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More Foreign Exchanges at CPC Party School

On the morning of October 25, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave a speech to about 700 students at the Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the most recent foreign government head to do so in recent years.


Sources at the Singaporean Embassy in Beijing said Lee spoke for about 40 minutes in Chinese before taking questions in English.


“It was the Singaporean side that selected the Party School to make the speech,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Asian Affairs said.


On October 19, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also delivered an address at the school, answering questions from several students and faculty members, and Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State exchanged views with experts and academics there in November 2003.


It has become usual practice for heads of foreign governments to give speeches at universities including Peking and Tsinghua in Beijing, and Fudan in Shanghai.

“The biggest difference between the Party School and other universities is its political background,” said Chen Wentong, professor at the school’s Economics Department.


The Party School is directly under the CPC Central Committee, where middle- and high-ranking Party officials receive training in Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought as well as communist guidelines and policies.

The school’s faculties act as key think-tanks for the CPC's highest policymaking body, the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau.


“It was impossible for the Party School to accept foreign governmental heads of different political views to give speeches to students in the past,” said Zhao Jie, a Party School researcher, but it began to open its doors when Hu Jintao was president of the school (1993-2002).


In December 2002, Zeng Qinghong, member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Political Bureau, became the school’s president.


“The world is changing and China's modernization process is continuing to advance,” he said at the school's spring semester opening ceremony in March 2003.


With this guiding principal, more heads of foreign governments with different political backgrounds and beliefs have been allowed to give speeches to CPC middle- and high-ranking officials or hold seminars at the school.


Politicians from any parties that have contacts with the International Liaison Department, an organization for international friendly contacts, may come to the school to air their views, Chen said, adding that, in his opinion, the CPC now has great confidence in foreign exchanges.


CPC now has contacts with over 400 parties in more than 140 countries and regions.


(China.org.cn by Unisumoon November 11, 2005)

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