Third Plenum

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The Third Plenum (三中全会), is the third plenary session of a newly elected Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It often refers to the plenary meeting of the CPC Central Committee held in Beijing from December 18 to December 22, 1978, which marked the beginning of China's "Reform and Opening Up" policy.

Since then, third plenums of the Committee have taken on the mission to boost economic growth and deepen the economic structure reforms. As a result, the meeting witnesses many critical decisions being made.

In other words, the third plenum has become synonymous with "reform." The Communist Party of China has thus far held the meeting seven times with "deepening reform" as its ongoing theme.

Chronology of Third Plenums:

1. The Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee 
    • Date: Dec. 18-22, 1978
    • Location: Beijing
    • Significance: Rejecting the policy of "Two Whatevers," which stressed the extensive personality cult towards Chairman Mao Zedong, and putting forward the "Seeking truth from facts" principle, the meeting marks the beginning of Deng Xiaoping's paramount leadership. In stating the "Reform and Opening Up" policy, the Third Plenary Session argued that economic development be put before class struggle as key tasks for the new period, starting up economic reforms under the name of "developing Socialism with Chinese characteristics" in the country.

2. The Third Plenary Session of the 12th CPC Central Committee
    • Date: Oct. 20, 1984
    • Location: Beijing
    • Significance: The meeting set the goal to establish a planned market economy based on a public ownership system, which marks the beginning of urban reform following the reform in the rural areas.

3. The Third Plenary Session of the 13th CPC Central Committee
    • Date: Sep. 26-30, 1988
    • Location: Beijing
    • Significance: The meeting highlighted the improvements in economic environment and rectifications of economic order.

4. The Third Plenary Session of the 14th CPC Central Committee
    • Date: Nov. 11-14, 1993
    • Location: Beijing
    • Significance: The meeting set the goal to establish a socialist market economy system.

5. The Third Plenary Session of the 15th CPC Central Committee 
    • Date: Oct. 12-14, 1998
    • Location: Beijing
    • Significance: The meeting set the goal to build a new socialist countryside with Chinese characteristics.

6. The Third Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee
    • Date: Oct. 11-14, 2003
    • Location: Beijing
    • Significance: New proposals and decisions were made to improve the socialist market economy system.

7. The Third Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee
    • Date: Oct. 9-12, 2008 
    • Location: Beijing 
    • Significance: "A Decision of the CPC Central Committee on Rural Reform and Development" was approved, setting the goal to improve the land transfer system and invigorate rural finance.

8. The Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee
    • Date: Nov. 9-12, 2013
    • Location: Beijing
    • Significance: The new leadership will illustrate their administrative principles and reform blueprints at the meeting for the first time since its inauguration. The highly anticipated meeting is to deal with "major issues concerning comprehensively deepening reforms."

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