Premier Wen Jiabao emphasized that China would continue to promote "gradual reforms to political institutions," but focus primarily on economic development, according to a speech carried by Xinhua on February 26.
Wen’s speech implicitly rejected any rapid move towards
political liberalization. He noted that a "high level of democracy" and a "perfected legal system" were "hallmarks of a
developed socialist system," but that
Wen also emphasized that any political reforms would have to
be domestically driven in nature, stating that "
Hu Xingdou, a Beijing-based political
scientist noted that "Wen's
speech is an official response to the recent open call for bold
democratic reforms" [by several academics and public intellectuals]. "It's a de facto `No, we're not ready, or the timing is not
right for broad and sweeping political reforms'," according to a February 27 South China Morning Post article. The same article cited Mao Shoulong, as School of Public Administration at
Renmin University, as noted that the Chinese Communist Party has refused to adopt Western-style liberal democracy for fear that radical political change would risk chaos.