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Wen Jiabao calls for political reform
China’s Premier Wen Jiabao has said reform of the political system is necessary to sustain the nation’s breakneck economic growth, state media reported.
“We not only have to push forward reform of the economic system, but we also have to push forward reform of the political system,” Wen was quoted as saying by the Xinhua state news agency on a trip to the southern boomtown of Shenzhen.
“If there is no guarantee of reform of the political system, then results obtained from the reform of the economic system may be lost and the goal of modernisation cannot be achieved,” he said, according to the report Saturday.
Wen added it was important to “guarantee the people’s democratic rights and legitimate rights and interests”.
“We must resolve the problem of excessive concentration of power, create conditions that allow people to criticise and supervise the government and firmly punish corruption,” he was quoted as saying.
Wen did not elaborate but his comments reflect wider concerns among the leadership that corruption and abuses of power are becoming the biggest threat to the ruling Communist Party.
The soft-spoken Premier is also widely seen as the populist and progressive face of the nation’s leadership.
He came to prominence when he appeared with then-party head Zhao Ziyang in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square during the 1989 pro-democracy protests that were brutally crushed by the military only days later.
But whereas Zhao was ousted, Wen rose to prominence to be named prime minister in 2003.
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