Communist elites to echo people’s voices at national congress

Over 4.5 million netizens had submitted more than 190,000 pieces of proposal via web portals by Tuesday to voice their expectations for a national congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), an official said Wednesday.

The three web portals namely sina.com, news.cn and cctv.com have been officially entrusted by the CPC Central Committee to solicit public opinions for the 18th CPC National Congress scheduled to open on Thursday, Cai Mingzhao, spokesman for the congress, said at a press conference.

Most of the re-tweets on these web sites pin hopes on the congress, to be attended by more than 2,000 delegates representing the Party’s 82 million members, to tackle corruption, wealth gap, price hikes, income distribution, and the improvement of people’s livelihood.

These issues shall not be properly handled if reforms stall and institutional and ideological hurdles keep standing in the way, say the netizens, who also call for immediate reforms to ease the industrial dominance by state-owned enterprises, broaden the market access of private and smaller companies, and secure equal rights for all Chinese in education, health care, social security and other public services.

People’s Daily, the Party’s flagship newspaper, have recently published a series of editorials, expatiating on the necessity to push immediate reforms that require a reshuffle of vested interests and a reform of the government itself.

Echoing the people’s wishes to advance reform, Cai said the Party has shown its clear-cut stance in this regard, citing President Hu Jintao’s remarks in July which described mind emancipation as the “strong ideological weapon”, and reform and opening up as the “strong driving force” to push forward the undertakings of the Party and the people.

The Party shall unswervingly advance reform and opening up, stay away from rigidity and stagnation and never vacillate, the spokesman said

As for the political structural reform in China, he said the CPC has to take into consideration China’s national reality and stick to the right path made by the Party and the people amid long-term practise.

“We should not be intimidated by any risk or be confused by any distraction,” he added.

Cai said the Party will formulate goals, strategic targets and guidelines for future reform and opening up at the upcoming congress, and it will eliminate all ideological and institutional hurdles in the way of scientific development.

“Going forward, China will emphasize more on top-down designs and the building of supporting systems for the benefits of the people and provide more solid impetus for the national campaign of building a moderately prosperous society,” Cai said.

To make sure the report to be delivered by Hu Jintao at the congress a genuine reflection of the people’s wishes, the CPC Central Committee has sent out dozens of teams to solicit public opinions about the draft from people of all walks of life.

In preparations for the congress, all delegates, either leading cadres at different levels or ordinary members, have been required to survey public expectations from their own sectors.

“It’s no exaggeration to say the report is a crystallization of the Party and the people,” said Cai.

BROADER INTRA-PARTY DEMOCRACY

With serving the people being a fundamental tenet, the Party has seen a profound change in the makeup of members since its founding in 1921. Of the 2,270 delegates to the 18th CPC National Congress, the percentage of workers remarkably increases to 7.4 percent. Their number grows from 51 five years ago to 169, including 26 farmer-turned workers.

During the seven-day congress, grassroots delegates will join leading cadres at different levels to examine the CPC Central Committee’s report, revise the Party’s Constitution and elect a new leadership.

How can the congress faithfully address public needs and formulate goals in the people’s favor is an intriguing question.

One of the measures, according to Cai, is to facilitate intra-Party democracy. All delegates, whatever their ranks might be, enjoy equal democratic rights enshrined by the Party’s Constitution and relevant regulations.

All Party members have been required to speak truth, consider the actual conditions. Leading cadres, in particular, must broaden their views and reach consensus based on democratic discussions, Cai said.

The specialty of the CPC’s intra-Party democracy is to combine democracy with centralism, discipline with freedom, unity of will and the personal ease of mind so as to sustain the Party’s liveliness and strength, Cai said.

MORE TRANSPARENCY

To help the public timely learn the significant arrangements to be laid out at the congress, the Party has opened itself wider to the press, with the total number of registered journalists reaching 2,732, about 40 percent more than that during the 2007 congress.

Reporters from home and abroad have been invited to cover the opening and closing ceremonies of the congress and audit the report to be made by Hu Jintao.

When delegates deliberate on report, journalists may also audit and even ask questions with the approval of delegation chiefs, Cai said.

Xinhua