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The dawning of a new era in China?

Martin Vennard | 09:21 UK time, Monday, 15 October 2007

The Chinese Communist Party has begun its 17th congress in Beijing, where President Hu Jintao has said the party has fallen short of the people's expectations.

The week-long gathering is held every five years to decide future policies and President Hu may use this congress to nominate a possible successor to take over from him in 2012.

President Hu also criticised officials who were extravagant, wasteful and corrupt. He was particularly critical of party leaders who used their position to provide for themselves. Some of the problems faced by ordinary people relate to employment, housing, social security and education, he said.

The congress comes as change continues to take place at a rapid pace, but the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen, while China's economic power is evident the world over.

Should we be talking about the future of China? Should we be worried by its seemingly unstoppable rise on the world stage?


We have a very active listenership in Oregon in the US and a story that comes from there is that of school teacher
Shirley Katz who has gone to court to demand the right to take a handgun into class.

'I know it is my right to carry that gun,' she said. Her legal action takes place against a backdrop of shootings in schools and on university campuses in the States.

It would be interesting to speak to Shirley and hear her views first hand and let you put your questions to her.


A new study has found that Sweden is the most welcoming country in Europe when it comes to dealing with new immigrants, but that on the other side of the Baltic Latvia is the least welcoming.

The study says that overall, European Union nations are only doing half as much as they could to help migrants integrate. Are you a migrant in Sweden, Latvia or anywhere else in the world? Would you like to tell us about your experiences?


A top UN expert has said he will urge the world body to withdraw from the Quartet of Middle East mediators unless it addresses Palestinian human rights.

John Dugard, the UN human rights envoy for the Palestinian Territories, said the US, EU, UN and Russia were failing to protect the Palestinians. He said every time he visits the region, the situation seems to have worsened.

Mr Dugard highlighted Israeli restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of movement. He said that although Israel did have a threat to its security, "its response is very disproportionate". He also said the purpose of some of the checkpoints in the middle of the West Bank was to break it up "into a number of cantons and make the life of Palestinians as miserable as possible".

What do you think? Should the UN pull out of the Quartet? Is Israel making life disproportionately difficult for the Palestinians?


Although we have some listeners in New Zealand we don't hear a lot from the country, but one story you may like to talk about is the arrest of 17 people and the seizing of a number of weapons during a series of anti-terror raids.

More than 300 police were involved in the operation, reportedly aimed at Maori sovereignty and environmental activists. The head of New Zealand's police, Howard Broad, said those held had been in military-style training camps. Maybe we should get reaction from what is generally considered to be a very peaceful country?


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