By JOSEPH KAHN
Published: April 8, 2004
BEIJING, April 7 – When asked why China, with its surging economy and rising power, has not yet begun to democratize, its leaders recite a standard line. The country is too big, too poor, too uneducated and too unstable to give political power to the people, they say.
The explanation is often delivered in a plaintive tone: China really would like to become a more liberal country, if only it did not have unique problems requiring the Communist Party to maintain its absolute monopoly on power for just a while longer.
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