Top cadre warns of 'political casino'
Shanghai party boss Yu Zhengsheng has said he accepts 'independent candidates' who support communist rule, but warned them not to immerse themselves in Western-style democracy.
Yu (pictured), a member of the Politburo and a contender for a seat on the Politburo Standing Committee at next year's 18th party congress, made the comments in a rare, high-profile lecture to 5,000 student party members at Shanghai's Jiaotong University ahead of next week's 90th anniversary of the Communist Party.
Rising political stars, like Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai and Guangdong party chief Wang Yang, have boosted their profiles recently as party factions gear up for next year's leadership reshuffle.
'The border in dealing with such people [independent candidates] is over whether [they] support the constitution and communist leadership,' Yu said when asked about a wave of web-based, self-nominated 'independent candidates' for local people's congress elections.
Nearly 100 candidates have declared their candidacies on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, ahead of people's congress elections at the county and township level.
However, on June 8, an official with the National People's Congress' Legislative Affairs Commission said there was no legal basis for the 'independent candidates'.
Yu recalled receiving complaints over 'troublemaking' by a county legislator elected as an independent when he was party chief of Hubei province.
'They (those elected as independent candidates) fall into four categories. The first is those who sincerely hope to participate in the supervision of the party and the government; second is those who sincerely hoped to supervise the party and the government, but without much experience: third is those who aim for personal fame; and fourth is those pursuing the Western system and wanting to overthrow the current one,' he said.
Yu said he accepted the first two kinds and did not care about the third kind. However, when the 'independent' lawmaker accepted an invitation by the US State Department to inspect the American system, Yu warned that the lawmaker was treading a dangerous path.
He told the county official to pass on a warning: 'You should tell him that the nature of things will change as he goes further down that path.'
Over two hours, Yu said Western-style democracy would only see China return to the days of warlords and internal strife.
'China will become a venue for politicians to compete for different interests, a casino of political ambitious and a land divided,' Yu said, citing Taiwan as an example.
Yu revealed 'six or seven' of his relatives died during the Cultural Revolution. Yu respected Mao Zedong, but said he had made wrong decisions at that time.