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Chinese leaders start meeting to set new wave of reforms

Beijing, Nov 9 (PTI)
Chinese paramilitary policemen stand on duty in central Beijing ahead of the 205-member Central Committee's third plenum, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. Facing pressure to overhaul a worn-out growth model, China's leaders are promising dramatic changes at a weekend meeting that reform advocates hope will make history by unleashing a new wave of economic transformation. AP

China's ruling Communist Party today kicked off a key leadership meeting here to finalise a "new wave of reforms" to halt the slide of the world's second largest economy and revitalise growth.

The four-day 'Third Plenary Session' of the 376-member Central Committee, one of the party's highest policy-making bodies, will deliberate on a draft decision on "major issues concerning comprehensively deepening reforms".

The closed-door meeting under the leadership of President Xi Jinping is expected to set tone for the country's economy in the coming years to advance the reforms initiated more than three decades ago after the death of party founder Mao Zedong, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

"The new set of reforms are expected to be more systematic, integrated and coordinated," the report said.

Last November, China began a once-a-decade leadership makeover as Xi took over as party general secretary before becoming the country's President in March. The plenum offers a platform for Xi to present his own economic vision.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) declared last month that it will work to speed up the development of a socialist market economy, democracy, cultural development, social harmony and ecological progress.

The meeting is expected to consider reforms in eight key areas- cutting administrative approvals, land reform, opening up banking including the liberalisation of interest rates and the exchange rate, promoting competition, reforming the fiscal system, reforming state-owned enterprises, promoting innovation and opening up the services sector, Xinhua said.

After posting double digit growth rates for over a decade, Chinese economy has now slowed down to around seven per cent. The government hopes to achieve a GDP growth of 7.5 per cent this year.

This year's Plenum is being billed just as significant as the one in December 1978 that marked the start of market- oriented reforms in China under Deng Xiaoping, who succeeded Mao and reversed the ideological course of China.

Not much resistance was expected for reforms unlike in Deng-era as he had to contend to remove resistance from hardliners headed by Mao's widow Jiang Qing who was ousted.

On the contrary, Xi who emerged as the strongest leader in recent decades is expected to have smooth sailing as any left-wing resistance to reforms was ironed out with the ouster of disgraced party leader Bo Xilai who was sentenced to life recently for corruption and misuse of power.


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