A reform agenda for the next decade, hammered out by China's ruling party on Tuesday (November 12), raised expectations in a country of 1.3 billion despite being vague and short on details.

China's leaders pledged to let markets play a "decisive" role in allocating resources, and achieve "decisive results" in its reform push by 2020, with economic changes in focus, the ruling Communist Party said in a communiqué released by state media at the end of a four-day conclave of its 205-member Central Committee on Tuesday.

Historically, such third plenary sessions of a newly installed Central Committee have acted as a springboard for key economic reforms, and the follow-up to this meeting will serve as a first test of the new leadership's commitment to reform.

While the party effectively upgraded the importance of markets in its philosophy - previous policy statements often described markets as playing only a "basic" role in allocating resources - it also made clear that it had no plans to radically reduce the role of the state in the economy.

Beijing-based analyst Zhang Bin said the leadership must combine market drive and government control to ensure the less advantaged groups also benefit from the economic growth.

The plenum meeting dominated newspaper headlines in the Chinese capital on Wednesday (November 13).

While the so-called blueprint lacked details, local residents hoped the government would bring real changes.

A report from the official Xinhua news agency on the closed-door meeting said the leaders promised a "more fair and sustainable social security system" and deeper reform of medical and health systems.

It also agreed to "step up efforts to improve social welfare and deepen institutional reforms to realise social justice for all".

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