ALL eyes are on Beijing as the world’s biggest political party, the Communist Party of China (CPC), holds its 19th National Congress – an event which is held every five years.
Apart from mapping out the future direction for the 96-year-old party and the country, the congress – attended by 2,280 delegates who represent over 89 million members – will also elect the party’s new central leadership after the event concludes tomorrow.
The past few weeks have been pretty disturbing for Beijingers as the city went into high alert to ensure a safe congress with zero disturbance from Oct 18-24.
Security has obviously been tightened, with the heavy presence of police and army personnel on the streets. Increased spot-checks on vehicles on the roads and ID checks at subway stations have lengthened travellers’ journeys.
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The 19th CPC National Congress sees the party adopting a more open, transparent and media-friendly approach by making several changes – including the new “meet the delegates” sessions.
More than 3,000 media – including over 1,800 from 134 countries worldwide – are covering the event here.
For the first time, delegates who comprise people from all walks of life (including teachers, army officers, researchers, scholars, artistes and sportsmen) are meeting and taking questions from the press. The sessions are also broadcast live on state television.
The past five years, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, has seen the country score remarkable success in fighting corruption – especially among high-level officials.
Delivering his three-and-a-half hour report at the opening of the congress at the Great Hall of the People here last Wednesday, Xi – also the party’s general secretary – stressed that the fight against corruption would remain a major mission.
“We must remain as firm as a rock in our resolve to build on the overwhelming momentum and secure a sweeping victory,” he said, adding that not just those who accepted bribes, but also those who offered bribes would be punished. Xi also said those who had fled the country would be brought back to face justice.
So far, 3,453 fugitives involved in bribery cases, including 48 of the 100 on Interpol’s red notice list, have been sent back to China.
Xi’s report, titled “Secure a Decisive Victory in Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects and Strive for the Great Success of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, was translated into 11 languages including English, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Arabic and Korean.
At a press conference on the sidelines of the congress, Yang Xiaodu – China’s Minister of Supervision, who also helms the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention – said 440 high-ranking senior officials, including those at and above the provincial and army commander level, had been investigated for corruption over the past five years.
More than 8,900 other officials at the director-general level and 63,000 at the county and director level were also being investigated, he said.
This was part of the anti-corruption campaign launched five years ago that led to the downfall of high-level officials, known as the “tigers”, like former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, ousted Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai (once the biggest rival of Xi), former vice-chairman of the Central Military Com-mission Guo Boxiong, ex-army Gen Xu Caihou, Ling Jihua (the chief of staff of former President Hu Jintao), and Sun Zhengcai (Chongqing party leader and a possible successor to Xi).
The CPC also promised a happier and better life for the people while building a clean and beautiful world.
Xi has pledged to eradicate poverty by 2020.
Since 2012, more than 60 million people have been lifted out of poverty. As of now, the number of those living under the poverty line is estimated at 43.3 million.
To the world, Xi emphasised that China would not close its doors and that it would only become more open.
“Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind,” Xi said.
Once again, he assured that China would never seek hegemony and its development did not pose threats to any countries.
“We endeavour to uphold international fairness and justice, and oppose acts that impose one’s will on others or interfere in the internal affairs of others as well as the practice of the strong bullying the weak,” he said.
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