By Ryan Woo
BEIJING (Reuters) -Chinese President Xi Jinping envisages “intensive” and “wide-ranging” re-organisation of state and Communist Party entities, with part of the plan to be presented to the annual meeting of parliament, state media said on Tuesday.
The renewed call for ambitious institutional reforms follows Xi’s clinching of a precedent-breaking third leadership term during a major party congress in October last year, where he sealed his place as China’s most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong.
The meeting of the largely rubber-stamp parliament opens at the Great Hall of the People in the heart of Beijing on Sunday, where Xi is widely expected to secure his third five-year term as president.
The call for institutional reforms also comes after China’s economy grew 3% last year – one of its feeblest rates in nearly half a century – weakened by strict COVID curbs championed by Xi which were lifted in December.
During a major three-day meeting of the party’s Central Committee that ended on Tuesday, Xi said part of the reform plan pertaining to state institutions would be presented before parliament, the official Xinhua news agency said.
At the October congress, the party made clear that reforms of institutions were needed, including reforms to the financial system, Xi said.
The overall reform plan will be “targeted, intensive and wide-ranging, touching on deep-rooted interests”, Xi was quoted as saying in a speech before the Central Committee.
He did not say when the reform plans for party entities would be presented for deliberation. And Xinhua did not give details of the changes.
China’s “rejuvenation” must be guided by Xi and the Central Committee as national governance is “modernised”, the Central Committee said in a communique but it offered no details.
“It is necessary to fully, accurately and comprehensively implement a new development concept,” the committee, the largest of the party’s top decision-making bodies, said.
The Central Committee also approved a proposed list of leadership candidates to be recommended at parliament.
Lawmakers are expected to endorse the next line-up of top government posts in the Cabinet to be headed by a new premier for the next five years.
The new Cabinet will be immediately put to the test as the economy, while showing signs of recovery, remains on a shaky footing amid feeble consumer demand and a moribund property sector.
China’s development still faces triple pressures including a demand contraction, supply shocks and weakened expectations, the Central Committee said in its communique.
Last year, China’s urban employment fell for the first time in six decades last year while per capita spending saw a rare decline.
Xinhua on Sunday praised Xi’s attention to the masses and their livelihoods.
“The leader of the people does not fail the people, and hundreds of millions of people love their leader!” the news agency declared in an article.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Nick Macfie)