China's President Hu Jintao blasted the "extravagance and corruption" of some Communist officials at a key party congress today as he warned that the nation's promise has "fallen short" of public expectation. He also cautioned that "independence" forces were growing stronger in Taiwan and that the island must return to Beijing rule. But Chinese leaders will "make every effort to achieve peaceful reunification," he vowed.
Hu called for developing a "moderately prosperous society" and quadrupling the nation's 2000 per capita GNP by 2020. The Communist congress meets every five years and sets long-term agendas. On the eve of the gathering, a party official said China still rejects Western democracy, despite reforms. "We will never copy the Western model," he said.