WASHINGTON, July 3, 2001- The top Chinese party official jailed after Beijing suppressed pro-democracy protests in June 1989 said official corruption has skyrocketed in China since then and urged cadres to embrace democratic reform. In an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA) to mark the Chinese Communist Party's 80th anniversary July 1, Bao Tong said: "We can plainly see that after the June 4th crackdown, corruption spread rapidly within the party. ... It has become a corrosive and destructive force in the party." "The only way to eradicate corruption is to establish a democratic system. Such is the way out for China. Such is the way out for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)," said Bao, the closest aide to sacked party chief Zhao Ziyang and the highest-ranking cadre to spend time in jail after the June 4, 1989 crackdown. "If we study the 80 years of the party's history, we can see that it has a problem--dictatorship. Democracy is not practiced within the party, nor is it observed outside. Once party leaders have made a decision, the entire party has to go along without objection ... Could anyone have objected to the Cultural Revolution? Could anyone have objected to the June 4th crackdown?" "This problem has affected the political and social life of the entire nation. It is therefore a horrifying problem, because once the leaders made a mistake the entire country would suffer disastrous consequences ... As long as the dictatorship continues, as long as there is no democratic system, we cannot avoid repeating the nationwide, long-term, and systematic disasters that have occurred many times in the past," Bao said. Bao also noted that while China's economic reforms, now in their third decade, have benefited the Chinese people, these reforms have aimed to revamp "not the economic system formulated by the feudal rulers of the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, nor ... the legacies left behind by Chiang Kai-shek" but "the very system and policy perpetrated by the CCP itself." "If the CCP has the people in mind, then it might become a party beloved by the people. If the CCP has power as its top priority, then it might go against the will of the people and engage in activities that the people will oppose," he said. "History has repeated itself many times, and there have been many such incidents that shocked the world ... To do good things for the people, to fight for basic rights on behalf of the people-I feel the CCP should not deviate from this goal." Bao, who now lives under constant surveillance in Beijing, made headlines in April when a secret document he wrote in prison several months after the 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. Bao's comments are accessible in full at www.rfa.org.