Chinese Want Democratic Reform First, Official Poll Shows

By Tang Ming
Tang Ming
Tang Ming
November 20, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Epoch Times Photo
A poll on People's Daily Online recently, showing that support for a democratic political system comes first, followed by fighting against corruption, followed by improving livelihood, followed by economic development. Foreign relations comes in last place. (

While the Chinese Communist Party focuses its future on economic reform, what the people really yearn for is political reform and greater freedoms, an online poll shows.

Just before the Communist Party’s 18th National Congress, a public opinion survey titled “Online Survey Focusing on 18th Congress,” conducted by state-run People’s Daily, questioned the priorities of its readers. The respondents’ top priority was a democratic political system (56,414 votes); eliminating corruption was second place (36,641 votes), improving livelihoods was third (32,410 votes), and economic development was fourth (12,470 votes).

Xi Jinping, the new General Secretary of the CCP, and other top leaders have said that they will concentrate on improving the nation’s economic condition. They mentioned little of substance about prospects for genuine democratic political reform.

Among the poll’s most frequent comments left by netizens were matters of livelihood: making a basic living and getting by. They were concerned about increasing their salaries and pensions, getting the household registration system canceled, and seeing greater government investment in primary education.

Shanghai resident Mr. Du told The Epoch Times that people had been looking forward to the 18th National Congress, hoping for any sign of political reform while showing less interest in economic and social reforms. 

Without a doubt, he believes, economic reforms have indeed improved the lives of many. Nonetheless, without political reform going hand in hand with improved economic conditions, political power has been misused to confiscate homes, with CCP officials profiting from essentially stealing from the public, he said.

Mr. Du says that the political underpinning of the Party is literally like a “mafia,” with no just legal system. The lives of people have actually become worse as a result of the current totalitarian rule, he said, which is why he concludes that China must undergo a genuine democratic political reform.

Xie Chuntao, professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the CCP wrote in a recent opinion article that carrying out any kind of political reform would be more difficult than economic reform. 

While economic reform only involves personal interests, political reform would have immense and far-reaching impacts on the interests of leaders and cadres at different level of the regime: it would be the equivalent of the Party carrying out a revolution against itself, he said. Resistance to any kind of political reform is thus most formidable.

In analyzing the future of China, Wu Fan, a political commentator based in New York, explained that there are three possible future scenarios for the CCP. The first is to move forward with reform. The second is to maintain the status quo. The third is to go backwards and become more repressive. The road of reform consists of political, economic, cultural and social reforms, guiding China in a new direction, in Wu Fan’s view.

He said that there are signs hinting Xi Jinping’s willingness to reform, but the Chinese people themselves, given what they’ve seen so far, are not too optimistic.

Read the original Chinese article.

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