China’s Mr. Wu Keeps Talking
David Barboza of the New York Times profiles Wu Jinglian, a Chinese economist who made headlines in the past for his role in promoting market reform, and who is making headlines now for his criticism of China’s leadership.
Mr. Wu — who still holds a research post at an institute affiliated with the State Council, China’s cabinet — has white hair and an amiable face, and he appears frail. But his assessments are often harsh. In books, speeches, interviews and television appearances, he warns that conservative hardliners in the Communist Party have gained influence in the government and are trying to dismantle the market reforms he helped formulate.
He complains that business tycoons and corrupt officials have hijacked the economy and manipulated it for their own ends, a system he calls crony capitalism. He has even called on Beijing to establish a British-style democracy, arguing that political reform is inevitable.
Provocative statements have made him a kind of dissident economist here, and revealed the sharp debates behind the scenes, at the highest levels of the Communist Party, about the direction of China’s half-market, half-socialist economy.