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CPC to enhance internal democracy
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08:36, September 10, 2009

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Enhancing the democratic process within the Communist Party of China and intensifying its anti-corruption drive are expected to be high on the CPC's agenda as it gathers for its annual meeting from September 15-18, scholars said Wednesday.

They also noted that a much-anticipated official property-declaration system, through which officials are supposed to disclose all their income and properties, is unlikely to be officially introduced.

The Fourth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee of the CPC comes amid an intensifying anti-corruption campaign, which has seen the fall of several high-profile officials this year, including Huang Songyou, former vice president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), and Chen Shaoji, former top political advisor of South China's Guangdong Province.

Lin Zhe, at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said that building democracy within the Party, "the most crucial aspect of improving party building," will be highlighted at the session.

That democracy within the Party, according to the group's guidelines, means enabling all members to take part in Party affairs and the decision-making process.

"This annual Party session will likely specify ways to ensure better transparency in Party affairs, freedom of speech and democratic election within the Party, and a cut on bureaucracy within the Party," said Xu Yaotong, a professor at the China National School of Administration.

As for enhancing the democratic process, Xu said it is urgent for the Party to start direct elections starting at county-level Party organizations.
"Although direct elections are not simply equal to democracy," he said, "without it, democracy within the Party will be empty talk."

Ye Duchu, a Party Constitution specialist at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, agreed that promoting democracy within the Party is "undoubtedly a priority at the session," the Outlook Weekly magazine reported.

Another topic likely to be touched upon at the session is the cultivation of young officials. More young faces will appear in key positions at all levels within the Party after the session, Lin predicted.

A lot of cadres born in the 1960s, or even later, now take leading positions at various levels of the Communist Party and within government departments, including Hu Chunhua, 46, governor of Hebei Province; Sun Zhengcai, 46, the minister of agriculture; and Zhou Qiang, 49, governor of Hunan Province.

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