Opening remarks by Cai Mingzhao at the press conference on the 18th National Congress

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Cai Mingzhao Spokesman for the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends and Comrades,

The Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will open at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing at 9 tomorrow morning. The congress will last seven days from November 8 to 14. I am the spokesman for the congress, and I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the Chinese and foreign reporters who are here to cover the congress.

Entrusted by the congress, I wish to give you a brief on it.

The congress will be one of great importance to be held when China is in a crucial stage of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepening reform and opening up, and accelerating the change of the growth model. The congress will hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, follow the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, and thoroughly apply the Scientific Outlook on Development. It will review the Party's work over the past five years and the experience the Party has gained since its Sixteenth National Congress, and scientifically formulate guidelines and major principles and policies that meet the requirement of our times and the expectation of the people. And it will adopt strategic implementing steps for comprehensively advancing China's reform, opening up and socialist modernization and the Party's great new initiative to strengthen itself.

The preparatory meeting of the congress was held this afternoon, during which the agenda of the congress was adopted and its presidium was elected. The congress will proceed under the leadership of the presidium.

Comrade Xi Jinping was appointed secretary-general of the congress at the preparatory meeting. The main items on the agenda of the congress adopted at the preparatory meeting are as follows: to hear and deliberate on the report of the Party's Seventeenth Central Committee, to deliberate on the work report of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, to deliberate on and adopt the revisions to the Constitution of the Communist Party of China, and to elect the Party's Eighteenth Central Committee and a new central commission for discipline inspection.

After the preparatory meeting, a meeting of the Credentials Committee was held, and the presidium met for the first time. At its meeting, the presidium adopted the working agenda of the congress and created its standing committee. A secretariat has been set up to handle congress affairs.

The preparations for the congress have now been completed, and now I wish to brief you on them.

Preparations for the congress started under the Party Central Committee after the Resolution on Convening the Eighteenth CPC National Congress was adopted by the Seventeenth CPC Central Committee at its Sixth Plenary Session in October last year. The preparations focused on the following four areas:

First, drafting the political report to the Eighteenth CPC National Congress

The Party Central Committee attached great importance to drafting the report and set up a group for this purpose. The group was headed by Comrade Xi Jinping and was comprised of leading comrades from departments concerned under the central leadership and from the localities as well as experts and scholars. The group worked under the direct leadership of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. General Secretary Hu Jintao heard reports on the drafting work many times and made important instructions on it. The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and the Political Bureau discussed the draft respectively at a number of meetings.

To draft the report, the CPC Central Committee issued a circular to solicit views on the agenda of the congress from the localities and departments. It entrusted 46 organizations with the task of conducting surveys on 15 key topics, and 57 reports were submitted. The drafting group had seven research teams, and they conducted surveys on special topics in 12 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government. The drafting group also asked a number of departments concerned to prepare special reports on some issues. All this laid a solid foundation for drafting the report to the congress.

On July 23, 2012, at a seminar of chief leading officials at the provincial and ministerial level, General Secretary Hu Jintao made important remarks on major issues covered by the draft report. Seminar participants made comments and suggestions on these issues.

When the draft was in proper shape, extensive views were sought from 4,511 people who had discussions on it. They include members of the Seventeenth CPC Central Committee and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, delegates to the Seventeenth and Eighteenth CPC Congresses, leading Party officials of the departments of the Party, the government and the armed forces under the central leadership and of the people's organizations, and heads of the Party committees of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government as well as the major military units. General Secretary Hu Jintao chaired seven meetings to hear comments and suggestions from various sources. The drafting group also heard views of some veteran comrades face to face.

The CPC Central Committee also sought suggestions on the draft report from leaders of the central committees of the democratic parties, leaders of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce as well as public figures without party affiliation, and accepted most of their suggestions.

On November 4, 2012, the Seventeenth CPC Central Committee deliberated and adopted the draft report at its Seventh Plenary Session and decided to formally submit it to the Eighteenth Party Congress for deliberation.

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