17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
Communists Face up to Problems during Development

When leaves turned yellow as the autumn wind began to blow, 13-year-old Luo Yongwen and his five classmates crowded against each other in a wooden bed for warmth in their dormitory.

He was obsessed with the question: how to get the money for next week's living expenses? He even considered to quit school and look for a job as other children did in the small village in southwest China's Yunnan Province, to support his 80-year-old grandmother and younger sister who studies in primary school.

Luo's trouble is nothing special in the undeveloped areas of the country, where children study in tumbledown classrooms, the whole family fall into poverty if one of the family members catch a serious disease, and back slums stand under the shadow of skyscrapers.

When China has been experiencing a double-digit economic growth year on year to become the fourth largest economy in the world, many problems have emerged along with the rapid development.

In his report to the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Oct. 15, top leader of the Party Hu Jintao talked about the complicated problems the country is facing.

"Our economic growth is achieved at an excessively high cost of resources and the environment. There remains an imbalance in the development between urban and rural areas, among regions, and between the economy and society. It has become more difficult to bring about a steady growth of agriculture and continued increase in farmers' incomes," he said.

He also listed problems concerning employment, social security, income distribution, education, public health and housing.

"The governance capability of the Party falls somewhat short of the need to deal with the new situation and tasks. In-depth investigation and studies have yet to be conducted on some major issues related to reform, development and stability," he said.

Xie Chuntao, deputy director of the Party history division of the prestigious Central Party School, said the report has touched a wide range of problems nowadays in China, including almost all the problems he has heard of during his teaching and researching work.

"The leadership has been fully aware of the problems during China's development and never tried to avoid them," Xie noted.

The current CPC leadership has undergone and overcome a series of domestic, regional and global difficulties after they took their posts in 2002, from SARS to international trade conflicts.

"The leadership has highlighted the sense of unexpected hardships and difficulties and a practical style of dealing with problems since the 16th CPC National Congress," Xie said.

Hu Jintao has told the Party cadres to enhance the awareness of problems from time to time, the central government has taken measures to solve problems concerning people's livelihood, environment and resources, the Party leaders have spent major festivals with poor people and carried out inspection tours to disaster-hit areas more frequently.

Although Luo Yongwen still lives a hard life, he now can enjoy the exemption of tuition fee and textbook fee, and apply for living allowance issued to impoverished students.

Wang Changjiang, director of the Party building division of the Central Party School, said the CPC "is turning mature" through facing up to the problems, instead of evading them.

"It won't make the people lose confidence in the Party, but instead make them realize that there is still a long way to go," Wang said.

He said the CPC is more practical in thinking of and dealing with existing problems. "It has changed the way of thinking of problems and the measures of solving problems from the style of a revolutionary Party to a ruling Party," he said.

The Party, along with its think-tank, takes system construction as a key to solve the problems over the course development. It will take a long time for the Party and the people to reach consensus on which mechanism the country should create and what measures it fully implement, according to Wang Changjiang.

Wang said China has set up many policies and regulations, which are all basic elements of the system. "We still need a framework to well organize the elements into an efficient system," he said, adding that the Party should make great efforts to explore the system construction.




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