ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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'Harmonious Society'

Hu Jintao’s Vision and the Chinese Party Congress

The question that is on everyone's mind is whether the new general secretary of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping will follow the Hu Jintao line or return to the growth-centric path of Jiang Zemin. The author argues that the new leadership put in place by the 18th Party Congress clearly refl ects the effort to reconcile Jiang Zemin's emphasis on a high growth rate and Hu Jintao's stress on balanced development. But will the new leadership transform the essential features of the growth model to achieve the fi ve dimensions entailed in Hu Jintao's "scientifi c outlook on development"?

The web version of this article corrects a few errors that appeared in the print edition.

On 15 November 2012, introducing the new Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Politburo to the press, Hu Jintao’s successor, the new General Secretary Xi Jinping conveyed a crisp message. He put the CPC’s mission as rejuvenating the Chinese nation, referring to its five thousand year tradition and f­ocused on the party’s tasks of solving people’s day-to-day problems of providing adequate employment, education and health and stressed the need to fight corruption. The simple and popular introductory statement by Xi came after a week-long deliberation at the 18th National Congress of the CPC where the centrepiece was the outgoing General Secretary Hu Jintao’s Report which drew compelling attention of everybody to the question that China’s path of development had to constantly grapple with questions of social equity and environmental sustainability.

Orienting economic growth to addres­sing social and regional contradictions in order to build a “harmonious society” and tackling ecological challenges to evolve a “beautiful country” and “changing the growth model” to accomplish those objectives were the themes constantly discussed at the Congress. The slogan of “beautiful country” seriously appeared for the first time during this Congress. The “scientific outlook on development” meaning promoting “com­prehensive, coordinated and balanced development” that Hu Jintao has added to the CPC’s theoretical perspective during the decade of his leadership was spelt out in even greater detail during this Congress. It was now inscribed into the Party Constitution. But the question that is on everyone’s mind is whether Xi Jinping will follow the Hu Jintao line or return to the growth-centric path of Jiang Zemin.

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