Proposed Direction and Timeline to the Chinese Government for the Implementation of Political Reform in the People’s Republic of China
(May 15 2006)
We recognize and applaud the efforts taken by the various Chinese political opposition factions in lobbying for political change or reform in the People’s Republic of China and in suggesting the various political propositions and proposals presented thus far.
Our suggestion of a “Proposal of Direction and Timeline for Political Reform in China” is but one of the many political initiatives that have been proposed and I warmly welcome any form of criticism, recommendations or additional input on this issue.
One of the most successful measures undertaken in today’s international political arena to achieve political progress is through the formulation of timelines and blueprints.
In the world of today, there is probably no issue more serious and more pressing than the topic of political reform and change in a China that houses 1.3 billion of the world’s population.
As long as political reform is not implemented in China, the Chinese people cannot retain the benefits nor relieve the suffering that has accompanied the recent economic reforms. Neither can China hope to progress towards a future of justice, equality, stability, and prosperity, nor can it dispel the doubts and reservations that nations around the world have regarding China’s future.
Moreover, an article published in the Xinhua Daily on behalf of the Communist Politburo on February 25, 1939 has stated, “They (Kuomintang) think that democracy in China is something that belongs not to the present but somewhere in the distant future. Their hope is for the Chinese people to first elevate their knowledge and educational level to one comparable to the capitalist and democratic nations of the West before they can begin to implement democracy. Actually, it is precisely under a democratic system that people can be more easily trained and educated.”
Additionally, an article from the Xinhua Daily on behalf of the Communist Politburo on February 1 1944 has stated, “In order to maintain our international status, we must begin by guaranteeing the fundamental democratic rights of the people. Fear represents cowardice, doubt represents selfishness, and opposition represents backwardness. We urge once again: Guarantee the fundamental democratic rights of the people.
On October 28, 1941, Liberation Daily published an article on behalf of the Communist Politburo, stating that “Right now, in order to establish a democratic political system, the key is to end a single-party government.”
On April 19, 1944, Xinhua Daily stated on behalf of the Communist Politburo that “Democracy and freedom of speech are inseparable.”
On February 2, 1944, Xinhua Daily once again stated on behalf of the Communist Politburo that “We must completely, fully, and effectively implement popular elections, so the people can realistically enjoy ‘popular’ and ‘equal’ right to election. With regards to the right to be elected, we must adhere to the words of Mr. Sun Yat-sen in that before every election, ‘we must guarantee that every person and organization from every locality has the right to vote and has the freedom to propose, publicize and discuss any policy propositions.’ This necessarily means that ‘we must guarantee that the people have the complete freedom of assembly, of speech, to publish, and to unionize’, otherwise, the so-called right to election is merely a right on paper.”
Therefore, at a point where the Chinese Communist Party has governed Mainland China for 57 years, at a point where economic reforms have been in practice for 28 years, at a point where the economy is growing but social conflict is also increasingly sharpening, immediately urging the Communist party to implement political change or reform is but a natural thing to do.
Thus, we propose that:
1. Beginning from 2007, Mainland China should implement five years of gradual political changes or reforms that will allow the completion of the initial objectives of political reform by 2011, which is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China, the first republic in Asia.
2. The Chinese Communist Party should emulate the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) and the Vietnamese Communist Party in holding multi-candidate elections for its General Secretary. Democratization should first begin from within the Chinese Communist Party itself.
3. Beginning from June 1, 2007, after all necessary preparation, the People’s Congress should authorize the gradual release of all prisoners that have been arrested for political, ideological, speech, religious, minority rights and other reasons. Additionally, the government should also allow all political dissidents that are exiled overseas to return to their home country.
4. Under the condition that the Chinese Communist government has implemented point number 2, which permits the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, as well as allowing all overseas exiles to return to their home country, all Chinese political opposition factions, whether in China or abroad, will cease all political activities during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, as a gesture of reciprocity.
5. After more than a year of planning and preparations beginning from 2008, the Chinese Communist Party and all Chinese political opposition factions should collaborate in organizing and participating in the “Future of China Conference”, to be held in the fall of 2009 in Beijing. This conference should primarily focus on discussing the vital issues surrounding China’s political development and on charting China’s political direction. A “Constitutional Convention” will be subsequently convened in 2010 upon legitimate authorization by the “Future of China Conference”.
Local and overseas political opposition factions and the Chinese Communist Party will each begin to organize and establish a communication group, comprising approximately 20 members. Each group should encompass a sub-team responsible for researching the planning and implementation of political reforms prior to the conference in 2009. The sub-teams should also hold at least two open, honest and friendly discussions between the beginning of 2007 and the fall of 2008, allowing a full year before the 2009 “Future of China Conference”. Ideally, relevant authorities from the United Nations should be involved in the organization, mediation and supervision of these discussions, which will be conducted once in Mainland China and the other abroad, in order to make ample preparations for the topics, schedules and implementation of the conference itself. One of the starting points of discussion could be the return of exiled political dissidents.
The “Future of China Conference” should have no less than 100 representatives from the Chinese political opposition factions. These 100 representatives should be selected through negotiations among the different executive committees of the opposition groups.
6. Members of the Constitutional Convention should first make a public declaration to the Chinese people that they will never seek any form of “dominant authority” in the future.
7. At the same time, the Chinese Communist Party should hold open, peaceful and constructive dialogues with the Taiwanese government and its other political parties, the Tibetan government in exile headed by the Dalai Lama, Falun Gong members, as well as the victims of the June 4th Tiananmen Incident. Their key representatives should be included in the 2009 “Future of China Conference” in Beijing.
8. The legislative procedures of the “News Publication Law” should be completed no later than the beginning of 2009, henceforth allowing freedom of the press in Mainland China.
9. In 2009, one or two provinces, such as Fujian, Guangdong or Hainan, should be designated as Early Political Reform Provinces, allowing for the early implementation of the Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Association legislation in these areas. Direct elections at the county and city district levels should be held no later than 2010. Building upon the foundations of experience, direct elections should also be held at the provincial level in 2011. Direct elections for the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region should be held in 2008.
10. The implementation of political reform in Mainland China should at least achieve these targets as mentioned below:
(1) Any political organization, be it the Chinese Communist Party or any other political groups, must not build up their party apparatus or political organizations within the government’s administrative departments or upon the military might of the Chinese army. Under the stipulations of China’s “Political Organizations Law”, the Chinese Communist Party and other political groupings are entitled to equal access to political power and the right to fair competition. No one political party should enjoy privileged political status or power.
(2) It is only when a parliament arises out of popular, nation-wide elections by the people themselves can it be truly considered as vested with the nation’s highest authority. China’s premier must be selected either through direct or indirect elections by the Chinese people.
(3) A nationalized and neutral military force will be commanded by the democratically elected president of the country. With the exception of the commander-in-chief, no other official within the military is allowed to interfere with the political matters of the country; otherwise he will be most severely punished by military law.
(4) The country will continue to implement open market economic policies.
(5) The country will not pursue regional supremacy and world hegemony, therefore allowing China to become an influential and responsible member of the international community.