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China rules out multi-party democracy and western style political reforms

Thursday, March 10th 2011 - 20:30 UTC
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Wu Bangguo, number two in the leadership structure warned of civil disorder if it abandoned the current system. Wu Bangguo, number two in the leadership structure warned of civil disorder if it abandoned the current system.

A senior Chinese leader says his country will not become a multi-party democracy or adopt other Western-style political reforms. Wu Bangguo - officially number two in the leadership structure - warned that China could face civil disorder if it abandoned its current system.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao suggested last year that China could introduce democratic reforms. These comments from Mr Wu explicitly say otherwise.

Wu Bangguo made the comments in a speech delivered to China's National People's Congress, the country's annual parliamentary session that is currently taking place in Beijing.

“We have made a solemn declaration that we will not employ a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation,” said Mr Wu, chairman of the standing committee of the NPC. There would be no separation of powers between the different branches of government and no federal system, he said.

Mr Wu made similar comments at the parliamentary session two years ago.

Speaking at this year's meeting, he said the country would continue to be led - as it has since 1949 - by the Chinese Communist Party, with the government simply carrying out its orders. Mr Wu warned of dire consequences if the system changed.

He said if that happened, the gains made by the country over the last 30 years, since it launched economic reforms, would be lost - and perhaps worse.

“It is possible that the state could sink into the abyss of internal disorder,” he said in a speech on the work of the standing committee over the past year.

Such unequivocal comments, made on such a public occasion, suggest Mr Wu's words reflect the collective opinion of China's top leaders. It is not clear all of them share Mr Wu's position, though.

China's premier, Wen Jiabao, has often spoken about possible democratic reforms, although he never fully explains what that means.

Last year in an interview with a US television network he once again touched upon this sensitive subject. He said China needed political as well as economic reforms to ensure that state power truly belonged to the people.

But regardless of what Mr Wen believes, China continues to be a state governed by one party, which tolerates very little dissent. Organisations and individuals outside the Communist Party that call for political reforms are quickly silenced.

Wu Bangguo's comments at the NPC make it clear that, under this current crop of leaders, there are no plans to change the country's current political system.

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • Forgetit87

    The central government of China is above all a rational system; it has made ​​the right choices in economic policy - high levels of domestic saving, investing heavily in infrastructure and education, and insistence on acquiring the latest foreign technology - to make China a core country - and not a peripheral one - in a capitalist world system. It is difficult to think that, were China a democracy, it would have had such success. China's success is due in part to constant shifts in its economic model. Under a democracy, this would have been difficult not only because reforms in democratic countries are more difficult to implement - something that results from an intricate system of checks and balances - but also because of populist pressures that tempt politicians in all democratic countries, specially those that are poor. If it were a democracy, perhaps China would be spending more money on building a welfare state than on programs to increase technological innovation capability.

    Mar 10th, 2011 - 09:07 pm 0
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