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To survive, to win, China needs reform

Updated: 11 13 , 2013 09:31
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BEIJING -- The current meeting of senior Chinese policy makers will define the shape of China in the 21st century, and possibly that of the world.

The third plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), opened on Saturday and ends on Tuesday, with reform as the top priority.

No official word has seeped out yet, but reading between the lines of recent policy and statements reform will cover the socialist market economy, democracy, cultural development, social harmony and ecological matters. [ The reform and opening-up drives started by Deng Xiaoping in 1978 has saved the Chinese economy from the brink of collapse and put it on a track of fast growth, and China now is the second largest economy in the world.

Thirty five years ago when then Communist Party of China (CPC) shifted its focus from ideology to economy, the main battle was against the dogmatists of communism. Today, reformers face resistance from interest groups who have either benefited from reforms or non-reforming.

No reform is ever easy nor without cost. On the other hand, reform means survival and prosperity. The CPC has to make the right decisions and prove that it is both a responsible and farsighted party.

In July, when on a visit to central China's Hubei Province, President Xi Jinpingtalked the methodology of comprehensively intensifying reform.Reform, he said, is a balance between creativity and reality, between urgent breakthroughs and comprehensiveness, between a leadership and grassroots, between courage and care, between reform, development and stability.

There is one thing the CPC can rely on: A country of 1.3 billion people, China is not lacking in energy or appetite for change.

A simple example is the Singles Day shopping spree on Monday. Orders flooded Taobao.com, the country's biggest online shopping site, to the tune of 10 billion yuan (1.6 billion U.S. dollars) in the first six hours.

This is no concoction by the government or an age-old tradition, merely a combination of humor and business creativity with good execution. The reforms of 1978 began with some simple farmers in central China who just wanted to fill their stomachs. The Chinese still have the stomach today for even bigger changes and should be a bit more ambitious.

China's reform is part of a global process of modernization which started with the industrial revolution in the West, but the West is exactly that, West, and does not have every answer to every question in every country.

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