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Zhou Tianyong, an adviser to the Communist Party's Central Committee and one of its most liberal voices, told the Daily Telegraph that "by 2020, China will basically finish its political and institutional reforms".
He added: "We have a 12-year plan to establish a democratic platform. There will be public democratic involvement at all government levels."
Mr Zhou also predicted "extensive public participation in policy-making, such as drawing up new legislation".
Mr Zhou is deputy head of research at the Central Party School, the most important institution for training senior leaders. President Hu Jintao is among its former directors. ...
Mr Zhou added that civil society in China would also play an important role. "There will be many more non-governmental organisations, chambers of commerce, industry associations and other social groups. Religion should also be given a wider platform to play a positive role. We should protect religious freedom," he said.
"People should not follow the traditional mindset," he added. "We should recognise that the government should serve the people and society."
But Mr Zhou did not predict the end of the one-party state, nor the demise of the Communist Party's monopoly of power.
Any transition to democracy is likely to be a slow process. China already has grassroots elections in over 660,000 villages, although these contests are often rigged. However, there are already small signs of change, with larger cities, such as Nanjing and Guangzhou, recently opening more important posts to public competition.
China already has elections in over 660,000 villages, although these are often rigged.
However, there are already small signs of change, with larger cities, such as Nanjing and Guangzhou.
The report was finished after the 17th Party Congress late last year at which the President, Hu Jintao, promised more extensive democratic and human rights, including more elections for positions within the party.
But the report's impact was quickly overtaken by events including the Tibetan riots, the Sichuan earthquake and the Xinjiang terrorist attacks.
Professor Zhou's decision to speak out - albeit to the Western media - could, analysts say, be a testing of the waters after the Tibetan unrest's chilling effect on debate. Hardline rhetoric re-emerged in the resulting climate of fear; China's head of security, Zhou Yongkang, vowed to use the police, army and courts to defeat enemies of the state.
A Beijing-based political scientist, Russell Leigh Moses, said the party was vigorously debating "whether or not it is possible to have a democratic system in China at this time … whether it is possible at any time".
"What we might be seeing is an opening in the post-Olympic atmosphere but that doesn't mean it's a tidal wave," he said.
"What politics will look like here is not predetermined in any way and that's to the credit, I think, of powerful forces within the Communist Party.
"There are many paths to holding onto power … so in one sense it's no tremendous surprise that these views are being aired because they have the sponsorship of certain people within the party who want to see alternatives being exploring.
As this new emerging elite become more powerful they also will squash anybody that will become too dangerous to their control.
After two weeks of heightened tension between China and Taiwan because of a 3.5 billion pound American arms sale to the island, Zhou said the transition to democracy was "essential for relations with Taiwan and a possible peaceful reunification."
His comments appear to rebuff the widespread belief that Chinese political reform had stalled after the riots in Tibet in March and a security clampdown before the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Instead, Zhou said the government was determined to reform itself, but that there had been some infighting between different departments.
He called for the number of ministries in Beijing to be halved to between 19 and 21 in order to form a "modern government structure".
China’s decision to allow Hong Kong to elect its own chief executive in 2017 and the entire legislature in 2020 is a momentous step forward, both for Hong Kong and for China, although Hong Kong’s pan-democrats do not seem to realize it.
On December 29, the standing committee of the National People’s Congress—China’s parliament—ruled out universal suffrage in 2012 but decided to allow it five years later for election of the chief executive and eight years later for the legislature.
It is unprecedented for the Chinese government to take this step. Although the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution enacted by China’s National People’s Congress in 1990, declared that universal suffrage was the “ultimate aim” for the election of both the chief executive and the legislature, up to now Beijing had no specific timetable for when this would happen....
Evidently, Hong Kong’s chief executive, Donald Tsang, succeeded in convincing the central government that unless the issue was resolved, it would make governance difficult for all future chief executives. Currently, the chief executive is chosen by an election committee of 800 people...
The Basic Law makes it clear that universal suffrage should be attained “in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress”. When the democrats, with their 25 votes in the legislature, rejected an interim reform package for the 2007-08 elections, it became impossible to expect universal suffrage by the very next elections, since then it could not be argued that this was the result of “gradual and orderly progress”.
Even now, although Beijing has endorsed 2017, it is still possible that universal suffrage may be delayed. That is because any model for 2012 must be approved by two-thirds of the legislature, and if there is no agreement, then universal suffrage will be stalled again...
So Hong Kong has its work cut out for it over the next dozen years. There is no time to lose. It is time to stop bickering and get down to the work at hand.
In the meantime, the demand within China itself for greater democracy will grow as Hong Kong moves to universal suffrage. Ultimately, the Chinese Communist Party will have to face a much more challenging task: what to do about democracy on the mainland.
Dr Zhou also predicted an increased role for civil society as represented by non-government organisations, charities and business and religious groups.
He was a key author of the Party School's Storming the Fortress report, released in February, which warned that China faced social and economic instability if the Communist Party did not reform itself, curb corruption and heed the public's desire for greater democracy.
The report called for systematic liberalisation including greater media and religious freedom by 2020.
Originally posted by gs001
I find most of Americans believe Chinese government is a evil regime,
and Chinese people hate the government and thirst for American sytle
Thank you for worrying about us, If I were you, I'd like to worry about
the collapse of USA instead of worrying about others