BY THE EDITOR
China stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, the day when the country’s top leaders gathered in the centre of Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up.
In a 1.5-hour-long speech that was aired live on China’s central television and major news portal websites, Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, warned the country would be faced with “unimaginable tempestuous storms”.
He called for the unswerving implementation of reforms on Beijing’s terms, saying no one could boss it around.
Xi also called for support for the state economy and development of the private sector, saying China would expand efforts at opening up and ensure the implementation of major reforms.
“Every step of reform and opening up is not easy. In future, we will be inevitably faced with all sorts of risks and challenges, and even unimaginable tempestuous storms,” Xi said at the Great Hall of the People, which had a full house on Tuesday morning.
The audience comprised of the country’s top political leaders, elites from all walks of life, as well as several selected pro-China foreign influencers.
Xi was speaking amid mounting pressure to accelerate reforms and improve market access for foreign companies as the trade conflicts with the United States weigh on the economy.
But he said China had to make its own decisions.
“There is no text book that can provide a golden rule, and there is no instructor who can boss around the Chinese people,” Xi said.
“We must, unswervingly, reinforce the development of the state economy while, unswervingly, encouraging, supporting and guiding the development of the non-state economy,” he said.
Forty years ago this week, the Jingxi Hotel in Beijing’s Haidian district was the venue for one of the 20th century’s landmark events.
The Third Plenum of the 11th Communist Party of China Central Committee, held from Dec 18 to 22, 1978, saw the launch of the reform and opening-up policy, which was introduced by China’s then paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.
The decision led to miraculous economic growth that made China’s economy the world’s second-largest.
Xi reaffirmed the ruling Communist Party’s leadership in all aspects of society and said reforms should be in line with the overall goal of improving the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.
“Opening brings progress while closure leads to backwardness,” Xi said.
But his remarks failed to excite investors. The Shanghai Composite index ended down 0.82 percent, while the blue-chip CSI300 index lost 1 percent, tracking broadly lower Asian shares.
Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Shanghai Stock Exchange by 1023 to 383 and 68 ended unchanged.
The SZSE Component index fell 0.82 percent too.