CPC plenum to discuss social harmony
Updated: 2006-10-08 11:38

The Sixth Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) opened in Beijing on Sunday morning.

A major item of the agenda is to study the issue of building a harmonious socialist society and deliberate a draft of the "resolutions of the CPC Central Committee on major issues regarding the building of a harmonious socialist society".

The resolutions are expected to become guidelines for building the harmonious socialist society, defined as a democratic society under the rule of law, a society based on equality and justice, an honest and caring society, and a stable, vigorous and orderly society in which humans live in harmony with nature.

The Party holds that the society is harmonious in general at present, but there still exist quite a few problems that impair social harmony.

Aware of the theory that social conflicts may surface in large amounts when per capita GDP enters the US$1,000-3,000 stage, the Party's policy makers have realized improper handling of the complicated situation will lead to economic stagnation and social instability.

China's per capita GDP surpassed US$1,000 in 2003 and reached US$1,714 in 2005.

A study shows China's Gini Coefficient, a measure of income inequality, has reached 0.46, reflecting a big wealth gap that is still expanding. In 2005, the aggregate disposable income of the 10 percent richest families was more than eight times higher than that of the 10 percent poorest families. Sixty percent of urban residents failed to reach the average level of disposable income.

In addition, exorbitant medical, school and housing costs, land grab and pollution have triggered many protests. Widening gap between China's wealthy coastal regions and the relatively less developed hinterland has also caused worries.

"Facing up to these problems and working to dissolve them with a more positive attitude to increase harmonious factors and reduce disharmonious ones is an important guarantee of realizing China's long-term development goals," said a senior party official at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee held in July.

The Party pledged to shape a "more harmonious" society in its 16th National Congress in November 2002. The Fourth Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the CPC, held in September 2004, first explicitly made the call to "put building a harmonious society in a more prominent position". Hu Jintao and other CPC leaders have since underscored the theme on many occasions.

Speaking to a gathering of provincial leaders in February, CPC Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao urged to adopt various measures to build a social justice guarantee system based on "equal rights, equal opportunities, fair rules and fair distribution".

Qing Lianbin, a professor of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said Hu's instructions on building such a system would be fully reflected in the resolutions of the CPC Central Committee plenum, which is scheduled to conclude on Oct. 11.

"The CPC will consolidate its foundation of governance by upholding social justice. Communist parties in the Soviet Union and east European countries lost power because they distanced themselves from the masses, stuck to rigid rules, refused to make changes, neglected contradictions and violated laws of development," said Huang Zongliang, a professor of the prestigious Beijing University.

"The CPC should draw a lesson from them and avoid repeating their mistakes," said Huang, who was once invited to a lecture to members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in its collective study session.



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