Building Brics: In the months since his emergence on the scene, the Chinese premier Li Keqiang, like his predecessor Wen Jiabao, has made numerous public utterances about reform.
New Chinese leader targets specifics as he pushes reform ideas
In the months since his emergence on the scene, the premier Li Keqiang, like his predecessor Wen Jiabao, has made numerous public utterances about reform.
However, while Mr Wen's calls for reform tended to be quite general, Mr Li has been more specific on the kind of reforms that we can expect, if not giving much away on the detail. They include the following proposals:
• In a statement on May 24, the state council, or cabinet, approved a series of measures put forward by the national development and reform commission. They include boosting social welfare, taxing resource-intensive products and heavily polluting industries, and expanding levies on natural resources.
• China will allow the market to play a bigger role in economic innovation. A general point but a useful in giving an idea of the direction of reforms.
• The government aims to increase job opportunities, through speeding up the registration of industrial and commercial companies.
• Reforms will be implemented to minimise government approval needed to authorise general investment projects and general qualification certificates.
• These reforms will contribute to fair competition in the market, and to corporate-level efforts to upgrade management and technology.
• The government will "give more latitude" to small and medium-sized enterprises and to service industries. It will also aim at injecting greater vitality into the sector to help development initiatives at local level.
• More should be done to cut redundant capacity in industries that suffer such problems.
• As more power is delegated to lower levels, the government should shift its focus to three areas - improving the policy environment for development, providing high-quality public service, and upholding social fairness and justice.
• Mr Li said there should be more effective administration in place to deal with matters of deep public concern, such as food safety alarms and work safety.
• The environment is also proving politically difficult and potentially destabilising. The ministry of environmental protection has suspended approval for coal-fired power projects in the regions of Inner Mongolia, Henan and Guizhou. It has also ordered 15 companies, including state-owned Hebei Iron & Steel Group, to pay fees for sulphur-dioxide emissions, according to a statement on its website.