The Communist party will begin its once-in-a-decade change of leaders today by insisting that its iron grip on power “suits China’s national reality” on the eve of its 18th national congress.
Communist party rule ‘suits China’s national reality’
By Malcolm Moore, Beijing
The leading position of the Communist party in China is a decision made by history and the people,” said Cai Mingzhao, one of the Party’s most senior propaganda officials.
Mr Cai had been asked, on the eve of the 18th Party Congress, whether the elite conclave that anoints China’s leaders might one day choose to give more power to the people.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, news of the American election and images of jubilant crowds had been broadcast on Chinese television.
But Mr Cai was quick to rule out any such scenario in China.
“China has scored world renowned achievements and it speaks fully to the leadership of the Communist party,” he said. “The political system suits China’s national reality. We have to unswervingly stick to the right path blazed by the Party.”
He spoke in the Great Hall of the People, after a dress rehearsal for the opening day of the Congress.
Outside, the vast expanse of Tiananmen Square presented a stark contrast to the celebrations on the other side of the world. It was cold, windswept and entirely empty.
Closed to the public for security reasons ahead of the Congress, it was being used as a car park for the sleek black cars of senior Party cadres.
On Thursday, Hu Jintao will open China’s most important political meeting with an address summing up his achievements as president.
A week of closed-door meetings will then take place followed by the unveiling of a new Politburo Standing Committee, China’s equivalent of the Cabinet. The Congress will close next Wednesday.
A survey published in the Global Times, a state-run newspaper, yesterday suggested that eight out of 10 Chinese want greater political reform and two-thirds feel the government should face more public scrutiny.
But Mr Cai was adamant that the 2,268 Communist party members chosen to come to Beijing for the Congress were able to represent the views of 1.3 billion Chinese. “They know their jobs and they know what the people want,” he said.
He added that the Party would embrace both “centralism and democracy” in the way it ran the country, which would grant citizens both “discipline and freedom”.
And while the Party would embrace more “intra-Party democracy”, giving each Communist party official the right “to elect and be elected”, he refused to disclose details of how the Congress would choose its new leaders. “It is a secret ballot,” he said.