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Chinese netizens meet in Beijing suburb to discuss a speech on political reform by China’s premier Wen Jiabao

Posted by Author on August 23, 2010

Radio Free Asia, Aug. 23, 2010 –

HONG KONG
— Chinese netizens met for a rare in-the-flesh political discussion forum in a northern Beijing suburb Monday, inspired by calls from premier Wen Jiabao for political reforms to stem rampant official corruption and abuse of power.

“This afternoon (Aug. 23), ordinary people from all walks of life and from the Greater China region will meet in Beijing for a discussion forum on Wen Jiabao’s remarks in Shenzhen,” wrote blogger and journalist Wen Yunchao, known online by his nickname “Beifeng.”

“Among the participants are well-known scholars including Xu Youyu, Cui Weiping, and Luo Shihong, as well as a large number of well-known names on Twitter,” he announced via the microblogging service Twitter.

The forum, chaired by Beijing Film Academy professor and social critic Cui Weiping, went ahead as planned via Twitter, although netizens reported a sudden power cut following the arrival of “a man and a woman wearing sunglasses” at the Miyun Shanshui Resort.

“A man and a woman wearing sunglasses arrived at the Miyun Reservoir discussion forum,” tweeted user “leewua” at around 5 p.m. local time. “The electricity was cut, and we had pretty much finished talking, so everyone left.”

Previous political discussion forums in Beijing have been raided by police and their participants pursued for “incitement to subversion.”

Call for reform

Wen Jiabao was quoted in a report by the official Xinhua news agency Saturday as saying that it is important to “guarantee the people’s democratic rights and legitimate rights and interests.”

“We must resolve the problem of excessive concentration of power, create conditions that allow people to criticize and supervise the government, and firmly punish corruption,” he was quoted as saying.

“We not only have to push forward reform of the economic system, but we also have to push forward reform of the political system,” the premier said, according to Xinhua.

Cui told assembled netizens that Wen’s speech was consistent with the demands of the controversial “Charter 08” document, which called for sweeping reforms to China’s political system, and whose co-author Liu Xiaobo is currently serving a jail-term for subversion…….(more details from Radio Free Asia)

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