17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
CPC Opens National Congress to Map China's Next Five Years

Delegates of the Communist Party of China (CPC) gathered in central Beijing Monday morning to attend the year's most important political event that will chart a roadmap for the country's all-round development in the coming five years.

The 17th National Congress of the CPC is set to elect the Party's 17th Central Committee that will decide CPC's new leadership lineup for the coming few years, and elect a new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

It will also approve a draft amendment to the Party Constitution to embody the scientific outlook on development and other new achievements in the Party's theoretical innovation and progress in practice.

Banners hanging in the grand conference hall of the Great Hall of the People bear catchphrases of CPC's recent theoretical developments, ranging from "socialism with Chinese characteristics", "Deng Xiaoping theory", "Three Represents" to "scientific outlook on development" and "moderately prosperous society".

The Scientific Outlook on Development, initiated by the 16th CPC Central Committee in 2003, is part of the theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics that stands alongside Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, said Hu Jintao in a report delivered on behalf of the 16th CPC Central Committee.

Hu underlined endeavors by the past three generations of central collective leadership in founding and prospering the New China, citing the miraculous growth of China's economy from "once on the verge of collapse" to the fourth largest in the world.

"The Chinese people, once inadequately fed and clad, are leading a fairly comfortable life on the whole," he said, vowing to carry on the cause of his predecessors.

China will continue to power the engine of economic growth by quadrupling the per capita value of gross domestic production (GDP)of the year 2000 by 2020. But the rapid growth will be under the condition of reduced consumption of resources and greater efforts in environment protection, Hu said.

Meanwhile, China will manage to narrow the yawning income gap, expand democracy, prevent and check corruption, modernize its armed forces and enhance the soft power of its culture.

Prof. Zhang Yibo, 79, switched on the TV first thing Monday morning to watch the live broadcast of the congress.

"Each Party congress is a big step forward in the Party's reform and development," said the expert on Party history in northeast China's Liaoning Province.

Altogether 2,237 delegates from across the country attended the congress, which will last fr seven days till Sunday.

Peace Agreement Proposed with Taiwan

On the Taiwan question, Hu called for discussions with the Taiwan side to put a formal end to the state of hostility and reach a peace agreement under the condition of one-China principle.

This part of the statement, which lasted about five minutes, was interrupted by the audience's applause four times.

Hu reiterated the Party's long-time stance that the mainland side "will never waver in our commitment to the one-China principle, never abandon our efforts to achieve peaceful reunification, never change the policy of placing our hopes on the people in Taiwan and never compromise in our opposition to the secessionist activities aimed at 'Taiwan independence'."

"China's sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division, and any matter in this regard must be decided by the entire Chinese people including our Taiwan compatriots," he said.

"China is the common homeland for the compatriots on both sides of the Straits, who have every reason to join hands to safeguard and develop this homeland," Hu said. "The 1.3 billion people on the mainland and the 23 million people in Taiwan are of the same blood and share a common destiny. We will make every effort to achieve anything that serve the interests of our Taiwan compatriots."

The point was applauded by Prof. Zhang Wensheng, an expert on Taiwan studies at Xiamen University in the southeastern Fujian Province. "It's important to involve the Taiwan people in the country's social and economic development. It's in the common aspiration of people from both sides of the Taiwan Straits to improve the quality of their material and cultural lives."




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