Foreign agencies report from Beijing, and SCMP says in its report entitled “Listen to protesters, authorities told” that after weekend riots, China’s “top Communist Party mouthpiece yesterday urged authorities to listen to people’s concerns about pollution, after fears over a new industrial waste water pipeline sparked weekend riots.
“‘The public’s awareness of environmental issues and their rights is increasing at a rapid pace,’ said a signed commentary in People’s Daily.”
China “should strive to ‘establish an open and transparent decision-making mechanism, and build a tolerant environment for public opinion’, it said.
“Authorities in Qidong, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, agreed on Saturday to cancel plans to build the pipeline after thousands of local people took to the streets, overturning cars and ransacking government offices.
“They were concerned that the pipeline, from a Japanese-owned paper factory, Oji Paper, would pollute a nearby fishing port.
SCMP says, “Many of the projects that have been the focus of citizen protests had been approved by the local government without sufficient consultation with residents,” said the commentary.
“Such high-profile protests highlighted the need ‘to promote interaction between citizens and government’ when assessing the environmental impact of proposed industrial projects, the commentary added.
“‘Being a responsible government means to make oneself independent of the specific entanglements of economic interests and become the implementer of the public interest, and the balancer of economic interests,’ it said.”
The People’s Daily’s commentary clearly indicates Hu Jintao’s wisdom in exploiting public anger to initiate his democratic political reform. Now, after advocating democracy in his swansong, he uses the media to publicly denounce local government’s despotic decision-making, and thus take a step forward for democratic decision-making.
This is not the first time central leaders exploiting the problem emerged to promote their reform. I mentioned in my previous posts that they exploited the serious unemployment of migrant workers caused by the world financial tsunami in 2008 to conduct the third round of economic liberalisation to remove quite a few barriers in various industries for private enterprises to enter such industries.
In my book, I oppose any violent revolution for overnight achievement of democracy, and point out that history has proved democracy cannot be achieved overnight that way. At present, it is absolutely impossible to replace current one-party autocracy with a multi-party democracy in China as the party’s central authority is too wise, too powerful and too popular.
However, that precisely provides Chinese fighters for democracy and human rights the opportunity for the political reform in the direction of a democratic transformation.
Since local despotic governments are unwilling to have democratic decision-making, Chinese people are justified to fight for their rights of protests and demonstration for democratic decision-making. Such rights have, in addition, already been written in China’s constitution.
Therefore, I believe that Chinese democratic fighters should join forces with enlightened Chinese leaders in fighting for their common goals of the rule of law and democratic decision-making. Just as I point out in my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements,” Chinese people should learn from Martin Luther King Jr to conduct non-violent struggle for their civil rights that have already been provided in their constitution.
I believe, with the super wisdom of Chinese leaders and democracy fighters, China will certainly obtain a true democracy gradually through persistent non-violent struggle.
I especially admire blind activist Chen Guangcheng’s courage when he said that he would return to China to fight for the rule of law in China.
- China: Thousands of protesters occupied Qidong government office (chinadailymail.com)
- Hu Jintao’s swan song on economic, political reform in China (chinadailymail.com)
- Successor ignores Hu Jintao’s call for democracy (chinadailymail.com)
- Democracy Conspicuously Missing in Xinhua Commentary (chinadailymail.com)
- China paper says leaders must listen after riots (capitalfm.co.ke)
- Is China Scared of a Coup? (thediplomat.com)