China’s Wen, in his Twilight, Takes on Reformer’s Role
Wen Jiabao’s term as Premier will be coming to an end in March 2013, and his recent words and actions have led some to believe that he is a closet reformer trapped in the CCP hierarchy. From the Washington Post:
Wen’s regular outings to mingle with average folks – particularly the rural poor and the dispossessed – have made the 68-year-old premier the most popular member of the ruling communist hierarchy, earning him the nickname “Grandpa Wen” and helping to break the mold of the stodgy, faceless and impersonal communist bureaucrat.
But nearing the end of his premiership, Wen, whose long ties in the party ally him with such past reformers as the late Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, is also quietly building an image as a quiet crusader for more openness and accountability inside the country’s tightly closed, authoritarian political system.
In the past six months, Wen has made at least three separate calls for reform in China, saying the country needs to open its political system and adhere to the rule of law to complement its economic gains. In Beijing last month, he told the startled petitioners, “We are the people’s government. And our power is vested upon us by the people.”
His talk about the need for political change has led some to believe Wen is at heart a reformer. And although he might be locked in a system that is resistant to change, the end of his two five-year terms comes in March 2013, and they say the premier might be feeling freer to express his views.
Writer Yu Jie was detained for his plans to publish a critical book called, “Wen Jiabao: China’s Greatest Actor.”