“Chinese premier urges political reforms”

Too little too late from Wen Jiabao, who wants us to believe that he truly cares about political reforms despite having gotten exactly nothing done on that front during his decade as one of the most powerful men in China:

Premier Wen Jiabao warned Wednesday that ruinous turmoil that engulfed China in the past could re-emerge unless the country tackles political reforms, and he rebuked a populist fellow leader over a scandal that brought infighting among officials into public view.

In a three-hour news conference, his sole such event of the year, Wen renewed a call for unspecified political reforms, particularly of the Communist Party leadership, saying that without them China’s hard-won prosperity might fizzle. No democratic firebrand, Wen has issued similarly vague pleas before — and become a popular if lone voice among senior leaders by doing so. This time his tone was more emphatic, as was the setting.

“Without successful political reform, it is impossible for us to fully institute economic system reform. The gains we have made in this area may also be lost,” Wen told reporters in the Great Hall of the People. “New problems that have cropped up in China’s society will not be fundamentally resolved and such historical tragedies as the Cultural Revolution may happen again,”

The recurring references to the past and the wistful, reflective tone turned the premier’s news conference into something of a swan song for the most popular member of the usually remote leadership. Sometimes called “Grandpa Wen,” he comes across as warm and caring. He has been shown eating dumplings with coal miners and consoling survivors of the devastating Sichuan earthquake and other disasters.

Unspecified political reforms, taking place at some point in the distant future… thanks a lot Wen! Great job!

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Filed under 2012 power transfer, political reform

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