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China’s Premier Wen Jiabao May Be The Attack Target of Communist Editorial in People’s Daily

Posted by Author on October 28, 2010

The bloomberg, Oct 27, 2010 –

China’s Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, disputed criticism that political reform is lagging behind economic growth, in what analysts said may be an attack on calls for greater openness by Premier Wen Jiabao.

“The idea China’s political reform is seriously lagging its remarkable economic development and achievements is contrary” to “objective facts,” the Beijing-based paper said in a front-page editorial, excerpts of which were read on yesterday’s evening news on state television. Political change can’t have “pompous and empty slogans,” the article said.

People’s Daily editorials have been used for decades — including during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution and 1989 Tiananmen Square protests — as a platform for party factions to air views and attack rivals. Today’s piece contrasts with remarks made by Wen, who said in a speech in Shenzhen in August that economic achievements were in danger of being lost without greater political reform.
“This is actually an anti-reform statement,” said Huang Jing, a visiting professor at National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Today’s editorial argued that any political opening should strengthen the power of the Communist Party, which has ruled China for 61 years. It comes as Wen, 68, and General Secretary Hu Jintao, 67, prepare to step down from their posts on the ruling Politburo in 2012. Last week Vice President Xi Jinping was appointed to a party military panel as he prepares to succeed Hu as Chinese leader.

‘Anti-Wen’

Huang said the editorial was “anti-Wen” and aimed at helping top-ranking party cadres who oppose more political openness to appoint their supporters to higher positions ahead of the 2012 Party Congress. The article said China would ’’take its own road.’’ Earlier this month imprisoned Chinese political activist Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize for advocating that the government and party should honor universal values such as direct elections and freedom of speech.

Wen said in the Shenzhen speech that without political reform, “China may lose what it has already achieved through economic restructuring and the targets of its modernization may never be reached,” according to an English-language account published on the web site of the People’s Daily controlled Global Times. China’s economy is the world’s second-largest after the U.S.

Correct Path

The People’s Daily opinion piece was signed using a name, Zheng Qingyuan, that sounds similar in Chinese to a phrase meaning to bring something back to the correct path. A Chinese- language search for the name on Google Inc.’s local web site only found references to People’s Daily editorials written in the last week.

The Central Propaganda Department, which oversees the People’s Daily, didn’t immediately respond to faxed questions asking whether the editorial was in conflict with Wen’s remarks and if the author’s name was a pseudonym.

Earlier this month a group of senior retired Communist Party cadres, including former People’s Daily editor Hu Jiwei, published an open letter on the Internet saying “invisible black hands” in the party’s propaganda apparatus suppressed Wen’s Shenzhen speech inside China. Wen said last month that China’s people demanded more democratic reforms.

“I believe I and all the Chinese people have such a conviction that China will make continuous progress, and the people’s wishes for and needs for democracy and freedom are irresistible,” Wen said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program taped Sept. 23 in New York. “I will not fall in spite of the strong wind and harsh rain, and I will not yield until the last day of my life.”

Bloomberg

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