A GROUP of senior advisers to Executive Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji has held a conference to make propaganda for accelerated reform. Chinese sources said it was the first time that members of Mr Zhu's private think-tank had aired their economic views in public. The quasi-official China News Service (CNS) reported last night that several of Beijing's leading economists had met on Thursday to launch the series Reform Faces a New Century. Participants included rising stars among Mr Zhu's brain trust such as Li Jiange and Zhou Xiaochuan. Other powerful Zhu aides including Lou Jiwei and Guo Shuqing are editors of the series. While influential in internal party conferences, Mr Zhu's advisers usually adopted a low profile. Also present were a few venerable economics professors, including Xue Muqiao, Wu Jinglian, and Liu Guoguang. The gist of their arguments was that reform should not be side-tracked or rolled back because of problems including inflation. CNS quoted Mr Li, who is one of Mr Zhu's secretaries, as saying that ''the problem of inflation is absolutely not caused by the implementation of reform''. ''The purpose of reform is precisely to suppress inflation,'' the young theorist added. Professor Xue, a well-known guru of economic liberalisation, called for better and more systematic theories to push reform forward. ''Theoretical workers in economics should make good preparation so as to seize the opportunity in expediting the reform enterprise,'' he said. ''We must lay the foundation for take-off in the new century.'' Mr Zhou expressed confidence that ''forward-looking economic theories would play an important role in China's reform''. Another participant, liberal economist He Yang criticised the old style of running the economy through the methods of ''formalism, mass movements and executive fiats''. ''We must use economic and legal means, and most important, we must strengthen the study of market economic theories,'' CNS quoted him as saying. A word of caution, however, was put in by Professor Wu, whose theories have a big impact on Vice-Premier Zhu's young advisers. Pointing out that reformers must attend to ''a thousand and one details'', Professor Wu said theorists must ''put together a finely wrought reform programme so as to avoid risks''.