“Peace on our terms” was the message to Taiwan at China’s Communist Party Congress. In his opening speech President Hu Jintao called for negotiations with the self-ruled island but insisted it would return to Chinese control one day. The five-yearly Congress is a chance for the Party to spell out Hu’s broad agenda for the coming years. It also brings new recruits into the leadership as possible eventual successors to the ruling elite.
Hu said the government would pursue an increasingly open economy but would try to distribute the country’s wealth more fairly. Hu has presided over five years of rapid growth during which China has become a major industrial power. He added that as the economy grew, the Party would also allow citizens have a bigger say in local government.
But analyst Willy Lam said the Communists will remain firmly in control: “As for the extension of democracy outside the Party, I don’t think there’ll be much in the way of new developments. The Communist Party will still be very jealously guarding its monopoly on power.”
Dissidents have been detained in the run-up to the Congress and petitioners attempting to lobby officials directly outside the venue in Beijing were rounded-up.