Economic Restructuring

The Third Plenary Session of the CPC 11th Central Committee, held in 1978, made the decision to shift the policy stress to socialist modernization, and implement the strategic decision on reform and opening to the outside world. The reform began in the countryside: The contracted household responsibility system linking remuneration to output and the two-layer management system featuring the integration of centralization and decentralization began to be implemented; centralized and assigned purchases of agricultural and sideline products were gradually eliminated, and controls on the prices of most agricultural and sideline products were relaxed; the adjustment of the industrial structure in rural areas, the development of diversified operations and township enterprises mobilized the peasants’ socialist enthusiasm for production. The Third Plenary Session of the CPC 12th Central Committee, held in 1984, adopted the Decision on Restructuring the Economic System, which signaled the elevation of the reform of China’s economic system to an urban-centered stage. The 14th National Congress of the CPC held in 1992 established Deng Xiaoping’s theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics as the guiding policy in China, and put forward the goal of China’s economic reform as establishing a socialist market economy system. Its principal contents may be summarized as follows: Adopting a series of macro-adjustment and control measures to carry out the reform in depth and in all aspects, public ownership will continue to be the main form of ownership as various types of ownership are jointly developed; the operation mechanism of state-owned enterprises will be further transformed to meet the requirements of the market economy; the property rights and responsibilities of enterprises will be clearly defined, the functions of the government separated from those of enterprises, and enterprises scientifically managed; an open and unified national market system will be established, closely integrating urban and rural markets, providing for reciprocal flows between domestic and international markets, and promoting the optimization of resource allocation; changing the government's functions in economic management and establishing an optimal macro-regulatory system chiefly employing indirect means; an income distribution system based on distribution according to work will be established in which efficiency is given precedence and fairness in distribution is taken into account; a multi-tier social security system will be set up to accelerate the development of China’s economy. The 15th National Congress of the CPC, held in 1997, put forward the viewpoint that the non-public- ownership sector is an important component part of China’s socialist economy. Encouraging essential production factors, such as capital and technology, to participate in the distribution of gains enables the reform of China’s economic system to take bigger steps. By 1999, the reform had gone smoothly in every aspect, and remarkable progress had been made. For instance, much work had been done to deepen the reform of the grain circulation system, the reform of state-owned enterprises and the reform of the banking system, and new achievements had been made. Reforms had been proposed for the housing and medical insurance systems; and plans for the reform of the investment, banking, financial and taxation systems were being formulated. The institutional restructuring of the State Council has been going smoothly, and has achieved important results. Now, China’s socialist market economy system is being set up, the basic functions of the market in resource allocation have been obviously strengthened, and the initial framework of the macro-adjustment and control system has taken shape. Moreover, the form of economic growth is changing from the extensive to the intensive type. By 2010, China will have established a comparatively sound socialist market economy, which will be comparatively mature by 2020.

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Last updated: 2000-07-13.