Ex-US envoy hails 'signs of greater transparency'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 April, 2012, 12:00am

Former US ambassador to China Jon Huntsman says the Communist Party leadership's handling of the Bo Xilai scandal suggests growing transparency within the party.

Huntsman (pictured) also said that Vice-President Xi Jinping, heir apparent to party general secretary Hu Jintao , had to find solutions to flaws in China's political system, otherwise problems such as endemic corruption would bring down the ruling party.

Asked by Christiane Amanpour on her CNN International programme about the public vilification of Bo, Huntsman said it was 'a sign of growing transparency within the party, which is a good thing'.

He added: 'I think we need to reflect on the idea that, some years ago, we never would have seen this.

'I think there's always a lot of tussling behind the velvet curtain, so to speak. But it's never seen by the rest of the world.

'This has been very public and very high profile, and I think that's largely due to greater transparency now, in China and within the party.'

He said corruption was widespread in China, citing reports that there are probably 100,000 uprisings in the country each year, usually sparked by local corruption cases. 'If there's one thing that will bring the party down, it will be corruption,' he said.

When asked how corruption could be a problem in tightly controlled China, Huntsman replied: 'This gets right to the heart of the credibility of the party.'

Huntsman said he believed that social media and blogs would change the mainland media landscape.

'When they [the communist leaders] look at a country with 600 million internet users and 90 million bloggers, this is something they never had to deal with before,' he said.

Huntsman said Xi would have to deal with those 'seeking to reform the domestic lay of the land'.

He said: 'Politically, those who are seeking greater human rights and religious tolerance, those who want an expression of acceptance for the role of the internet in society - he's going to have to deal with all of these in 2014 and 2015.'


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