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No easy path in sight for China's economic future

(Global Times)

14:21, December 12, 2012

During his recent tour of Guangdong Province, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, stressed the need to accelerate economic restructuring, describing the task as imperative. Xi's latest southern tour is widely seen as a signal of the new leadership's determination to firmly deepen reform.

Xi met with business leaders in Guangdong on Sunday. This is in accordance with widespread concerns and anxiety over the nation's economic future.

Economic reform directly decides the growth and distribution of wealth, people's living standards and social confidence. It is in line with the trend of placing emphasis on adjusting the nation's economic development model. After three decades of speedy development, the nation should take another look at the advantages it once relied upon. The era in which prosperity can be realized through labor-intensive industries and extensive production is becoming a thing of the past.

Restructuring the economy is a real challenge in the context of China's rise. It is during this process that China will begin a decisive competition with developed countries.

China must explore the domestic market and fuel domestic demand. However, there are various obstacles to realizing these goals. If China's domestic demand does receive a boost, global resources and labor will inevitably be absorbed into this process. This will boost the world economy, but it will also create new problems.

China is expected to become a comprehensively well-off society in the next decade. But there are several steps to take before this can be achieved. These steps are not only important for the Chinese - they will also result in an untold shake-up in the distribution of global forces.

In recent years, it's been shown that the rhetoric of reform is widely welcomed, but practically carrying it out can meet with unexpected setbacks. This is natural. Only very few fortunate reformers implement reform measures with the public applauding all the way.

The Chinese have various demands, and some conflict with each other. For instance, public awareness of environmental protection is rising, and the worship of GDP is being opposed.

However, public panic arises as soon as economic growth begins to slow down.

Economic reforms must be conducted in a practical, solid way. Meanwhile, society should have a more objective recognition of the actual national situation. If social expectations grow too fast, the nation's reform will always appear to be "lagging behind."

It's time for China to find its own sustainable chain of consumption. The nation has witnessed frenzied growth in the electric home appliance, automobile and real estate sectors. It will be hard to sustain speedy growth if urbanization remains the only driving force.

Reform is exciting, but it is also full of difficulties and challenges. Xi said in Guangdong that China must squarely face difficulties and challenges, strive for the best results and firmly seize the initiative. This deserves consideration by the entire Party and society.

The article is an editorial published in the Chinese edition of the Global Times Tuesday.

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