Xi Jinping

Further economic reforms a tough task, warns Xi Jinping

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 February, 2014, 3:45am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 February, 2014, 4:27pm

Pushing through further economic reforms will prove tough and there may be dangerous times ahead, President Xi Jinping said in an interview with Russian state TV on the sidelines of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

"The easier reforms that could make everyone happy have already been completed. The tasty meat has been eaten up. The rest are tough bones to crack," Xinhua quoted Xi as saying. "[We] should dare to gnaw even tough bones and dare to ford dangerous rapids."

The Communist Party announced a series of reforms last November at a plenum of party leaders in Beijing, including giving more profits from state enterprises to the government and scrapping the re-education through labour prison system.

Critics have noted that there was no genuine political reform on Xi's agenda as the party seeks to retain its firm grip on power. However, Xi has consolidated his position by heading both newly established agencies announced at the plenum - a national security commission and a leading group to deepen reform.

During the interview, Xi also described the preparations for the Sochi Games as "first rate".

"Sochi is the right place for the Winter Olympics, the people are very welcoming and the city is energetic and charming. The city will be more famous after these Winter Olympics, attracting more tourists, including from China."

Xi said the Games would be a "truly unforgettable" festival of sport. Organisers had been criticised for delays in finishing some infrastructure and hotels.

China and Russia would continue to support each other on major issues and in international affairs and the trip to Sochi had helped further improve ties between the countries, Xi said.

"I am very satisfied with achievements in Sino-Russia relations. The foundation of current bilateral ties is strong, mutual trust has never been so close."

Xi also spoke about his private life. "Generally, I have little time of my own. The problem is, where has my time gone? Of course, it has been occupied with work," he said, referring to a line from a Chinese pop song Where Has Time Gone.

Xi said he spent most of his leisure time reading and he enjoyed Russian authors including Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy. "I can remember vividly the great moments from their books," he said.

Xi also discussed his love of sport. "I like swimming, hiking and other sports. I learned to swim when I was four or five.

"The cities of Beijing and Zhangjiakou are bidding to host the 2022 Winter Games, so we are here to learn from the Russian people."