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Maximizing People's Interests Is a Fundamental Goal of Comprehensively Deepening Reforms

Submit Time:23-10-2017 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Han Baojiang | Source:Guang Ming Daily (September 26, 2017)


Note: "Reforms should be precisely targeted at people's needs." General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward such a fundamental requirement for comprehensively deepening reforms, and this requirement also serves as a methodology of comprehensively deepening reforms. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Central Committee of the CPC led by Xi Jinping, by scientifically grasping the development trend of today's world and contemporary China and satisfying the practical requirements and people's wishes, has launched a series of major strategic initiatives, promulgated an array of major guidelines and policies, and promoted a slew of major work tasks, thereby managing to solve many problems that have not been resolved for a long time and do a lot of great things that failed in the past. The strategy of comprehensively deepening reforms has made remarkable achievements, and the reform and development results have more benefited all the people in a fairer manner. 

Comprehensively deepening reforms in response to the diversity of people's interests 

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the reason why the Central Committee of the CPC led by Xi Jinping has firmly determined to comprehensively deepen reforms with great efforts is in the final analysis to satisfy people's longing for a better life and to further safeguard and maximize people's interests. At the press conference of the 18th Standing Committee of the Politburo of the CPC, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, "Our people love life, and anticipate better education, more stable work, more satisfying income, more reliable social security, higher levels of medical and health services, more comfortable living conditions, and more beautiful environment. They hope their children can grow better, work better, and live better. People's longing for a better life is our goal." This not only clarifies the value orientation of state governance of the new central collective leadership, but also explains the fundamental intention and motivation of comprehensively deepening reforms. On the basis of this, the Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms, which was adopted at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, defined 15 areas, 60 specific reform tasks and more than 300 specific reform measures around the six reforms in economy, politics, culture, society, ecological civilization, and party building. All these efforts were meant to protect people's principal status and fundamental interests to the maximum extent, and ensure that the people can share more fruits of reform and development in a fairer manner and have a higher sense of gain. In particular, the Central Leading Group of Comprehensive Deepening Reforms, since its establishment, has convened more than 30 special meetings and adopted more than 200 specific reform programs, most of which were aimed at solving development and livelihood problems concerning the people's interests, thus "gearing reforms to what the people care about and expect." 

What the people most care about is stable work and good income. To guarantee employment, the CPC Central Committee took serious measures to transform government functions, deepen reforms of administrative systems, deepen supply-side structural reforms, and actively support and nurture new industries and new business models, thereby boosting economic growth and creating a large number of new employment positions. On the one hand, the CPC Central Committee streamlined administration, delegated more powers to lower-level governments and to society in general while improving regulation, and optimized services, especially as evidenced by the business system reform and the integration of three certificates (business license, organization code certificate and tax registration certificate) into one certificate, greatly mobilizing private capital investment and supporting 10% rapid growth of emerging industries; on the other hand, the CPC Central Committee deepened the adjustment of the development model and economic structure, significantly improving the ability to create jobs. As GDP grows by every 1 percentage point, 1.5 million jobs were only created in 2013, but 1.93 million jobs can be created now. In the context of new normal of China's economic development and downward trend of economic growth, the annual employment target has been overfulfilled for five consecutive years, as evidenced by the fact that new urban employment registered more than 12 million people each year and cumulative new employment registered more than 65 million people. Residents' income growth synchronized with or even exceeded economic growth. For example, in the first half of this year, China's GDP grew by 6.9%, better than expected, but the residents' income grew faster by 7.3% year on year based on comparable prices, 0.4 percentage point higher than economic growth. 

The people have high expectations for their children and hope that their children can enjoy good and fair education. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Central Committee of the CPC has unswervingly promoted the fairness of education by not only improving the subsidization system for families with financial difficulties and reducing regional, urban-rural and inter-school gaps, but also tackling difficulties in school selection and reducing students' burden in studies. Especially, facing the weak spots in vocational education, the Central Committee of the CPC has constantly accelerated the construction of the modern vocational education system, and deepened the integration of production and education and the school-enterprise cooperation, thereby training high-quality workers and skilled talents. At present, the spread rate of compulsory education in China is higher than the average level of high-income countries, and China's gross enrollment rates of senior high school and higher education reached 87.5% and 37.5%, respectively, exceeding the average levels of upper-middle income countries. 

