Question: Chief State Councillor Wen, good morning. I’m from Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao [United Morning News]. I’m very happy that I can ask you a question during your last after-two-sessions press conference. My question is this: during the past few years, on different occasions, you have talked about reform of the political system, which caught a lot of attention. May I ask what your reasons were to discuss this topic repeatedly? Where are the difficulties in reforming China’s political system? Thank you.
Wen Jiabao: Yes, during these years, I have discussed political reform, rather comprehensively and precisely, one should say. If you ask me why I attach importance to this matter: it stems from a sense of responsibility. After the “Gang of Four” was smashed, our party did several historic resolutions to carry out reform and opening up. But we haven’t gotten entirely rid of the mistakes of the “Cultural Revolution” and the influence of feudalism.
With economic development came unfair distribution, lack of sincerity, corruption issues, etc.. I know deeply that to solve these problems, we must not only reform the economic system, but also the political system, and especially the party’s and the country’s leadership system.
Reform has now arrived at a critical stage*). Without successful political reform, we can’t see through the economic reforms, and gains already made can be lost again, and if social problems can’t be fundamentally solved, there is still a possibility that a historic tragedy like the cultural revolution may occur again. Every responsible party member and leading cadre should feel a sense of urgency.
Of course, I deeply know the difficulty of reform, especially as any reform requires the awakening of the people, their support, their enthusiasm, and their creative minds. In a country like China, with a population of 1.3 billion, one has to set out from the country’s [actual] condition, and build socialist democratic politics in a progressive way. That isn’t easy to do, but reform can only move ahead; it can’t stand still, and even less, it can go backwards. Standing still or moving back provide no way out.
I know that people do not only hear what I say, what my ideals and beliefs are, but which goals I do achieve through my own efforts. I can tell everyone that I will fight for the cause of China’s reform and opening up, even if I only have one more breath to take.
*) 攻坚阶段 – gongjian jieduan. gongjian: assaulting or storming fortified positions.
» Wen Jiabao’s Endgame, April 21, 2011