The development of intra-Party democracy epitomizes the road the CPC has taken over the past 90 years, from a fledgling political entity to the world's largest ruling political force.
Of all the things that have made this Party increasingly stronger and healthier, intra-Party democracy is the most worthy of mentioning, particularly during the past three decades.
Democratic centralism has been consecrated as the basic principle for decision-making within the Party. Yet, there was a time when too much centralized power in the hands of individuals in the CPC history led to major mistakes which had adversely affected the country's social and economic development.
To be honest, the CPC has been constantly promoting intra-Party democracy in various ways, as top leaders from Deng Xiaoping to Hu Jintao have realized how important democracy within the Party is if it is to continually improve its governing capability. "We will expand intra-Party democracy to develop people's democracy and increase intra-Party harmony to promote social harmony," said Hu Jintao at the opening of the 17th National Congress of the CPC in 2007.
Deng Xiaoping, architect of China's economic reform and opening-up, set a good example by retiring from both his Party and government posts and setting up a retirement system for top leaders in the early 1980s.
This was followed by the introduction of ways to democratically select officials within the Party, methods to increase the number of candidates for certain positions, the public or democratic recommendation of candidates and direct election of Party committees at village level and now township level on a trial basis in some parts of the country.
The sixteenth National Congress of the CPC in 2002 pointed out that intra-Party democracy was the lifeblood of the Party. And it was further emphasized as a prerequisite for increasing the Party's vitality at the 17th National Congress of the CPC in 2007. Yet, its importance to the future of the CPC and the nation is yet to be fully realized despite the achievements that have been made in recent years.
Further efforts need to be made to bring home the awareness among CPC members that economic growth alone will not bring about long-term stability and prosperity unless intra-Party democracy is further developed to really integrate the interests of the Party and the people. That is the most solid base for sustainable development and political stability.
This is because more intra-Party democracy will be conducive to collective decision-making, tighter supervision over the exercise of power and thereby better coordination between the Party and the public.
Last but not the least, the building of institutions and mechanisms for intra-Party democracy is of vital importance if the Party is to retain its historical vitality and lead the nation and its people to further prosperity.