Li Keqiang’s roadmap on further economic reform in China

Li Keqiang

According to Singtao Daily’s comprehensive report, on November 21, just one week after being reelected into the Politburo Standing Committee that ensures his succession to retiring premier Wen Jiabao, Li Keqiang pointed out at a working conference on pilot projects of reform that reform is China’s greatest bonus.

Li said, “We must and can only move forward and there is no way to turn around.”

Li’s predecessor Wen Jiabao has carried on Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji’s reform and achieved high growth rate, but also left behind a lot of problems.

In early September, Deng Yewen, a senior editor of the Party mouthpiece Study Times, listed in his article the following serious problems left behind by Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao: stagnant economic restructuring; pollution; income disparity; the notoriously outdated family planning and household registration polices; a looming energy crisis; moral degradation and the country’s battered international image (see my article China’s Hu and Wen Blasted by Party Paper Editor)

Deng certainly had some powerful elders behind him in publishing his article.

The further reform was blocked by conservatives in the party, but the obstacles laid by them have now been removed with the downfall of Bo Xilai. However, there has to be some talented reformer to design the roadmap for further reform.

There are three routes in Li’s roadmap:

1. A reform centred on urbanisation. Li regards urbanisation as a major strategy for China’s development. In the coming two to three decades, every year over 10 million people will move into Chinese cities. They will bring about a huge domestic demand. It will precisely be a source of force to boost China’s long-term stable fast economic development.

2. Readjust industrial structure in changing the mode of economic growth. I wonder whether this means removal of the monopoly of the state-owned sector and enabling private enterprises to compete with state-owned enterprises.

That will the key to further economic liberalisation, but will Li be able to deal with vested interests?

Judging by recent increased vigour in the pilot project of financial reform in Wenzhou since Li took over, I believe Li is making efforts in that direction. Whether he will succeed, we have to wait and see.

3. Promoting the reform in developing ecological civilisation and overcoming environmental pollution.

People’s awareness of the evils of pollution has been greatly enhanced as proved by recent mass protests against establishment and expansion of enterprises with environmental hazards. I believe that Li has a good chance of success in this respect.


Categories: Politics & Law

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