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ROUNDUP: China's Communist Party adds Hu's ideas to constitution

By dpa news     Oct 21, 2007 in Politics
China's ruling Communist Party on Sunday amended its constitution to incorporate state and party leader Hu Jintao's ideas for "scientific development", building a "harmonious society" and promoting socialist morality.
About 2,200 top provincial and military delegates voted on the changes at the end of the party's five-yearly congress, also agreeing to incorporate a "patriotism-centred national spirit", efforts to strengthen China's armed forces and the promotion of private industry.
The delegates approved a new 370-strong Central Committee that includes the next generation of officials expected to lead the country from 2012.
The party planned to unveil four new members of the all-powerful, nine-member standing committee of its Politburo on Monday.
Among the elderly leaders making way for the new guard are China's top public security official, 72-year-old Luo Gan, and 68-year-old Vice President Zeng Qinghong, an ally of former party leader Jiang Zemin.
Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan, 71, and Vice Premier Wu Yi, 68, were other age-related omissions from the 370 members of the new Central Committee.
Hu's "scientific outlook on development" requires China to move towards more sustainable growth and create a "harmonious society" by reducing the environmental degradation and economic inequalities that have resulted from 25 years of its "development first" strategy.
Its enshrinment in the constitution was of "great significance" and would help the party to "continue to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics", according to the resolution presented to congress delegates.
The new constitution also mentions religion for the first time, the party said, but the wording was not immediately released.
State media said the party had inserted its "guiding principles and policies in religious work" into the constitution with the aim of meeting "demands posed by the new situation and new tasks."
China's national constitution gives broad protection to religious practice under state control.
Hu, 64, must retire from the party leadership at its next congress in 2012 under age- and tenure-linked rules.
One of those tipped to replace him is Xi Jinping, 54, who recently became the party leader of Shanghai.
Another favourite is Liaoning provincial party chief Li Keqiang, 52, who is considered a protege of Hu.
Both men are expected to be inducted into the Standing Committee on Monday.
The congress delegates represent 73 million party members among China's 1.3 billion people.
They voted Sunday for the list of Central Committee candidates, the constitutional amendment and Hu's report on the party's work over the past five years, in a largely rubber-stamp process. dpa bs tl ch