The top leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) gathered in Beijing on Saturday for a four-day secretive conclave that is expected to give direction to China's economy in the coming decade.
The focus of the meeting as per a draft decision of the CPC Central Committee - with 205 members and 171 alternates - will be on "major issues concerning comprehensively deepening reforms."
But the scope of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee - as it is officially called - is expected to go beyond economics and touch upon, according to a recently released Party document, "market economy, democratic politics, advanced culture, a harmonious society and ecological civilization."
Part of the sharp focus on this year's Plenum is because of history: In 1978, the third plenum of the 11th party congress stopped the party's focus on class struggle and shifted it to the chief goal of Deng Xiaoping about building a modern China. The third plenum in 1993 established the "socialist market economy" and laid the foundation for reforming state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the banking sector.
In October, an influential government think tank, the Development Research Centre for the State Council, released a plan that outlined the expected reform sectors.
The plan talked about setting up a vibrant, innovative, inclusive market economy protected by the rule of law. "It listed a reform trinity - the market, government and corporations - eight key sectors and three packages for likely breakthroughs, and has thus been dubbed the '383 Plan'. Among the trinity, the key is to set up the right relationship between government and market," Caixin Online reported.
According to state-run Xinhua news agency, opinions were solicited within and outside the Party for the draft decision which will be discussed during the plenary session.
It quoted Yu Zhengsheng, member of the elite seven-member standing committee of party politburo as saying the reforms this time will be "broad, with major strength, and unprecedented. Inevitably they will strongly push forward profound transformations in the economy, society and other spheres," he added.
State media said cutting government power and giving the market a bigger say in allocating resources will be the focus of the reform package. Major reform issues are expected in the hukou (or household registration) system, fiscal revenue reallocation, energy product pricing, land ownership and financial liberalisation.