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Chinese President Pledges Oversight, Reforms

“We will establish a healthy system under which the Politburo regularly reports its work to plenary sessions of the Central Committee and accepts (Central Committee) oversight,” Hu told the more than 2,200 delegates, according to Reuters. Hu’s speech is the most public event at the congress.

Hu sits on the Politburo, the Communist Party’s ruling inner core, which currently has 22 members and one alternate since Vice Premier Huang Ju died in June, and Shanghai Party boss Chen Liangyu lost his job in September 2006 and faces trial for corruption.

The Central Committee, one step below the Politburo, has 198 members, whose five-year term ends this week. Elections for a new Central Committee are Sunday.

“We will … explore various ways to expand intra-party democracy at the grassroots level,” Hu said. “We must enforce stricter oversight over the whole process of selecting and appointing cadres.”

In response to a growing outcry from citizens about corruption and a widening wealth gap, Hu is moving the party toward reforms to make officials more accountable, while reinforcing the party’s leadership role.

Hu also reiterated an offer to end the hostilities between China and Taiwan, but repeated the condition that the island must recognize it is part of China.

He pointed out China’s achievements since he took over as party leader at the last congress in 2002, including its economic growth and two manned space missions.

As for the social divisions, he said, “There are still a considerable number of impoverished and low-income people in both urban and rural areas, and it has become more difficult to accommodate the interests of all sides,” quoted the Associated Press.

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