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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BEIJING6157 2007-09-19 11:28:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Beijing
Cable title:  

REVISION OF PARTY CONSTITUTION: "BEGINNING OF HU

Tags:   PGOV CH 
pdf how-to read a cable
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O 191128Z SEP 07
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIJING 006157 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/19/2037
TAGS: PGOV CH
SUBJECT: REVISION OF PARTY CONSTITUTION: "BEGINNING OF HU
JINTAO ERA"

REF: A. FBIS/OSC CPP20070917338001

B. BEIJING 5974

C. BEIJING 5815

D. BEIJING 5706

E. BEIJING 4420

F. BEIJING 3608

G. BEIJING 2188

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Aubrey Carlson.
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

Summary
-------



1. (C) This week's announcement that the Chinese Communist
Party Constitution will be revised at the October Party
Congress, apparently to incorporate key concepts associated
with General Secretary Hu Jintao, signals a clear advance in
Hu's consolidation of power and marks the "beginning of the
Hu Jintao era," according to initial reaction from two
Embassy contacts on September 18. This outcome is both a
"natural" nod to Hu as he heads into his second and final
term as General Secretary, and also a reflection of Hu's
skill in managing his relations with other top leaders,
particularly former General Secretary Jiang Zemin, whose
"time has passed." As a further demonstration of Hu's
strength, Hu protege Li Keqiang is reportedly in charge of
the group that has drafted Hu's report for the Congress.
That report is likely to focus on "practical issues" such as
solving the inequalities caused by more than 30 years of
exclusive focus on GDP growth, which is precisely what Hu's
"Scientific Development" and "Harmonious Society" are all
about, contacts say. End Summary.

Party Announces Constitution to be Revised


--------------------------





2. (C) CCTV news and the Xinhua news agency announced the
evening of September 17 that the Party Constitution will be
"appropriately amended" at the October 15 Party Congress and
strongly implied that the "Scientific Development Concept"
would be among the revisions (Ref A). The Scientific
Development Concept has, of course, long been associated with
General Secretary Hu Jintao and, together with "Harmonious
Society," forms the core of his policy and ideological
platform. The announcement said that Hu had chaired a
Politburo meeting that same day, in which a draft of the
revised constitution, along with a draft of Hu's Congress
report, were discussed and referred to the Seventh Plenum,
which will open on October 9 (before being submitted to the
October 15 Party Congress). The announcement stated that the
revision would include "important theoretical developments"
that had taken place since the 16th Party Congress in 2002 --
i.e., since Hu became Party General Secretary -- and, again,
strongly implied that the Scientific Development Concept
would be among them by saying that the Party should "give
expression" to the Scientific Development Concept and write
into the Constitution the important viewpoints, ideas and
arrangements put forth in Hu's report to the Congress. News
of the announcement was the lead story in all official papers
on the morning of September 18, including the Party flagship
paper People's Daily.

"Beginning of the Hu Jintao Era"


--------------------------





3. (C) Initial reaction to the announcement about revision of
the constitution is that it signals a major advance in Hu
Jintao's consolidation of power atop China's Communist Party
structure. Wang Zhenyao (strictly protect), a Director
General at China's Ministry of Civil Affairs, on September 18
told Poloff the announcement demonstrates that Hu is "quite
strong" going into the Congress and that he has solidified
his position in terms of policy and ideology. Moreover, Wang
emphasized, the announcement shows the "vast majority" of
Party members are fully behind Hu and his core concepts:
Scientific Development, which is the "means" to solve China's
current developmental and societal problems; and Harmonious
Society, which is the "end objective."



4. (C) Zhang Xiantang (strictly protect), a senior journalist
at the State Council-affiliated newspaper Economic Times, was
more adamant, declaring to Poloff on September 18 that the
announcement marks the "beginning of the Hu Jintao era." Hu
is "clearly in charge" and "faces no serious opposition" with
the Party, particularly on policy, Zhang emphasized. Hu
Jintao's thought is set to become China's "controlling
ideology." Zhang predicted that in addition to the
Scientific Development Concept, Hu's Harmonious Society and
"People First" (yi ren wei ben) concepts would also be
written into the Constitution. In terms of policy, ideology


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BEIJING 00006157 003 OF 003


responsible for various sections of the report on topics such
as politics, law, economics and education. The report now is
almost certainly in "near final" form, Zhang said, as Hu's
June 25 speech at the Party School already introduced the
report's main themes and would have reflected the consensus
views of the Party's senior leadership on the document.

Report to Focus on "Practical" Topics


--------------------------





10. (C) Zhang and Wang both agreed that there most likely
will be "no surprises" in Hu's political report, which will
contain "very little" on political reform and instead focus
on "practical issues" such as dealing with the inequalities
brought about by 30 years of focus on GDP growth above all
else. Dealing with "realistic problems" such as these social
gaps is what Hu's slogans of "Scientific Development" and
"Harmonious Society," are all about, Wang underscored. Wang,
who is a staunch advocate of political reform, conceded that,
under current circumstances, China needs to deal with these
income, development and regional gaps and continue to "lay
the foundation" of a more open political system before China
is ready for "real" political reform. Zhang separately
agreed, saying that Hu's commitment to lessening the
"contradictions" in Chinese society and spreading the
benefits of reform and opening beyond a elect few to the
majority of Chinese citizenswill form the core of the
report. Significant political reform now is simply not in
the cards, Zhang assessed.

Comment


--------------------------





11. (C) Hu Jintao's apparent achievement in getting his
thought enshrined in the Party Constitution would appear to
demonstrate that he goes into the October 15 Party Congress
in a very strong position. Despite Zhang Xiantang's comment
that he had "expected" the constitution to be revised along
these lines, most of post's other contacts had been
predicting that it was "too early" for Hu to achieve this
much so early, believing, for example, that he would have to
wait until 2012 to revise the Party Constitution (Ref G).
Moreover, if Hu's protege Li Keqiang is in fact in charge of
the drafting of Hu's Congress report, then it would appear
that Hu is positioned to emerge from the Congress in a
significantly strengthened position, with his policies and
theories set to become the Party's guiding ideology for the
coming five years.
Randt