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CHINESE MEDIA HAIL REFORMERS' VICTORY IN CALL FOR A MARKET-ORIENTED CENTURY

Official media Thursday trumpeted a major victory for senior leader Deng Xiaoping and other reformers - the ruling Communist Party's call for 100 years of market-oriented reform and rejection of extreme leftism.

The decision this week by the party's 20-member Politburo climaxes a prolonged struggle between reformers led by Deng and ideological hard-liners who have argued that reform is undermining China's socialist system."Firmly grasp the party's basic line and do not waver for 100 years," the party newspaper, the People's Daily, declared in a banner headline. "Seize the opportunity to speed up reform and opening up to the outside world to improve the economy."

It defined the basic line as "making economic construction the central task," rather than putting the emphasis on fighting Western cultural influences, as advocated by the hard-liners.

The Politburo, which met Monday and Tuesday, did not say anything about political reform. China's top officials are united in opposing any political dissent or moves toward multiparty democracy.

However, a renewed emphasis on economic growth is likely to produce a more relaxed political atmosphere than has prevailed since 1989, when the army put down a popular movement for democracy.

Deng, 87, has been China's main power-broker since 1978. Last year, he launched a drive for bolder, swifter economic reforms, such as giving factory managers freedom to fire workers and reducing state price subsidies for food and housing.

China "could borrow a few things from capitalism," the Hong Kong Economic Times Thursday quoted Deng as saying in a party document.

He argued that the market-style reforms he introduced a decade ago created prosperity that helped keep China's Communist Party in power while the Soviet and eastern European parties teetered and fell.

Many of his reforms were stalled or rolled back during the past three years under the influence of hard-liners who came to the fore after troops broke up pro-democracy protests in 1989, killing hundreds.