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China mulls tax, household registration, judicial reforms

English.news.cn   2014-06-06 23:22:38

BEIJING, June 6 (Xinhua) -- China's Leading Group for Overall Reform convened its third meeting on Friday, deliberating plans for fiscal and household registration systems.

The meeting, presided over by President Xi Jinping, also approved a framework for pilot programs of judicial reform, a work program on judicial reform in Shanghai, and a plan to set up special courts on intellectual property rights (IPR).

Xi said during the meeting that reform should be "better targeted and more effective", beginning with concrete issues and aim at prominent problems and conflicts.

"We must give preference to those measures that can stabilize growth, adjust structure, improve livelihoods and prevent risks," said the President.

FISCAL REFORM

Xi called for "active and steady" fiscal reform. Rather than overcoming temporary difficulties, long-term, systematic reconstruction of fiscal mechanisms is required.

The main objectives are ensuring a clear division of power, reform of the tax system and stabilizing the tax burden, transparent budgeting, and improved efficiency.

The reform will speed up construction of a modern fiscal system to help transform the economic development pattern, build a fair and unified market, and promote equal access to basic public services.

Xi expects a fiscal system to serve the initiatives of both central and local governments while clarifying the responsibilities of the two according to their financial strengths.

HOUSEHOLD REGISTRATION REFORM

"Accelerating reform of the household registration system is an important part of urbanization and involves hundreds of millions of rural migrants," Xi said.

Rural residents need help to become urban citizens in an orderly manner and basic urban public services must be available to all permanent urban residents, Xi said.

The rigid "hukou" (household registration) system prevents many migrants accessing public services in cities, and is a major hinderance to the urbanization process. The overall principle is to fully remove hukou restrictions in towns and small cities, gradually ease restrictions in medium-sized cities, set reasonable conditions for settling in big cities, and strictly control the population of megacities, he said.

Warning against its complex nature, Xi said reform of the hukou system must be carried out in a steady and orderly manner, taking the actual situations of different areas into consideration, adding that farmers' rights must be protected during the reform.

JUDICIAL REFORM

The leading group approved plans for dedicated IPR courts to deal with the the burden of litigation associated with increased innovation.

No further details or timetables were disclosed by the meeting, which only said that the establishment of IPR courts is part of the basic judicial reform. According to the Supreme Court, 100,399 IPR cases were heard in 2013 alone.

Xi said reform will cover judicial personnel and their job security, greater accountability, and streamlining management of human, financial and material resources in courts and procuratorates below the provincial level.

Pilot judicial reform programs will proceed within the central leadership's "top-level design" and under its guidance, with local authorities encouraged to explore concrete measures and evaluate their past reform experiences.

The central government must support local authorities as they address challenges that arise during pilot programs, Xi said.

He also ordered Party committees and local governments to take the lead on judicial reform, specify pilot programs, work in a timely manner and enhance institutional innovation so their successes can be replicated in other parts of China.

"The success of reform will be decided by whether our goal reached and the success of our blue print will be its implementation," said Xi.

The President also said that the sequence of events should be taken into account and the most basic measures should be prioritized.

Leading departments of specific reforms must ensure the measures are carried out, Xi said. "Every single issue should have specific personnel to manage, supervise, urge and implement."

Friday's meeting was attended by deputy group leaders Li Keqiang, Liu Yunshan and Zhang Gaoli, all of whom are members of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China Central Committee's Political Bureau.

Editor: yan
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