context: Among the more noteworthy features of a period where Xi has made major addresses–including the one below–has been his measured and largely non-ideological tone. He is unafraid to be detailed and direct; noted the worthy with the worrisome; and appears ready to embrace experimentation at the local level in ways that once seemed unlikely. While not by any means a sea change, the waves of centralising everything everywhere seem somewhat less powerful.

People’s Daily reports that at the Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform’s (CCCDR) 6th meeting on 23 Jan 2019, Xi Jinping 习近平 CCP General Secretary called for laying a decisive foundation for fulfilling reform tasks mapped out by the 18th CPC Central Committee’s Third Plenary Session.

The meeting stressed that reforms should focus on solving practical issues. Plans should be adjusted to local conditions and refined layer-by-layer. What to change and how to execute changes should be based on actual conditions; a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be taken. Reform implementation should be combined with mass work and benefits to the masses secured, particularly in reforms geared to the grassroots. The meeting admonished attendees to

  • guard against empty shouting of slogans, simple forwarding of central documents, mechanical supervision and assessment
  • handle the relationship between top-level policy design and connections with different layers, policy consistency and differentiation; strengthen policy interpretation and guidance
  • strengthen undertaking responsibility and conduct substantive assessments of every reform measure

At the meeting, attendees also reviewed and approved 15 documents, including measures on

  • Shanghai Stock Exchange sci-tech innovation board and pilot registration-based IPO system
  • national parks and protected areas
  • quality of compulsory education
  • talent flow to border and grassroots areas
  • reform in politics and law
  • property rights in natural resource assets
  • CCCDR key work points 2019
  • national spatial planning and supervising implementation
  • market-orientated green sci-tech innovation system
  • forest protection and restoration
  • ecological civilisation pilot area (Hainan)