Former Aide in Reform Call

A former Chinese official says Beijing's refusal to consider political reform could have dangerous consequences.
Email story
Comment on this story
Print story
Bao Tong during an interview at his home in Beijing, April 27, 2009.
Bao Tong during an interview at his home in Beijing, April 27, 2009.

A former top Chinese official has called on the ruling Communist Party to consider democratic reform in the wake of annual parliamentary sessions in Beijing.

Bao Tong, former aide to late ousted premier Zhao Ziyang, hit out at a speech by top legislator Wu Bangguo in which he ruled out any move to a multiparty democracy during the March 5-15 parliamentary sessions in Beijing.

"Multiparty democracy, ideological pluralism, the separation of powers, federalism, and privatization are key binding factors of human civilization, together with free market economics," wrote Bao, who has been under house arrest at his Beijing home since serving a seven-year jail term in the wake of the 1989 student-led pro-democracy movement.

"They are recognized worldwide as the constituents of a good political system."

"Countries with a genuine desire for stability and harmony, that really want the leadership supervised and an end to corruption, and that want a peaceful means of resolving social conflicts rather than aggravating them ... need to learn from the West," Bao wrote.

Wu Bangguo, chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, warned parliament earlier this month against blindly imitating Western countries' choice of political system.

Wu warned of a possible "abyss of internal disorder" if China strayed from the "correct political orientation."

China will never adopt a multiparty revolving-door system or other Western-style political models, Wu said during his annual work report presentation on March 3.

A 'secret policy'

In a commentary aired by RFA's Mandarin service, Bao warned that Wu's comments constituted a "secret policy" that could influence China's future development.

"No one knows how long they will have effect," he wrote. "They may not just shape today, but also our future."

Wu told the NPC: "On the basis of China's conditions, we've made a solemn declaration that we'll not employ a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation."

He also ruled out the possibility of separating executive, legislative, and judicial powers, or adopting a bicameral or federal system, and said privatization was not under consideration.

Bao said the list of banned changes has effectively closed the door on China's development as a member of the international community.

"Actually, the Six Things We Don't Do, are in fact only one thing, and that Thing We Don't Do is universal values," said Bao.

"The Chinese Communist Party was founded on common values to be found all over the world, but ever since 1989 ... universal values haven't been mentioned," said Bao in a reference to the armed crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in and around Tiananmen Square.

"Instead, it has shut itself out of international civilization with the concept of Chinese characteristics," he said.

'Baseless' warning

Wu had said in his speech that building socialism with Chinese characteristics is "the only correct road to development and progress for our country."

"If we waver ... it is possible the country could sink into the abyss of internal disorder," he said.

Bao said Wu's warning was "baseless."

"Order remains in place in countries that recognize universal values, even in Japan after it was hit by a huge and disastrous earthquake," he wrote.

"Not a single one of them has descended into chaos because of some Jasmine revolution," said Bao.

"On the contrary, it's precisely those paranoid countries who have Things We Don't Do in order to hold on at all costs to a superficial harmony that do [descend into chaos.]"

Bao cited former supreme leader Deng Xiaoping as saying during a top leadership meeting during the 1980s that the political turmoil of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) could never have happened in a Western country.

"A Western civil society is the only kind that can guarantee long-term peace and stability, the only kind that doesn't have to fear a Jasmine revolution," Bao wrote.

"It is the kind of society that a Jasmine revolution is aiming for."

Chinese netizens have circulated online anonymous calls for a Jasmine revolution in recent weeks, sparking tight security, fresh crackdowns on dissidents, and intense foreign media interest in major cities across the country.

The proposed rallies had aimed to protest rampant official corruption and to call for greater openness in government, though few people appear to have attended.

Wu said that while China wants to improve its legal system, it would "never blindly follow or imitate others."

"Different countries have different systems of laws, and we do not copy the systems of laws of certain Western countries," he said.

Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

Comments (1)

Anonymous Reader

The CCP is truly funny in its propaganda statements. They say they don't want to copy Western political or legal systems. Where do they think communism, Marxism, & Leninism, all central tenets of the CCP, come from? These political theories all came from the West. If China doesn't want to copy the West, the CCP should abandon communism & change its name.

Mar 23, 2011 10:09 AM





More Listening Options

Promo Box target not set

Promo Box target not set

View Full Site