Chinese premier responding to reporter’s question about 1989 crackdown (AP)

After Jiang Yanyong’s letter was publicized on the internet last week, an AP reporter in Beijing raised a question about Jiang’s petition to China’s premier today. Wen Jiabao did not respond directly to the question. Instead, he said that the survival of the country and the Communist Party “hung in the balance” during the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square democracy protesters. This was aired live on CCTV after the close of the National People’s Congress. However, he wouldn’t say whether the government would ever admit it made a mistake. Here is the full AP article.

Is there any subtle change of tune in Wen’s response? My take is that Wen’s answer is no different from what Zhu Rongji said five years ago. In responding to a similar question by Judy Woodruff from CNN in April 1999, Zhu said: “in China, we have already come to a very clear conclusion about that incident. And to this day, we have not changed our conclusion. ”

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