The five year Chinese Communist Party Congress, taking place over 5 days, was opened by President Hu Jintao. While the event is carefully orchestrated it is refreshing to note self criticism which one would hardly expect from US or European political leaders. Hu drew attention in particular to the problems of corruption and local governance, many of which have been reported in the international media, such as the conviction of the head of the Agriculture and Food Ministry earlier this year. Other themes were Promoting ‘social harmony’, ‘Scientific development’, and Building a ‘well-off society’. The pragmatic approach of China’s government will continue to yield dividends and underpin stable, rapid economic growth.