'People Power Is Key'

An ex-Chinese premier's aide says the 'will of the people should be paramount' as he reviews the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress.
By Bao Tong
2012-11-15
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China's leaders-in-waiting Xi Jinping (L) and Li Keqiang (R) wave at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Nov. 15, 2012.
China's leaders-in-waiting Xi Jinping (L) and Li Keqiang (R) wave at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Nov. 15, 2012.
AFP

The main failing of the news department of the 18th Party Congress was its lack of transparency.

Official media failed to tell us whether there were any differences of opinion among the more than 2,000 delegates, or about any debates that took place during the seven days of meetings great and small.

This is beyond belief. If there really were no debates, then why did they need to have a meeting in the first place? If there really were differences of opinion and debate, then what considerations prevented them from explaining them to us?

Glorious results cannot make up for the covering up of corruption, which now pervades China's entire bureaucracy, her markets, and her academic life. Clean soil is hard to find, from the Politburo right down to the townships and the villages.

Apart from serious corruption in the economic sphere, there is also serious administrative corruption, judicial corruption, educational corruption, academic corruption, moral corruption, and the corruption of public opinion.

Society as a whole suffers from corruption. [Former Chongqing Party chief] Bo [Xilai]'s was just one of the cases they couldn't cover up.

Institutionalized corruption grows out of the soil of a one-party dictatorship, colluded with and sheltered by the one-party dictatorship.

How can the policy, declared at the 18th Party Congress, of fighting corruption while holding unswervingly to the one-party dictatorship possibly succeed?

I believe it may be possible to achieve the other 18th Party Congress target of doubling GDP. At the same time, I am concerned that we will see a quadrupling of corruption and a tripling of cases like Bo's during that time.

Some people subscribe to GDP fetishism, believing that the Party can rule forever. As long as GDP is continually doubled, they believe that China can rise to a state where there is no more corruption and no more pollution; to a state of harmony.

I don't believe this yet; we'll have to wait a while and see.

I congratulate the new leadership on their appointments, and I have high hopes of them. I have respect for any politicians who don't speak empty words and who don't tell lies.

It doesn't matter now what good or bad things they have done in the past. What's important is that the power of the people and the will of the people should be paramount.

This is the requirement exacted of the leaders of a republic. A leadership that has the people at its heart will find that the people have that leadership in their hearts.

Translated by Luisetta Mudie.

Bao Tong, political dissident and aide to former Chinese premier Zhao Ziyang, is currently under house arrest at his home in Beijing.

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