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"Startling" Chinese Government Report Faults Slow and Tepid Reform "Stalemate"



(p. B1) BEIJING -- China's ambitious plan to revamp its economy has bogged down. Flabby state conglomerates have thwarted attempts to whip them into commercial shape. Rules that treat millions of city-dwelling rural migrants like second-class citizens have barely budged.

Such criticisms are common from skeptical foreign economists who have long argued that President Xi Jinping's efforts to remake China's economy and fix pernicious social problems have been too slow and tepid.

But these withering findings on China's reforms come from a startling place: from within the government itself.

Just as striking, this unflattering report card from a Chinese state think tank -- published this month with little fanfare -- faults misconceived "top-level design" in policies, as well as local bureaucrats and state managers reluctant to change.


. . .


It concludes: "Reform has to some extent fallen into stalemate."

The report brings into focus a sharpening debate in China about economic priorities. Experts inside and outside China say the country's economy needs to be overhauled to continue growing fast enough to provide jobs and higher incomes for its people.


. . .


(p. B5) The new report, a 217-page study titled "The Reform Obstruction Phenomenon," was written by researchers from the Economic System and Management Institute of China's National Development and Reform Commission, which steers policy on industry, energy and many other sectors. The head of the commission, He Lifeng, and his deputy, Liu He, both have ties to Mr. Xi. But nothing in the report suggests that it had their blessing. The authors declined to be interviewed.



For the full story, see:

CHRIS BUCKLEY. "Still Waiting for Reforms." The New York Times (Tues., MARCH 28, 2017): B1 & B5.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date MARCH 27, 2017, and has the title "In Rare Move, Chinese Think Tank Criticizes Tepid Pace of Reform.")






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