The Central Committee of China's ruling Communist Party has gathered to map out the direction of the country's economic and social targets. The congress comes amid growing concerns over China's slowing economy.
The key meeting, which began on Monday, will see China's largest elite governing body finalize a blueprint for the country's growth and development between 2016 and 2020. This will be China's thirteenth "Five-Year Plan" since the People's Republic was founded in 1949.
During four days of talks, the 205 members of the Central Committee, plus around 170 alternates, are expected to focus on financial reforms and how to maintain growth of around 7 percent.
Concerns over the world's second largest economy have been growing in recent months as China continues to experience structural inefficiencies and slowing growth, which looks set to slip to a 25-year-low of under 7 percent this year.
According to official figures, compared to the same period last year, China's economy grew 6.9 percent in the July to September quarter.
In a bid to jumpstart China's flagging economy, the People's Bank of China announced on Friday that it was cutting interest rates for the sixth time since November.
Slowing growth 'necessary'
Xiao Xiao, a researcher from the state planner's macroeconomic research department, defended the country's recent growth figures, however. Writing in the Communist party's official newspaper "People's Daily," Xiao said that slower growth was "reasonable" and a "necessary occurrence" as the economy undergoes an adjustment.
But an editorial in Monday's edition of "China Daily," which is published by the government, said that China's dedicated focus on promoting growth has led to leaders to ignoring the effects of dependence on heavy industry powered by cheap, but dirty coal.
"The government should resort to energy restriction, particularly of coal, in order to press ahead with the transformation of the economic structure," wrote Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research.
Easing one-child policy
Following a widespread anti-corruption drive under President Xi Jinping - which some have described as a political purge - potential changes to the Communist party's upper ranks will also be on the agenda this month.
According to the "Beijing Daily" - the official newspaper of the capital's Communist committee - more than half the Central Committee have changed jobs or have been removed from their position since being appointed in 2012.
The Global Times, a newspaper with close ties to the Chinese government, said the "large-scale reshuffle is extremely rare" in the party's history.
Beijing is also considering easing restrictions on its one-child policy, which has fuelled public discontent and experts say is now increasing demographic dilemmas.
The blueprint of the plan will be implemented next year, after it is formally approved by the rubber stamp legislature.
ksb/kms (Reuters, AFP)