President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao are said to be feuding over economic liberalization and reform, a party source tells Asia Sentinel. He says Wen’s position became obvious through recent comments:
After making a deep bow to the statue of Deng Xiaoping, the Chief Architect of Reform, Wen pointed out that CCP cadres “must continue to liberate their thinking and make bold explorations” in reform. “We cannot afford to stop,” he warned. “More importantly, we must not retrogress.” Wen reiterated that without the “guarantee” of political reform – which is seldom mentioned in the official media nowadays – “it will be impossible for the goal of economic reform and modernization to be realised.” Then Wen repeated the well-known caveat that Deng had used against the party’s conservatives: “If we don’t push forward with reform, the only road ahead is perdition.”
Who in particular was Wen targeting? An informed party source in Beijing said Wen, the nation’s No. 2 leader, was laying into none other than the No. 1, President Hu. In his capacity as CCP General Secretary, Hu is responsible for the party’s overall direction, particularly in relation to ideological matters.
Hu is said to have skipped the Shezhen conference because he does not support the mindset of the liberal city:
The Beijing party source said that Wen “strongly volunteered” to go to Shenzhen at a Politburo meeting in early August – and that Hu had let the premier be the representative of the party leadership for the occasion partly because he was not exactly a fan of the laissez-faire, go-go spirit for which the SEZ is famous.
Visible tensions from Beijing are rare enough. But these tensions come as China is deciding how it will emerge from the recession — riding growth toward capitalism or re-investing in state-owned enterprises.
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