Mao veterans call for a liberal China

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VETERAN communists including Mao Tse-tung’s surviving personal secretary, who is 91, have braved the wrath of party leaders in an appeal for more democracy in China, an end to censorship and an independent legal system.

Sixteen party veterans made the call in a letter to President Hu Jintao, ostensibly to voice concern at the lack of public scrutiny of China’s £400 billion economic stimulus package.

“We fear that the privileged class and corrupt officials will make use of this to fatten themselves,” they wrote. “If the relationship between party and people is destroyed in this way, social conflict will become acute.”

The text, published by the intellectual magazine Zheng Ming in Hong Kong, expounds a liberal agenda echoing Charter 08, a mass petition for democracy that is circulating in China despite an official ban.

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