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Rural reform tops China’s growth plan


Aims to improve rural economy’s dynamics

and development policy

Increased investment in education, healthcare, employment and housing


BEIJING: The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Sunday approved a decision on major issues concerning rural reform and development at the close of a four-day plenum.

President Hu Jintao, who is the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a report at the Third Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee, which was held from October 9-12 in Beijing. The country was facing challenges in its rural development and reform, but it would firmly push forward the work, said the communiqué issued after the plenum.

“Rural infrastructure is still weak and needs improving. Rural development is lagging behind and needs support. Farmers’ income increases slowly and needs speeding up,” said the document, adding: “We will firmly push forward the rural reform. We will continue to emancipate the mind. We shall work out new concepts and ideas to solve the problems in rural development.” The government would try to make a breakthrough in reforming the rural system, proceed in liberating the rural economy and improving its dynamics, create a better economic environment and improve rural development policy, it said.

The CPC promised to invest more government budget in public service in rural areas, including education, healthcare, employment, housing and pension sectors. It also asked party organs and governments at all levels to put rural development at the top of their agendas and embody the national rural development strategy in policies, planning, budgets and assigning officials.

“China can handle crisis”

World Bank chief economist Justin Lin has said that China could work through the current global financial crisis, the most serious since the Great Depression in the 1930s. “My overall position is that certainly China will be affected, because export is a very important part of China’s economic growth,” Mr. Lin told reporters on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

“However, China may be able to weather through this crisis in a much better shape than many other developing countries,” said Mr. Lin, a leading Chinese economist who was named as the chief economist and senior vice-president for Development Economics at the World Bank.

“First, China has such large foreign reserves; and secondly, China has capital controls, so China in a way can insulate itself by building a firewall against the contagion. And third, China has a very strong fiscal position, because in the past four years, the [Chinese] government has run quite a substantial fiscal surplus,” he said. Mr. Lin said China could turn to stimulating the domestic economy by investment. Last week, Mr. Lin said China should stimulate the domestic demand even without any external pressure, noting it was “because these are the debts that China has accumulated during the years that followed the reform and opening-up policy.”

As the financial crisis is worldwide, the U.S. has called for international cooperation to address the crisis. — Xinhua

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