Premier Wen Jiabao is getting out his band of violins again with another sad tale to appeal to the masses that he is just like them.
In comments that were published yesterday in China Education News, Wen opened up about his family background and how his family was "constantly attacked" in Maoist campaigns.
Senior leaders do not usually talk about their pasts, but Wen told students and teachers at Nankai High School, his alma mater in Tianjin last week that his father was dismissed as a teacher and sent to look after pigs.
"After I went to high school and university, my family suffered constant attacks in the successive political campaigns," he said. Wen comes from a family of teachers and during Mao's campaigns to root out his adversaries, the party attacked and demoted citizens thought to have bad "class" backgrounds or suspect pasts. His father and grandfather were victims.
"In 1960, my father was also investigated for so-called historical problems. He could no longer teach and was sent to work on a farm on the outskirts of the city to tend pigs, and then later worked in a library," he said last week.
His grandfather constantly had to write "self-criticisms" according to surviving files from his school, Wen said. He died of cerebral hemorrhage in 1960.
"I was the one who carried him on my back to the hospital," he said.
Wen added his grandfather's self-criticisms "are filled with one self-criticism after another, written in small, neat characters," he added.
The 69-year-old Wen seems to be persistent in advocating political reforms perhaps because of his personal experiences.
Others think he is still too vague on his call for reforms or that he lacks support from other senior leaders to be taken seriously.
"I come from the people, and had a hard childhood, so I feel sympathy for all poor people and have given all that I can for the sake of their happiness," he said.
"My childhood was spent in war and hardship, and the poverty, turmoil and famine left an ineradicable imprint on my young soul."
If that's not dramatic enough, I don't know what is.
However if Wen really was determined to make things better for people, he really needs to prove himself with action and specific words otherwise his efforts of being a "man of the people" is just another illusion.