09/27/2006, 00.00
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Party Central Committee to meet in October to launch Hu Jintao's "harmonious society"

Shanghai party boss is sacked as the Communist Party gets ready to implement Hu's programme. As Hu and Wen consolidate power the Shanghai Gang is down and out.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The central committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will meet in Beijing on October 8-11, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday, a day after Chen Liangyu, Shanghai's CPP secretary, was sacked for his involvement in a corruption scandal.

The 6th plenary session of the Communist Party's 16th Central Committee will be chaired by party Chief Hu Jintao, who is also president and head of China's Military Commission.

During the plenary session Mr Hu's pet project of building a harmonious society, which he laid out in a 2004 document, will be the main topic. The politburo has already discussed it; now it it's the Central Committee's turn.

Mr Hu launched the idea of building what he called a harmonious society under communist rule at the CCP plenum in 2004 after succeeding former president Jiang Zemin as chief of the party, state and army. 

The notion of 'harmonious society' entails ways to solve the many contradictions generated by the country's rapid and unbridled economic growth, including rural development and a greater focus on culture and the environment, without adopting a Western-styled democracy but strengthening instead the CPP's central role.

For many analysts, the announcement of the new plenum and Chen Liangyu's sacking are indications that Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao have consolidated their power four years after taking over.

Chen's downfall is a sign that the Shanghai Gang, a group of politicians and business people that rotated around former President Jiang Zemin, is now disgraced.

Chen is accused in the disappearance of more than 10 billion yuan (€ 1 billion; US$ 1.2 billion) from Shanghai's social security fund. This is the second time he is charged with corruption. In 2003 he was involved in ceding public land for free to a private developer in exchange for kickbacks.

At the time, no legal action was taken against him, but a lawyer who tried to take him to court was instead imprisoned for getting in touch with a human rights group.

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