China's leaders meet to plan economic future

Discussion in 'China' started by SHASH2K2, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    China's ruling Communist Party is holding its annual meeting in Beijing, with economic development the focus of its next five-year plan.

    The agenda is kept secret but according to state media, officials want Chinese consumers to buy more goods produced domestically, to stimulate the economy.

    Analysts also will be watching for signs of who will be the next leader of China - taking office in 2012.

    The meeting comes amid intense scrutiny of human rights in China.


    Earlier this week, a group of 23 Communist Party elders wrote a rare letter calling for an end to restrictions on the freedom of speech.

    The letter described China's censorship system as a "scandal" and an "embarrassment".

    Their call came just days after the jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo - a champion for democracy in China - was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    A group of 100 activists in China have now signed a petition calling for his release.


    The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize has sparked calls in China and abroad for Liu Xiaobo's release
    There is speculation that political reform will be high on the agenda, after Premier Wen Jiabao, recently issued a call for openness.

    Mr Wen told US broadcaster CNN earlier this month that calls for "democracy and freedom [in China] will become irresistible".

    In August, he said: "Without political reform, China may lose what it has already achieved through economic restructuring."

    Reshuffle
    Such unusually outspoken calls for political reform are the backdrop for this year's four-day Communist Party Congress.

    Details of the meeting of the 300-member Central Committee are usually only released at its close.

    State media said President Hu Jintao and Mr Wen are expected to attend the gathering "to discuss proposals for the nation's next five-year development plan" from 2011 to 2015.

    China has seen remarkable economic growth in recent years - largely driven by exports.

    The BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing says China wants to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, which has grown in order to prevent strikes and disputes over pay, which have led to social unrest in the past.

    Any instability worries the party because it challenges their authority across the country, our correspondent says.

    Analysts will also be watching for signs that Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang - the presumed successors to Mr Hu and Mr Wen - will move closer to power in a reshuffle.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11548789
     
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