A reform document released by China’s Communist party, after a four day-long meeting of its top officials, includes a flood of sweeping changes to reportedly attempt to undo decades of failed expansion plans, according to Reuters.
Among the reform plans are allowances that would accelerate capital account convertibility and scrap residency restrictions in small cities and townships. There are also plans to integrate urban and rural social security systems and to move ahead with a long over-due environmental tax.
Keith Bowman, equity analysts at Hargreaves Lansdown, thinks this is at least a great start for China. “Whilst further assessment and detail is needed, the policy moves on the surface appear to be a sizeable step in the right direction. Any actions which aid the domestic Chinese economy and therefore help re-balance the global economy should be welcomed with open arms.”
One of the more surprising elements of the reform, include changes to China’s strict family planning policies, according to a previous report from Reuters. Up until now, parents were only allowed to have one child. They could have a second child if both parents were only children. Now, under the new reforms, only one parent has to be an only child in order to have a second child.
Another unexpected area of reform is the abolition of China’s Labor Camp system. The system was set up in order to provide “education through labor” and also to reduce the number of crimes that were considered punishable by death.
One of the major goals with these reforms is a shift in China’s economy. The party is hoping to transition the main feeders of their economy away from imports and investments, and toward services and consumption.
These announcement come just hours after a major change in China’s leadership, as reported by the New York Times. The new leadership is now headed by Xi Jinping, who is the son of nationally respected revolutionary leader and reformer, Xi Zhongxun. Xi Jinping has also assumed the chairmanship of the 12-member Central Military Commission.
Time will tell how all of these changes will affect China, as well as the rest of the world.
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