Plenum set to adopt Hu's road map
President's guiding principles will take precedence over details as leaders enshrine the next five-year plan, say scholars
Senior Communist Party figures begin a crucial four-day meeting in Beijing today and will adopt a new five-year plan that will enshrine the policies and principles championed by party boss Hu Jintao , scholars said.
The Fifth Plenum of the 16th Communist Party Central Committee opens at the Jingxi Hotel in western Beijing.
The plenum, which is closed to the public, is expected to end with the adoption of the 11th Five-Year Plan and a party communique. A few personnel changes are also expected but scholars said the plenum would not lead to major policy changes.
During the plenum, party leaders would set the tone for the five-year plan, which runs from 2006 to 2010 instead of laying down every detail of the country's economic policies, said Dang Guoying , a researcher from the rural development institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
'There won't be a draft plan [released] at the end of the session. The plenum will work on key principles instead of the text of the plan as it is still subject to the government to decide the exact content, which will then be submitted to the National People's Congress in March for approval,' Professor Dang said.
The 11th Five-Year Plan would resemble a summary of policies already adopted rather than a manifesto of new ideas.
'As China's reform has always favoured gradual changes, the plan is unlikely to raise many new ideas but aim to enshrine policies advocated by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao in the past two years,' he said.
He pointed out that the central government had shifted from single-minded pursuit of economic growth to focus on sustainable development, with resource conservation, energy efficiency and environmental protection topping the priority list.
Government sources said the plan would have a separate chapter on balancing the relationship between development and environmental conservation.
But the meeting is set to catch the eyes of thousands of central and local governments bureaucrats because it would affect their economic and political interests in the next five years, Professor Dang said.
Although the drafting of the plan has been splashed in state media headlines for weeks, it would be unrealistic to hold any high expectations, said Zhong Wei , director of the Finance Research Centre at Beijing Normal University.
He said that few of the previous 10 five-year plans had been implemented truthfully and the implementation of the 10th Five-Year Plan had not been smooth.
'In recent years, five-year plans have often had to be adjusted each year [to adapt to the rapidly changing situation],' he said. 'The government has always been good at mapping out future goals, but not at how to implement them.'
The lack of macro-economic background among the top leaders had contributed to the poor implementation of previous blueprints, Professor Zhong said.
He said rising social tensions affecting stability were behind Mr Hu attaching so much importance to the building of a harmonious society, the catchword in the past year that is set to be a prominent place in the new five-year plan.