Xi vows to tackle issue of high pay at state enterprises

Xi vows to tackle issue of high pay at state enterprises
Chinese President Xi Jinping
PHOTO: Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to tackle "unreasonably high" wages at state-owned enterprises (SOEs), which have been a major source of social discontent in China.

Speaking yesterday at a meeting of a reform-oriented taskforce that he chairs, Mr Xi said problems of unreasonable wages and an inadequate monitoring system exist at the SOEs, which should reflect China's socialist ideals.

"Comrades of state enterprises shoulder the calling of managing enterprises well and empowering the national economy.

"They should also strengthen their sense of responsibility and self-sacrifice and correctly view and support this reform," added the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) chief.

China's SOEs have often made headlines with their high pay, with official data in recent years showing a manager's basic pay could go as high as 1,000 times that of rural wages.

SOE personnel are also known to enjoy "grey income" and other perks such as housing subsidies and shopping cards - areas that Mr Xi also promised to rein in.

The meeting yesterday was the fourth for the leading small group on the deepening of comprehensive reforms since it was set up at the CCP's policy summit last November.

The group oversees the implementation of 60 economic, political and social reform tasks that Mr Xi has set out till 2020.

At the meeting, which other leaders such as Premier Li Keqiang and Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli also attended, Mr Xi used colourful language to underscore the importance of pushing reforms.

"(We) need to employ real guns and real knives to advance reforms, so as to secure a good start for the next few years," he said.

Mr Xi also identified new areas of reform such as the media industry, where there is a need to better integrate the new media and traditional media platforms.

To do so, he said China has to set up a batch of "multi-faceted, advanced and competitive" mainstream media outlets, and also a handful of media groups with strong capability, public credibility and influence.

This article was first published on August 19, 2014.
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