Monday, March 9, 2009

Survival of the Fittest

China's number two man after President Hu Jintao has announced China will not adopt western-style democracy with a multi-party system.

During his speech to the National People's Congress (NPC) today, Wu Bangguo said maintaining the correct political orientation is essential to the success of the work of the people's congresses.

The most fundamental aspect in maintaining the correct political orientation is to "organically integrate the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as the masters of the country and the rule of law," Wu noted, adding "the core" is to uphold the leadership of the Party.

"We must more fully recognize the essential differences between the system of the people's congresses and Western capitalist countries' system of political power," said Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC.

"China's system of political parties is a system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, not a Western-style multiparty system," he said.

His comments are perhaps a direct rebuttal to the quiet cyber challenge of Charter 08, circulated late last year, a political manifesto calling for an end to one-party rule, free elections, the rehabilitation of dissidents, religious freedom, and an end to Communist Party interference of the courts.

The Charter 08 does not call for the end of the CPC, but for the opportunity for other parties to run for power.

Circulated and signed online by people from various professions, from academics and economists, lawyers and journalists, one of its original authors is currently under house arrest.

Liu Xiaobo, a 53-year-old literary critic and dissident who took part in the Tiananmen Square demonstrations is accused of being the mastermind to Charter 08. But some think there is someone even more powerful in the shadows who helped stir up trouble.

Many outside in the West are calling for Liu's release, from Vaclav Havel, whose Charter 77 is the inspiration for Charter 08, as well as writer Salman Rushdie.

Despite the house arrest, and blocks on websites, it is still being circulated even though those who have signed it are questioned by police, some even to the point of intimidation.

It's like a quiet revolution, but it may not take hold for several more years.

Right now the economy takes precedence, but Charter 08 may still keep going.

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