The Guardian November 20, 2002

China's Party Congress records big achievements

The 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) met last week 
and reviewed the work of the Party over the last five years. It recorded 
the tremendous achievements and rapid growth in the economy of the People's 
Republic of China. It also saw the retirement of four of the leaders of the 
Party who have occupied leading positions in the Party and the Government 
for the last ten years. In an increasingly turbulent world, China has 
remained both economically and politically stable.

The Congress adopted a target of building a "well-off society in an all-
round way" throughout China by the year 2020. Economists estimate that this 
requires an annual growth in GDP of 7.2 percent. In the last 13 years the 
economy has increased by an average of 9.3 percent, a rate far in excess of 
any of the developed capitalist countries.

The principles underlying the economic achievements are: the maintenance of 
a dominant role for public ownership while developing diverse forms of 
ownership; improving the system of income distribution under which 
distribution according to work is dominant and a variety of modes of 
distribution coexist; improving the socialist market economy; implementing 
the rejuvenation of the nation through science and education and promotion 
of sustainable development; promoting co-ordinated development of the 
socialist material, political and spiritual civilisations; combining the 
rule of law with the rule of virtue.

In his report to the Congress, outgoing General Secretary, Jiang Zemin, 
said the Party must always represent the development trend of China's 
advanced productive forces, China's advanced culture and the fundamental 
interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people.

The question of unemployment remains a serious one for the Party. 
Government. assistance in the form of tax relief, loans and subsidies is 
being extended to unemployed workers.

Large and medium-sized state owned enterprises are also encouraged to 
launch new and profitable economic enterprises to employ their own 
redundant personnel. In the last five to six years China's publicly owned 
enterprises have laid off more than 26 million workers. The Xinhua news 
agency reports that so far, over 17 million of these workers have found new 

Grass-roots democracy is being steadily developed in village, town and 
county administrations. More than 700 million people have taken part in 
elections to these bodies. The trade unions are also setting up enterprise 
organisations. So far, 327,000 enterprises have established a system of 
workers' conferences.

The age and education of the delegates attending the Congress has changed 
since the previous Congress. The average age of the delegates dropped with 
63 percent being under 55 years compared with 59 percent previously. The 
delegates represented over 66 million Party members.

The Congress paid attention to Party building. Jiang Zemin said that the 
Party should strive to ensure that it is the vanguard both of the Chinese 
working class and the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. It should 
provide the core of the leadership in building socialism with Chinese 

"We must continue to arm all Party members with Marxism-Leninism, Mao 
Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping theory", he said.

He called on the Party to "bring up more revolutionary, younger, better 
educated and more professionally competent cadres".

On the question of recruitment of Party members, Jiang Zemin said, "We 
should recruit Party members mainly from workers, farmers, intellectuals 
and servicemen, thus expanding the basic components and backbone of the 

"We should admit into the Party advanced elements of other social strata 
who accept the Party's program and constitution, work for the realisation 
of the Party's line and program consciously, and meet the qualifications of 
Party membership following a long period of test, in order to increase the 
influence and rallying force of the Party in society at large."

Jiang said that at all times and under all circumstances the Party should 
stick to its mass line and regard the people's interests as the starting 
point and goal of all work.

He described the fight against corruption as a "major political task". 
Leading officials, particularly senior ones, should play an exemplary role 
in exercising the power in their hands correctly and they must always be 
honest and upright and take the initiative to crack down on all forms of 
corruption. All corrupt persons must be thoroughly investigated and dealt 
with without leniency, he said.

In a message of greeting to the Congress of the Communist Party of China, 
CPA General Secretary Peter Symon said that the Congress is "meeting at a 
most dangerous point in human history when western imperialism is 
threatening the sovereignty and independence of a number of countries with 
invasion and war and is indiscriminately violating the Charter of the 
United Nations.

"It is vitally necessary to uphold the principles put forward by the CPC 
and the Government of the People's Republic of China and which are also 
subscribed to by millions of peace-loving people around the world, that 
international disputes be settled by peaceful means and through the 
auspices of the United Nations.

"The long history of the Communist Party of China and its achievements in 
building socialism with Chinese characteristics gives us confidence that 
your Congress will take decisions which will continue the course of 
building socialist China into an efficient, economically strong and 
politically stable country", said the CPA message.

Back to index page