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President Xi pushes fruitful reforms in 2016

Editor: zhenglimin 丨Xinhua

12-27-2016 22:11 BJT

Full coverage: China’s Leaders

GUIYANG/BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- The days are gone, never to return, when Wang Laogu and his family in the southwestern province of Guizhou, endured bitter winters in a miserable hovel without enough to eat.

Wang and his fellow villagers moved to new apartments 130 km away from Pingmang Village in March. They paid next to nothing for their new homes, which were funded by the government and corporate donations.

Due to its extremely low grain output and poor roads, 90 percent of Pingmang's people lived in dire circumstances on less than 2,000 yuan (288 U.S. dollars) a year.

Now Wang has a gardening job and his wife works in a small garment factory.

Addressing poverty is President Xi Jinping's top priority, with the deadline for achieving the dream of "Xiaokang" -- an all-round moderately prosperous society -- only four years off.

Mountainous Guizhou is home to the most impoverished areas, with nearly 5 million living in poverty. Many of them live where no amount of spending will make much difference to their lifestyles. In those cases, relocation is the only viable option.

This year was the first year of China's 13th Five-Year Plan for economic and social development, a plan with eradication of poverty as its central goal.

Last week Liu Yongfu, State Council poverty relief kingpin, declared that with unprecedented government spending, the incomes of 10 million people, this year's target, had been raised to acceptable levels.


Besides poverty relief, Xi has pushed reform in various fronts with solid progress in 2016, ranging from domestic economic restructuring to rule of law.

China's gross domestic product grew 6.7 percent in the first three quarters, within the government's target range of 6.5 percent - 7 percent, and avoiding the "hard landing" forecast by some skeptics.

Supply-side structural reform, put forward by Xi in late 2015, with cutting overcapacity at the top of five major tasks, has delivered results.

The targets of cutting 45 million tonnes of iron and steel capacity and 250 million tonnes of coal capacity were met ahead of schedule.

"Capacity reduction is not a simple subtraction of quantity, but an addition of high added-value products," said Yu Yong, chairman of Hesteel Group, the largest steel firm in Hebei Province, China's main iron and steel producer. His company cut more than 3 million tonnes of capacity this year. In the first ten months, crude steel output fell 6 percent, but sales of high-end products more than doubled.

The Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform, which Xi heads, has convened 11 times this year working on the environment, poverty and state-owned enterprises, among others.

Easier administrative approval, tax cuts and free trade zones have led to unprecedented numbers of new businesses opening up in every part of the country.


Nie Shubin was executed in 1995 at the age of 21, for murder and rape. On Dec. 2, the Supreme People's Court acquitted him, ruling that his conviction, based on insufficient evidence and unclear facts, was unsafe.

"I knew my son was innocent. He could never have done that kind of thing," said Nie's mother Zhang Huanzhi, 72, who struggled for 21 years to prove her son's innocence.

"Wrongs must be righted," she said.

In 2016, Chinese courts put more than 40 senior officials, "tigers," on trial. It was an important year in an increasingly institutionalized fight against corruption, said Ma Changshan of East China University of Political Science and Law.

Anti-corruption featured heavily at the sixth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, which identified Xi as the core of the CPC Central Committee and approved new efforts to strengthen governance of the Party.

The new rules and reforms in corruption prevention and punishment will improve CPC state governance, said Ma.


China was a more active participant in global governance this year with leaders visiting different continents, and hosting a G20 Summit in September in Hangzhou. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) opened for business and the Belt and Road Initiative continued to gather support.

"Over the last two years, clearly China indicated its interest and engagement in global governance mechanism and has taken a leading role on global development," said Agi Veres, country director of the United Nations Development Program.

China is playing a more prominent role in globalization, according to Xue Li, a researcher with the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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