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China’s reform makes steady strides through 30 key meetings

Updated: Dec 7,2016 9:18 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — With 30 key meetings laying out reform measures of unprecedented strength, China has made progress in reform with major strides and steady steps.

At the latest meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform held on Dec 5, further efforts were called for to improve the effectiveness of reforms and widen the scope of their benefits.

The country should introduce more reforms that can help invigorate the economy, promote social justice, give people a greater sense of gain and mobilize the participation of the masses, according to a statement released after the meeting.

To date, the group has convened 30 meetings and hundreds of measures have been designed and released to address issues such as urbanization, poverty alleviation, innovation and the market’s role in resource allocation.

A key meeting of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in November 2013 vowed to achieve “decisive results” in major reform areas by 2020. Halfway into the efforts, China’s reform steps remain clear and steadfast.

The leading group convened its first meeting on Jan 22, 2014, approving the group’s working rules and the working rules and members of six sub-groups, which oversee reforms in the economy and environment, democracy and law, the cultural system, the social system, CPC Party building, and the discipline inspection system.

Sweeping reform measures have since been rolled out at similar meetings.

Rather than losing momentum, the pace of reforms has accelerated: while eight leading group meetings were held with 37 reform documents approved in 2014, a total of 96 documents have been approved at the group’s 11 meetings this year, bringing the reform cause to its “peak time.”

Over the course of its 30 meetings, a total of 198 documents on reforms have been approved.

At the group’s 27th meeting on Aug 30, Chinese leaders and other policymakers called for greater courage and morale in pressing ahead with the country’s reforms, pledging to address vested interests and difficult reform tasks.

While establishing the goals for the reforms, the leading group has also drawn a roadmap for them.

At the second meeting of the group in 2014, Chinese leaders stressed that the “rule of law” must be followed and highlighted through the whole reform process and that any major reforms must be legally grounded.

In the same year, at the seventh meeting, policymakers noted that China owes every breakthrough in its reform and opening-up drive to the experiments and wisdom of the people and, therefore, experiments and exploration at the local level should be encouraged and central policymakers and localities must interact.

Policymakers have also repeatedly stressed efforts to ensure the public’s happiness and sense of gain in the reforms.

In May this year, the importance of supply-side structural reform was underlined at the group’s 24th meeting.

With major reform policies outlined, relevant measures are being carried out steadily.

Since 2012, Chinese businesses have saved 640 billion yuan ($93.1 billion) under a reform plan to replace business tax with value-added tax (VAT), benefiting 5.92 million taxpayers.

Over the past three years, the State Council departments have canceled or delegated to lower authorities administrative examination and approval power over 618 items, which account for 36 percent of items subject to approval.

The country’s poverty alleviation program lifted more than 52 million people in rural areas out of poverty between 2012 and 2014.

At the meeting on Dec 5, the group asked authorities to map out reform work for next year to ensure overhauls proceed steadily with fresh momentum as the 19th CPC National Congress approaches.

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