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China will carry out political reform actively yet prudently

THE development of democracy and the legal system should be strengthened in China, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

"We will carry out political restructuring in an active yet prudent manner and develop socialist democratic politics," Wen said in his government report delivered to the annual session of the Chinese legislature today.

"We need to improve democratic institutions, enrich the forms of democracy, expand its channels, and carry out democratic elections, decision-making, administration and oversight in accordance with the law, " he said.

Wen said that the country will improve the mechanisms of self-governance by the people at the community level and expand the scope of community-level self-governance, improve the system for community-level democratic administration and ensure that the people directly exercise their democratic rights and administer community-level public affairs and public programs in accordance with the law.

He urged to promote the values of socialist democracy, the rule of law, freedom, equality, equity and justice.

Turning 60 years old, the People's Republic of China is moving step by step to further political reform and promote democracy in a typical Chinese way.

At the 17th CPC National Congress in 2007, Chinese President HuJintao vowed in a political report to "deepen political restructuring", which is widely regarded as a signal to push the process forward while many people doubted that the country's political reform had lagged behind economic reform.

Chinese leaders have acknowledged in various occasions, however, the reform should go in a "correct political orientation" and under the leadership of the CPC. That is, China will not embrace Western-style democracy although it is open to any tested experience buttressing democracy.

This prudence has been endorsed by the National People's Congress (NPC), the legislature. Deputies to the annual session of the NPC said the CPC's leadership, people's participation in political affairs as the country's masters and the rule of law are three footstones for "socialist democracy".

"Our political reform is not the one desired by some Western politicians, but a kind of self-improvement and self-development of socialism with Chinese characteristics," Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the annual session of the NPC, told a press conference.

Yu Keping, deputy chief of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, praised democracy as "the least defective" among all political institutions created and adopted by human beings.

"Comparatively, democracy is the best one in the human history, Yu said in a well-known article queerly titled "Democracy Is A Lovely Thing".

However, timing of pushing democracy and institutional arrangements must be carefully chosen, said Yu, who were visiting professor to both Duke University, the United States and Free University of Berlin, Germany.

"It requires wisdom of both politicians and common people to gain the biggest benefit from democracy at the lowest political and social costs," Yu said.


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