Go to contents

Online Post Urging Democracy in China Causing Furor

Posted August. 10, 2009 08:21,   


A self-proclaimed “first-generation revolutionary” of China has blasted the country’s one-party rule and urged democracy, creating a stir ahead of the mainland’s 60th birthday.

In an Internet posting, the person, who is believed to be a former senior government leader, urged the adoption of a Western-style democracy, including the introduction of a multi-party system, universal suffrage, freedom of speech, tolerance of political dissent, and separation of the Communist Party and army.

He also refuted the party’s official propaganda on its achievements made over the last 60 years, criticizing its rule for being tainted with the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

The 10,000-word article is a summary of the senior’s dialogue with a young professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China who is a self-proclaimed “first generation of reform and openness.” The identities of both people were not disclosed.

The article is the subject of heated debate on major online discussion boards, though the original posting has been deleted. The original text is being spread through personal blogs, however.

“The article is spreading fast and wide now as it reflects the long cherished desire of many people,” said Wu Si, editor-in-chief of the magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu, an outspoken publication put out by a group of retired reformist bureaucrats.

The Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post said Saturday that intellectuals believe former Vice Premiers Wan Li, 93, or Tian Jiyun, 80, might have written the article.

The Hong Kong-based Radio Free Asia also said the article is a transcript of a recorded speech by Wan Li, a reformist leader who played a crucial role in pushing the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping into adopting a policy of reform and openness in the 1980s and 90s.

The blogger who first post the article on the Internet also said he heard the speaker was Wan.

Jin Zhong, editor-in-chief of the Hong Kong-based China-watching monthly Open Magazine, said the article reflects the growing conflict within the Communist Party over China’s direction.

“The emergence of such calls before the 60th anniversary suggests the growing appetite for democratic reform in and out of the ruling party,” said Wen Yunchao, a respected journalist and blogger known for advocating liberal ideas, according to the South China Morning Post.

Xu Youyu, a scholar at the state-run Chinese Academy of Social Science, however, has questioned the article’s authenticity.