Monday, September 05, 2005


A recent speech by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has left both Asiapundit and Peking Duck wondering if we will soon be able to write the word democracy without the need to use trick letters to get around the firewall.

Premier Wen:
China will press ahead with its development of democratic politics, that is reconstruction, in an unswerving way, including direct elections,

HK Dave over at Simon World, on the other hand, sees this as:
Wen Jiabao, the Premier of China, has made official what we've all suspected; that democracy in China is just a matter of time.

I wouldn't consider this a done-deal just yet. For one thing, Wen was addressing a foreign audience. I wonder how widely this will be reported back in China and how it will be spun.

Additionally, Wen explained that democracy will rise out of local elections, something that many China watchers have been predicting. My understanding of Chinese village elections, which is far from authoritative, is that they work more as a means of validating the party choice or of trying to encourage the party's representative to keep in touch with the people. The people are either denied choices, or the people's choice, upon taking office, slips on the straightjacket of party dictates.

Update: Imagethief asks:
[H]ow many repressive governments have been "in transition to democracy" since roughly the last ice age?