congress delegates are expected to amend the party’s constitution to enshrine his appeal for “scientific development” (eco-friendly and balanced) alongside the other theories that supposedly guide the party: those of Marx, Lenin, Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Mr Hu’s predecessor, Jiang Zemin. There had been speculation before the congress that Mao might be dropped from this list. But Mr Hu paid ritual tribute to the late chairman and his thinking. Party leaders worry about an attempt by a recently purged Politburo member, Bo Xilai, to boost his popularity by appealing to faintly subversive nostalgia for Mao among the poor. But they worry even more that further steps toward “de-Maoification” might prove dangerously divisive within a party already shaken by Mr Bo’s spectacular downfall amid allegations of corruption and a murder cover-up.
In his 100-minute address, Mr Hu warned that corruption could cause “the collapse of the party and the fall of the state”. Leaders, however, have often used such language
SUCH is the secrecy in which China’s Communist Party cloaks itself that Hu Jintao, its leader since 2002, has only twice given a live address to the nation setting out his party’s policies in depth. His second, delivered on November 8th, a week before he steps down, was typically vague. Amid a growing chorus of calls for bolder economic and political reform, both he and incoming leaders favour caution.
Intense security in Beijing and to varying degrees across the country on the day he spoke hinted at the party’s nervousness. Despite a decade of breakneck economic growth, discontent is widespread among the less well-off as well as members of a much-expanded middle class, who want more say in how they are governed. Speaking at the opening of a five-yearly, week-long party congress, Mr Hu extolled the party’s achievements since 2002, but repeated what has become a refrain of China’s leaders: that its development is “unbalanced, unco-ordinated and unsustainable”. In this section
As a farewell gift to Mr Hu, the more than 2,200 hand-picked
before. And the few specific remedies he offered are also old hat, though the party has made glacial progress in implementing them: more open government, more democracy at the grassroots and inside the party, and greater emphasis on the rule of law. Mr Hu stressed the importance of political reform, but also of continued one-party rule. Mr Hu did admit a need for “greater political courage and vision”, and said the party should “lose no time in deepening reform in key sectors”. He repeated calls for “major changes” in the country’s growth model away from reliance on investment and exports towards greater emphasis on consumption. He said market forces should be given “wider scope”, and urged “steady steps” towards making interest rates and the exchange rate more market-driven. But he also spoke of a need to “steadily enhance” the state sector’s ability to “leverage and influence the economy”.
Courtesy of Column ECONOMIST