Xinhua Insight: Xi's speech underlines commitment to reform
                 English.news.cn | 2013-07-28 21:16:30 | Editor: Chen Zhi

BEIJING, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Experts have lauded comments by Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week as reinforcing the leadership's commitment to reform.

China must deepen reforms in major areas with "ever more political courage and wisdom" to surmount the institutional barriers that restrain growth, Xi stressed, while highlighting the need for a healthy economy to achieve the goals set during the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks during a tour of central China's Hubei Province from July 21 to 23.

He underlined five crucial relations in deepening reform: keeping an open mind and seeking truth; overall advancement and key breakthroughs; top planning and basic exploration; bold innovation with a steady foundation; as well as balance within reform, growth and stability.

"China must break the barriers from entrenched interest groups to further free up social productivity and invigorate creativity," Xi said. "There is no way out if we stay still or head backward."

Analysts believe that Xi's speech showed strong signals of leaders wanting to explore solutions to the arduous tasks facing the country's development.

"The reform prospect determines the growth prospect amid the current complicated development circumstances," said Kuang Xianming, director of economic research with the China Institute for Reform and Development.

Kuang predicted that a series of practical measures to deepen reform will be brought out in the coming plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.

"Xi urged deepened reform as well as the need to deal properly with risks and obstacles in boosting reform," said Zhang Yansheng, a researcher with the National Development and Reform Commission.

Wang Xiaoguang, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Governance, regarded the president's statement of the five relations as an innovative representation of the country's systematic planning of reform.

Besides Xi, Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli visited Sichuan and Guizhou provinces in southwest China and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China, respectively, in July.

Zhou Tianyong, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said the new round of reform features overall mapping, which shows the practical work of the country's new leadership, especially the focus on experience from grass-roots governments and enterprises.

Xi's latest emphasis on reform came as the world's second-largest economy is still in a protracted slowdown. China's economic growth slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter, down from 7.7 percent during the first quarter and just in line with the annual 7.5-percent target set for 2013.

The president urged authorities to carry out comprehensive and in-depth research before drawing up any schemes of further reform. He said they must look at six areas in particular: fostering an integrated national market system; boosting up economic development vitality; improving macro-control level; boosting social development vitality; guaranteeing social fairness and justice; as well as improving the Party's art of leadership and governance capability.

According to Zhou Tianyong, Xi's remarks made it clear that China's reform will be market-oriented, rather than simply backing from central planning or development methods determined by the government.

Chinese authorities have so far refrained from initiating a massive stimulus program to lift the economy to allow leeway to proceed with structural reforms for long-term good.

Since taking office in March, China's new leaders have repeatedly pledged to upgrade the economy through deepened reforms, including delegating administrative power to lower levels and easing controls in the financial sector.

China's central bank announced on July 19 that it would lift controls on bank lending rates, in a clear signal of the government's determination to push forward market-oriented reforms.

Moreover, the central authorities delegated administrative powers to lower-level governments, which further freed the market, experts said.

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