09/30/2005, 00.00
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Date fixed for fifth plenum of Chinese communist party

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The fifth plenum of the Communist Party's Central Committee will be held from October 8 to 11 in Beijing. This was announced yesterday by Xinhua, the Chinese government press agency. It was the first official announcement of the time of the meeting, which is held every year to monitor the five-year economic policy implemented across the country.

The plenum will come after week-long festivities to mark National Day and it is scheduled to come to a close two days before the launch of the spacecraft Shenzhou VI.

The plenum is set to review and approve the 11th Five-Year Plan, a "blueprint" for political and economic activities, which will then be adopted by the National People's Congress next March.

The dates coincide with a visit by Vice-Premier Wu Yi to North Korea, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang . Ms Wu is the only female member of the Politburo. Traditionally, to project an image of unity to the country and to the rest of the world, all top leaders attend the plenum meeting: the absence of Wu is seen by some analysts as a confirmation of China's increased standing in the six-party talks about nuclear disarmament. It is also being considered as a sign of President Hu Jintao's confidence about managing domestic policy issues.

The Plenum agenda included some themes regarded as obsolete, like "Deng Xiaoping Theory", which will be analysed by former president Jiang Zemin . All in all, however, it appeared to be a round-up of speeches made by Hu during the past three years. The theory of power for "people first" was upheld. Further, emphasis was placed on issues of sustainability, conservation and quality" – over quantity achieved so far – as the focus of the coming phase of economic development.

The date was set during a meeting of the State Council where the Premier, Wen Jiabao, announced government guidelines for the coming months: included increased work on agriculture and extra efforts to control the growth of fixed-asset investment.

In the announcement, the Politburo and the State Council urged cadres and officials to "do their best when handling conflicts with the masses" - a veiled reference to the growing number of mass protests which have rocked China in recent times.

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