China won't return to Mao era: Hu Jintao
Beijing: Bracing for his retirement after a decade-long stint at the helm, President Hu Jintao has virtually ruled out China reverting to hard-line policies of Mao Zedong, saying the path of reform and opening up pioneered by moderate leader Deng Xiaoping should continue as they created "miracles".
Asserting that China should stick to Deng's path, Hu told a meeting of the Ministers and Provincial officials that "by following the socialist theory with Chinese characteristics, we have continuously created 'miracles' in improving people's living conditions".
Hu, who is also the general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China, said considering the success achieved by China by following Deng's line of socialism the party and the country should stick to the path to deal with problems like global financial crisis.
"By embarking on the socialist road with Chinese characteristics, we have developed ourselves into the world's second largest economy, established the world's largest social security system, succeeded in combating the sudden outbreak of SARS and overcome the deadly Wenchuan earthquake," Hu said.
"By adhering to socialism with Chinese characteristics, we have given a satisfactory answer to how we have overcome the global financial crisis,” he said.
Though the conference was held few days ago, his speech was published by the state run media here today.
The name of Mao and his era was conspicuously absent in Hu's speech. Deng, who was sidelined and sent on exile to a tractor repairing workshop by Mao, took charge of CPC after the party founder's death in 1976.
He gave a new ideological direction to the party and the sate which ensured unlimited economic reforms but only under the total political control of the party.
"The reform and opening-up are a crucial choice that has decided the fate of contemporary China and contributed to its rapid development over the past 30-odd years. We should continue unswervingly to adhere to this initiative for further development," Hu said.
His advocacy of the continuation of reform and opening up ahead of the crucial leadership change makes it clear that Hu and present set of leaders who would be retiring later this year strongly pitches of continuation of Deng's line and wants to ensure there was no return to Mao's era nor giving up the one-party system in which CPC remained supreme ruler.
Speculation is rife since early this year that sections of the party headed by the disgraced leader Bo Xilai tried to revive Mao's Marxian policies playing up on the growing rich poor divide.
Bo, who headed the Chongqing city, hit the headline in China last year after he ordered the local television to play Mao era's revolutionary songs every day, which was largely interpreted as attempts to revive the past.
Bo was subsequently sacked and placed under investigation after his wife Gu Kailai was charged with the murder of a British businessman. The trial was expected to start on August 09.
Hu's speech was published as the members of the 370 strong Central Committee of the CPC reportedly holding an informal meeting at the resort town of Beidaihe near here to brain storm about the 18th Party Congress expected to be held in November to select new leadership to replace Hu and other top leaders to rule the country for the next 10 years.
The Party Congress also was expected to set out the ideological path for the new leaders to follow. Vice President Xi Jinping, also a follower of Deng's line, is expected to succeed Hu.