The Fifth Plenary Session of the Seventeenth Central Committee emphasized the adherence to the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, upholding the party’s leadership, the role of the people as the masters of their country, the organic unity of government work and the rule of law, the active and prudent promotion of political restructuring, and the continuous advancement of the socialist political system, self-improvement, and development (党的十七届五中全会强调：“坚持中国特色社会主义政治发展道路，坚持党的领导、人民当家作主、依法治国有机统一，积极稳妥推进政治体制改革，不断推进社会主义政治制度自我完善和发展”),
He Dongting (何东汀), apparently a journalist, writes in a People’s Daily (人民网) commentary of October 28, adding that it was very important that these conditions be reiterated at this critical stage of China’s reform and opening, and socialist modernization.
Throughout the history of China’s development, people with lofty ideas – 仁人志士, rén rén zhì shì – *) had given the strife for the road of modern democracy a lot of tries, but in the end, they failed, as they didn’t correspond with China’s conditions, and the fundamental interests of the Chinese people. The facts show that only under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, can the people at large gain political power, and only with the establishment of the socialist system can China really leap from thousands of years of authoritarian [or despotic] rule to historical democratic policies.
He’s article suggests that from the policies of reform and opening, reforms had included reforms and improvements of the socialist political system – 改革开放初期，党就明确提出要推行改革和完善社会主义政治制度，全面推进包括政治体制改革在内的伟大变革.
The goal of reforms of the political system were to promote what is beneficial and to abolish what is harmful (兴利除弊 xīng lì chú bì), writes He, to unfold the advantages of the socialist system and not to lose them, to promote the healthy development of socialist democracy rather than to pursue [or dangle after, 追随] western political patterns. To copy the western political system as a universal one, to give up the hard-earned and efficient political system would result in the destabilization of China’s socialist cause’s foundations, the people’s position as the masters of their country, and the unity of the country and the people.
Only if we stick to this path, the reform of the political system will move into the correct direction, national prosperity and national juvenation, the happiness of the people and social harmony can be reliably guaranteed, and only if we move along the correct political direction, actively and steadily promote the political system’s reforms, seize the opportunities and seek development, the great goals of a comprehensively and moderately prosperous society and a modern socialist country can be achieved (只有坚持这条道路，政治体制改革才会有正确的方向，国家富强、民族振兴、人民幸福和社会和谐才会有可靠的保障；只有沿着正确的政治方向，积极稳妥地推进政治体制改革，抢抓机遇，谋求发展，全面建设小康社会和社会主义现代化强国的伟大目标才能够实现),
writes He Dongting.
*) 仁人 (én rén) actually means a benevolent person, and 志士(zhì shì) amounts to a person of ideals and integrity. Nevertheless, the combination of these four characters appears to be rather deprecative. Obviously, he doesn’t refer to Liu Xiaobo and other political prisoners, but I read this People’s Daily commentary as an effort to reach those who don’t support the party line on dissidents.