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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.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-03/14/c_131466552_2.htm:

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.”


From http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-03/14/c_131466863.htm:

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.

  1. Baz
    March 14th, 2012 at 03:07 | #1

    “I have often thought about inviting some representatives of people,”

    I thought the party are the people, and the people are the party. They can’t be separated right?

    So what does this mean?

  2. LOLZ
    March 14th, 2012 at 09:58 | #2

    The Western media’s depiction of CCP as some kind of monolithic entity made up of all hardliners is laughable. Sure China only has one political party, however within CCP there are liberals as well as conservatives, hawks and doves. This is an angle which the Western media has always been afraid, or simply too ignorant to focus on.

  3. March 15th, 2012 at 00:05 | #3

    This means that Wen is not an idiot like you. Unlike the Republican or Democrat who claimed to represent the people but pender only to big businesses.

    Wen actually knows the reality on the ground, a party can at best claim to represent the voice of the people but ultimately constant dialogue is still needed.

  4. zack
    March 15th, 2012 at 00:22 | #4

    indeed, no government should ever take its citizens for granted as so many democratically elected governments do. Despite its flaws, the Chinese government actually works actively and dynamically to serve the people and the state-can the same be said for the duopoly of power in any western capital that serve the interests of lobbyists and corporations, rather than the people themselves? is it any wonder OWS exists and isn’t dying out as much as the mass corporate media would like to believe?

  5. melektaus
    March 15th, 2012 at 14:56 | #5

    Baz :
    “I have often thought about inviting some representatives of people,”
    I thought the party are the people, and the people are the party. They can’t be separated right?
    So what does this mean?

    The lack of ability for metaphorical thought is a sign of stupidity. ^^^Exhibit A.

  6. silentchinese
    March 19th, 2012 at 07:05 | #6

    this man is dangerous.
    He is not very clear headed and if he had his way will pull china down a path that russia is struggling to come out of now.

    btw, one has to whole heartly reject western liberalism and come to see what they mean to understand what I am talking about.

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