FORMER CADRE PLEADS FOR DEMOCRACY IN CHINA

2001-06-26
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WASHINGTON, June 27, 2001- A former senior official in the Chinese Communist Party describes the Chinese people as hungry for democracy but suffering under the rule of a corrupt elite addicted to its own power, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. Bao Tong, the highest-ranking party official jailed after the Chinese government suppressed pro-democracy protests in June 1989, predicts in a series of essays written for RFA that without democratic reform, the Chinese people will "continue to suffer" while the country "will inevitably go into a decline." Bao's essays, intended to mark the party's 80th anniversary, are airing in three parts on RFA's Mandarin broadcasts from June 27-29. They will also be available in full on RFA's Web site at www.rfa.org. "The Chinese Communist Party claims to have accomplished two great achievements for the Chinese people," writes Bao, the closest aide to sacked party chief Zhao Ziyang. "Before 1949, it led the Chinese people to the victory of a democratic revolution ? after 1949, it led the Chinese people in establishing socialism. I think both are myths. The fact of the matter is, there is no such thing as democracy and socialism in China. Since the democratic system has not even been realized in China, how can it claim to have achieved 'victory of a democratic revolution'?" Bao also notes that while only 5 percent of China's 1.3 billion people belong to the party, the organization wields enormous power over even the most mundane aspects of daily life in China: "It has within its control everything that goes on in China ... down to what songs the Chinese people are allowed to listen to, what plays they are allowed to watch, which books and newspapers are allowed to be published, and which Web sites are allowed to operate. All this is decided by the Chinese Communist Party. The fate of every single Chinese is in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party." The party "is seriously ill," he writes. "Allow me to prescribe something: the democratic system. With the implementation of the democratic system, there will be hope for the people, there will be hope for the nation, and there will be hope for the Chinese Communist Party. What happens when one is aware of one's illness and still refuses to seek treatment? The answer is easy: The people will continue to suffer, although they will not become extinct; China will inevitably go into a decline, although it will not perish; as to how the Chinese Communist Party will fare, I have no way of telling." "The democratic system is the best medicine to counter corruption ... what I prescribe- democracy- is medicine with a bitter taste, but the absolute and perpetual hold on power is sweet and tempting ... they cannot let go," he writes. "The 60 million people within the party and the 1.3 billion people outside the party all long for freedom and democracy. The will of the people is the will of heaven. This factor will come into play sooner or later." Bao, who now lives under constant surveillance in Beijing, made headlines in April this year when a secret document he wrote in prison several months after the June 4, 1989 crackdown was smuggled out of China. In it, Bao sharply criticized the decision to use troops against protesting Chinese citizens and defended Zhao, who was ousted for appearing too sympathetic with the protesters.

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CH. 1: MANDARIN | CANTONESE

CH. 2: VIETNAMESE | BURMESE | KOREAN

CH. 3: KHMER | LAO | UYGHUR

CH. 4: TIBETAN

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