Chinese history since the era of Mao Zedong has consisted of the interference of the elderly in politics. Hu Jintao, now that he is fully retired, should put an end to any further excuses for such interference. This is an important and correct choice that would ensure that Hu Jintao eclipses the stature of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin in Chinese history.
Under the new regime, in which the elderly will not, or should not, go blundering about sticking their oar in, the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee will be able to shoulder their responsibilities as is right and proper, in strict adherence to the constitutions of state and Party, with no one else to depend on or pass the buck to.
Under the current system, there will certainly be a future president among the seven members. He symbolizes the country; he represents the entire nation. His strength should come from the power of popular support. The new president surely possesses this secret knowledge, that this depends only on his ability to protect civil rights and his compassion for people's welfare and opinions.
The new standing committee will also contain the next premier [head of the State Council]. He is the leader of all the administrative departments, and in charge of civil servants of every rank, who try their utmost to do good works that benefit the people, and not to act with utter lawlessness and immorality, nor to do evil things that violate the rights of citizens. In the current historical climate, such a premier should be the best that the people could hope for.
The new standing committee will also include the head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, who is responsible for fighting corruption. This is a dangerous, glorious, and front-line task, carrying a heavy responsibility. If he relies on the law, on the people, on public opinion, he will be victorious. If he allows his troops to be cut off, to refuse to advance amid falling morale, or to bend the law for their own profit, he will be defeated. I hope he can keep a cool head, and I wish him success!
The other four members of the standing committee will perhaps include a future chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) and a chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). According to the law, no one has the right to lead the NPC or the CPPCC. Instead, the chairman of the NPC and of the CPPCC must do a good job of serving the NPC and the CPPCC and of following the will of the parliament and its advisory body.
There are two places left, and I don't know how the labor will be divided. Perhaps they will help the president or the premier with his work. Aid and coordination are just that. The entire responsibility of a supporting role is one of support. Good coordination would be a supremely good result.
I wish the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee a smooth inauguration, according to the law!
Translated by Luisetta Mudie.
Bao Tong, political dissident and former aide to the late ousted Chinese premier Zhao Ziyang, is currently under house arrest at his home in Beijing.