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Hu Jintao Pledges to Keep China on Marxist Path - 2002-11-09

The man expected to be China's next leader says he will keep the nation on a Marxist path, while working to bring Chinese people more wealth. The Chinese Communist Party is consulting on the second day of its congress, held only once every five years.

Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao says his nation will not waiver from its communist path while the party works to create a "socialist market economy" to boost the affluence of the people.

Mr. Hu praise the man he is slated to replace - President Jiang Zemin, who opened the 16th Communist Party Congress Friday outlining how the party will speed up modernization by bringing capitalists into the one-party system. Mr. Jiang stressed this is necessary to move China forward - but that the Communist Party must retain power and not copy Western political models.

This congress is expected to amend the constitution to legally allow business people, once scorned as exploiters of the masses, to join the Communist Party for the first time.

The 2,100 delegates are also expected to approve party policy for the next five years and approve a new generation of leaders.

Mr. Hu is widely expected to take over leadership of the Communist Party from President Jiang during this week's meeting. But analysts say Mr. Jiang may have installed enough of his allies and protégés in key positions that he will continue to wield considerable power even after his expected departure as president next year.

In a major speech opening the Party Congress, Mr. Jiang did not announce his retirement, but hinted at it by breaking with tradition and reviewing his 13 years in office rather than just the five year period since the last congress.

In Friday's remarks, he also told the party it will lose the support of the people if it does not get corruption under control.

At a caucus of party congress delegates concerned with business and economic matters Saturday, the Vice Chairman of China's Enterprise Commission Wang Rui Xiang said the country has made some progress is the struggle against corrupt practices.

Mr. Wang says the party is fighting corruption firmly, and has established a system of monitoring corruption that is more appropriate for China's new, much more market-oriented economy. The party congress is scheduled to continue through next week.