Pro-democracy army officer joins Chinese military top brass

Liu Yazhou

SCMP’s Minnie Chan says in her report, “The leadership’s decision to appoint a liberal-leaning officer to the heights of the army is part of the party’s effort to refashion its image as open-minded and inclusive, analysts say.

“Liu Yazhou, who once warned his hawkish military colleagues that China must embrace US-style democracy or accept a Soviet-style collapse, was promoted on Monday from lieutenant general to full general, along with three others in the PLA.

“Liu, 60, has been supporting democracy since the early 1980s when he was a military reporter for the PLA. When he was not reporting on the army, he was penning military novels that enjoyed some success. Liu is the political commissar for the National Defence University.”

“In an internal speech to mid-level officers in 2009, Liu approved of a decision by two former PLA generals, Xu Qinxian and He Yanran, to refuse to suppress protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989.”

“In 2010, the Hong Kong-based political affairs magazine Phoenix Weekly ran an interview with Liu.

“‘If a system fails to let its citizens breathe freely and release their creativity to the maximum extent, and fails to put those who best represent the system and its people into leadership positions, it is certain to perish,’ the magazine quoted Liu as saying.

“‘The secret of the United States’ success is neither due to Wall Street nor Silicon Valley, but its long-surviving rule of law and the system behind it. A bad system makes a good person behave badly, while a good system makes a bad person behave well. Democracy is the most urgent thing; without it there can be no sustainable growth.’”

In my posts “Hu Jintao’s Swan Song on Economic, Political Reform” and “Successor Ignores Hu Jintao’s Call for Democracy” on July 25 and “Democracy Conspicuously Missing in Xinhua Commentary on Hu’s speech” on July 27, I pointed out Hu’s inability to do anything for the democracy he advocated in his swan song.

I was surprised by his wisdom in exploiting recent mass protests to publish a commentary on official media for democratic decision-making yesterday (refer to my post “State Media Advocates Democratic Decision-making” on July 31).

Now, I am amazed at his genius in promoting a pro-democracy general yesterday, as the PLA’s support for democracy is a key to the success of a democratic reform in China. Liu was in charge of political education at the National Defence University where he has the best opportunity to disseminate the idea of democracy in a university that trains PLA elite officers.

Read SCMP’s report entitled “Liberal-leaning officer joins top brass”

Categories: Politics & Law

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6 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Chindia Alert: forewarned is forearmed and commented:
    Let us hope that the various calls for reform are real and not an attempt to ‘out’ pro-democrats in the manner of Chairman Mao’s “Let a hundred flowers bloom” call in the 50s that led to the anti-rightist movement.


  2. Hu Jintao is a disappointment. he only talks about democracy when he is leaving. H just doesn’t have the exceptionalism to implement democracy. Just leaving it to the next guy. Can’t say i am impressed with his politial foot shuffling. For his own benefit only. No leader is he in this episode.



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