Chinese ruling party calls to help ease social tentions

The main Communist Party newspaper called Friday for China's leading noncommunist figures to help ease tensions over the growing gap between rich and poor as the country's parliament prepared to begin its annual session.

The government's main noncommunist advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made up of businesspeople, religious leaders and others, was due to commence its 2006 meeting Friday ahead of parliament's opening on Sunday.

The CPPCC "could facilitate the mobilization of all active factors to build a harmonious society in China," the ruling party newspaper People's Daily said in an editorial.

"Harmonious society" is the official term for the government's goal in efforts to ease mounting tensions over the gap between the tiny elite who have benefited most from two decades of economic reform and China's vast, poor majority.

Communist leaders are expected to use this year's legislative season to start unveiling promised programs to spend more on schools, health care and other id to the countryside in an effort to help it catch up with China's booming cities, reports the AP.


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