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The Conference now meets annually, usually at the same time as the NPC. With the stress on social harmony rather than class conflict, the CPPCC provides the Party with an important link with members of other political parties, and also with key personnel who have no party affiliation. As the main forum for cooperation with non-Communist Party intellectuals, it provides Tony Saich 49 the Party and the NPC with expertise that is necessary for economic modernisation. For its members, the CPPCC provides influence on policy-making over a range of economic, environmental and social questions.

In 1982, the Twelfth Party Congress set up the Central Advisory Commission, with subordinate commissions at the provincial level. These commissions gave supposedly retired Party veterans the opportunity to intervene directly in current affairs and the Central Advisory Commission functioned as a focal point for opposition to rapid change. Members of the Commission intervened decisively to remove Hu Yaobang inJanuary 1987 and took over affairs in the crucial period ofMay-June 1989. It was important for reformers to ensure that the Commissions did not become permanent features of China's political landscape and they won a major victory when the Fourteenth Party Congress (1992) decided to abolish them.

They could not completely reject the heritage of Mao since to do so would be to reject much of the political rationale of the Chinese Revolution itself-its creation, the People 's Republic of China, and its supreme institution, the Chinese Communist Party. Moreover, the Resolution 's verdict on Mao reflected disagreements about his political Gordon wu« 27 merits within the leadership and the Party at large, disagreements which were mirrored among the general population where Mao's name was still respected, particularly among the peasantry, many of whom identified him with their liberation from the landlords.

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