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Top political advisory body to discuss reform

Unfazed by downward pressure on economy, China's top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng pledged Tuesday further efforts to help advance reforms at the start of the most important two weeks on China's political calendar this year.

Presenting a work report of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee at the opening meeting of its annual session, Yu said the CPPCC should put the "Four Comprehensives" at the center of its work.

He was referring to a political concept initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which comprises comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society, deepening reform, advancing the rule of law and strictly governing the Communist Party of China.

Reform is a recurring keyword throughout Yu's report, in which he looked back on the national political advisory body's work last year and set new goals for 2015.

In the past year, national political advisors have rallied support and energy for comprehensively deepening reform, Yu said.

They should continue to stick to the reform agenda this year, he told fellow advisors who will spend the next few days reviewing a government work report, among others, that would comb through reform measures undertaken in 2014 and set the tone for this year's economic plan.

The political advisors' gathering runs almost in parallel with the annual session of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, which runs from March 5 to March 15 this year.

The two meetings, together dubbed the two sessions, make the most important annual political events in China, where political and economic developments are discussed and key policies adopted.

Although there are no major government appointments on this year's agenda, the meetings are set to be closely watched, as decisive reforms launched last year gave them extra heavy footing.

Defining the year 2015 as "a critical year for comprehensively deepening reforms, the opening year for advancing the rule of law in an all-round way and the final year for completing the 12th Five-year Plan," Yu said the CPPCC should focus their suggestions and proposals on reform and development.

Facing looming downward pressure on the world's second largest economy, Chinese leadership has pinned much hope on decisive reforms in hope of more healthy and effective growth which has slowed down to a stage of "new normal" -- the economy grew at its lowest pace in 24 years, expanding by 7.4 percent.

China saw a fiscal reform program designed to improve the taxation and local government financing systems within two years, the liberalization of the household registration system, and revisions to lending interest rates which gave commercial banks more freedom.

The government also abolished registered capital and administrative registration requirements for new businesses, and slashed red tape blamed for stifling private investment.

Yu noted that most of the CPPCC consultative activities and inspections, surveys and studies last year focused on deepening reform.

In particular, political advisors offered suggestions on key issues such as judicial independence, government transparency, air pollution prevention and control as well as structural optimization of economy.

In 2015, political advisors should deliberate and make suggestions on the formulation of China's 13th Five-year Plan, and strive to make farsighted, strategic and targeted suggestions and proposals, Yu said.

He said that the CPPCC will also conduct thorough investigations and studies on key topics, such as the Belt and Road initiatives and air pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, to provide reference materials for the Party and the government in their decision making.



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