Two points of interest
Updated: 2013-11-15 06:39
Just like the bare bones nature of the communique of the Communist Party of China plenum, the subsequent guesswork was anticipated. At home and abroad, there have been mixed responses to the rather sketchy outline of the reform package.
This is natural until the picture becomes clearer, which it will. The full text of the core document - the decisions on major reforms - is expected to be released next week.
Yet the communique drew attention also for its top-level design of national governance as it specifies two new institutions - one to oversee reforms and the other national security.
The two bodies are certainly worth attention, because they foretell a change in the leadership response to challenges, and they correspond with the leadership's two overriding concerns - development and stability.
Thirty-five years into the reform and opening-up process, the country has almost picked all the low-hanging fruit of immediate benefits. Reform now faces unprecedented resistance in the so-called "deepwater zone", where a combination of convoluted vested interests, in such forms as local protectionism, departmentalism, and special interest groups, is threatening to thwart all the major reforms society badly needs. Not to mention that for many of the imperative reforms it is a case of "pull one hair and the whole body will be affected", so cross-departmental coordination will be a necessity.
Assigning the supervisory role to a higher authority charged specifically with "deepening comprehensive reforms" is therefore a sensible solution. And the same applies to national security.
The security threats this country faces are severe and complex. At home, the complicated nature of non-traditional security threats, which increasingly involve both domestic and overseas factors, entails more timely and efficient decision-making across and above departmental lines. While outside, a number of greedy neighbors are trying to snatch up territories that have historically been Chinese.
The country has a sizable network of bureaucratic installations to take care of security concerns, but the changed and changing security conditions call for more efficient responses beyond their current capacities. The proposed security committee, therefore, is also a necessity.
(China Daily 11/15/2013 page8)