BEIJING - THE official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reiterated yesterday its commitment to political reform, but stressed again that it will not go the Western way of democracy.

The People's Daily carried a near half-page opinion piece on its cover yesterday - a move which observers say is meant to quieten the recent clamour for quicker and more liberal changes.

Headlined 'To actively and prudently promote the reform on political system along the correct political direction', the article used familiar stock phrases of the CCP in reaffirming the strength of China's unique socialist system.

'The fight against the flood in 1998, the earthquake in Wenchuan, the Beijing Olympic Games, the Shanghai Expo, and coping with the international financial crisis... at all the key moments and significant time, it is the political advantage of the socialism system that has created the united strength of the whole nation,' wrote commentator Zheng Qingyuan, which is believed to be a pseudonym.

Columns under that name have appeared regularly in the paper, including two recent pieces on the economy which hew close to official positions.

Yesterday's article said: 'It is this unity that enabled us to triumph over the challenge of natural disasters, the impact of economic crisis, political disturbances and successfully organise significant international events and create wonders on our motherland.'

'No to Western democracy'