Hu Yaobang hailed on death anniversary

By Chang Meng Source:Global Times Published: 2013-4-16 0:38:02

Thousands of people marked the 24th anniversary of the death of Hu Yaobang, former general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, by visiting his tomb in Jiangxi Province Monday, while tens of thousands more posted messages of tribute online.

Hu, elected as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee in February 1980, died on April 15, 1989 and was hailed for pushing for reform and democracy.

Jiefang Daily, the newspaper run by the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee, published two articles Monday in tribute to Hu, which were later cited by several media outlets.

Zhou Ruijin, former head of Jiefang Daily who authored one article, said Hu was a pioneer in conducting extensive reforms to establish a market economy and political democracy.

In the article, Hu was described as a determined executive of reform and opening-up by supporting unconventional measures in special economic zones and reforming the traditional land ownership system in rural areas, as well as pushing for intra-Party democracy.

The People's Daily Online, the website of the flagship newspaper of the CPC Central Committee, also reposted the articles, while the news website of the Party posted a slideshow of photos of Hu, which were forwarded by the Xinhua News Agency, marking the first time Hu has been so publicly mourned.

"The widely seen memorial is more like an acquiescence to the public's expectations of the reforms by the new administration," Qi Guanghua, professor of public administration and policy at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times, adding that Hu's image as a modest but determined reformer is respected.

The article noted that the memorial reflects the challenges the new administration faces, which need a hard push "to tackle the complex conflict of interests after tremendous economic growth."

Li Weidong, a Beijing-based political observer, told the Global Times that the basic social problems of then and now - establishing an effective market-driven economy under the law, and a democratic political system - remain unchanged, but the weakened incentive for reform within the Party might be the biggest difference and hindrance.

Wang Quanjie, a former deputy to the National People's Congress, said the new leadership has no other option. "It's extremely hard to combat parties with vested interests, and we hope to see action on what the new administration said about strictly following the law."

"Different parties express their opinions at this transitional period, and the governing ideas of the new leadership will come out later," said Qi.

Memorial posts to Hu were widely circulated online on Monday, but a search of Hu's name on Sina Weibo yielded no results.

The People's Daily in 2010 carried a memorial article by then premier Wen Jiabao, the first time the authorities openly and officially mourned Hu.

Posted in: Politics

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