China’s Elite Talk of Democracy in One-Party State – Joseph Kahn

From the New York Times:

Like the spring showers that give the parched landscape a veneer of green, China’s authoritarian leaders, approaching the end of their five-year terms in office, have suggested that they would like to see their country become more democratic. Communist Party journals and the state-run news media have published a stream of commentaries by retired officials and academics on “political system reform” and the need for “socialist ,” including a bold-sounding call for China to mimic Switzerland’s worker-friendly democratic governing style.

Communist Party journals and the state-run news media have published a stream of commentaries by retired officials and academics on “political system reform” and the need for “socialist democracy,” including a bold-sounding call for China to mimic Switzerland’s worker-friendly democratic governing style.

…Those who advocate faster political change say they hope that Mr. Hu, who is expected to serve a second five-year term as China’s Communist Party chief, will broaden the use of elections rather than rely almost exclusively on top-down appointments inside the party structure.

But even that limited step toward devolving power remains a highly delicate one. China’s leaders claim that the one-party state has long practiced democracy, in the sense of governing on behalf of the people, and they show no signs of preparing to cede any political power.
[Full Text]

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