The headline is the good news. The bad news is that Wen is looking like ‘the boy who cried reform!‘ I don’t think anyone is buying it anymore- he’s wasted too much time, and is getting too close to the end of his term for anyone to believe his heart is really in it. Via CMP:
That’s right, he’s at it again. Using the opportunity afforded by a speech in a prominent international forum, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (温家宝) is once again visiting his favorite theme — the urgent need for political reform in China. And once again, his remarks are fodder alike for sanguine optimists, grumbling pessimists and cautious skeptics. Is he serious? Is his making a cynical bid the cement his legacy as a moderate? Is he simply too beleaguered and too powerless to effect his ideas? Or does this prefigure some sort of real change?
It is a debate that has been repeated on each occasion over the past 18 months where Wen has stepped out to toll the bells of political change in the midst of what seems by all other measures a period of great internal political sensitivity for China.
Hey Wen- you aren’t protecting your legacy by occasionally mentioning to foreigners that China needs political reform. Your legacy is going to be defined by your inaction on this issue, at a time when political reform could decide China’s future.