Bigwigs helm new reform group

Bigwigs helm new reform group
This picture taken on January 28, 2014 shows residents buying portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping, displayed amongst decorations for the upcoming Lunar New Year in Liaocheng, northeast China Shandong province.

IN A signal that Beijing is serious about reforms, its leaders have established a new body to supervise the country's boldest economic and social changes in 30 years.

Headed by President Xi Jinping and with Premier Li Keqiang, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli and propaganda tsar Liu Yunshan as deputies, the Central Leading Group for Comprehensive Reform held its first meeting last Wednesday. All four are part of China's most powerful governing body, the elite seven-member Politburo standing committee.

The leading group was established during the Third Plenum, a key policy summit last November, as part of plans to promote the country's "comprehensive deepening of reforms". It was also meant to push for a higher quality of growth after three decades of growth at all costs that has increased social inequality and damaged the environment.

Six sub-groups that reflect Beijing's priorities have been created, Xinhua news agency reported.

They are the reform groups for economic, ecological and civilisation systems; cultural reform; democratic rule of law; social reform; the institution of building the Communist Party; and the system of discipline and checks.

Experts say letting China's most powerful leaders take charge of the nation's push for change should reduce scepticism that Beijing may lack the political will to push through the tough reforms deemed necessary to tackle the country's challenges.

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