Friday, April 4, 2008

NYT Archive 1989: Li Peng Rejects The Soviet Example

On April 4, 1989, at the end of the National People's Congress, Premier Li Peng held a two-hour long press conference. The New York Times reported that Li Peng stressed that China would not copy the Soviet Union's political restructuring:
''Democracy is a good thing,'' Mr. Li said, ''but it must arise from the conditions within a country. As far as China is concerned, we want to build a democracy, and we think that if we do this work well it will contribute to economic development and social stability.''
He added: ''On the other hand, if the democratic process is carried out in haste, or excessively, then it will certainly affect our stability and unity. If stability is undermined, that will impair our work of reform and national construction.''
Asked about the recent developments in the Soviet Union, Mr. Li said, ''China's conditions are different from those in the Soviet Union, and we cannot mechanically copy the measures or policies adopted by the Soviet Union.''
Several times in the two-hour news conference, Mr. Li pressed the same theme: that China favors democracy, but in prudent doses, and that too much too soon could affect social stability and economic development.

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