The Third Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which closed in Beijing Tuesday, outlined major tasks to further improve market economy to build an affluent society in the country.
The plenum deliberated and approved two documents -- a decision of the CPC Central Committee on issues regarding the improvement of the socialist market economic system and a proposal of the CPC Central Committee on revising part of the country's Constitution.
A communique passed at plenum defined these tasks as follows:
l Improving the basic economic system of keeping public ownership as the mainstay of the economy and allowing diverse forms of ownership to develop side by side;
l Narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas;
l Promoting coordinated development of different regions;
l Establishing a unified, open and orderly modern market system;
l Improving employment, income distribution and social security systems; and
l Establishing a mechanism to promote sustainable social and economic development.
The communique called for actively promoting the development of diversified forms of public ownership, noting that a share-holding system that absorbs investment from various channels should be the major form of public ownership.
The communique called for vigorously promoting and guiding the private sector of the economy and granting private enterprises the same treatment in investment, financing, taxation, land use and foreign trade.
"Non-public capital should be allowed to enter infrastructure, public utilities and other sectors not prohibited by laws and regulations," said the communique.
The communique called for establishing a modern property rights system with explicitly defined ownership structure, rights and liabilities, strict protection and smooth transfer channels.
It said property rights of various types should be protected in accordance with the law.
The session heard that the household-based land contract system is the core of the fundamental system for management in the countryside, and China should keep stabilizing and improving the two-tier management system.
The session called for protecting the rights of farmers on land contract and management.
Within the term of contract, rural households have the right to sell their farmland management rights in accordance with law and at their own will. The regulations on the circulation of farmland should be improved, while large-scale farming should be developed step by step in a proper manner.
The strictest system of protecting cultivated land must be adopted to ensure national grain security. Under the principles of protecting farmers' rights and interests and controlling the amount of land turned to other uses by the government, China will reform its land-use system and improve procedures on land use.
The rural product marketing system should be improved, through changing indirect subsidies for farmers, during the circulation, to direct subsidies, in order to protect farmers' interests.
The state will exert greater efforts to support and protect agriculture, deepen rural tax reform, and reduce the financial burden on farmers substantially.
Great efforts should be made to develop the county-based economy, accelerate the pace of urbanization, unify urban and rural labor markets step by step, create a system for equal employment of urban and rural laborers, so as to create more job opportunities for farmers.
The session called for accelerating the building of a unified national market, opening up the market domestically and internationally, developing a market for capital and other production means, and promoting free circulation and full competition of production means.
It called for strengthening public awareness of the personal credit system, and building a personal credit system with morality as its support, property rights as its basis, and law as its guarantee.
China will continue improving its national macro-economic control system, accelerating the functional shift of the government, deepening administrative reform, and making substantial efforts to make administration of the economy serve the market and create a sound environment for development.
The government should strengthen its coordination and guiding on regional development, actively advance the development of the underdeveloped areas in the west, bring into play the comprehensive advantages of the country's central areas, support the western and central regions to speed up local reforms, rejuvenate the old industrial bases in northeast China, and encourage some eastern areas with better conditions to take the lead in realizing modernization.
China will deepen reform of the investment system, implement tax reforms, push forward the reform of the financial management system, deepen the reform of banking enterprises, improve the mechanism to adjust the financial sector, and improve the regulatory system on financial industry.
China will deepen the structural reform of its foreign economic exchanges, improve the system guarantee for the opening up to the outside world, help overseas investment play a better role, and increase the capabilities to join in international cooperation and competition.
The meeting held that the issue of expanding employment be put higher on the agenda of the government, along with the pursuit of a proactive employment policy.
Steps should be taken to strengthen the regulation of individual incomes in a bid to narrow the growing gap between the rich and poor.
"Efforts should be made to speed up the building of a social security system compatible with the country's economic development," it said, urging the improvement of industrial workers' pension systems and unemployment insurance system for others.
The meeting also called for deepening the reform of the administrative system to establish a transparent, clean and efficient administration.
The building of a complete socialist market economic system is a major decision taken by the CPC in the new phase of the century, said the meeting, urging all Party members to fully realize their historic responsibility and take concrete steps to help reach the target.
However, it noted the reform should be conducted step by step in line with the basic national conditions of the country.
The meeting also called for active promotion of political system reform, saying that such reform would provide political guarantees for the development of the socialist market economy.
As for the constitutional revision, the communique said that the major theoretical opinions and policies set forth at the 16th National Congress of CPC will be written into the Constitution.
"In light of objective demands arising from China's economic and social development, to write the major theoretical opinions and policies set forth at the 16th CPC National Congress into the Constitution according to legal procedures will better serve its role as the basic law of the country," it said.
The meeting emphasized that China's Constitution, as the basic law of the country, serves as both the general statute in ruling the country and managing state affairs and the legal basis for maintaining state integrity, national unity, economic development, social progress and long-term stability.
Practice has proven that the existing Constitution is a good one and should remain stable in that it accords with the specific situation of the country and plays an extremely important role in the country's economic, political, cultural and social lives.
It was pointed out that while revising the Constitution, the four basic principles, namely the adherence to the socialist course, the people's democratic dictatorship, the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, should be observed.
Democracy would be further promoted, opinions from all social circles be solicited and the law be strictly adhered to.
"The revision of the constitution should help consolidate the leadership of the Party, manifest the advantage of the socialist system, mobilize the initiative of the masses, safeguard state integrity, national unity and social stability and promote economic development and social progress," said the communique.
The existing Constitution, consisting of 138 articles in four chapters, was formulated in 1982 and was later amended three times, in 1988, 1993 and 1999.
The First Session of the Seventh NPC in 1988 approved amendments to Article 11 of the Constitution, which says the state permits the private economy to exist and grow within the limits prescribed by law and the private economy is a complement to the socialist public economy.
The First Session of the Eighth NPC made nine amendments to the Constitution, adding to the Constitution the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, adhering to reform, opening up and multi-party cooperation under the leadership of the CPC and the political consultation system.
The Second Session of the Ninth NPC in 1999 made six amendments to the Constitution, enshrining the guiding role of Deng Xiaoping Theory. In the amendments, the rule of law is stipulated as a state policy and the role of the private economic sector is further highlighted as important in the national economic system.
According to the communique, the document on constitutional amendments will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) for deliberation.
The plenum, which opened October 11, was presided over by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, delivered an important speech.
(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2003)