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Communist party congress sees delegates from diversified ownership
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In Pan Gang's eyes, there are only two sorts of people - those who drink milk and those who don't.

Pan, president of Yili Group, China's leading dairy producer, defines a prosperous society as one where "every family drink pure milk every morning and have yogurt in their refrigerators."

The 37-year-old man is a delegate to the ongoing National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), representing a growing troop of force from the mixed economy as a differentiation to the now dominant solely state-owned economy.

After years of economic reforms, the ownership of Chinese companies has been gradually decentralized and diversified. Yili emerged as a model of mixed economy with its stakes jointly shared by the government and private investors.

Thanks to the growing contributions of new economy to China's economic and social development, the number of such delegates as Pan has increased at the twice-a-decade party congress.

"As delegates, we are able to express the wishes of our stratums and do our part in the drive towards a harmonious society," said Pan.

In the past ten years, Pan's company, which has grown from a small workshop into a sponsor of the Beijing Olympic Games, along with Budweiser and UPS, helped five million cattlemen and farmers in North China raise a total of 25 billion yuan (3.33 billion U.S. dollars).

The amendment made five years ago to the party constitution allowed "advanced individuals" from all walks of life - including private business owners - to apply for CPC membership.

It also clarified the functions of party branches in non-public companies, enabling people to get more politically involved.

And a circular from the CPC central committee last October made "an appropriate number" of delegates from the non-public sector indispensable to the national congress.

"All this, which reflects the party's adaptability to changes in social stratums, consolidates its governing foundation and allows it to better represent the people's interests," said Gao Xinmin, professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

"The party welcomes the voices of these new delegates, whose presence will provide it with a new source of power and enhance its influence," said Liu Qingping, associate professor with the Beijing Institute of Technology.

Another delegate, Zhang Quannian, who owns a large industrial group in northwestern Gansu province, paid special attention to the wording of president Hu Jintao's congress report.

"The president's pledge to protect property rights and allow all forms of ownership to compete on an equal footing made me more confident in my business," said Zhang.

With self-assurance, Zhang is asking for more. "I hope the government will map out preferential policies to make fund-raising easier for small and medium sized companies in the poor western regions."

The past five years saw a number of bans being lifted, with China's private businesses entering the banking and securities sectors and making quite a splash.

To name but a few, New Hope Group, run by one of China's wealthiest man Liu Yonghao, became the biggest shareholder of China Minsheng Banking Corp., while the privately-owned June Yao Group acquired 18 percent of Wuhan Airlines, a subsidiary of ChinaEastern Airlines.

Official figures show the non-public sector currently produces 67 percent of China's GDP and contributes nearly 80 percent to the country's economic growth.

Meanwhile, 2.9 million CPC members are working in private companies, which employ a total of 120 million people, or 9.2 percent of China's population.

The rising number of delegates from diversified ownership, especially private-sector, shows China's great progress in socialist democracy, said Zhang Qihua, expert in CPC history.

"As a delegate, I feel the responsibility on my shoulder," said Pan.

Source: Xinhua
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16th CPC National Congress, 2002

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Key Points of Hu Jintao's Report
·Hu Jintao charts roadmap for China: sustainable growth, greater democracy
·Hu Jintao mentions "democracy" more than 60 times in landmark report
·Hu Jintao: No tolerance to corruption
·Hu against arbitrary decision-making in the Party
·Hu Jintao calls for building harmonious world
·Hu: China to modernize army for self-defense, world peace
·Hu Jintao appeals for "peace agreement" with Taiwan
·Hu Jintao calls for enhancing "soft power" of Chinese culture
·Hu Jintao vows to "reverse growing income disparity"
·Hu Jintao vows to expand people's democracy
·Hu Jintao advocates "conservation culture" for first time in keynote political document
·Hu promises to promote more non-Communists to leading positions
·Innovation tops Hu Jintao's economic agenda
·Hu Jintao proposes Scientific Outlook on Development for tackling China's immediate woes, challenges
·Hu sets goal of quadrupling per capita GDP under environment, resource restrictions
·Hu: Scientific Outlook on Development part of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics
·Hu highlights efforts by predecessors, vowing to carry on reform, opening up
·Hu says China experiences "extraordinary" five years of achievements, difficulties
·Hu Jintao stresses socialism with Chinese characteristics

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