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Deepened Reforms Test China's New Leaders

11-20 14:53 Caijing
The new leadership will need to define the boundaries of the government, society and the market and set checks and balances among powers, which is the key for political, economic and social reforms.

On Nov. 15, newly-elected General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping, together with the other newly-elected members of Politburo Standing Committee, posed for a photograph in the east wing of the Great Hall of the People and declared to Chinese and foreign media that they had "taken up the historic baton."

The new group of CPC Central Committee leaders was elected the same day as part of the first plenary session of the 18th Central Committee. One day prior, the 18th National Party Congress concluded.

The 18th Party conference marks the beginning of a once-in-a-decade power shift to a new generation of leaders. The 205 18th CCP Central Committee members, 171 alternate Central Committee members, and 130 discipline inspection committee members which make up the core authority of the Communist Party will set the agenda of the country for the next decade. The 18th National Party Congress consolidated an orderly transfer of power for the ruling party, marked a smooth transition in line with the nation's expectations, and fostered the foundation for advancing inner-Party democracy.

In 1921, aboard a boat in South Lake near the city of Jiaxing, 13 representatives of the 1st Communist Party Congress elected Chen Duxiu, Li Dazhao, and Zhang Guotao to form the Central Bureau, thus laying the foundation of the CCP's highest leadership organ. At the time, the Party had only a little over 50 members,

Today, the CCP has gradually standardized into a four-level leadership system which includes the National Congress, the Central Committee, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, and the Politburo Standing Committee.

These organizations were created partly to cope with the rapid development of the CCP - by the end of 2011, China's Communist Party had 82.60 million members. At the same time, the rise of these institutions also reflects the development path of Chinese politics -- orderly power transfers and a gradual shift towards democracy and transparency are inevitable demands of an evolving political civilization.

But even more important than the power transition is how the new generation of leaders will wield their power. The key for political, economic, and social reforms lies in the formation of clear power boundaries and the establishment of checks and balances.

Further clarifying the boundaries of the market and the government is an urgent task for China's continued development. The report to the 18th CPC National Congress raises "deepening the reform of the economic system," stating the core issue of economic reform is "handling the relationship between the government and the market."

The core experience of China's reform and opening up - the government allowing the market to play a greater role - is what brought about today's flourishing economy. But the process of decentralization is not complete, and the market continues to operate in an imperfect state. "China's current economic system is one that includes both new market-economic factors and the old command economy or planned economy," said renowned economist Wu Jinglian. "It has the potential to advance to the market economy, but there is also the possibility of returning to the transitional system of the planned economy."

The core tasks of China's future economic reform are to play to the basic role of the market in allocating resources and allow the government to become a service-oriented institution that provides public goods. These tasks must be supported with political system reform.

The purpose of political reform is to eliminate situations which allow for unfettered power and establish a system of checks and balances. The first step in the path of political reform involves establishing rule of law, implementing the constitution and laws, and safeguarding the independence of judicial judgment. Only in a society governed by rule of law can China realize the smooth integration of its political and economic system. The second step would be to promote inner-Party democracy while at the same time expanding popular democracy. Power being used for the benefit of the public is people's fundamental great trust.

The report to the 18th CPC National Congress also raised the issue of promoting reform of social management and administrative reform and transforming the relationship between the government and society by separating the functions of government from those of social organizations.

Full article in Chinese: http://magazine.caijing.com.cn/2012-11-18/112291301.html

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