TWO political theorists have come up with a 10-point plan on how to reform the strained relationship between Beijing and the regions. The suggestions were made by Dr Zheng Yongnian of Princeton University in the United States and mainland scholar Wu Guoguang in a joint thesis examining the relationship between the central and regional authorities. Their thesis looked at the increasingly tense relationship and traced the impact economic reform had had on it. The paper urged Beijing to review the current set-up which the two scholars said could no longer meet the needs of Chinese society. Instead of recentralisation through administrative fiats, such as recalling economic powers delegated to regions, or demanding greater financial contributions to the central coffers, the scholars urged Beijing to practise 'regional democracy'. They pointed out that with the death of more revolutionary leaders, Beijing would inevitably face a legitimacy crisis. Through 'regional democracy' - under which regional leaders would be chosen through elections - the central Government could re-establish authority. 'Political stability can only be possible if the regions have full authority in administering their own affairs,' the paper said. 'Monopoly [of regional affairs] by the centre will only elevate conflicts with the regions to a national level.' The paper argued that Beijing should establish a 'systematic relationship' in areas such as property ownership, finance, military and foreign diplomacy. The 10 suggestions are: Establishment of a 'regional affairs office' under the National People's Congress to research, co-ordinate and study regional issues, such as finance. The office will be made up of Regional People's Congress members who are chosen through elections. Economic and culturally developed regions such as Shanghai, Guangdong, Shandong and Hainan should start drafting the 'regional basic laws'. The central Government should set up representative offices in major cities to help carry out its duties, such as tax collection. Extend the preferential policies which have been introduced in the coastal provinces in the past 15 years to inland provinces. Channel investment and talents to the less-developed central and western regions through incentives such as taxes, financial leverage and social benefits. Allow foreign governments to exchange economic representatives with the regions. Transform the Chinese army into a professional army. Separate the army from the regional governments by preventing military officers doubling-up as government cadres and vice versa. Profit-making businesses of the army should be converted into civilian businesses. The central Government can compensate the army through increasing the military budgets. Reorganise administrative power among the regions. Organise direct elections at the county level.