Willy Lam: Ideological Split Surfaces in One of the World’s Most Secret Parties

Willy Lam is a Hong Kong-based China scholar and journalist specializing in Communist Party politics and foreign policy. He writes on East Asia Intel:

A top priority of China’s labyrinthine propaganda apparatus is to convince Chinese and foreigners alike that the Chinese leadership is a picture of unity and camaraderie. Yet a sizeable chink in the armor was exposed by talks given in Shenzhen by Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao within a space of 17 days.

While the two top leaders both cite the imperative of reform, they differ sharply over what reform means and how it should be implemented. And Wen, whose power base within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is much less entrenched than Hu’s, has repeatedly been attacked by the official media for sponsoring “bourgeois-liberal views.”

In his Aug. 20 talk to cadres in Shenzhen on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Wen surprised observers by his passionate resuscitation of political reform, which is seldom mentioned in the official media nowadays.

Wen not only pointed out the party must push forward both economic and political reforms; he went so far as to say that without the “guarantee” of political liberalization, “the fruits of economic reform will be lost and it will be impossible to attain the overall goal of modernization.”

The 68-year-old Wen then castigated unnamed party cadres for freezing reform or even turning back the clock. “Stopping or retrogressing [regarding reform] will only lead to the road of perdition,” he warned.

September 14, 2010 9:19 PM
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Categories: Politics