Chinese Leader Rules Out Democracy

Last year, Premier Wen Jiabao remarked that China’s government should reform towards greater freedom and democracy, which immediately caught the attention of the world. (You can read more about that here.) However, Wen’s remarks seem to have been repudiated by the latest National People’s Congress. From BBC News:

Wu Bangguo – officially number two in the leadership structure – warned that China could face civil disorder if it abandoned its current system.

“We have made a solemn declaration that we will not employ a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation,” said Mr Wu, chairman of the standing committee of the NPC.

There would be no separation of powers between the different branches of government and no federal system, he said.

Mr Wu warned of dire consequences if the system changed.He said if that happened the gains made by the country over the last 30 years, since it launched economic reforms, would be lost – and perhaps worse.

“It is possible that the state could sink into the abyss of internal disorder,” he said in a speech on the work of the standing committee over the past year.

Such unequivocal comments, made on such a public occasion, suggest Mr Wu’s words reflect the collective opinion of China’s top leaders.

China Daily offers more details on Wu’s speech:

So far, China has enacted 239 laws, over 690 administrative regulations and more than 8,600 local statutes, covering every area of economic, political, cultural, social and ecological development.

Wu said the formation of such a system has generally solved the problem of having laws for people to follow, and more efforts will be made to revise and improve existing laws, enact rules of implementation, and ensure better enforcement.

Wu also made it clear that while China wants to improve its legal system, it will “never blindly follow or imitate others”.

“Different countries have different systems of laws, and we do not copy the systems of laws of certain Western countries,” he said.

Have Premier Wen’s comments about political reform become little more than a pipe dream?

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