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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 September, 2004, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
Hu rejects China political reform
Hu Jintao, Chinese president (archive picture)
Hu Jintao stressed the need to fight against corruption
China's President Hu Jintao has made an important speech opposing Western-style political reform for the country.

Speaking ahead of a key meeting of the ruling Communist Party, he said China would be led into a "blind alley" by copying Western political systems.

Mr Hu, in power since 2002, wants to ensure the Party's legitimacy by making it more responsive to public needs and crack down on corruption.

But analysts say he has shown no interest in wider political reform.

The speech came a day before the Communist Party's powerful Central Committee began its annual meeting in Beijing.

We will never blindly copy the mode of other countries' political system
Hu Jintao
The meeting, due to last until 19 September, is mainly being watched for signals as to when or whether former President Jiang Zemin will resign his one remaining post, chairman of the Central Military Commission.

If he does step down in favour of Mr Hu, the latter would have consolidated his position as China's paramount leader.

Mr Hu said China's current system had strong vitality and great superiority.

Mr Hu said no Western democratic practices - such as separating the powers of the executive, legislature and judiciary and multi-party national elections - would be implemented in China.

"We will never blindly copy the mode of other countries' political system," Mr Hu said. "History indicates that indiscriminately copying Western political systems is a blind alley for China."

Fighting graft

But Mr Hu said changes and improvements to the country's governing systems were still needed.

China has been experimenting with low-level elections and improving checks and balances on Communist rule.

"Exercising power without restriction or supervision is bound to result in power abuse and corruption," Mr Hu said.

"We must improve and strengthen the supervisory work of the people's congresses, and increase the effectiveness of their supervision," he said.

Corruption is a persistent problem in the high echelons of China's politics, with many government and party officials seen as having enriched themselves illicitly through holding influential positions.

China celebrates over HK election
13 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: China
13 Aug 04  |  Country profiles
Profile: Hu Jintao
05 Mar 03  |  Asia-Pacific


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