While major policy principles for deepening reforms are expected to be announced by Hu personally, remarks by senior officials recently hint strongly that changes in the current political and social systems are inevitable if economic reforms are to be advanced further. Yet such “political reforms”, as they are called in China, are in fact aimed at consolidating the party’s dictatorship rather than at weakening it in favor of multi-party democracy longed for by some pro-democracy activities at home and abroad.
A pointer to the shape of future changes came recently in the form of explicit remarks about “political reforms” by Zhang Chunxian, the CCP head of Hunan province.
At a televised conference of Hunan officials on August 31 held to mobilize a province-wide campaign for further “emancipation of minds”, Zhang said reforms in the past 30 years had focused on how “to return [economic interests] to the people”. The focus now would be on how “to return quan to the people” , with efforts devoted to “developing socialist democratic politics”. The Chinese word quan has a double meaning and could refer to rights or (political) power or both.