China Daily has just reported Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirming political and economic reforms. On the table are government transparency, creating conditions allowing people to criticize and supervise the government, and media being a watch-dog.
Given how Wu Bangguo’s speech was skewed by the BBC (see my prior post, “Wu Bangguo on ‘multi party rule’ ruffles some feathers in the West“), my gut feeling is that BBC will continue this narrative of Wen and Wu disagreeing. (If so, someone remind me to buy a copy of the paper so I can use it to wipe my butt.)
Okay, this is pretty funny. I decided to head over to the BBC web site, and behold, it reports:
That seems to put him (Wen) at odds with another senior leader, Wu Bangguo, who only last week ruled out the possibility of major political changes.
Hilarious! Why wouldn’t the Brits simply bypass their BBC and head over to CCTV and watch the speeches for themselves. Or read China Daily. At least they get a correct understanding of China. How about that?
The BBC report left an “escape” clause near the end:
With little known publicly about how Chinese leaders reach decisions – or what their real opinions might be – it is difficult to assess the importance of Mr Wen’s words, or where they might lead.
Well, our thoughts are probably the same. How about simply asking the Chinese leaders on how they reach those decisions? How about asking their real opinions? Why on earth would BBC have reporters stationed in China?
Wait a minute, never mind, they are busy lurking around Wangfujing (see my prior post, towards the second half about Damian Grammaticas) trying to sniff out “jasmine revolutionaries” amongst McDonald goers (or getting dragged into a police van yet again).
Below is the full text of the Wen Jiabao coverage from China Daily. Decide for yourself if the Chinese leaders are aligned (or not).
BEIJING – Highlighting reform as the “eternal theme” through history, Premier Wen Jiabao has pledged that China will forge ahead with political and economic restructuring to fill the country with vitality.
“Political and economic restructuring should be advanced in a coordinated way,” the premier said at a press conference following the conclusion of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on Monday morning.
“Political reform provides a guarantee for economic restructuring,” he said.
“Without it, economic restructuring would not succeed and its achievements could be lost.”
But it is by no means easy to press ahead with political restructuring in a large country that has a population of 1.3 billion people, he added.
Political restructuring needs a stable and harmonious social environment and should be pushed forward in an orderly way under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, he said.
The premier cited several issues to which political and economic reform would offer solutions. At present, he said, corruption poses the biggest threat to the country and, to wipe out the root cause of graft, the nation should pursue institutional reform.
“The fate of a country lies with the heart of its people,” Wen said. “If we are to address the people’s grievances and meet their wishes, we must create conditions for the people to criticize and supervise the government.”
Wen made similar remarks in his government work report delivered at the annual NPC parliamentary session last year, when he said: “We will promote transparency of administrative affairs, … let the news media fully play their oversight role, and exercise power openly.”
Wen said fairness and justice are the basis of social stability and fairness must be realized in income distribution and promoted in the access to educational and healthcare resources.
“If we are to achieve the aforementioned goals, we must go forward with economic and political restructuring,” Wen said.
He also pointed out that everyone should have the opportunity to receive an education, so all people can reach their potential and think independently and creatively.
Li Yining, a leading Chinese economist, said political reform in China should move forward with Chinese characteristics.
Li, who is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top advisory body, said the people’s congresses should supervise the governments at various levels and he stressed that government officials should perform their duties according to the law.
In addition, transparency should be enhanced in the promotion and demotion of government officials, Li said during an online talk on a website run by People’s Daily on Thursday.
Fang Ning, deputy director of the Political Studies Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a major government think tank, was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying that he believed there could be no “timetable” for political reform in China because it would proceed, based on conditions, in an active but steady way.