WUHAN, China, July 24 (UPI) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said China must concentrate on political reform in major areas to overcome barriers to economic and social growth and development.
"China must break the barriers from entrenched interest groups to further free up social productivity and invigorate creativity. There is no way out if we stay still or head backward," Xi said Tuesday at a Wuhan conference attended by officials from five provinces and Shanghai, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
China's new leaders have pledged since taking office in March to improve the economy through deeper reforms, including giving administrative power to lower levels and easing financial regulation, Xinhua reported.
Last week, China's central bank decided to lift controls on bank lending rates in a clear signal of the government's determination to push forward market-oriented reforms.
China has the second-largest economy in the world behind the United States but growth has been slowing, down from 7.7 percent in the first quarter of the year to 7.5 percent in the second quarter.
Xi said the Communist Party needs to improve and thorough research is needed for a more market-oriented system and improved governmental efficiency.