Premier Zhu Rongji's economic reforms will fail without greater democracy, Bao Tong, the most senior party official to be jailed over the pro-democracy movement, has warned. 'Economic reform and political reform must go together or there will be corruption and failure,' Mr Bao said in one of his first interviews since regaining his political rights two days ago, a year after his release. Mr Bao, who was secretary to deposed party chief Zhao Ziyang, spent eight years in jail. He said he had no detailed plan for political reform, but wanted to start at the top by creating democracy in the party. 'The two great events in the past 50 years, the Cultural Revolution and June 4, show that there should be checks and balances on political power. 'If we do not establish a system of controls then such a thing could happen again,' he said. Mr Zhao could only go as far as Deng Xiaoping allowed, but now President Jiang Zemin had a free hand to start political reforms. A first step would be Mr Zhao's release, he said. Despite the risk of industrial unrest, this was precisely the right time to take risks. 'The real Communist Party cannot be afraid of the working class. Rather, in time of difficulty it should draw on their support,' he said. Mr Bao said Mr Zhao had favoured direct elections for chief executive. 'We discussed this. Zhao Ziyang wanted direct elections for the governorship of Hong Kong. If Zhao had stayed in power there would not have been so many problems between Britain and China. There would have been one-man, one-vote elections.' Mr Bao, 68, described how he was driven straight to Qincheng prison after being summoned to a meeting at Zhongnanhai on May 28, 1989. He then spent five years in solitary confinement. He was tried after three years and, after serving a seven-year sentence, was detained in a State Council building in the Western Hills outside Beijing for another year. He said he regretted nothing, although he had been unjustly imprisoned. 'I have never broken the law,' Mr Bao said. 'Whoever ordered the army actions committed the real crimes. The student demands were just and proper and their methods lawful and in accordance with the constitution.' Mr Bao criticised the Government for planning to welcome US President Bill Clinton in Tiananmen Square. 'It's a stupid move. What will we do if he presents a wreath and offers it to the souls of the students?'