BEIJING (Reuters) - China's ruling Communist Party began a congress on Thursday at which President Hu Jintao will give up his position as head of the party to his designated successor, Vice President Xi Jinping.
In a speech at the Great Hall of the People, Hu lauded three decades of growth, which have raised China to become the world's second-largest economy after the United States and lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens out of poverty, and laid out priorities and challenges for the future.
Below are highlights of Hu's speech:
"The reform of the political structure is an important part of China's overall reform. We must continue to make both active and prudent efforts to carry out the reform of the political structure, and make people's democracy more extensive, fuller in scope and sounder in practice."
"At present, as the global, national and our Party's conditions continue to undergo profound changes, we are faced with unprecedented opportunities for development as well as risks and challenges unknown before.
"We must aim higher and work harder and continue to pursue development in a scientific way, promote social harmony and improve the people's lives so as to complete the glorious and arduous tasks bestowed on us by the times."
Hu said the party must make unremitting efforts to combat corruption, promote integrity and stay vigilant against degeneration.
"If we fail to handle this issue well, it could prove fatal to the Party, and even cause the collapse of the Party and the fall of the state."
"We must never let words act in place of the law or (personal) power replace the law; nor will we allow the ignoring of the law for personal benefit."
"On the basis of making China's development much more balanced, coordinated and sustainable, we should double its 2010 GDP and per capita income for both urban and rural residents (by 2020).
"We should firmly maintain the strategic focus of boosting domestic demand, speed up the establishment of a long-term mechanism for increasing consumer demand, unleash the potential of individual consumption, increase investment at a proper pace, and expand the domestic market."
"We should step up efforts to transform to a new growth model and work hard to improve the quality and efficiency of the economy.
"We will give more support to promote development in western provinces and rural areas.
"We will continue to deepen our economic system reform and stick to the policy of expanding domestic demand.
"We will continue to encourage domestic companies to accelerate their steps to make outbound investments.
"We will implement more active policies to promote employment and encourage business start-ups to drive more employment."
"We should act to meet the new requirements of China's national development and security strategies and ensure that the armed forces fully carry out their historic mission in the new stage in the new century."
Hu added that China should implement the military strategy of active defence for the new period; expand and intensify military preparedness; and enhance its capacity to accomplish a wide range of military tasks, the biggest of which is to win a local war in an information age.
"We should enhance our capacity for exploiting marine resources, resolutely safeguard China's maritime rights and interests, and build China into a maritime power."
"We will never allow any person or force to separate Taiwan from China by any means." (Reporting by Beijing bureau; Compiled by Jason Subler; Editing by Ken Wills)