This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
China's Communist Party is celebrating its ninetieth anniversary. A small group of intellectuals established the party in July of nineteen twenty-one in Shanghai. In nineteen forty-nine, after a long civil war, the Communist Party defeated the Nationalists and took power under Mao Zedong.
On Friday, events celebrating the party's anniversary took place in schools, offices and shopping centers across the nation.
President Hu Jintao gave a speech to thousands of party officials at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. President Hu said the Communist Party, to continue its rule, must adapt to a changing nation and a changing world.
He said that without continued fast economic development and social order, the gains of the past twenty years will be lost.
President Hu urged the party to fight corruption and create what he described as a clean government. He warned that acts of corruption by party members who hold political office could cause the public to lose trust.
In his speech, the president said that in the past, the Communist Party has made mistakes and suffered setbacks. He said the party learned from its mistakes and today is leading the Chinese to a victorious future. He said that after ninety years, it is clear that only the Communist Party can properly govern China.
Millions died under the policies of the Great Leap Forward in the nineteen fifties and the Cultural Revolution in the sixties. Hundreds and perhaps thousands died when troops crushed the democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in nineteen eighty-nine.
Mao died in nineteen seventy-six. Deng Xiaoping took his place and launched a period of reforms. Today China has the world's second-largest economy. But the small group of top leaders in the party continue to crush dissent, control the media and deny basic rights.
Government data released this year showed that China spends about ninety-five billion dollars a year on police, jails and security services. That is more that the amount the government says it spends on the military.
Earlier this year China moved to suppress calls on the Internet for a "jasmine revolution" like the movements in the Middle East and North Africa.
On a separate issue, the United Nations on Thursday criticized China for welcoming Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Beijing this week. The high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, said she was "disappointed."
Mr. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court. The court has charged him with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur area of Sudan.
President Hu and President Bashir signed loan and economic cooperation agreements in Beijing on Wednesday. China is a major supplier of weapons to Sudan and its biggest purchaser of oil.
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. For more news, go to voaspecialenglish.com, where you can read and listen to our programs and share your comments. I'm Steve Ember.
Contributing: Peter Simpson