China is marking the 30th anniversary of what it calls its "reform and
opening program", which is the economic development path that is credited with
helping the country grow. Although Chinese leaders vow to continue with economic
reforms, they also stress the overall importance of maintaining social
Hu Jintao drew on the spirit of late leader Deng Xiaoping, who coined the phrase
"to get rich is glorious." Deng is credited with the 1978 launch of the economic
reforms that propelled China on a path of rapid growth and
President Hu praised Mr. Deng's reform and opening program,
saying China hopes to continue its past success, in the future.
Economic development is main focus
Hu says making economic
development the government's main focus is the key to national rejuvenation. He
says economic development is also crucial for the ruling Communist Party and for
China to maintain prosperity and stability.
At the same time, he
indicates there will continue to be a strong state role in guiding market
The Chinese president spoke, Thursday, before a full house of
current and former officials, gathered in Beijing's Great Hall of the
President promises more social equity
Hu says the government's
efforts to cope with the global economic downturn are working and he renewed his
promise to create a more equal society. He also stressed the importance of
maintaining social stability - an issue that is taking on increasing importance
as export-driven factories shut down and unemployment rises.
political front, the Chinese leader called on officials to meet the needs of
citizens, but he rejected any notion of Western style democratic
Hu says China must draw on what he describes as "the
beneficial fruits of political civilization," but will never copy the Western
point was underscored by Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao, who was asked
China's position on the European Parliament's decision to award its top human
rights prize to jailed Chinese dissident Hu Jia.
No relief in sight for activists
Liu says China will continue
to follow its path of what he called "socialism with Chinese characteristics,"
regardless of the European Parliament's actions.
Meanwhile, China has
dealt harshly with the more than 300 activists who signed the '08 Charter, a
manifesto made public last week that calls for legal reform and more democracy.
Dozens of the signatories have already been briefly detained or
harassed. And, more than one week ago, police detained one of the most prominent
organizers, dissident writer Liu Xiaobo. He remains in custody.