Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

#TECH 24

Internet of Things

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

  • Israel denies responsibility for air strike on Gaza hospital

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al-Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay Yukos shareholders over $50bn in damages

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • Thousands gather in Marseille in support of Israel

    Read more

  • As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

    Read more

  • Liberia tightens border controls to curb Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • The centenary of Austria-Hungary’s calamitous last hurrah

    Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

  • France calls on its nationals to leave Libya as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Boko Haram kidnap Cameroon minister's wife in deadly attack

    Read more

  • ‘Irresponsible’ American dad tries to scale Mont Blanc with children

    Read more

Asia-pacific

China's premier says country needs 'urgent' reform

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-14

China's outgoing Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday that the country needed "urgent" political and economic reform and a change in its leadership system as he gave his final press conference at the annual session of parliament.

AFP - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Wednesday that China could see a repeat of the Cultural Revolution without "urgent" political reform, during his final press conference as prime minister.

Wen, widely considered the most progressive of China's leaders, made the dramatic comments at a news conference marking the end of the annual session of parliament -- the last of his 10-year tenure, which is drawing to a close.

"We must press ahead with both economic structural reform and political structural reform, in particular reform in the leadership system of our party and country," he told reporters, adding it was an "urgent task".

"Without a successful political structural reform, it is impossible for us to fully institute economic structural reform and the gains we have made in this area may be lost," he said.

"New problems that have cropped up in China's society will not be fundamentally resolved, and such historical tragedy as the Cultural Revolution may happen again."

The 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution was a decade of brutal chaos launched by revolutionary leader Mao Zedong to bring down what he perceived as "capitalist" forces after other leaders sought to move away from his radical utopian ideas.

Untold numbers died in the turmoil as students turned on teachers, officials were purged and the country and its economy were brought to a virtual standstill. The subject is still sensitive today.

Wen has mentioned the need for political reform in one-party, authoritarian China before, although he has never fully elaborated on what this would entail, and his comments on Wednesday were the strongest yet on the subject.

In March last year -- at the same press conference -- he called for "gradual" political reform under the "leadership of the (Communist) party", and he made similar comments in 2010.

However, political analysts have in the past downplayed the significance of Wen's comments, saying he may be paying lip service to reform and democracy.

The ruling communists maintain an iron grip on political power and go to great lengths to crush challenges to their rule, and other leaders have in the past ruled out any shift to multi-party democracy.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency said last year a multi-party political system would unleash chaos equal to the turbulent period of the Cultural Revolution, in apparent contradiction of Wen's comments.

Wen said he was driven by "a strong sense of responsibility" when making the comments on political reform.

"The reform can only go forward, the reform must not stand still, and still less go backwards because that offers no way out," he said.

Date created : 2012-03-14

  • CHINA

    February figures show largest trade deficit in 12 years

    Read more

  • CHINA

    China's presence grows in murky world of arms trading

    Read more

  • CHINA

    China cuts growth target in bid for 'balanced economy'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)