FT: Netizen Thoughts on 18th Party Congress
The following is excerpted from the November 7 Financial Times Chinese article “An Inventory of the Popular Will ahead of the ‘18 Big’” (“十八大”前的一份民意清单), written by Editor-in-Chief Zhang Lifen.
The Chinese Communist Party 18th Party Congress begins tomorrow. Today (Wednesday) at 4:30 p.m. I will attend an “18 Big” news conference for Chinese and foreign journalists in the Golden Hall at the Great Hall of the People. Yesterday evening, I posted a weibo soliciting questions from Chinese people from all walks of life. I received nearly 600 replies, touching on all kinds of issues regarding political and economic reform during China’s social transformation, national welfare and the livelihood of the people, which may serve as a reference of Chinese popular will before the congress of the ruling party. Below are a selection of the questions posed by the public.
OldmanNotUseless: This old fellow has a question: How much are the annual membership fees paid by the 80-million-plus Party members nationwide? Could the total income and expenditure be made public during the congress?
VastUniverseWorld: Disclose officials’ personal finances, round up criminals and the corrupt and start a democratic system! The whole country wants just these three things!
ForeignFriendV: When will we have multi-party elections for the Politburo Standing Committee and president? At least catch up with Vietnam.
ShenzhenHugang: One question: How do eliminate corruption in a one-party system?
LiAn_NaDu: Can we not get domestic news from foreign media?
Llqrjl: I have an academic question: How do you learn to bullshit without blushing?
Chengqingui: When will we change parties? When will we have a referendum?
Lanfenglin: My question is what the peasants should do whose life savings are not enough to buy homes for their sons to settle down in the cities. Is their life of hard work obliterated by inflation? Or who is stealing it?
macrocrazier: When will political reform go forward?
XuShaolin: So I’ll only ask this once and it’s not a complicated political reform question. I just want to ask why you had to close the morning markets near some residential neighborhoods for a meeting. Can’t you hear how loudly the old folks are cursing over this? If you treat ordinary people like thieves, what’s the point of holding this kind of meeting anyway?
WitheredCucumber: As a Party member, I hope our Party activities won’t disturb the lives of the people who are outside the Party, and I don’t want the funding for our activities to come from tax payers outside the Party. Can these these two hopes be fulfilled?
Hongyu79: Could we increase education spending, and especially ensure proper compensation of teachers in rural areas? A little tip: fine corrupt officials and invest the money into education in their jurisdictions.
Lya402: The question I want to address is that people are demanding reform of the political system, but it cannot be pushed through if we do not have freedom of speech. I want to ask: What specific plans do the new leaders have in terms of allowing freedom of speech?
WangKaiyueA: I want to ask if there will be any substantial actions in reform, and how those naked senior Party members and government officials will be dealt with.
SkirtChaserVSWildKid: How much did you spend on this meeting?
WangYuanchengr: When will officials disclose their personal finances??
FlyGerry: A question for the press spokesperson: How many people in your family live in the U.S.?
DingYoucai: What “-ism” is in place today? Is it state capitalism, or crony capitalism, or what? How are we going to push political reform?
Tiangengg: Pay attention to workers laid off by state-owned enterprises and the pension problem.
NongZaiTianya: Where is the Party leading the country and the people? Any plans? Any goals?
WatersideCampanula: The agenda and timetable for judicial independence, please?
Laofang001: How can you give the people true freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association?
ZhouBuchen: When will the billions of peasants truly have equal health care?
WanderDrunkDream: When will the taxi window cranks be reinstalled? I feel carsick.
FreedomState789: A quick question: what’s the standard for the conference meals? Could you broadcast it on TV?
SettingSunLightsRoad: I’m asking where my ballot is. Who is representing me?
Mryehaiyan: Will you continue to use “serve the people” and “public servant” as your slogans? Who does “the people” specifically refer to? Do you feel pressured?
Maobaochun: Remove the Internet block.
NationalAnthemSlave: When will one-party rule end?
Hongliholly: Nothing to ask, ’cause the answer will be fake anyway.
Daxue0755: You tell the spokesperson: Actually, we know everything. If you don’t believe it, just ask me.
Anzai: The questions we want to ask are the ones you don’t dare to ask; the questions you want to ask are the ones we have no interest in!
Translated by Mengyu Dong.