Special report: 30 Years of Reform & Opening Up
by Xinhua writers Zhang Chongfang and Ji Ming
BEIJING/SHANGHAI, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Thirty years of China's reform and opening-up drive has seen remarkable changes of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the baggiest ruling party in the world.
"Today, the CPC's policy and decision on internal affairs has a global influence," Martin Mulligan, a senior editor with Financial Times told his students at a training course held in Beijing.
"As leading force of the most-populated country and newly-emerging largest economy, the CPC's accurate decision against the globally developing financial crisis will help other countries find a way out, even for world economy," he said.
China held a meeting on Thursday morning to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its reform and opening-up drive, a watershed in China's development.
The decision to open up the once sealed off country and reform its struggling economy was made at the 3rd plenary session of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC, which started on Dec. 18, 1978.
Since economic liberalism, considered by some to be the root of the current global financial meltdown, has run into a brick wall, more people have paid attention to China's vigorous development pattern as well as its designer, the CPC.
According to the organization department of the CPC central committee, by the end of 2007, the CPC had more than 74 million members.
"The reform and opening-up has altered the appearance of China, the ruling party's membership and its component," said Qin Xuan, professor with Renmin University of China. "The CPC's ruling theory and style have also changed."
Xie Jinrong, a Malaysian and project manager of China Nokia, has been working in China since 2004. "I took for granted that the CPC is arbitrary and stuffy before I came to China," he said.
"Actually, it is not," Xie said, confessing that he was deeply impressed by the CPC's ruling ability and high efficiency.
Wang changing, an expert with Party School of CPC central committee, said the CPC has transformed from an all-powerful Party, rooted in the highly planned economy, to a service party so as to well match the market-oriented mechanism.
In addition, the CPC had also striven to enforce intra-party supervision, ensure party members' rights, reform the "election system" and nominating procedure of candidates, and bring more Party affairs into the open.
"In the past, the Party boss could solely decide promotion," said Chen Zhiquan, a retired worker with 40-year Party membership." And now, any promotion of cadres should be collectively decided via 'democratic' procedure."
"The greatest change of the CPC focus on innovation in theory research," said Qin Xuan who had given lessons in September at the collective study by members of the Political Bureau of the CPC central committee.
The 2nd collective leadership of the CPC central committee, with Deng Xiaoping as the core, linked Marxism with Chinese people's practice, and eventually Deng Xiaoping Theory came into being, which is considered a theory suited to China's national conditions.
Then, the 3rd collective central leadership, with Jiang Zemin as the core, raised the Important Thought of "Three Represents", namely the CPC has always represented the most advanced productivity and culture in China, as well as the most fundamental of interests of the majority of the Chinese people.
The 4th collective central leadership headed by President Hu Jintao brought forward the Scientific Outlook on Development, a guiding principle for China's economic and social development.
"The reform and opening-up drive ripens socialist theory with Chinese characteristics," said Shen Baoxiang, professor with Party School of the CPC central committee.
The system of the theories gave answers to what is socialism and how to build socialism. Experts named the theories "neo-socialism."
"Socialism with Chinese characteristics has a positive influence on communalism in the world. China and other 'socialist' countries have promoted socialism after overcoming austere challenges," Qin Xuan said.
Against the background of global financial crisis, he said, there would be a new round of controversy on "isms" as some Western scholars argued that the crisis has make it possible to replace capitalism with socialism.
However, the professor said, the CPC is still unsure as it is faced with many challenges, such as how to realize a sustained economy, widen socialist 'democracy' and resolve issues concerning peoples' livelihoods.
President Hu also admits that the CPC is up against new problems while its ruling becomes longer and its component is changing.
Qin Xuan said," the CPC should continue to pursue development in a scientific way, crack down corruption so as to promote social harmony and build a moderately prosperous society in all respects."
Statistics showed that more than 4 million cases had been filed with over 3.7 million party members published, including such high-ranking officials as former Beijing Party chief Chen Xitong and Shanghai Party chief Chen Liangyu.
"The CPC will show a new face as it persists in the reform and opening up policy in the future," he added.