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China’s Ex-Premier Wen Jiabao ponders his legacy

From the New York Times:

“Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China, well known for baring his emotions in public, has displayed a blend of defeatism and defensiveness as he winds down his decade in office… Mr. Wen lamented that he “fell short in some tasks” to improve people’s livelihoods. “In my heart I feel guilty and constantly blame myself,” he said.

But his most intriguing comments have touched on corruption. During a cabinet meeting last month, he said that even among top officials, “abuse of power, trading power for cash, and collusion between officialdom and commerce continue unabated.” And in a vague mea culpa before a group of overseas Chinese in Thailand late last year, Mr. Wen admitted to unidentified failings but defended his integrity by paraphrasing an ancient Chinese statesman said to have taken his own life to protest imperial corruption. “In the pursuit of truth, I would die nine times without regret,” he said.”

The comments come after an in-depth investigation by the New York Times into the business dealings of Wen’s family, uncovering billions of dollars gained while Wen was in power.

For an eye-opening look at how a Chinese Communist Party provincial official exercises his power towards the end of his tenure, watch The Transition Period by Zhou Hao.


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