A SENIOR Chinese state researcher has spoken against the opening of more stock markets on the mainland. Mr Ji Chongwei, senior research fellow of the State Council's Development Research Centre, said there should be one major stock market in China in the long term, adding Shanghai could be China's New York of the future. He said one major stock market would build up China's international reputation. Shanghai, one of the two stock markets on the mainland, has had the largest scale of trading so far, although Shenzhen has the advantage of proximity to Hongkong, he said. Among others, Guangzhou and the northeastern city of Shenyang have been lobbying strongly for central approval to open their own stock markets. Mr Ji agreed that stock markets were an effective channel to absorb idle funds to help finance economic development. The Chinese Government was hoping to improve its infrastructure through heavy spending on major projects in transport, energy resources and telecommunication. Mr Ji said the setting up of development funds, such as those in Shenzhen, would help channel money into economic activities. This would also alleviate the financial burden on the central treasury, he said. Vice-Premier Mr Zou Jiahua said in a report tabled at the National People's Congress last month that more than 70 per cent of central government investment would be used on the construction of infrastructure and basic industries this year, up 5.9 per cent on last year. Delegates also approved a government work report that revised the gross national product growth rate from six per cent to between eight and nine per cent. Mr Ji maintained that the readjustment was realistic but added that the actual rate of growth could even be higher. The official admitted that the rapid growth in the economy would bring about drastic changes to the country in various aspects and at all levels. Social disputes such as the confrontation between two villages on the outskirts of Guangzhou over property ownership earlier this month were aspects that needed to be addressed and avoided, Mr Ji said. ''That's the reason why we still have to emphasise the importance of the development of spiritual civilisation. Economic development will make an impact on values and thoughts of the people,'' he said.