A national financial conference opens in Beijing today to map out the extent of the liberalisation of the banking system. Key issues to be discussed include how state banks will help restructure ailing state-owned enterprises. Bankers will also thrash out measures to meet the leadership's goal of having an 'adequately tight' money policy this year. Xinhua (the New China News Agency) reported last night that thousands of bankers had converged on the capital. Apart from the national meeting convened by the People's Bank of China, other units such as the Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China will hold their own meetings. Xinhua reported that some banks, particularly local banks, feared being trapped in accumulated bad loans. Economists pointed out that while the state wanted to commercialise banks, many financial institutions were hobbled by administrative orders to support money-losing state firms. Xinhua quoted People's Bank of China Governor Dai Xianglong as saying the interests of both the banks and enterprises should be protected by law. 'Banks could refuse to accept bankruptcies that have not been carried out in conformity with legal standards,' Mr Dai was quoted as saying. Analysts pointed out that the leadership faced tremendous pressure to expand credit. Other issues include meeting the challenge of the handover, improving efficiency, diversifying services and opening foreign markets.