Entrepreneurs' presence grows at CPC congress

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He wears the same dark suit as many of his fellow delegates to the ongoing 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and preaches Party doctrines with the same degree of fluency and sincerity.

Liang Wengen at a press conference of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

What makes 56-year-old Liang Wengen stand out among some 2,200 delegates to the congress is his identity as a private businessman and one of the wealthiest people in China, the world's second biggest economy.

"Communists are people with ideals and in pursuit of higher standards. The public have more respect for them," said Liang, founder and board chairman of the Sany Group, one of China's machinery giants, as he met media Sunday on the sidelines of the congress, which is held once every five years.

Under immense media spotlight at the congress, Liang is among a growing group of private entrepreneurs who have joined the CPC. This year, more than 30 private entrepreneurs have been elected as delegates to the CPC National Congress, up from 17 five years ago.

"This demonstrates that the Party and the government endorses and supports the social group of private entrepreneurs," Liang told dozens of reporters in accented Mandarin.

"It is a progress to have such a ratio of entrepreneurial Party delegates," he added. "It was even impossible for us to join the Party ten years ago."

Before amending the Party Constitution at the 16th National Congress in 2002, the CPC only allowed workers, peasants, members of the military and intellectuals -- who were considered to be part of the proletariat -- to become members.

At the opening of the congress on November 8, Hu Jintao delivered a report outlining the future development of China in the next five years and beyond.

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