China Far Away from Western Reforms

China Far Away from Western Reforms

The recent awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned political activist and intellectual Liu Xiaobo, combined with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s speeches over the past few months calling for political reform have set off a renewed interest in where China may be headed politically. From the harsh denunciations of Liu’s prize and the mainland Chinese media’s ignoring of Wen’s words; to the cautious optimism of commentary outside of China, the impact of the prize and Wen’s use of zhengzhi tizhi gaige, or political system reform, remains open to speculation. But completely lacking from much of the commentary is an analysis of what the ordinary Chinese person, or laobaixing, wants from its government in terms of political reform.

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