The Communist Party of China (CPC) took a new step towards practicing democracy at the just-concluded Third Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee by inviting rural development experts and grassroots Party members to the meeting.
Some experts on political reform spoke highly of the Party leadership's new effort to promote the internal democracy, when they talked to Xinhua reporters on Monday, one day after the close of the four-day session.
"It is rare to see such grassroots Party representatives and experts to observe a full-member Party session," commented Fang Ning, deputy director of the Political Studies Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Fang said the whole Party, including the Central Committee and the Politburo, as well as local CPC committees of different levels, had been trying hard to probe the degree of openness concerning its internal affairs.
Unlike previous sessions, before this session, the CPC Central Committee not only sought opinions from Party members and experts but also invited some to observe the meeting.
"It fully indicates the Party leadership respects the public's rights of knowledge, expression, participation and supervision, and it is a show of its determination and confidence to enlarge the internal openness and promote democracy," said Professor Ye Duochu of the CPC Central Committee Party School.
In recent years, the CPC has taken a series of measures to promote democracy by establishing a complete mechanism for seeking opinions from experts and the public. In addition, it has set up a consultative and supportive mechanism for decision-making and information collection.
Grassroots Party representatives and the experts and scholars have a better understanding of the practical situation at the grassroots level; their observation of the meeting is helpful in promoting the interaction between the Party leadership and the grassroots level, said Liu Chun, deputy president of the Graduate School of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
Liu called it a sign of political progress for the country's socialism as the session helped grassroots Party members further recognize the operation of the Party leadership, which would further promote the openness of its decision-making process.
It has been a practice for the Party leadership to study public opinion before making important decisions. Prior to the opening of this session, CPC Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao and other top-level Party officials made study tours in the countryside and talked to farmers to seek their opinions and comments on the making of Party policies.
In recent years, the politburo has always published to the whole Party or the public the majority of issues discussed at its meetings.
All these have indicated the CPC had been achieving new progress in building a democratic political system, said Professor Ye, who called the openness of the session a major breakthrough.
(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2008)