The Communist Party approved an economic blueprint yesterday that aims to narrow the yawning gap between rich and poor and pledged to advance 'active but steady' political reform, as leaders wrapped up their annual meeting in Beijing. The party plenum examined and approved proposals for formulating the development plan for the next five years (2011-15), which is also seeking to achieve 'major breakthroughs' in economic restructuring during the period, according to a communique released at the close of the four-day meeting attended by 202 Central Committee members and 163 alternates. The full Five-Year Programme is not expected to be unveiled until the annual meeting of China's legislature in early March. The communique mentions setting principles and priorities for development without giving any concrete targets. Efforts should be made to ensure and improve people's livelihoods and reasonably adjust income distribution. 'The sharing of personal income in the distribution of national income should be increased, and that of work remuneration in primary distribution should also be raised,' the communique said. Shen Jianguang, a China economist with Hong Kong-based Mizuho Securities, said the government's effort to make salary growth in line with the growth of the gross domestic product during the next five years would mean several percentage points higher growth rate of wages. 'It is hard for the government to dictate except for salaries of civil servants, pensioners and social welfare dependents,' Shen said. Professor Liu Kang, a China watcher with US-based Duke University, said the leadership's emphasis on raising income and reforming the distribution system reflected a deep sense of anxiety over the most compelling problem China faces: the lack of justice in distribution of wealth. President Hu Jintao, who is also the party's general secretary, delivered a work report to the plenum. However, contrary to expectations, his most recent catch-phrase 'inclusive growth' was not included in the official document, probably due to opposition from the intellectual community, according to an outspoken scholar. Shen said 'inclusive growth' was just about more equal income distribution and more transfer to the poor. 'China aims to achieve major breakthroughs in economic restructuring and maintain stable and relatively fast economic growth,' the communiqu?said. The party would also make 'active yet steady' efforts to promote 'political restructuring', it said in one sentence without elaboration. Political reform stalled since the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in 1989, but speculation mounted that it could be a hot topic at the plenum, after Premier Wen Jiabao - widely viewed as more liberal-minded - issued an unusually strong call for political reform. The calls intensified after jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo had won the Nobel Peace Prize. Liu said the compelling problems were also seen in judicial and legal rights of the citizens, in public policy-making processes affecting the well-being of individual citizens, especially concerning such issues as housing, education, health care and pensions. 'Of course, the leadership is aware of the dire consequences of the one-dimensional, GDP-driven reform policies, but how to right the wrongs?' Liu said after seeing the communiqu? 'On what fundamental principles are the social and political reforms [if any] based? There is little indication of any new thinking from what's being said so far.' Hu Xingdou, a professor of economics at the Beijing University of Technology, said the one-sentence statement about political reform was just a routine practice, as the clause could be seen in any party and government documents in the recent past. 'It suggests that political reform was not included on the agenda in the just-ended meeting,' Hu said. Hu said he saw no breakthrough, only a continuation of the decade-long cautious reform to the economic and social system. Indeed, the communique stressed the importance of the leadership by the party as the foundation to ensure the goals of the Five-Year Programme will be met.