People have right to criticize gov't, says Chinese Premier Wen 2009-02-28 15:44:55   Print

Premier Wen gives online interview at Xinhuanet, Gov't Portal

Profile: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao   

Premier Wen's Highlights

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao holds an online chat with netizens jointly hosted by the central government website and Xinhua website in Beijing, China, Feb. 28, 2009. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)
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    BEIJING, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- People have the right to criticize government policy and government also needs to be open and democratic in its policy-making, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Saturday in an online chat with netizens.

    "I always think that people has the right to know what the government is thinking and doing, and voice their criticism of government policy," Wen said in the Internet forum jointly hosted by the central government website ( and the Xinhua News Agency website (

    Wen said he was nervous because this is his first ever online discussion with netizens, though he surfed the Internet everyday for 30 minutes to one hour.

    "But I will always remember my mother's words to be sincere with people. I will talk to you with my heart. I will be honest, that is, I will tell you the true situation and listen to your true voices," he said.

    Wen's chat with netizens came just days before the annual session of the National People's Congress and that of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing.

    This year's "two sessions", convened at a time when the global financial crisis is still spreading, is expected to focus on thorny issues such as escalating jobless rate, social security, medical care, and corruption.

    These issues are also well reflected in the nearly 90,000 questions thrown to Wen in the chat room from netizens around the country.

    A university graduate complained it is too hard to find a job. Netizen "Dingxinwan" wondered what the government will do to rein in soaring housing prices. Netizen "Huamei" complained that officials in his/her hometown were too corrupt. Still, a netizen from Zhejiang Province wanted the government to build a paved road in his/her village.

    Citing an online poll by Xinhuanet, Wen said he is aware of the fact that corruption is still among netizens' top concern even as the nation is struggling to cope with the financial crisis.

    "Mentioning of anti-corruption, I think the most important thing is to solve defects in our system. Corruption can only be rooted out when power is supervised," said Wen.

    He announced that the government is making "active preparations" for civil servants to declare their properties, a move that has been anticipated for a long time.

    Wen said the government has taken measures to ensure people's participation in major policy-making, for example, public hearings are being held in the drafting of major laws and policies.

    Noting that online chat is a good way to communicate with the people, the premier said he is willing to do more such chats in the future.     

    Netizens' Rising Power

    Wen's two-hour interview Saturday was the second high-profile online discussion by top Chinese leaders. President Hu Jintao hada brief Q&A with netizens at the website of People's Daily in June last year.

    China's 300 million Internet population is having a bigger and bigger voice in public life. Both Hu and Wen said they personally spend time online to gauge public concerns.

    In January 2007, Hu, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, urged senior officials at a lecture attended by members of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau "to improve their Internet literacy and use the Internet well so as to improve the art of leadership".

    According to the China Internet Network Information Center, the population of China's netizens had surpassed 300 million in January, the biggest in the world. The figure is 23.8 percent of the whole nation's population.

    Beijing-based Renmin University China Media College Vice President Yu Guoming told Xinhua that Chinese officials and scholars now felt obliged to notice citizens online views as a way to learn about the social situation and people's thoughts.

    "Online opinions have become an indispensable part of public voices," Yu said. "The Internet offers the most convenient vent for the voices of common people, without any editing."

    "Conventional media usually convey only one kind of views but the Internet allows dissenting views as long as they are in line with laws," he said.

    Chinese Premier agrees "good system matters more than a good premier"

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao holds an online chat with netizens jointly hosted by the central government website and Xinhua website in Beijing, China, Feb. 28, 2009. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
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    BEIJING, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao responded to the criticism from Chinese netizens on Saturday, admitting that to have seriously ill children rescued, a good medical system would matter more than a good premier.

    He made this remark in a joint interview by the central government website ( and the Xinhua News Agency website ( ).

Editor: Bi
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