Hu Jintao cements Communist Party's grip in opening speech

China Featured - November 9th, 2012

Incumbent Chinese President Hu Jintao rolled out a heavily drawn blueprint for the country as he hands over power to Xi Jinping and incoming leaders, trampling domestic demands for political reforms.

Mr. Hu cemented the party’s grip on power and reiterated the state’s dominant role in the world’s second-largest economy in his speech at the opening of the Communist Party’s 18th National Congress on Thursday, says the Financial Times.

“We must uphold leadership of the party,” Mr. Hu said in a keynote report that would outline the party’s vision over the five years. “We should steadily enhance the vitality of the state-owned sector of the economy and its capacity to leverage and influence the economy,” he said.

“We must not take the old path that is closed and rigid, nor must we take the evil road of changing flags and banners”.

Mr. Hu has also set a target to double its 2010 GDP and per capita income for urban and rural residents by 2020. Economists said China will easily meet the target with an annual average growth of 10% that surpasses the implied rate of about 7%. The widening income gap was identified as the main concern of the Chinese in a survey by China Youth Daily.

A World Bank report recommended Beijing consider reducing the size and power of government and state enterprises to operate in a more competitive environment amid public pressure to liberalize the rigid structure.

Analysts have suggested that Mr. Xi could become a bolder leader than the outgoing leader. Mr. Xi will assume presidency in March.