Retiring boss urges 'party purity' at Beijing meet
Beijing's party boss called on members to safeguard the 'unity and purity' of the party as its long-delayed congress got under way in the capital yesterday.
The congress must elect new delegates who will join others in representing the city at the National Party Congress, scheduled for autumn, where China's next leadership will be decided.
Incumbent Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong , 65, is tipped to replace the 70-year-old, retiring municipality party chief Liu Qi . Another political high-flier said to be in the running for the post is Inner Mongolia party chief Hu Chunhua.
The capital's deputy mayor, Ji Lin, 50, is tipped to be Beijing's deputy party secretary, and the secretary of the party's political and legal commission. The deadline for each constituency to elect its delegates to the National Congress is today.
The Beijing party congress is usually held in May, but the date for this year's meeting was only announced last week, and the delay has fuelled rumours of a power struggle within the party, especially after former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai was removed for violating party discipline. No official explanation on the delay was offered.
Addressing the congress, Liu called on party members to remain unified, as the 'international and domestic situations, and the party's situation, are undergoing profound changes'.
He added: 'It has become more difficult than ever to maintain the party's advanced nature and purity.
'We must conscientiously implement the instructions of the party central committee, and always maintain a high degree of unity with the central committee,' he said.
The municipality will strengthen ideological education, and party members will be evaluated on their political integrity and professional ability.
Liu vowed that authorities would intensify work on investigating and punishing breaches to law and party discipline. Maintaining social harmony and stability would be their main task, he said.
Liu also outlined Beijing's economic plans, vowing to increase the city's gross domestic product per capita to about US$20,000, expand domestic demand, boost the technology and cultural sector, integrate urban and rural economic development, and strengthen environmental protection.
The capital would continue to assist the development in Tibet, Xinjiang and Qinghai, as the central government ordered, he said.