Reforms eyed as China unveils Communist Party meeting

Reforms eyed as China unveils Communist Party meeting
Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), pauses during a plenary meeting of the 12th CPPCC at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, in this file picture taken March 11, 2013. Yu, the fourth-ranked member in the elite Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party, has promised "unprecedented" economic and societal reforms at the Communist Party's much anticipated plenum meeting in November, state media reported on October 26, 2013.

BEIJING - China's ruling 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 government's five-year term -- will take place in Beijing from November 9-12, state-run news agency Xinhua said, citing an announcement by the Politburo.

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

Xi has cast himself as a reformist 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 Centre, 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 DRC's roadmap are the dismantling of China's residency registration system; the publication of officials' personal financial information; and the relaxation of state control of the railway, energy and other sectors.

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