BEIJING, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Deeper economic reforms and opening up that President Xi Jinping has been promising will be the focus at the upcoming key meeting of China's top leadership.
The Communist Party Central Committee's third plenary session, which opens Saturday and will last four days, will be another test of the leadership of the country's new lineup led by Xi and comes at a time when the country is burdened by economic slowdown after decades of explosive double-digit growth and faces new challenges ranging from growing public demand for greater say in matters that affect their lives to official corruption.
As recently as last Sunday, the reform-minded Xi told a meeting of foreign delegates attending the 21st Century Council think tank forum in Beijing that China will continue its reform and opening up, while seeking a peaceful road to success. He said the nation's top priority remains development and improving people's livelihoods and assured China's door to the world will not close and its reform will not stop.
Xi said China will take more responsibility in international affairs and seek harmonious relations with other nations.
The official Xinhua News Agency said the plenary session is expected to study "how to comprehensively deepen reforms and roll out a comprehensive reform package."
Analysts told Xinhua they believe the meeting will also push forward the country's political restructuring.
The reform package is expected to focus on economic, political, cultural and social systems, in addition to ecological progress and the institutional construction of the CPC.
"Only through incorporating political restructuring into economic restructuring, can political structural reform in China achieve historic success," Professor Yan Shuhan at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee told the news agency.
The late Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of China's reform and opening-up strategy, had always stressed that "the success of China's reform lies in its political restructuring."
Analysts said the upcoming plenary session needs to come up with a plan for further political restructuring to propel the world's second-largest economy on a more sustainable growth path.
The new leadership is committed to eliminating the four "evil winds" of "formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance."
"These fall into the category of political system reform. Developments and achievements so far are impressive," said Xu Yaotong, political science professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance. "The CPC leadership has sent out a clear signal on the faith, determination and courage which are needed in the political reform."
Speaking in Tokyo this week, Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said he expects more innovations after the plenary session.
"The key for success in the future will be the strength of innovation because all the economy take a lot of your focus will move so fast, so it is really important to have necessary agility and to be, if possible, always at the forefront of technological progress," the German professor was quoted as saying.
The New York Times said Xi will be committing the country to both market-driven reforms as well as maintaining the party's political and ideological control, warning it could be a risky experiment. Xi would be joined in this effort by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
The Times quoted analysts that any major overhaul would call for changing prevailing notions about state control over crucial sectors such as finance, which Xi so has far shown no signs of embracing. The analysts said Xi has sought to reinforce ideological conformity, tighten censorship of the Internet and mass media, and expunge liberal political ideas.
"There are inescapable contradictions that Xi Jinping will have to face," said Wu Wei, a former aide to central party leaders who was involved in planning China's market overhauls in the 1980s.
The report said China's recent rapid growth has come among others with high pollution, rising local government debt and inefficient and corrupt monopolies that have made it difficult for those in rural areas to share in the urban-centered prosperity.
If Xi is serious about remaking the economy, his hard-line political positions will make it difficult to attract ideas and support, Professor Minxin Pei at Claremont McKenna College in California told The Times.
Some analysts told The Times they think the need for change will overcome political misgivings and resistance.
"I think some optimism is warranted, but there's always the risk that these guys will get captured by the vested interests," said Christopher K. Johnson, an expert on China at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.