Extract from Xinhua: “Premier Wen Jiabao said Wednesday that China needs not only economic reform but also political structural reform, especially the reform of the leadership system of the Party and the government.
Wen warned at a press conference after the conclusion of the annual parliamentary session that historical tragedies like the Cultural Revolution may happen in China again should the country fail to push forward political reform to uproot problems occurring in the society. …
He noted although after the crackdown on the Gang of Four, the Party adopted resolutions on many historical matters, and decided to conduct reforms and opening-up, the mistake of the Cultural Revolution and feudalism have yet to be fully eliminated. …
As the economy continues to develop, Wen said, such problems as income disparity, lack of credibility and corruption, have occurred.
“I’m fully aware that to resolve these problems, we must press ahead with both economic structural reforms and political structural reforms , in particular reforms on the leadership system of the Party and the country,” he said. …”
Over the past year or two Premier Wen has become very outspoken (for a senior Chinese politician) about issues normally not aired in public. For instance, the Cultural Revolution seldom features in speeches and if it does, it is not usually put in clearly negative terms.
In some ways this reminds me of the (in-)famous speech by Chairman Mao when he launched the ‘let the 100 flowers bloom‘ campaign in 1957. This was soon followed by the dreadful ‘anti-right’ campaign when too many intellectuals and party members took Mao’s ‘let 1000 thoughts contend’ exhortation at face value.
But, this time, the whole circumstances and environment are very different. So, hopefully, the next step will not be another anti-right campaign, but genuine discourse and debate with a (relatively) open mind.
Related page: http://chindia-alert.org/prognosis/chinese-challenges/