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Building 'Intra-Party Democracy' in China

Politburo member Li Yuanchao discusses the Mainland's unique approach to political reform in Part I of an exclusive interview

I follow Chinese political philosophy, theory, and practice, especially as formulated and implemented by China's senior leaders. I am also on alert for signs and signals of real political reform. I recently went to Beijing to discern the significance of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the conclave held every five years to establish new policies and promote new leaders. The meeting ended in late October, so enough time has passed for the leaders to assume their new roles.

Through the State Council Information Office of China, I had a private interview with Li Yuanchao, who was promoted to the politburo after his great success during his five-year term as party secretary of high-output Jiangsu Province. A longtime colleague of CPC General Secretary and China President Hu Jintao from their years together in the Communist Youth League, Minister Li is now head of the CPC's powerful Organization Department of the Central Committee, which appoints senior officials in ministries of the central government and in provincial and municipal governments, and senior executives of China's large state-owned enterprises. Li had just published a provocative, controversial article in People's Daily on "Intra-Party Democracy," which elaborated and extended President Hu's call at the party congress for greater democracy.