The 15th National Congress
Date: September 12-18, 1997
Number of delegates: 2,048 full delegates and 60 specially invited delegates
Party membership: 58 million
Major contents: This congress which was held in the crucial period of China's reform and opening up and the drive for modernization served as a link between the past and the future. It was to mobilize the people of the country to join hands to push forward the undertaking of building socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century. It will become a milestone in Chinese history of development. At the congress, Jiang Zemin, on behalf of the members of the 14th CPC Central Committee, delivered a report titled Hold High The Great Banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory for an All-Round Advancement of the Cause of Building Socialism with Chinese Characteristics into the 21st Century. The report, which made a scientific summary of the history, prepared for the future, and drew up a cross-century blueprint for China's reform, opening and socialist modernization drive, served as the CPC's political declaration and program of action for the next century. The congress endorsed a resolution on Jiang's report and approved the reforming and development programs in economic, political and cultural fields expounded in the report. The resolution pointed out that the coming period until the first decade of the next century will be crucial for China's modernization drive, and efforts must be made relating to the following aspects: to promote the fundamental shift of the economic system and of the mode of economic growth; to establish a sound socialist market economy and to maintain sustained, rapid and sound development of the national economy so as to lay a solid foundation for achieving basic modernization by the middle of the next century; under the precondition of adhering to the Four Cardinal Principles, to continue to press ahead with the reform of the political structure, further extend the scope of socialist democracy and improve the socialist legal system, governing the country according to the law and making it a socialist country ruled by law; to strengthen ideological and ethic building, see to it that science and technology as well as education are made a priority, and positively develop various cultural undertakings.
The congress also deliberated and adopted the amendments to the Constitution of the CPC, believing that establishing Deng Xiaoping Theory as the Party's guiding ideology and stipulating in its Constitution that the CPC takes Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory as its guides for action is of great and far-reaching significance to guarantee that the CPC lead the Chinese people along the socialist road with Chinese characteristics to build China into a powerful, democratic and civilized modern socialist country.
At the congress, 193 members and 151 alternate members were elected into the new Central Committee. A total of 115 members were elected to form the new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. The new Central Committee was strengthened with more middle-aged and young faces, the average age being 55. The educational level of members rose notably, with 92.4 percent of them receiving university and college education, up nine percentage points than the previous committee. Of the new Central Committee members, 38 are from ethnic minorities and 25 are female, a slight increase compared with their respective figure among the pervious Central Committee members. The First Plenum of the 15th CPC Central Committee elected Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Zhu Rongji, Li Ruihuan, Hu Jintao, Wei Jianxing and Li Lanqing members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau. Jiang Zemin was re-elected general secretary of the CPC and also chairman of the Central Military Commission. The session also approved Wei Jianxing as secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.