Hu Jintao

Party charter set to include Hu's theories

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 September, 2007, 12:00am


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President will make his mark on Communist constitution

After months of murky manoeuvring, President Hu Jintao is set to secure a place in the party constitution for his political theory, with the Communist Party announcing yesterday it will amend its charter at next month's national congress.

'The 17th Party Congress will appropriately revise the party constitution according to the changing situations and tasks,' Xinhua reported, citing a statement from a Politburo meeting presided over by Mr Hu yesterday.

The meeting discussed a draft amendment to the party constitution and a draft report to the party's 17th National Congress, both of which would be submitted to the 7th Plenum of the 16th Central Committee for further review, it said.

The revised constitution, besides keeping the thinking of all major figures in the communist pantheon, would also 'reflect the major strategic thoughts the central leadership has set forth since the 16th Party Congress, such as the Scientific Development theory', Xinhua said.

The pre-congress closed-door plenum, schedule for October 9 and to be attended by more than 350 Central Committee members, will finalise a major leadership change and wrap up the report to be presented at the party congress, which opens on October 15.

The revised party constitution will elevate President Hu to virtually the same level as party founder Mao Zedong , the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and his immediate predecessor Jiang Zemin - the party's first, second and third generation leaders, analysts say.

Unlike other constitutions, which are meant to be permanent documents that are rarely amended, the party charter has been regularly revised at each party congress, held at five-year intervals, since it was rewritten in 1982.

'Every party chief wants to be the supreme interpreter of the communist theory,' said Beijing-based political scientist Hu Xingdou . 'Hu Jintao is no exception in his desire to become both chief politician and theorist for the Communist party.'

Besides 'Scientific Development' - Hu's catchphrase for sustainable, energy-efficient economic development instead of breakneck growth at the expense of the environment, the party charter amendment should also include his other pet projects, such as 'building a harmonious society' - which essentially means reducing income disparities to ease social tension.

The 'Four Steadfasts' - the slogan he put forth first during a keynote speech to the Central Party School on June 25 - is also likely to show up in the amendment, analysts say.

The main thrust of the 'Four Steadfasts' are keeping an open-minded attitude, reform and opening up policies, and accomplishing 'a relatively well-off society' by 2020.

Liu Junning , a veteran China watcher based in Beijing, said 'Eight Honours and Eight Shames', a dictum Mr Hu coined last year to serve as a new moral yardstick of senior officials in view of widespread corruption, also had a shot at making it into the amendment.

Mr Hu has wheeled out a raft of fancy political slogans since he took over as party chief five years ago - 'People First', 'New Socialist Countryside' and 'Conservation Economy' to name a few.

'Important theoretic concepts, strategic thoughts and working arrangements [developed since five years ago] will be written into the party constitution, in a bid to reflect the latest development in localising Marxism in China,' Xinhua quoted yesterday's Politburo meeting as saying.

'Hu Jintao is to emerge from the 17th Party Congress as politically more powerful than ever as a real leader for the whole party and country,' Professor Hu said.

Deng Xiaoping Theory was only incorporated into the constitution when it was revised in 1997, the year he died.

And it took 13 years for Mr Jiang to write his 'Three Represents' theory into the charter.