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China plots economic course at four-day meeting

The Communist Party in China has started a four-day meeting in the capital, Beijing. While the agenda remains secret, observers suspect major economic reforms could be discussed.

The major meeting of China's Communist Party officials is, for the most part, being kept under wraps, but the official Xinhua News Agency said that the meeting had started on Saturday – and along with it, plenty of speculation about what might be discussed.

The agency said the meeting would focus on "comprehensively deepening reform."

New leadership came into power in China in March. They are under pressure to revamp the countries economic growth model. Some expect this could mean entrepreneurs are more involved in the economy and farmers might be given the opportunity to own land. Many industries and all land are state-owned in China.

Economic reform will likely remain a high-priority agenda item despite encouraging news released by China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Saturday.

According to the NBS, production in Chinese factories showed a year-on-year gain of 10.3 percent. The General Administration of Customs released data on Friday saying exports also grew by 5.6 percent in October compared to the same period last year. This followed a slight drop in exports in September compared to the previous year.

It is unlikely that any news of the Communist Party meeting will emerge while it is taking place, but Xinhua has in the past issued a release on the last day of the meeting.

mz/dr (AFP, AP, Reuters)