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Old 'magic weapon' shining again
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Party building, once praised by Chairman Mao as one of the three "magic weapons" of the Communist Party of China (CPC), was a crucial aspect for the Party in the New Democratic Revolution Period (1919-49).The Fourth Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee, which is taking place in Beijing now, is focusing on Party building. It is the first time in the CPC's history that a whole plenary session is specially dedicated to discussing the issue of Party building, and hence it is not exaggeration to hail this plenary session as a crucial one in the Party's history.

If we look at the history of the Party since the end of the "cultural revolution (1966-76)", it is not rare to see that the plenary sessions of the CPC Central Committee had discussed and settled significant issues. The most famous one, of course, was the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee that opened the gates of China to the rest of the world. The current plenary session, which comes ahead of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), would be of great significance, too.

After the founding of the PRC in 1949, especially in the new era of reform and opening up, several generations of the CPC central leadership have all attached great importance to team building of the Party. In recent years, steps have been taken to foster Party building. In Nov 2004, the CPC started the education campaign to maintain the advanced nature of the CPC members, which was extended to all levels of the Party organization across the country.

Aiming to improve its discipline inspection and supervision system, the CPC Central Committee promulgated in the same year the Inner-Party Supervision Regulations, stipulating that the Party authorities and leaders, especially the chief leaders, must be subject to strict scrutiny.

Intraparty democracy is an eye-catching issue in the sphere of Party building. In Oct 2006, the CPC laid out plans to prevent personal dictatorship, enhance the democratic process within the Party, and establish a standardized and healthy mechanism for the exercise of power.

A month later, a special article released by the Xinhua News Agency stressed that the Party must pay close attention to selecting young officials to form a reserve pool of future leaders. Thereafter, a large batch of young officials was promoted.

Upholding integrity and anti-corruption is a critical target of Party building. In recent years, the CPC Central Committee has issued many anti-corruption policies and regulations, such as regulations on officials' accountability system, regulations on overseeing officials in State-owned enterprises and handling of the "small coffers" (off-book accounts).

Party building includes many other aspects, too, such as ideological building, political building, organizational building, and work style building. Moreover, strengthening the governance capability of the Party, properly handling relations between the Party and the people as well as between the Party and the government, protecting the rights of CPC members and keeping the age of officials younger, are all significant aspects of Party building, too.

The Fourth Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee is another step towards achieving the target of ensuring that "the Party exercises self-discipline and is strict with its members", which has been emphasized since the reform and opening up. It demonstrates to the people that the CPC is willing and determined to clean up and improve its own team, and build a clean and upright team.

I believe this plenary session will summarize the historical experience of Party building since the foundation of PRC, analyze the new problems facing Party building now, and lay out the focus for Party building. The session will also emphasize the implementation of regulations that have been made, and the tasks that have come up. It will lay stress on traditional and historical experience.

Besides improving democracy within the Party, strengthening the functioning of Party committees as well as the commissions for discipline inspection, and thoroughly applying the Scientific Outlook on Development, will also be important elements of the Fourth Plenary Session.

(China Daily September 16, 2009)

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