China party says no to political reform on eve of key meet

China party says no to political reform on eve of key meet
Chinese para-military police stand guard in Tiananmen Square as security is increased on the eve of an important Communist Party Congress in Beijing on November 8, 2013.

BEIJING - China's Communist Party gave an emphatic no to any political reform that may threaten its rule in a lengthy document published on Friday, the day before it starts a key meeting to set the economic agenda for the next decade.

While party leaders have promised unprecedented reforms at the four-day closed-door plenum, these will focus on economic issues, and there have been no expectations of Western-style political reforms.

In a turgid full-page article in the official People's Daily, the party's historical research institute was emphatic that China could only prosper under the party's leadership.

For those who "preach the indiscriminate copying of the Western system" the party will "uphold its leadership", it said.

It warned, as President Xi Jinping has already done, that efforts to undermine the party's legitimacy by "negating" tragedies such as the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, which preceded landmark economic reforms begun in the late 1970s, would only sow the seeds of the party's own destruction.

"The ancients had a saying: 'If you're going to destroy somebody's country, you must first wipe out their history'," the institute wrote.

"From an analysis of enemy forces at home and abroad, you can see that their negation of the period before reform and opening up is to negate our party's great historical achievements ... (they are) demonising our party so as to deny the Chinese Communist Party's position in power."

The party will not stand for this, and continue on its path of "socialism with Chinese characteristics", it added, referring to its programme of market-oriented economic reforms.

"Uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, neither walking down the closed and rigid road nor taking the evil road of changing (our) flags and banners," it said, an expression commonly used by the party when it talks about not copying Western political systems.

The document echoes an October report in an influential party journal that denounced Western calls for political reform, saying such pressure was aimed at getting rid of the Communist Party.

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