President Hu Jintao yesterday called for adherence to the path of socialism with Chinese characters instead of "copying the Western political system and pattern" in a meeting to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the country's top political advisory body - the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
"CPPCC, as a polity and also a form of democracy, is a great creation in China's democratic political building," Hu told more than 800 representatives from various fields in a keynote speech.
"Developing social democracy should draw on the fruits from the entire human civilization, including achievements made in the political sphere, but can by no means indiscriminately copy the Western system."
Members of the CPPCC were asked to constantly improve their understanding of socialism with Chinese characteristics and firmly follow its path.
Hu made the statements about 10 days ahead of the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China, which falls on Oct 1.
This is not the first time State leaders have made such remarks. This March, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature, said China would not have multi-party rule, or the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers.
Wu called on NPC deputies to maintain the "correct political orientation", stressing the "essential differences" between China's people's congresses and the Western system of political power.
One difference is that China's system is of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), not a Western-style multi-party system, Wu said.
Yesterday, Hu also urged top political advisors to better carry forward democracy, strengthen solidarity and resolve contradictions to improve relationships between parties, ethnic groups, religions, different social classes and people at home and abroad.
Hu also reviewed the history of the CPPCC's founding and commented on the role the CPPCC has played in the past 60 years.
The founding of the CPPCC dates back to 1948, when the Communists proposed a political consultative conference to set up a democratic coalition government, after the failed attempt to build such a government with the Nationalists in 1946, a year after the victory over Japanese troops.
Between Sept 21 and 30, 1949, the First CPPCC Plenary Session was held in Beiping (now Beijing) and 662 representatives attended.
It was at this meeting that Beijing was selected to become the capital of the republic.
Representatives also decided on the five-star red flag as the national flag, and the song of March of the Volunteers as the national anthem.
The first government of the People's Republic of China was also elected at this meeting and Mao Zedong was named first chairman of the organization.
Since 1949, 85,000 proposals have been handed over to the nation's top decision organs through the CPPCC, and many of them have been adopted by the government.
According to last year's statistics, across China more than 31,000 non-Communists were working as officials at and above county level, of whom at least 6,000 work at government organizations and judicial bodies at various levels.
Meanwhile, the 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions on the Chinese mainland have 30 non-Communist vice-governors; and 15 big- and medium-sized cities have non-Communist vice-mayors.
Xu Yiqian, 90, said she was "so excited" after hearing Hu's speech.
"Comrade Hu's speech was very comprehensive and encouraging. It shows our party attaches great importance to this top political advisor," said the former CPPCC official who joined the CPC in 1939.
Xu said she loved the work in the CPPCC so much that she continues to pay great attention to it. "The CPPCC is very promising and will definitely play a more important role in the future," she said.
Zhou Ganzhi, a former CPPCC member and an experienced building expert, echoed Xu, emphasizing the CPPCC should put more effort in uniting overseas Chinese.
"More people are studying and working overseas it is important to introduce what is happening in China to them and absorb their wisdom and suggestions for domestic development," he said.
The CPPCC is the top political advisory body in the People's Republic of China.
The organization consists of delegates from the Communist Party of China, eight democratic parties, people without party affiliation, eight major mass organizations, representatives from 56 ethnic groups and five major religious groups in China, representatives from compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as well as returned overseas Chinese and representative figures from other circles.
The National Committee of the CPPCC holds an annual meeting at the same time as the plenary sessions of the National People's Congress.
The meetings usually held in March are called the "the two meetings", at which delegates discuss some of the most important issues about the country and its people.