agricultural modernization drive, adding that rural land reforms should be promoted in an orderly fashion on the basis of the pilot programs.
It cited the protection of farmers’ rights and interests, the collective ownership of rural land, and a “red line” of 1.8 billion mu of arable land — the official minimum area needed to feed the world’s largest population — as the “bottom lines” of land reforms.
According to Chinese laws, urban land is owned by the state and most rural land is under collective ownership.
The statement said collective ownership of rural land must be preserved, and the arable land red line “can never be crossed.”
Farmers’ interests should be protected when reforming the rural residential land system, under which each rural family is assigned a lot to build its house.
The statement stressed that authorities must not force farmers to give up their rural houses in exchange for hukou, or citizenship in cities.
The statement said building a modern public cultural service system is important because cultural service is a basic right of the people and a gauge of a nation’s strength.
The system should be built with government playing a leading role and non-government players contributing their own parts. Services shall be made equal to urban and rural populations and between different regions, the statement said.
Cultural services should be people-oriented and conform to the socialist core values, said the statement. Attendees of the meeting also called for studying the people’s current demand for culture, developing advanced culture, innovating traditional culture, guiding pop culture, transforming backward culture, and boycotting harmful culture.
The meeting stressed that since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Party has paid great attention to anti-graft work and Party building, promoting good work style and sparing no efforts to fight corruption. The work should be further carried out in the future, with strengthened institutions while maintaining high pressure on corruption.
Full coverage of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the Party’s top anti-graft body, over all departments of the central government will leave no blind spots in the supervision, said the statement.
The principal responsibility of disciplinary agencies and their cadres dispatched to other departments is supervision and implementation of discipline. The agencies should exert their authority to carry out their duties as endowed by the Party constitution.
Cadres dispatched to other departments should stick to principles and maintain their integrity and clean. They will be viewed dereliction if they cannot find the problems that they should find, or breach of duty if they conceal or do not handle the corruption case they have found, the statement said.
The establishment of circuit courts and trans-regional courts and procuratorates will be an important step in the nation’s judicial reform, as it addresses some deep-seated problems in the judicial system, according to the statement.
The Supreme People’s Court will set up circuit courts for major administrative, civil and commercial cases involving different administrative regions, which can facilitate public filing of lawsuits from local communities and help solve conflicts at the local level, it said.
Courts and procuratorates with jurisdictions over different administrative regions will help to eliminate interference from local officials and ensure judicial independence.
The meeting urged authorities to draft plans for advancing reforms in 2015, particularly reforms in critical areas.
The leading group for reform must draw a clear roadmap and timetable for the implementation of major reforms outlined at the fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee and reforms must lead to tangible results, according to the meeting.