Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Voting with their Feet

Zhao Ziyang in his later years
Yesterday marked the seventh anniversary of purged Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang.

Two years ago I blogged about his thoughts when he was Premier during the 1980s in a book called Prisoner of the State.

The anniversary of his death did not go unnoticed as many people came to his traditional home at No. 6 Fuqiang Hutong near Wangfujing to pay their respects.

It was a way for the crowds to show their frustration that almost after a decade there has been little or no political reform.

This year there were many more mourners than in previous years, said Zhao's son-in-law, Wang Zhihua. "It's related to the current situation, as people seem to see the country moving backwards, rather than forwards as they'd hoped," he said.

Yao Jianfu, a retired official and research fellow with the State Council's Research Centre for Rural Development also visited Zhao's house. He said people hoped leaders would learn from the example of reform pursued by Zhao and Hu Yaobang, a former party chairman and Zhao's predecessor.

Tellingly in the mourning room there is a portrait of Zhao smiling, surrounded by flowers, mostly chrysanthemums. A pair of vertical banners on a side wall reads: "It's our life-long honour to be your children, and we will forever support the decision you made."

Also, Wang said the authorities did not warn the family or try to stop them for receiving mourners. He said flowers already started arriving at 6am and the approximately 30 square metre courtyard was full of people standing and talking to each other for most of the day.

However, the authorities forbade Zhao's former secretary Bao Tong from attending any activities related to his boss for three days.

There are also numerous online tributes on Twitter and Chinese weibo or microblog sites.

When will the government realize more and more of the grassroots want change?

And now with the recent Taiwan elections, many mainlanders watched in envy as people they considered their compatriots were able to choose who they wanted in office.

They don't want the end of the Communist Party, but they do want alternatives. They want accountability.

If the Party doesn't change, the people will find a way to make things change.

The Wukan incident is one example.

You are forewarned.

1 comment:

  1. just empty talks of "ho-huai"=harmony. high pressured precarious balance of political power and wishes of the people. the wukan revolt is a good example.