China's Prisoner of Conscience

The secret journals of Zhao Ziyang, once China's best hope for political reform, surface in a new book.

Zhao with students in Tiananmen Square, 1989.

Excerpt 6: Democracy

Page 270 (from Part 6: How China Must Change, Chapter 5: The Way Forward)

Former Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang's secret journals were smuggled out of China and are to be published May 19th, for the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.

Audio (in Chinese):
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English Transcript

Of course, it is possible that in the future a more advanced political system than parliamentary democracy will emerge. But that is a matter for the future. At present, there is no other.

Based on this, we can say that if a country wishes to modernize, not only should it implement a market economy, it must also adopt a parliamentary democracy as its political system. Otherwise, this nation will not be able to have a market economy that is healthy and modern, nor can it become a modern society with a rule of law. Instead it will run into the situations that have occurred in so many developing countries, including China: commercialization of power, rampant corruption, a society polarized between rich and poor.

Related

From the Inside, Out
Book Review: Zhao Ziyang Continues His Fight Postmortem

Secret Memoir Reveals Dissent
Zhao Ziyang violated one of the central tenets of Communist Party doctrine: He spoke out.

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