Wen Jiabao Urges Political Reform and Praises Internet Criticism of Government
The Fifth Session of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC) has just ended. Here are two stories about Wen that I found interesting. I have no personal insights beyond what is reported, but I thought it is helpful to bring attention to such stories to balance the distorted view in the West that the Chinese government somehow has in its DNA a fear of criticisms and a distrust of people and reforms.
Wen says China needs political reform, warns of another Cultural Revolution if without
The premier said he knows the people take an interest in not only what he has to say and what his ideas are, but also what results his efforts can bring.
“Even with a single breath, I’m still prepared to dedicate myself fully to advancing China’s reform and opening-up cause,” Wen said.
The premier said China will unswervingly implement the rural villagers’ self-governance system and protect their legitimate rights of direct election.
The practices at many villages showed farmers can succeed in directly electing villagers’ committees, he said.
Wen said if the people can manage a village well, they can do well in managing a township and a county.
“We should encourage people to follow the path to experiment boldly and withstand tests in practice,” he added. “I believe China’s democracy will develop in a step-by-step manner according to the national circumstances and the trend is unstoppable by any force.”
Chinese premier wants to discuss with critics face to face
BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) — Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday expressed his willingness to meet with citizen critics of government policies in Zhongnanhai, the seat of the central government.
“I don’t feel surprised at all that there have been some critical comments on the Internet about the performance of the government and I think it is only natural for that to happen,” Wen said at a press conference after the conclusion of the annual parliamentary session.
The government should create conditions for the people to criticize its work, he said.
The government must seriously reflect on the critical views that people have made and, in fact, the government has often been inspired by such comments from the public when making decisions on major issues, he said.
“I have often thought about inviting some representatives of people, who on regular basis make critical comments about the work of the government, to Zhongnanhai so that we can have face-to-face discussion on issues they are interested in,” he said.
Wen said he had tried to do it when soliciting public views on drafting this year’s government work report but more efforts should be done.
As the country’s premier, Wen admitted that some slanders about him have caused pain, though not disturbing him.
“I will continue to press ahead with my work and uphold my ideals without hesitation and misgiving,” he said.
[Following information added 3/15/2012]
Detailed information pertaining to 5th Session of the 11th NPC can be found here.
A video of Wen’s press conference q&a is provided below.