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UPDATED: March 23, 2010 NO. 12 MARCH 25, 2010
Rebalancing on the Way
As the country looks for more sustainable growth, the issue of economic rebalancing and structural adjustment takes center stage


HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT: A housing fair is held in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province on March 18. Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to promote the steady and sound development of the real estate market when delivering the government work report at this year's NPC session (ZHU XIANG) 

Having persevered amid the trials of the financial crisis, the Chinese economy has arrived at the crossroads. As the country looks for more sustainable growth, the issue of economic rebalancing and structural adjustment takes center stage. During the third sessions of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) and the 11th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), NPC deputies and CPPCC members sat down with Beijing Review reporters Hu Yue and Yuan Yuan to share their opinions and suggestions for economic restructuring. Edited excerpts follow:

Tapping the Rural Market

Zhang Jiasheng: deputy to the 11th NPC and Secretary of the Huangcheng Village Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Yangcheng County, Shanxi Province

Since China started setting itself up to rely more on domestic demands, consumption is taking center stage as a powerful growth engine. The rural consumer market, in particular, is a bonanza yet to be fully explored. With their incomes on the rise, many Chinese farmers are less hesitant to spend.

Early last year the country started a program to subsidize rural purchases of home appliances. This has effectively sparked a buying interest among farmers and improved their standards of living.

But it is just a matter of time before the government withdraws the incentives, so a more permanent solution is to improve rural transportation and increase retail outlets to make it more convenient and less costly for farmers to go shopping. Efforts are also needed to support rural employment, and increase farmers' incomes, pensions and other social benefits. It is also imperative to take measures and protect them from shoddy or fake products.

Rapid extraction of coal has left Shanxi Province with serious environmental damages, and it is time now to heal the scars. Huangcheng Village, for instance, is now basking in the glow of a local tourism boom and modern agricultural take-off. Per-capita net income of the villagers was around 30,000 yuan ($4,393) in 2009, well above the national average.

The province's coal dependence will surely defy a quick fix, but at least we can adopt advanced technologies that help cut emissions and improve energy efficiency. It is also an improvement to develop the coal chemical industry and increase added value to the resources.

West China Catches Up

Wang Xiaolin: deputy to the 11th NPC and General Manager of Chongqing Shangchu Logistics Co. Ltd.

The western regions of China have made remarkable economic progress in the past decade, but they still have a long way to go before catching up with east coastal provinces in part due to a shaky manufacturing foundation.

Currently, the nationwide economic restructuring offers an opportunity for west China to pick up momentum. Many manufacturers, from home and abroad, are moving westward in order to take advantage of lower costs of land and labor. This is bound to breathe fresh life into the inland economies and shore up local employment. For example, PC giant Hewlett Packard built a production base in Chongqing in August 2009, creating at least 10,000 jobs annually for the city.

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