China Premier Wen calls for political reform: report

BEIJING Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:09am EDT

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stands waiting to greet visiting New Zealand Prime Minister John Key before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in this July 7, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Alexander F. Yuan/Pool

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stands waiting to greet visiting New Zealand Prime Minister John Key before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in this July 7, 2010 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Alexander F. Yuan/Pool

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China has to pursue political reform to safeguard its economic health, Premier Wen Jiabao said during a visit to the booming town of Shenzhen, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Wen's call for political reform lacked specifics. But his comments reflect broader worries that unless the Party embraces at least limited reforms to make officials more answerable, then corruption and abuses may erode the country's economic prospects.

"Without the safeguarding of political restructuring, China may lose what it has already achieved through economic restructuring and the targets of its modernization drive might not be reached," Wen was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

"People's democratic rights and legitimate rights must be guaranteed. People should be mobilized and organized to deal with, in accordance with the law, state, economic, social and cultural affairs," Wen added.

Wen also wants to "create conditions" to allow the people to criticize and supervise the government as a way to address "the problem of over-concentration of power with ineffective supervision."

Wen has developed a reputation as the member of China's ruling Communist Party leadership most sympathetic to relaxing some of the country's top-down controls.

Wen will retire as premier in early 2013. He has used recent speeches and comments to indicate that he wants to spend his final years in office focused on improving social welfare, promoting more balanced and equitable economic growth, and addressing public discontent with government.

In Shenzhen, a small village that exploded into a city of 14 million people in the last three decade, Wen said the Shenzhen story showed that reforming and opening up to the outside world "is the only road to achieving national prosperity and the people's happiness."

"Regression and stagnation will not only end the achievements of the three-decade old reform and opening-up drive and the rare opportunity of development, but also suffocate the vitality of China's socialist cause with her own characteristics," the premier added.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley, editing by Miral Fahmy)

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Comments (9)
wonwiz wrote:
For sustainable growth, it is very urgent to reform the political system to bring powers under balances and checks, to eliminate the source of instability- ever widening wealthy gap,inequality, corruptions, etc

Aug 22, 2010 2:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Well said. I know it takes courage for Wen to take the path he takes, but China has been on a short sighted, and self destructive path for some time. What is the advantage of obtaining currency wealth when your streams and rivers are polluted, and the air is toxic? What is the joy of having a job when the local communist boss rapes your daughter repeatedly, and when you mention it you are threatened with jail? China has very serious issues to address that have been festering for some time. Wen has it exactly right- power without supervision is a recipe for trouble.

Aug 22, 2010 2:07am EDT  --  Report as abuse
kyihoward wrote:
The Chinese Communist Politburo has the highest authority for all it’s members and they have all the luxury that they can have as with all the other ordinary citizens cannot have it .
With all the amenities and the luxury of having living a very good life style , at times the politburo members were an easy target for corruptions and enriching themselves at the expense of the Chinese Communist Party and the Politburo .
If anyone of the politburo members were caught handily with the corruptions and kick-backs from business , they will be faced with the public condemnations and the public trails

Aug 22, 2010 2:18am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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