The people are concerned about whether medical care and old-age care are guaranteed and whether environment and food are safe. In this regard, deepening reforms in the areas closest to the people's life is a top priority of the Central Committee of the CPC. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed reforms should start with the areas the people expect the most. On April 1, 2015, the Guiding Opinions on Pilot Comprehensive Reforms of Urban Public Hospitals was adopted at the 11th session of the Central Leading Group of Comprehensive Deepening Reforms. At the end of October that year, comprehensive reforms of county-level public hospitals were quickly launched in the whole country. Enjoying the same social security with urban residents is the dream of rural people. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Central Committee of the CPC has balanced the development of minimum living security systems in urban and rural areas, and integrated basic old-age insurance systems for urban and rural residents, thereby basically building a social security system covering urban and rural areas. As of the end of 2016, there were 890 million subscribers to old-age insurance nationwide and 1.3 billion subscribers to medical insurance, and the latter insurance basically realized universal coverage. By the end of 2017, the pilot application of hierarchical diagnosis and treatment will be expanded to more than 85% of the cities, and comprehensive reforms of public hospitals will be fully launched, where medicine price markups will be entirely cancelled. China has built a social security network that covers the most population in the world. Thus, at the end of 2016, the International Social Security Association presented the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Social Security to the Chinese government for its extraordinary commitments and achievements in social security. 

In response to the people's concern about ecology and food safety, the Central Committee of the CPC has taken stringent measures. On the one hand, to address the environmental needs of the people, the Central Committee of the CPC continued to deepen the reform of the ecological and environmental protection system and accelerate the construction of beautiful China. It delineated "red lines" for ecological protection, and implemented the most stringent source protection system, damage compensation system and accountability system, with "zero tolerance" of environmental pollutions and damages. On the other hand, the Chinese government specifically formulated the "13th Five-Year" Plan for National Food Safety and the "13th Five-year" Plan for National Medicine Safety, emphasizing the most rigorous standards, the most stringent supervision, the most severe punishment, and the most serious accountability, in order to ensure food and medicine safety. 

As a result of the increase in residents' private property and the expansion of the size of individual and private enterprises' assets, the people have increasingly strong demands for the protection of property, especially intellectual property. In 2016, the Opinions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on the Improvement in the Property Rights Protection System and the Lawful Protection of the Property Rights was released. The old saying "people with immovable property hold on perseverance" was included in the document. This document strengthened the legalization path of property rights protection in terms of top-down design, reassuring all types of market players engaged in investment and entrepreneurship as well as the ordinary people purchasing houses. 

It is worth mentioning that targeted poverty alleviation has achieved remarkable success since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, as evidenced by a sharp decrease in the poverty stricken population. Poverty alleviation is aimed at bolstering weak spots of economic development, and also represents the reform of the income distribution system involving fairness and justice. In order to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, General Secretary Xi Jinping personally took charge of the poverty alleviation work, and established a governance pattern featuring poverty alleviation at five levels of provinces, cities, towns, counties and villages and layers of accountability. During the period from 2013 to 2016, the rural poor population was reduced by more than 10 million each year, and a total of 55.64 million people were lifted out of poverty, equivalent to the total population of a medium-sized country. In the next three years, 43.35 million people will gradually get rid of poverty. 

The CPC is the key to handling well all issues in China. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Central Committee of the CPC led by Xi Jinping has made great efforts to comprehensively strengthen party discipline with a strong and resolute attitude and "zero tolerance" of corruption, achieving remarkable success. Party organizations at all levels have significantly strengthened main body responsibilities for party management and control, comprehensively enhanced party discipline construction, and effectively curbed the spread of corruption, leading to a new environment for intra-party political activities, so as to ensure that the party has always remained the strong leadership of our cause. The honest and clean-handed political ecology has united the hearts of our party and people and won the trust of the people. 

