The 18 th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) got underway in the Great Hall of the People, in central Beijing on November 8.

Taking part in the five-yearly event are almost 2,300 delegates, elected from 80 million Party members from various electoral units nationwide, and specially invited guests.

In his keynote speech, General Secretary Hu Jintao called on all Party members and the people to continue to strive to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Over the past 10 years, China has become the world's second-largest economy. The country’s economic, scientific and technological power has gained increasingly significant weight, its overall national strength and international competitiveness and influence have advanced substantially.

Placing a lot of stress on ‘the Scientific Outlook on Development’ as the most important achievement the Party has made in the past decade, the Chinese leader elaborated that the outlook serves as a “ powerful theoretical weapon” to guide the Party and country’s work.

Hu pointed out that his country is facing both new opportunities and challenges. Hence, China needs to continue implementing reforms of its political structure, improving the management capacity and anti-corruption measures, intensifying efforts to address issues on ethnic groups and creating a social welfare system that benefits both rural and urban people.

Regarding foreign policy, China will consistently adhere to peacefully developing and implementing its foreign policy of peace and independence, he said.

Hu also put forward a proposal on ‘overall approach’ which focuses on modernizing the country in economics, politics, culture, society and ecology.

During the seven-day meeting, the delegates will hear and examine a report submitted by the 17th CPC Central Committee; examine a report on the work of the Central Commission’s Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China; deliberate and adopt amendments to the CPC’s statute; and elect a new Central Committee and its Central Commission’s Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China.

The Congress is scheduled to finish on November 14.-VNA