China’s leaders to hold plenum
Meeting expected to be the forum for leadership to detail plans for financial reform
China’s politburo standing committee member Wang Qishan walks past Chinese president Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang after speaking during the opening ceremony of the 11th National Women’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People near Tiananmen Square on Monday. Photograph: Feng Li/Getty Images
China’s ruling Communist Party will hold a key plenum to discuss economic policy reforms, running for four days from November 9th in Beijing, the Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.
The meeting, which is officially called the third plenary session of the 18th central committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), is aimed at setting out the policy stance of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, who took over in a once-a-decade power transition that started in late 2012.
The announcement was made after Politburo members held a meeting presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC central committee, to study how to “comprehensively deepen reforms”, Xinhua reported.
The plenum is widely expected to be the forum for China’s new leadership to detail its plans for financial reform, and it will be closely watched for any hints of political liberalisation.
“The realisation of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation requires comprehensively deepening reforms and boosting confidence, theory and the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, while various malpractices in systems and mechanisms must be cleared,” ran a statement from the politburo.
The plenum normally takes place behind closed doors and includes the politburo’s seven-member standing committee, plus the 200-odd members of the central committee selected at last November’s party congress.
The last plenum was held five years ago, and the event can produce radical reforms – the third plenum in 1978 led to Deng Xiaoping’s economic liberalisations, while Zhu Rongji’s socialist market economy was launched at a plenum in 1993.
“Reform and opening up are a great revolution by the Chinese people under the CPC’s leadership in the new era. Deepening reforms requires the improvement and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” ran the statement.
Analysts believe the policies emerging from the plenum will try to cut the possibility of the economy slowing much further, offsetting the chance of a financial crisis.
Among the expected reforms are changes in financial markets and local government funding, liberalisation of state-owned enterprises, including opening up to foreign investors, the relaxation of the hukou system of control on internal migration, and possibly even reform of the one-child policy.