In general, while strengthening the leadership of the party, it is necessary to pay attention to such key areas as education, health care, employment, income distribution, social security and poverty alleviation, and effectively allow all the people to enjoy the results of reform and development, so that the people can earn more, get more reassured, and become more confident. 

New dimensions required to appreciate the success of comprehensively deepening reforms 

The success of comprehensively deepening reforms is prominent, remarkable and universally recognized. However, some people think that reforms are mere formalities with no effect. As to the people who talk or think like this, a small part of them may have ulterior motives, and the most of them fail to have a clear understanding of the difference between previous reforms and current reforms, ignore the diversity of people's interests, and cannot correctly grasp the dimensions and standards used to assess the effectiveness of reforms. 

First, the most important feature of current reforms is "being comprehensive." Compared with the reforms previously launched to address a particular area or limited areas, the current reforms target an unprecedentedly wide range of areas. A certain area, a certain class, a certain group, and even a certain central department may be difficult to understand the progress and effect of comprehensive reforms due to limitations on their own interests and the scope of knowledge, as they "cannot see the wood for the trees." Therefore, the area, class and group may feel difficult to correctly tell the effect of the reforms that are not directly related to them and thus cannot provide a reasonable and accurate evaluation of the effect of comprehensive reforms related to the big picture. If the current reforms involve fewer aspects of the specific region, class and group or involve more vested interests in the region, class and group, they are likely to make "non-obvious" evaluation of the effect of comprehensive reforms. Therefore, the party committees and governments at all levels must do everything possible to let the public fully understand the process of comprehensively deepening reforms and the reform results and avoid to the maximum extent the limitations that may make the public unable to correctly evaluate the reform results. 

Second, another feature of current reforms is "deepening." As opposed to previous reforms especially those at the beginning of reform and opening up, with the end of the shortage economy, the focus of reforms is to improve the quality of products and services, enhance state and social governance capabilities, and provide adequate public goods and public services. During the period of shortage economy, people pursued large volumes of material products or material interests, and despite the role of the law of diminishing marginal utility, people were more sensitive to the amount of material products or material interests. However, with the rapid development of economy, based on the satisfaction of people's material needs of sufficient basic necessities of life, people begin to pursue other needs other than material needs, such as spiritual needs, cultural needs, political needs, environmental needs, and so on. Therefore, as to "bolstering weak spots" in the current reforms, the focus is to improve the quality in addition to the increase in the amount of material products. People are differently insensitive to the quality of products or services. For example, sick people are more sensitive to the benefits brought about by health care reforms and lower medicine prices, while healthy people may not be such sensitive. As a result, a correct understanding of the effectiveness of the current reforms needs a "quality dimension" and a "service dimension," based on which the effectiveness of reforms can be understood from any tiny improvement in the quality of products and services. 

Third, another feature of current reforms is "stock." In the words of General Secretary Xi Jinping, "Easy and satisfying reforms have been completed, just like delicious meat is eaten, leaving hard bones." Incremental reforms benefit everyone, so people highly recognize the effect of reforms. Stock reforms benefit a group of people, but compromise the interests of another group of people, so some people question the effect of reforms. It is necessary to see that the purpose of the adjustment of interests during reforms is to maintain social fairness and justice and to make the development results benefit all the people more fairly, so that the people have more sense of gain and happiness. This is why the overwhelming majority of people support and applaud the reforms. For example, the current reforms have played an unprecedented role in changing officials' work styles and punishing corrupt officials, and the results of current reforms have been applauded by the people. 

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, maximizing people's interests has always served as the starting point and ultimate goal of comprehensively deepening reforms which have achieved remarkable success. There is no end of reforms. We must hold high the great banner of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, adhere to the economic construction as the center, vigorously develop the socialist market economy, continue to liberate, develop and protect social productive forces, and constantly make the "cake" bigger, in order to consolidate the material basis for diversifying and maximizing people's interests. Moreover, we should divide the "cake" appropriately and speed up the realization of common prosperity. To diversify and maximize people's interests, we must dare and tackle difficulties, take forceful steps and deliver tangible results, in a bid to constantly consolidate the institutional foundation for accomplishing the "Two Centenary Goals" and the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. 

(Author's affiliation: The Party School of the Central Committee of CPC)

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