Xinhua News Agency
BEIJING, March 6 (Xinhua) — Leaders of China’s eight non-Communist parties made their first ever group debut on Thursday, recounting their cooperation with the ruling party and vowing further contribution to the country’s economic and social development.
China’s non-Communist parties have a combined membership of more than 700,000, or one percent of the 73 million of the Communist Party of China (CPC). They represent specific interest groups, reflect complaints and suggestions from all walks of life and serve as a mode of supervision of the CPC.
They were all established before New China was founded in 1949. The oldest, the China Zhi Gong Party (China Public Interest Party), has 83 years of history.
China Zhi Gong Party’s central committee chairman Wan Gang was appointed Minister of Science and Technology last April as the first non-Communist party cabinet minister since the late 1970s.
Wan, an automobile engineer who worked with Audi Corporation in Germany and worked as president of Shanghai’s Tongji University before taking the government job, described his promotion as “an approval, support and encouragement” from the ruling party and their cooperation as a “scientific, collective and democratic” decision-making process.
He still remembers Premier Wen Jiabao’s encouraging words, “as minister you should do your job, be responsible and hold your power,” he said in response to a journalist’s question at a joint press conference with the other seven non-Communist party leaders.
His party was committed to pooling the wisdom and safeguarding the interests of overseas Chinese.
Most members of the Zhi Gong Party, founded in San Francisco of the United States in 1925, have overseas working and education background.
“At the CPPCC session we’ll discuss how to help the returned students from aboard seek personal development in China,” he said, referring to the ongoing First Session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
A spokesman of the annual political advisory session said more eligible non-Communists are expected to become high-ranking officials in China following last year’s appointments of Wan Gang and Chen Zhu, the new Minister of Health with no political party affiliation.
Across China, more than 31,000 non-Communists are working as officials at or above county level, of whom at least 6,000 work at government organizations and judicial bodies at various levels, said spokesman Wu Jianmin.
“WE READILY FOLLOWED THE CPC”
In response to a question on the non-Communist parties’ political status in China, Chen Changzhi, from the China Democratic National Construction Association that groups specialists from the economic circle, said it was their own choice to follow the CPC.
“When our association was founded in 1945, we were fed up with the then ruling Kuomintang and its civil war, but had common goals and aspiration with the Communists,” said Chen.
That was why the association, upon its founding, inscribed in its charter that it followed the CPC, he said.
“We readily followed the CPC even before it became the ruling party, because no other political power in China could have led the country to where we are today,” he said.
“The CPC is very sincere in political consultation and the non-Communist parties can always speak up in a frank and open manner,” said Zhou Tienong, chairman of the central committee of the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang, which was founded in Hong Kong in January 1948.
Zhou himself joined more than 100 consultations with top CPC leaders.
HAVING A SAY IN STATE AFFAIRS
Jiang Shusheng from the China Democratic League, founded in 1941, said the results of his league members’ suggestion on education were seen in Premier Wen’s government work report, submitted to the ongoing parliamentary session on Wednesday.
About 60 percent of the league members are from the education circle, including 110 presidents and vice presidents of universities and more than 60 academicians. They proposed to the government that education should be taken as a strategic sector for development, more than an issue concerning the people’s livelihood.
In Wen’s report, education has been lifted to a strategic high. “We must ensure that our children receive a good education, provide education that satisfies the needs of the people and improve the overall quality of the population,” it reads.
China is increasingly aware of the ecological concerns behind the world’s most ambitious water conservation facility, the Three Gorges Dam. Few people knew the earliest warnings came from Jiu San (September 3) Society of Scientists.
“We supported the plan to build the dam, but warned of the ecological impact on the Yangtze River’s upper reaches and suggested efforts to preserve the ecosystem and exploit resources in a more rational manner,” said the society’s leader Han Qide.
*note: Xinhua News Agency is the official news agency of the People’s Republic of China. This article originally appeared on July 3, 2008, edited by Zhang Pengfei. A reproduction by China Central Television can be found here.