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CCP members urged to face new challenges

By David Hsieh, The Straits Times, 2 November 2000

President Jiang's confidant sets the agenda for the party's 2002 congress at which some central committee men are expected to leave the limelight

BEIJING -- The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will push forward a massive programme of rejuvenation of its rank and file and call for greater freedom of expression to face the complex challenges of the times.

In a lengthy essay published yesterday in the People's Daily, Mr Zeng Qinghong, alternate Politburo member and President Jiang Zemin's confidant, said that the CCP must keep its advanceness in a period of rapid change in China and in the world.

In this regard, party cadres must study President Jiang's recent theory of the three representatives, he said, referring to the maxim urging CCP members to be representative of leading trends in the economy, the best in culture, and the basic interests of the people.

Advanceness is akin to the idea of the communist party as the vanguard of the masses.

But, in the essay, the meaning goes beyond that, suggesting the CCP must always be ahead of the times instead of behind it.

The essay, analysts pointed out, sets the agenda for the 2002 party congress, during which an estimated half of the current central committee members are expected to leave the limelight.

They will be replaced by an entirely new generation of able cadres, now in their mid-40s to early 50s.

The essay is a testament to Mr Zeng's enduring influence despite his setback at the CCP's fifth plenum last month when he failed to be named full Politburo member.

In the article, the 61-year-old head of the CCP's powerful Organisation Department said: Talent is one decisive factor of success -- we must foster and form a large group of younger leaders who can adapt to the demands of the new century.

This new generation of elite technocrats is seen as critical to keep the CCP in power and to guide China through the difficult years of globalisation and integration into the outside world that lay ahead.

In 2002, President Jiang, 74, will most likely step down from most of his posts to be replaced by heir apparent Mr Hu Jintao, 58.

The CCP must pay attention to new developments in a new way, Mr Zeng said.

We must allow people to hold different opinions and even drifting ideas in the pursuit of the truth—without putting labels on them, he wrote in reference to the ideological intolerance of the Cultural Revolution.

The three representatives theory is the basis for work on party building, he said.

He also encouraged the adoption of modern systems, such as computers, the Internet, advanced statistical methods, and mathematical models to combine qualitative and quantitative analyses as well as basic and applied theories.