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Mapping out the future: Chinese leaders join to plot economic reform

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 8th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

China has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and economic growth over the past 30 years. A newly emerging middle class, with cars and shiny material goods is emerging there, a far growth from the sustenance farmers that at one time made up the country's rural areas. That growth has come with a heavy price, however. The Chinese economy is now in a slump, and there has been growing sociological issues attendant with the push towards to industrialization. China's leaders plan to meet this weekend to plot out the country's immediate future, the next five to 10 years.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chinese President Xi Jinping along Premier Li Keqiang are expected to outline a plan. There has been a long-growing consensus that China's long-successful economic model needs to change.

China in the past has relied too heavily on cheap labor, cheap exports and cheap resources such as coal to fuel its economic growth. As wages rise and the global economy continues to struggle, the Chinese public grows increasingly concerned about crowded living conditions and air pollution.

Prominent Chinese journalist Yang Jisheng says that expectations are high as China's leaders head into the summit this weekend to address these issues. However, it will be anyone's guess what kind of reforms the government will unveil.
 
"Continuing on with the old model is unsustainable and a new model is needed. But for more than a decade now, there has been talk about the need for a new model, but that has been impossible under the current system. So what we need now is even more reform," he said.
 
Concluding on Tuesday, China's leaders will hold what is called the Third Plenum. Which is the third meeting in a five-year cycle of party leadership. Banking and tax reform, land usage rights and the country's household registration system will be on the agenda.
 
Analysts say that the meeting is not always significant, but there have been times when its role in helping the country move forward has been undeniable. Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping launched China's economic reform and opening up at the third plenum in 1978.
 
"[During the meeting] You might mouth some of their old rhetoric, you'll hear social harmony, you'll hear scientific mode of development because that was the previous lot," David Kelly with China Policy in Beijing says.

He says that the meeting is part paying homage to previous leaders and making a break with the past.. "And we're all collegial, we're all . this is the Communist Party, we don't have elections because we don't fight. Then things break into the cycle which are not cyclical and that's what's happening."

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