China to continue economic model, open up more: Hu
BEIJING, Nov 9: The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) began here at the Great Hall of the People at Tiananmen Square on Thursday amidst much fanfare, with people around the world keeping close tabs on how this five-yearly event would chart out China´s future policies.
One thing that is already certain is that Nepal´s northern neighbor will have a new generation of leaders taking charge, with 59-year-old Xi Jinping set to become the next General Secretary of the CPC, thereby becoming the next President of China. Fifty-seven year-old Li Keqiang is the chosen one to become the next prime minister.
The inauguration of the Congress that began with the Socialist International anthem, sent out a strong message that China would continue the changes it adopted in 1978 and which have led to China becoming the world´s second-largest economy.
Communist leaders stand before the national anthem during the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday, Nov. 8. (AP)
The country´s top patriarch Deng Xiaoping began the reforms and opening up in 1978, following a market economy which has led to the booming economy.
Even as the economic growth rate is now in a declining trend compared to its all-time high of more than 12 percent, President Hu Jintao, who is also general secretary of the party, vowed to continue with the Chinese economic model and open up more in the coming days.
"We must implement a more proactive opening up strategy and improve the open market economy so that it promotes mutual benefit and is diversified, balanced, secure and efficient," the general secretary said, while presenting a political report to the congress participated in by 2,268 representatives.
The delegates applauded at regular intervals while Hu dealt with various political, economic and social issues during his one and half hour-long speech.
He managed to catch the attention of hundreds of journalists covering the event, which helped him send out a clear message to the world that the CPC, and the Chinese government, was serious about tackling the growing incidents of corruption among the party rank and file.
His message was clear - those found guilty of corruption, no matter what positions they occupy, will be brought to justice with no mercy.
Delegates to 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday. (Photo: Purna Basnet)
The focus, however, is on the new leadership. Observers believe that any kind of serious political reform is not possible in the near future and the new leadership would only continue the existing policies.
A day before the Congress began on Thursday, the state-owned Global Times newspaper released a survey where respondents said that "most Chinese people believe China should initiate political reform and that the reform should be carried out at a gradual pace." The people are more concerned about economic development and people´s livelihoods, it said on Wednesday.
Though Hu said that China would continue with its kind of ´democracy´ which he termed "socialism with Chinese characteristics", he also clearly indicated that no drastic change would take place in the near future.
The centralized leadership of the Party is the source of its strength and a fundamental guarantee for China´s economic and social development, ethnic unity and progress, he said in his report. "The more imperative it is for the Party to strengthen its discipline and tasks it undertakes, the more imperative it is for the Party to strengthen its discipline and uphold centralized leadership."
Established on July 23, 1921, the number of Chinese joining the CPC has increased from 66.94 million in 2002 to a current membership of 83.60 million.
The seven-day Congress that began with tightened security in the Chinese capital will come to an end next week with the election of a new leadership.