China's Communist Party on Monday endorsed the creation of a market economy, with General-Secretary Jiang Zemin outlining a program calling for state enterprises to be pushed into the marketplace.
"We must change the way in which state-owned enterprises operate," Jiang declared, as he described the economic goals of China's leaders with unprecedented clarity and bluntness. "This is the key to establishing a socialist market economy, consolidating the socialist system and displaying its superiority. .
"We should turn (state enterprises) into legal entities responsible for their own decisions about their operation and expansion and for their own profits and losses," he told 2,000 delegates at the 14th Communist Party Congress' opening.
Jiang added that "foreign funds, resources, technology and skilled personnel, along with privately owned enterprises that are a useful supplement to our economy, can and should be put to use."
China's emerging economic structure differs from capitalism primarily in that it retains a higher proportion of state ownership than is common in the West. Jiang said growth of this "socialist market economy" should be supported by "improvement of the legal system."
But he declared that China's political goal is "absolutely not a Western, multiparty, parliamentary system."
Market forces and private economic activity have been allowed to grow gradually in China since 1978.