Seventy well-known academics and lawyers from mainland China have signed a proposal urging the new Communist Party leadership to pursue moderate political reforms, including the separation of the Party from the state.
No mention was made of ending one-Party rule; the scholars say they are advocating progressive reform.
The reform proposal was drafted by Professor Zhang Qianfan of Peking University Law School, and published on his microblog. It calls on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to govern the state according to the constitution, protect freedom of speech, encourage private enterprise, foster judicial independence, and allow the people to elect their own representatives without interference from the Party.
According to Zhang, China must undergo rapid transformation to better deal with its many problems, including social injustice, corruption, and the abuse of government authority. He added that, “China runs the risk of revolution or chaos if it does not change.”
The proposal is relatively conservative in requesting simply that the Party adhere to the laws that it drafted; Zhang, speaking to the Associated Press, said: “This is actually very moderate. I hope the government can accept it, and that it will open up a public dialogue between the government and the people.”
One of the signatories, Liu Kaiming, founder and director of Shenzhen Contemporary Society Institute, said it is hard to know whether the new leadership would adopt these suggestions. Nevertheless, the proposals are along the lines that the CCP is meant to run, such as the establishment of a constitutional state ruled by law, and increased efforts towards “national rejuvenation.” According to Liu, the recommendations are based on the existing system.
However, the proposal does not mention an issue brought up by many intellectuals, who have said that China’s problems cannot be completely solved as long as the one-Party autocracy continues to exist
Liu said, “From our perspective as mainland Chinese, we know that right now, it is highly unrealistic to expect a swift end to the one-Party dictatorship under the current system. We hope that the CCP will work within the current system to achieve its promises of democracy, freedom, and human rights. However, we emphasize that it should ultimately work toward constitutional democracy, freedoms, and human rights advocated by Sun Yat-sen 100 years ago.”
Some scholars have pointed out that the regime will never be able to completely achieve these objectives due to the Party’s desire “to govern forever”.
Li Datong, a senior media figure in China, told Voice of America that political reform in China would lead to the decentralization of the CCP’s power over the law, parliament, and society.Li said this decentralization of power is necessary to reinstate the judicial system’s independence, and will reverse the status quo of the courts being answerable to the Party’s absolute leadership.
Such a move could threaten the CCP’s future rule over China, and would make the leaders hesitant to carry out any political reform. However, as Li pointed out, “There is no such thing as a party that can rule forever.”
Read the original Chinese article.
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