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Plenum Accentuates Need for New Reforms

Hailed as another milestone, the Communist Party of China's (CPC) Central Committee has just concluded its latest plenum.

Following the third plenary session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978, which kickstarted the reform and opening up that has permanently transformed the Chinese landscape, as well as the third plenum of the 14th CPC Central Committee in 1993, which masterminded the country's own brand of market economy, the just-concluded third plenary session of the 16th CPC Central Committee also featured heavily on the economy.

None of the three items on its agenda, the Central Committee Political Bureau's report on its work to the plenum, future development strategies and deliberation of Constitution amendments, digressed from economic concerns.

Modelled on Deng Xiaoping's idea to "cross the river by feeling the stones," the country's economic reforms have proceeded in an incremental manner after some major breakthroughs in the early 1980s.

As the economy integrates further with foreign economies and China's industries become more exposed to international competition via the World Trade Organization, loopholes in the system appear increasingly obvious.

Minor repairs no longer suffice to keep China's economic locomotive running in a top gear.

The domestic media have highlighted the need to continue to change so China can further integrate with the rest of the world.

The CPC Central Committee plenum, answering the call for a new round of reforms, has put forward a blueprint to push the process.

As many have observed, reforms have never been as imperative and difficult.

The CPC leadership did not go into the plenum unprepared. Early in January during an inspection tour of Beijing, CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao appealed for "systematic guarantees" for social and economic progress to create a well-off society in an all-round way.

The Party's new economic roadmap is sure to win world attention since China's development is a hot topic.

While public attention focuses primarily on economic aspects, there is another, perhaps more important, story.

It is worth noting the Political Bureau's report to the CPC Central Committee, given it forms an integral part of the plenum.

The new practice of the Political Bureau reporting its work to the Central Committee shows the Party is following the Party Constitution closely.

The manner in which the four-day plenum proceeded enhanced the popular impression that Hu and his team are serious about the rules. It is also consistent with the promise to promote inner-Party democracy.

The new CPC leadership has shown a determination to do away with obsolete systems that fetter the country's economic ambition.

And the latest Central Committee plenum offered a stage for it to share its vision with the Party and the people.

(China Daily October 15, 2003)

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