“China ex-official warns crackdown risks instability”

Why couldn’t we have just a handful of Bao Tong-like people actually in the government, instead of scattered to the winds or under house arrest? Just a few, to provide some kind of balance against the Hu camp…

The most senior Chinese official jailed over the 1989 Tiananmen protests warned the Chinese government on Friday that its sustained crackdown on dissent will only bring more instability.

In an interview with Reuters, Bao Tong, the most trusted aide to purged Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang and now an outspoken critic of the government, said he believes Chinese leaders are filled with insecurity about the country’s social order.

“A government that snatches the legitimate rights of the ordinary people, I think this kind of government will never be stable,” said Bao, 79. He was jailed for seven years for his opposition to the government decision to send in troops to crush the pro-democracy demonstrations, and remains under close watch by security officers around his home in the west of Beijing.

“I think the measures they have taken are wrong. It will backfire on what they want to achieve.”

Bao was harsh on China’s Hu Jintao, whose government he says has reneged on its promises of democratic reform, and for its treatment of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who was jailed in 2009 for 11 years for subversion.

Bao said he had high hopes for Vice President Xi.

Xi is the son of reformist former vice premier and parliament vice-chairman Xi Zhongxun, making him a “princeling” — one of the privileged sons and daughters of China’s incumbent, retired or late leaders.

“I hope he will make a difference. I hope he will not be … a second Hu Jintao. He should be Xi Zhongxun’s son, have his own mind and know that his own father has worked a lifetime for the ordinary people, and that his father suffered.”

“I hope he remembers his father’s experiences and not betray his father. Of course … as a friend of his father’s, I’ll also put more pressure on him.”

I hope so too.

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Filed under 2012 power transfer, China

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