Reforms eyed as China announces Communist Party meeting

AFP-JIJI

The Chinese Communist Party will hold a key four-day gathering early next month, state media reported Tuesday, a much-anticipated meeting that could serve as the venue for the announcement of far-reaching economic reforms.

The Communist Party’s third plenum — which traditionally sets the economic tone for a Chinese administration’s five-year term — will take place in Beijing from Nov. 9 to 12, the state-run news agency Xinhua said, citing an announcement by the Politburo.

Party General Secretary Xi Jinping took over as head of the organization last year and analysts have been watching closely for any hint of potential reform on a wide range of issues in the weeks leading up to the plenum announcement.

Xi has cast himself as a reformer on certain issues, such as cracking down on corruption and government waste.

But his administration has also clamped down on traditional and social media, retaliated against foreign firms it has accused of price fixing, and taken an increasingly aggressive stance in defending its territorial claims in the East and South China Seas.

A government-affiliated think tank, the Development Research Center, has issued a list of reform suggestions, reports said Monday, although it is unclear whether they might be adopted as several other competing sets of proposals are also expected to be put forward.

Among the proposals laid out in the think tank’s road map are the dismantling of the residency registration system; the publication of officials’ personal financial information; and the relaxation of state control of the railway, energy and other sectors.