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Modernisation requires political reform progress

Xinhua news agency, Hong Kong Standard

The Communist Party leader sets out a new course

Mr Jiang has urged efforts to continue reforming the political structure, and improving socialist democracy and the legal system. He said: The deepening of the reform of the economic structure and the cross-century development of the socialist modernisation drive require that we should continue to press ahead with the reform of the political structure, further extend the scope of socialist democracy and improve the socialist legal system, governing the country according to law, and making it a socialist country ruled by law. It is our party's persistent goal to develop socialist democracy, he said.

Without democracy there would be no socialism or socialist modernisation.

The essence of socialist democracy is that the people are the masters of the country.

All powers of the state belong to the people.

He stressed that China's state system featuring people's democratic dictatorship and its system of government were the result of the struggles waged by the people, and the choice of history.

It is imperative that we should uphold and improve this fundamental political system, instead of copying any Western models.

He pointed out that developing democracy should go hand in hand with efforts to improve the legal system so that the country would be ruled by law.

Socialist democracy should be gradually institutionalised and codified so that such institutions and laws will not change with changes in the leadership or changes in the views or focus of attention of any leader.

He said that the main tasks of political restructuring for the present and a period of time to come were to develop democracy, strengthen the legal system, separate government functions from enterprise management, streamline government organs, improve the democratic supervision system, and maintain stability and unity.

On improving the system of democracy, Mr Jiang said that as a ruling party, the Communist Party should lead and support the people in exercising the power of running the state, holding democratic elections, making policy decisions in a democratic manner, instituting democratic management and supervision, ensuring that the people enjoy extensive rights and freedom endowed by law, and respecting and guaranteeing human rights.

We shall continue and further improve the system of people's congresses, ensuring that the people's congresses and their standing committees exercise the functions of the organs of state power according to law, strengthen their legislative and supervisory work, and establish closer ties between deputies and the people they represent, he said.

There will be a gradual establishment of a mechanism that would help the decision-makers to go deep among the people to see their condition, adequately reflect their will and pool their wisdom so that decision-making will be more scientific, democratic and efficient and will reach a higher level, he said.

Mr Jiang promised to continue and improve the system of multi-party co-operation and political consultation led by the Communist Party, uphold and improve regional autonomy for minority nationalities, and implement in real earnest policies concerning religion and overseas Chinese affairs.

He urged all the grassroots organs of power and self-governing mass organisations in both urban and rural areas to improve the system of democratic elections to enable the people to take a direct part in the discussion and decision-making concerning local public affairs and welfare undertakings, and exercise supervision over the cadres.

He also urged efforts to uphold and improve the democratic management system of enterprises and institutions with workers' conferences as its basic form.

On legal construction, Mr Jiang said, We shall strengthen legislation, improve its quality and form a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics by the year 2010.

He stressed the necessity to safeguard the dignity of the constitution and other laws.

We must see to it that all people are equal before the law and no individuals or organisations shall have the privilege to overstep it, he stressed.

On streamlining government organs, he pointed out that it was necessary to alter the functions of the government and separate them from those of enterprises.

He explained that enterprises would then be truly given the power with regard to production, operation and management in accordance with the requirements of a socialist market economy.

Following the principle of simplification, uniformity and efficiency, he noted, We shall establish a highly efficient, well-co-ordinated and standardised administrative system, with a view to improving their service for the people.

The departments in charge of comprehensive economic management should shift their functions to macro-economic control, and specialised economic departments should be reorganised or reduced. We shall improve the work of departments supervising law enforcement and cultivate and expand social intermediary organisations.

We shall deepen the reform of the administrative system, statutorily delimiting the structures, functions, sizes and working procedures of the state organs and ensuring that their sizes are kept within authorised limits.

We shall also deepen the reform of the personnel system by introducing a competitive and incentive mechanism and improving the system of public servants to build up a contingent of administrators who are highly competent and professionally specialised.

He urged departments handling affairs of immediate concern to the people to carry out an open administrative system to make sure what they do would be fair, just and open.

Building socialist democracy is a gradual historical process, so it should be advanced under the leadership of the party, in light of China's conditions, step by step.

The more developed socialism is, the more developed democracy will be.

We should continue to promote a Chinese-style socialist democracy by exploring the law of its development in practice, and enable it to display greater vitality in the 21st century. he said.