Wei Jingsheng, one of China’s most prominent dissidents exiled abroad, discusses changes within the Chinese Communist party, possibilities for political and economic reform, the impact of Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize, and the West's deference to China.
Nathan Gardels: The Communist Party’s Central Committee has just completed its plenary session. What is the significance of the promotion of Xi Jinping, the vice president? Was there anything notable in this meeting that the world ought to be paying attention to?
Wei Jingsheng: By naming Xi Jinping as vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, the party leaders have put him in line to succeed Secretary-General (of the Communist Party) Hu Jintao. What does it mean? It indicates the internal fight within the party has been relaxed a little.
Xi Jinping was mayor of Xiamen (from 1985 to 1988) and worked his way up to governor of Fujian (until 2002), then party secretary of Zhejiang Province (until 2007), before he became party secretary of Shanghai. All these places are in the economically booming coastal region. In 2009, he was also in charge of an internal party group that sought to suppress liberal intellectuals and nongovernment organizations as well as further restrict Internet access on sensitive political topics.
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