16th National CongressDate: November 8-14, 2002
Number of delegates: 2,114 full delegates and 40 specially invited delegates
The theme of the Congress is: The whole Party should hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory, fully act on the important thought of “Three Represents”, carry forward the Party’s cause into the future, keep pace with the times, build a well-off society in an all-round way, speed up socialist modernization and work hard to create a new situation in building socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The opening ceremony of the Congress was presided over by Comrade Li Peng. On behalf of the Fifteenth CPC Central Committee, Comrade Jiang Zemin delivered a report to the Congress entitled Build a Well-off Society in an All-round Way and Create a New Situation in Building Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.
The Congress adopted Resolution on the Report of the 15th CPC Central Committee, Resolution on the Amendment to the Constitution of the Communist Party of China (which took effect immediately), and Resolution on the Work Report of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. The Sixteenth CPC Central Committee composed of 198 members and 158 alternate members and the new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection comprising 121 members were elected through anonymous voting.
The First Plenum of the 16th CPC Central Committee elected Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Huang Ju, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun and Luo Gan members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau. Hu Jintao was elected general secretary of the CPC. Jiang Zemin was re-elected chairman of the Central Military Commission. The session also approved Wu Guanzheng as secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
New leaders took over in China in 2003, two years after China’s WTO accession. While the Chinese government continued to take steps to implement China’s outstanding WTO commitments, it generally did not pursue economic reforms as aggressively as before. Instead, the Chinese government increasingly emphasized the state’s role in the economy, diverging from the path of economic reform that had driven China’s accession to the WTO. With the state leading China’s economic development, the Chinese government pursued new and more expansive industrial policies, often designed to limit market access for imported goods, foreign manufacturers and foreign service suppliers, while offering substantial government guidance, resources and regulatory support to Chinese industries, particularly ones dominated by stateowned enterprises.
This heavy state role in the economy, reinforced by unchecked discretionary actions of Chinese government regulators, generated serious trade frictions with China’s many trade partners, including the United States. In particular, beginning with the creation of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) in 2003, China’s new leaders de-emphasized their predecessors’ move toward a greater reliance on market forces and a lesser reliance on Chinese government economic planners and state-owned enterprises. Instead, the new leaders set out to bolster the state sector by seeking to improve the operational efficiency of state-owned enterprises and by orchestrating mergers and consolidations in order to make these enterprises stronger. These actions soon led to institutionalized preferences for state-owned enterprises and the creation of national champions in many sectors.
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