The 1993 Plenum: Outlining the framework of socialist market economy

The scene of the Third Plenary Session of the 14th CPC Central Committee in 1993 Photo:

Held from November 11 to 14, 1993, the Third Plenary Session of the 14th CPC Central Committee is also hailed as a landmark plenum, at which Jiang Zemin opened the door for reforms that led to China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.

The plenum passed the Decision on Issues of Building a Socialist Market Economy, which defined a roadmap for the construction of a socialist market economy and took economic reforms to a deeper level.

The meeting pointed out that a socialist market economy system was integrated with a basically socialist system, in which the market plays a fundamental role in resource allocation within the context of the state macro-adjustment and control. The Decision also required state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to reform their operations, establish modern enterprise mechanisms which clearly define property rights, separate ownership from day-to-day management and adopt scientific management methods.

The 14th National Congress of the CPC clearly pointed out that a socialist economy is a market economy based on public ownership. For the first time, China's economic reforms had a definite goal: to establish a socialist market economy.

The plenary session also elaborated eight reform categories: enterprise reform, market system construction, macro-adjustment and control systems, income distribution and social security reform, rural reform, opening up, science and technology reform and legal system construction. The "eight pillars" upheld the entire system of socialist market economy.

The construction of the framework of socialist market economy started in October 1992, and lasted a decade to 2002.

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