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UPDATED: November 18, 2013 NO. 47 NOVEMBER 21, 2013
Greater Depths
China's definitive reform agenda prioritizes combating income inequality and highlighting the market's role
By Zhou Xiaoyan

CPC Third Plenum Overview

Summary of the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee

- Central Principles

To adhere to socialism with Chinese characteristics and take Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development as guidance to action

- General Objectives

To improve and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and push on with modernization of the country's governing system and capabilities

- Timeframe

Decisive results to be achieved in all key sectors by 2020

- Focus

Carrying out economic restructuring with the aim to establish a proper relationship between the government and the market, leaving the market to play a decisive role in the allocation of resources and for the government to play a better role

- Two New Organizations

A central leading team for reform to be in charge of designing and supervising the implementation of reform programs, arranging and coordinating reform measures, and pushing forward reform as a whole

A state security committee to improve systems and strategies in place and to better ensure national security

Major reforms

1. Sticking to the dominant role of public ownership while encouraging, supporting and guiding the private sector to enhance its vitality and creativity;

2. Building a united and open market system with orderly competition so that the market can play a "decisive" role in allocating resources;

3. Transforming government functions and building a law-based and service-oriented government;

4. Building a modern fiscal system that supports the initiative of both central- and local-level governments;

5. Improving relations between industry and agriculture as well as between urban and rural areas, giving farmers more property rights, and promoting equal exchanges of production factors while balancing allocation of public resources between urban and rural areas;

6. Lowering investment thresholds, stepping up the development of free trade zones and increasing the opening up of inland, coastal and border areas;

7. Attaching greater importance to perfecting a democratic system and enriching democratic forms to show the advantages of China's socialist political system;

8. Deepening judicial system reform and upholding the rights and interests of the people;

9. Ensuring transparency during exercises of power and accepting supervision from the general public;

10. Establishing and improving a modern cultural market system;

11. Accelerating reform in social sectors such as education, employment, income distribution, social security and public health;

12. Innovating the social governance system to effectively prevent and end social disputes, and improving public security through establishing a state security committee;

13. Building a comprehensive system for ecological progress, including an ecological compensation system;

14. Building up a modern armed force with Chinese characteristics;

15. Strengthening the CPC's leadership role in deepening reform, and setting up a central leading team for "comprehensively deepening reform."

(Sources: Xinhua News Agency and The Beijing News)

Timeline of Previous CPC Third Plenums

- 11th CPC Central Committee

Date: December 18-22, 1978

Focus: Socialist modernization

Conclusion: Adopting the policy decision shifting the emphasis of the CPC's work and the attention of the people of the whole country to socialist modernization

- 12th CPC Central Committee

Date: October 20, 1984

Focus: Reform of cities

Conclusion: Adopting the decision about broad reforms of the economic structure that focus on cities

- 13th CPC Central Committee

Date: September 26-30, 1988

Focus: Price reform

Conclusion: Approving in principle the "Preliminary Program for Price and Wage Reforms"

- 14th CPC Central Committee

Date: November 11-14, 1993

Focus: Socialist market economic structure

Conclusion: Adopting a decision of the CPC Central Committee on some issues concerning the establishment of a socialist market economic structure

- 15th CPC Central Committee

Date: October 12-14, 1998

Focus: Rural work

Conclusion: Reaching a consensus on the importance of agriculture, rural work in general, and farmers in China's reforms, opening up and modernization

- 16th CPC Central Committee

Date: October 11-14, 2003

Focus: Market economy

Conclusion: Deliberating on and approve two documents: A decision of the CPC Central Committee on issues regarding the improvement of the socialist market economic system and a proposal of the CPC Central Committee on revising part of the country's Constitution

- 17th CPC Central Committee

Date: October 9-12, 2008

Focus: Rural reform

Conclusion: Approving a decision on major issues concerning rural reform and development, and nailed down guidelines, goals and major principles

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