Monday, October 15, 2007


Starting Monday, 2,213 delegates meet at the Great Hall of the People to discuss policies in the Communist Party platform and select new leaders. More than 1,100 foreign journalists and more than 800 domestic Chinese journalists are covering the week-long event, known as "Shi Qi Da," shorthand for the 17th Party Congress.

Li Dongsheng, spokesman for the congress, answered questions Sunday evening:

On how the party can attract new members when there are so many other ways to get rich:

More than 73 million people belong to the Communist Party, up 6.4% from the last party congress in 2002. "Many young people as well as many private businessmen are enthusiastic applicants for CPC membership," Li said.

"If we do a good job in admitting new party members from the private sector, we will be able to broaden the popular foundation for our party, enhance the influence and cohesion of the party across the society, we will be able to broaden the coverage of our party's work … we will be able to strengthen the competence of our party members and ensure that there is vitality and vigor in our members."

On combatting corruption:

"Corruption is a global problem. Countries across the world give top priority to the fight against corruption but I don't see any country that has successfully uprooted corruption," Li said. "Progress has been made … the overall situation is good."

In some areas, he added, "corruption is still quite serious. Big cases of corruption occur from time to time." As head of the party, President Hu Jintao has proposed measures to treat "both the symptoms and the root causes of corruption."

On plans for advancing political reform:

"Political reform hinges on the success of comprehensive reform and it is also critical for the fundamental interests of our people. We have advanced political reform without pause," Li said.

"Our political reform is the self-improvement and development of the socialist political sytem. It must be promoted actively yet prudently … we have taken into consideration the national circumstances of China, we have deepened political reform on the basis of our own experience. At the same time we have also drawn upon the achievements of human political civilization but we will never copy the Western model of political system."