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Originally published Friday, March 8, 2013 at 7:49 AM

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China legislature chief rejects Western democracy

The outgoing head of China's legislature praised it Friday for upholding the ruling Communist Party's leading role and for rejecting Western models of multiparty democracy.

The Associated Press

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BEIJING —

The outgoing head of China's legislature praised it Friday for upholding the ruling Communist Party's leading role and for rejecting Western models of multiparty democracy.

Wu Bangguo's statements came in his final address to the National People's Congress during its annual session, at which Wu and other top leaders will step down following a decade in power.

Wu has in previous years been even more strident in criticizing Western-style democracy, and his relatively mild comments Friday appear to reflect the party's confidence that it has silenced calls for a more independent-minded lawmaking body.

"We provided legal and institutional guarantees that the party's line, principles and policies were implemented, and ensured that the party fully played its role as the leadership core in exercising overall leadership and coordinating everyone's efforts," Wu told the nearly 3,000 NPC members gathered at the hulking Great Hall of the People, the seat of the legislature in the heart of Beijing.

While the party would seek to borrow suitable aspects of other countries' systems, it would never adopt Western democracy wholesale, Wu said.

"We fully understood the essential difference between China's system of people's congresses and Western capitalist countries' systems of state power, resolutely resisted the influence of all kinds of erroneous thought and theories, and maintained a firm and clear position on major issues of principle," he said.

Wu's address came near the midway point of the congress, set to close on March 17 following party leader Xi Jinping's elevation to state president and the taking of the office of premier by the party's No. 2 official, Li Keqiang.

Wu is to be replaced by the party's No. 3 official, Zhang Dejiang, a North Korean-educated champion of state industry.

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