Re­forms pave way to sus­tain­able fu­ture

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

The Third Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 18th Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China in Novem­ber 2013 de­cided to deepen re­form in an all-round way, in order to de­velop so­cial­ism with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics and pro­mote the mod­ern­iza­tion of China’s gov­er­nance sys­tem and gov­er­nance ca­pac­ity.

It is clear by now that China has com­pre­hen­sively im­ple­mented re­forms in the eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal, so­cial, cul­tural and en­vi­ron­men­tal fields, as well as in the con­struc­tion of the Party and the mil­i­tary.

The main goal of the eco­nomic re­form is to strike the right balance be­tween the govern­ment and the mar­ket, so that the mar­ket plays a de­ci­sive role in re­source dis­tri­bu­tion while the govern­ment takes mea­sures to im­prove gov­er­nance.

The re­form of the ad­min­is­tra­tive eval­u­a­tion and ap­proval sys­tem, too, has pro­ceeded smoothly, as 618 ad­min­is­tra­tive eval­u­a­tion and ap­proval items have been can­celled or del­e­gated to low­er­level au­thor­i­ties. Be­sides, 323 in­ter­me­di­ary ser­vices for ad­min­is­tra­tive eval­u­a­tion and ap­proval, and 434 pro­fes­sional qual­i­fi­ca­tion li­censes have been reg­u­lated. Also, the lo­cal author­ity power list, obli­ga­tion list and neg­a­tive list for mar­ket ac­cess have been es­tab­lished, and since 2014 govern­ment pric­ing of 80 com­modi­ties and ser­vices can­celled.

The re­form of State-owned en­ter­prises has been pro­ceed­ing well, with cen­tral-level SOEs im­ple­ment­ing re­forms aimed at reg­u­lat­ing cap­i­tal. Fis­cal and tax re­forms, too, have deep­ened, and mea­sures to re­place busi­ness tax with value-added tax na­tion­wide were taken on May 1 last year.

Thanks to the fi­nan­cial sys­tem re­form, the ren­minbi has been in­cluded in the Spe­cial Draw­ing Rights bas­ket of the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund, and the au­thor­i­ties have launched a devel­op­ment plan (2016-20) for in­clu­sive fi­nance so as to pro­mote “green fi­nance”.

As part of the ur­ban­iza­tion re­form, mea­sures have been taken to help mi­grant work­ers to set­tle down in ur­ban ar­eas. And to boost the econ­omy, 11 free trade zones have been es­tab­lished.

More­over, the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road), and in­ter­na­tional pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion have made sig­nif­i­cant progress, and the BRICS New Devel­op­ment Bank and the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank have started oper­a­tion.

In the po­lit­i­cal field, the pro­mo­tion of so­cial­ism with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics has achieved con­sid­er­able suc­cess, and the ju­di­cial sys­tem re­form has deep­ened.

As far as so­cial re­forms are con­cerned, ed­u­ca­tion, health­care, el­der­care, em­ploy­ment and in­come dis­tri­bu­tion re­forms have made re­mark­able progress. And in the cul­tural field, the pro­duc­tion and man­age­ment sys­tem have been fur­ther im­proved.

As for en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, the eco-com­pen­sa­tion sys­tem, the “river chief sys­tem” (to­tal pro­tec­tion of rivers and lakes) and “na­tional park (pro­tec­tion) sys­tem” have been im­ple­mented.

In terms of Party build­ing, the anti-cor­rup­tion mech­a­nism has been strength­ened with the aim of putting power in the cage of reg­u­la­tions.

The deep­en­ing re­form has paved the way for sus­tain­able so­cial devel­op­ment and com­pre­hen­sive so­cial progress. China has main­tained a medium to high growth rate de­spite the global eco­nomic down­turn, and by the end of last year, its ur­ban­iza­tion rate had reached 57.4 per­cent, up 4.8 per­cent­age points com­pared with the end of 2012. The fig­ure is likely to in­crease to 63 per­cent by the end of 2020.

From 2013 to last year, more than 13 mil­lion jobs were cre­ated ev­ery year, and the num­ber of im­pov­er­ished peo­ple de­clined by over 10 mil­lion a year. Ac­cord­ing to the poverty re­lief plan, China will be­come a mod­er­ately well-off so­ci­ety in an all-round way by 2020, which means all im­pov­er­ished peo­ple will be lifted out of poverty by then.

With the main frame­work of deep­en­ing re­form in an all-round way es­tab­lished, it is nec­es­sary to sci­en­tif­i­cally de­fine the func­tion and obli­ga­tion of the govern­ment, so that the govern­ment and the mar­ket co­or­di­nate with and sup­port each other. It is also im­por­tant to es­tab­lish an ef­fec­tive prop­erty right pro­tec­tion sys­tem, be­cause the right to prop­erty is the ba­sis of mar­ket econ­omy. And a uni­fied, open mar­ket sys­tem with or­derly com­pe­ti­tion needs to be es­tab­lished to al­low the free flow of key pro­duc­tion fac­tors na­tion­wide, and guar­an­tee mar­ket play­ers equal ac­cess to pro­duc­tion fac­tors and the right to in­vest and do busi­ness freely.

The deep­en­ing re­form has paved the way for sus­tain­able so­cial devel­op­ment and com­pre­hen­sive so­cial progress.

The au­thor is a re­searcher at the In­sti­tute of Eco­nomics, Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

Hu Ji­ay­ong

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