A LIBERAL scholar has joined the fray defending China's capitalist-style reforms and criticising leftists opposed to them.
Wang Yu, an economist of the Communist Party School, said it was of paramount importance that China continued its present direction of reform.
He said there should be no confusion between the 'primary stage of socialism' and the first stage of a Marxist society.
Countries which were in the 'primary stage' could allow the existence of private economy, meaning that China had not betrayed Marxism nor abandoned socialism as claimed by the leftists, he said.
The professor's warning that failing to reach a consensus over the issue could derail China's modernisation was the second diatribe fired by the liberal faction this week to criticise the leftists.
Xing Bensi used the same argument in attacking leftists in an interview last week.
The 'primary stage' theory was first written into a Communist Party document in 1987 by disgraced Party boss Zhao Ziyang. President Jiang Zemin resurrected the concept in his May 29 speech in a bid to push ahead with the shareholding system in state enterprises.
The President is widely expected to further water down the principle of the 'dominance of public ownership' in next month's 15th Communist Party Congress - a move opposed by the leftists.