Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says political reform is essential if the country is to continue with economic reform. He made his comments Wednesday, the final day of the annual session of China's legislature, the National People's Congress.
In a once-a-year news conference that lasted for three hours, Premier Wen was asked about China's need for political reform. He said structural political reform is necessary to combat old problems and new problems.
He said as the effects of the Cultural Revolution and feudalism have yet to be fully eliminated, and now, as China's economy continues to develop, new problems are arising such as income disparity, overall lack of trust in society and corruption.
The Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1976, was a decade of violent and chaotic egalitarianism that Chinese leaders point to as justifying their efforts to maintain strict social and political control.
Wen said China's political reforms cannot stand still or go backward, because “that offers no way out.”
He said he believes that "China's democratic system" will continue to move forward, in line with the country's national conditions. Wen said that “no force will be able to hold this process back.”
Wen also said he believes in the government's need to learn from criticism and says he has regularly sought out critical viewpoints on the Internet. He added that he understands there are many Chinese who are still unhappy about judicial injustices.
Ma Xiuxue said the government in her hometown, in Liaoning province, illegally seized her home six years ago. She has repeatedly come to Beijing under a system whereby ordinary people can petition the central government for help.
But, after six years of petitioning, and several trips to Beijing, she has yet to receive any response.
Ma pointed to the just-concluded National People's Congress. She described “overdressed” delegates as eating and drinking well, and “talking pretty.” She said that for petitioners like her, it's not only that government institutions don't solve her problems, Beijing law enforcement authorities receive money to hand her back to the Liaoning security agents who have been sent to retrieve her.
Premier Wen said that while reform is necessary, it must be carried out in line with what he called "China's national circumstances". And, he added, the reforms will not succeed without the support of the Chinese people.