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Xi's New Reform Group Holds First Meeting

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets Claude Bartolone, President of the French National Assembly, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on Jan. 23, 2014
Chinese President Xi Jinping meets Claude Bartolone, President of the French National Assembly, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on Jan. 23, 2014Photograph by Goh Chai Hin/AFP via Getty Images

Its formal name is the Central Leading Group for Overall Reform. On Jan. 22 in Beijing, its almost two dozen members, chaired by President Xi Jinping, convened for the first time. Because it is the newest of the Chinese Communist Party’s secretive lingdao xiaozu, or “leading small groups,” it’s unlikely that outsiders will ever know its operations in great detail. But following its first meeting, a rough picture has emerged.

First, and most obviously, is the critical role the small group is supposed to play in the leadership’s sweeping economic reform plan, announced at a key party meeting last fall. “The leading group gathering is the latest development of a reform blueprint put forward at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in November,” said the official China Daily on Jan. 23.