China to endorse new economic model

Beijing, October 14:

China’s ruling Communist Party will this week endorse a revamped economic model for the country that places more emphasis on the environment and marginalised people, a government spokesman said today.

The party will change the constitution at its five-yearly Congress that begins from tomorrow, incorporating president Hu Jintao’s ideology of ‘scientific outlook on development,’ spokesman Li Dongsheng said.

The move to include Hu’s ideology in the constitution is widely seen as a sign that the president has consolidated his power after he succeeded Jiang Zemin five years ago.

Scientific development is a catchphrase for a broad concept that, in general, seeks to correct many of the imbalances that have accompanied China’s historic economic development of the past three decades.

While many millions of people have been lifted out of poverty and mega-cities have modernised at a frantic pace, it has come at a huge cost to the environment. The wealth gap has also widened enormously, which, along with corruption, is a big reason behind rising social unrest across the country.

According to the official Congress website, scientific development ‘means China has to change from an over-reliance on a cheap labour force, funds and natural resources’. Instead, China will have ‘well-educated workers’, while there will be a greater emphasis on ‘improving science and technology’.

This is a development mode that not only values quantity and speed but also high quality and energy saving. Hu is expected to strengthen his control of the party at the Congress, which will see 2,213 delegates gather for one week at the Great Hall.

The Congress will also see a leadership reshuffle during wh-ich Hu’s successor is likely to emerge by being thrust into the nine-member Standing Committee of Politburo, which is the most powerful organ in the party.

Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao are certainties to remain, but other future positions have been subject of speculation.

Safety lessons

BEIJING: China has launched training sessions to teach toy makers about product

safety, in a further sign of the government’s efforts to improve the nation’s tarnished manufacturing image. More than 1,000 executives from the toy industry last week attended classes in south China’s Guangdong province on the quality and safety of export toys, the Xinhua news agency reported. Government officials and executives of transnational firms gave lectures on toy certificate systems and export test regulations and standards in China, the US and Europe. — AP