Narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas, promoting employment and improving the social security system have been listed among the main tasks in improving China's socialist market economic system.
A communiqué passed at the Third Plenum of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which closed yesterday, defined these tasks as follows:
* 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;
* Narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas;
* Promoting co-coordinated development of different regions;
* Establishing a unified, open and orderly modern market system;
* Improving employment, income distribution and social security systems;
* Establishing a mechanism to promote sustainable social and economic development.
The communiqué 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 communiqué called for vigorously promoting and guiding the private sector of the economy and granting all private enterprises the same treatment in investment, financing, taxation, land use and foreign trade.
The communiqué also called for establishing a modern property rights system with explicitly defined ownership structure, rights and obligations, strict protection and smooth transfer channels.
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 in land contract and management.
The rural product marketing system should be improved, through changing indirect subsidies for farmers 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 substantially reduce the financial burden on 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 consumer credit system, and building a consumer 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 co-ordination and guidance of regional development, actively advance the development of 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.
The meeting held that the issue of expanding employment be put higher on the agenda of the government, along with the pursuit of a pro-active 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 an 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.
It 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.
(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2003)