《Economis》:Tintin ,A very European hero

A Tintin blockbuster is on the way. Baffled Americans hoping to understand him should look at him through the prism of post-war Europe

Moulinsart-Studios Herge

IT IS one of Europe's more startling laws. In 1949 France banned children's books and comic strips from presenting cowardice in a "favourable" light, on pain of up to a year in prison for errant publishers. It was equally forbidden to make laziness or lying seem attractive. The law created an oversight committee to watch for positive depictions of these ills, along with crime, theft, hatred, debauchery and acts "liable to undermine morality" among the young.

Taken literally, the law suggests that an ideal comic-book hero would resemble an overgrown boy scout, whose adventures involve pluck, fair play, restrained violence and no sex. That is a pretty accurate description of Tintin, the Belgian boy reporter who enjoyed spectacular success in post-war Europe.

Tintin's slightly priggish character fitted the times. His simple ethical code―seek the truth, protect the weak and stand up to bullies―appealed to a continent waking up from the shame of war. His wholesome qualities help explain the great secret of his commercial success―that he was, and remains, one of the rare comic books that adults are happy to buy for children.

But probity cannot explain why Tintin became a cultural landmark in Europe, as important on his side of the Atlantic as Superman on the other. There were plenty of wholesome comics in post-war Europe, most of them justly forgotten. Something else in Tintin spoke to children and adults in continental Europe. Even in the straitened years of post-war reconstruction, he was soon selling millions of books a year.

Admirers point to the quality of the drawing in Tintin, and the tense pacing of the plots, and they are right. Any child reared on "King Ottokar's Sceptre", a Balkan thriller; or "The Calculus Affair", about a scientist's kidnap, will later feel a shock of familiarity when watching Hitchcock films or reading Graham Greene. It is all there: the dangerous glamour of cities at night; the terror of a forced drive into the forest; a world of tapped hotel telephones and chain-smoking killers in the lobby downstairs.

Yet even excellence does not explain Tintin's success in Europe. For, despite his qualities, Tintin has never been a big hit in the Anglo-Saxon world. In Britain, he is reasonably well known, but as a minority taste, bound within narrow striations of class: his albums are bought to be tucked into boarding school trunks or read after Saturday morning violin lessons. In America, Tintin is barely known.

All societies reveal themselves through their children's books. Europe's love affair with Tintin is more revealing than most.

Any exploration of Tintin's hold on continental affections must start not with culture, but with history. For all the talk about morality, France's 1949 law on children's books had ideological roots. It was pushed by an odd alliance of Communists, Catholic conservatives and jobless French cartoonists, determined that French children should be reading works imbued with "national" values. Pascal Ory, a historian at the Sorbonne university (author of "Mickey Go Home. The de-Americanisation of the cartoon strip"), writes that the main aim of the law―which, remarkably, remains in force today, tweaked in the 1950s to add a ban on incitement of ethnic prejudice―was to block comics from America.

The question of the transatlantic gap remains current. The coming year is a big one for Tintin. In 2009 it will be 80 years since the boy reporter embarked on his first adventure, a trip to the Soviet Union. In Belgium a museum is to open, dedicated to the work of Hergé, Tintin's creator, whose real name was Georges Remi. (His initials, when reversed, are pronounced Hergé in French.) Even under construction, the museum is impressive: a soaring structure of concrete and glass, wrapped around a large wooden form like the hull of an upturned ship. The seriousness of the architecture carries a message. This is not a theme park, but a gallery for high art. That is an uncontroversial view in continental Europe, especially in Belgium and France, where cartoon strips are reviewed in critical essays and dissected in academic theses.

In America filming is supposed to begin in earnest on a trilogy of Tintin films to be directed by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, using digital "performance capture" technology to create a hybrid between animation and live action. Mr Spielberg secured an option to film Tintin shortly before Hergé's death in 1983. The delays seem to have been caused partly by American puzzlement at Tintin. In September 2008 Universal Pictures pulled out of a plan to co-finance the project. The Hollywood Reporter, a trade publication, describes the films as being about "a young Belgian reporter and world traveller who is aided in his adventures by his faithful dog Snowy", and explains that this storyline is "hugely popular in Europe". You can almost hear the baffled shrugs.

Moulinsart-Studios Herge

As a journalist, Tintin is spectacularly unproductive, even by the idle standards of his trade. In all 24 albums he pauses perhaps twice to jot down a note. He happily gives rival reporters the details of his latest scoop. Only once is he seen with a completed article, on his inaugural 1929 trip to the Soviet Union. He briefly ponders how to get the manuscript to his office, before yawning and heading for bed, declaring: "Oh well, we'll think about that tomorrow." Four frames later, secret policemen are climbing the stairs to arrest him, and the article is never mentioned again.

Unlike another fictional adolescent with a media job―the American comic character Spiderman (portrayed as a freelance photographer in civilian life)―Tintin is not an outsider, or a rebel against the established order. He defends monarchs against revolutionaries (earning a knighthood in one book). His first instinct on catching a villain is to hand him over to the nearest police chief. He does not carry his own gun, though he shoots like an ace. Though slight, he has a very gentlemanly set of fighting skills: he knows how to box, how to sail, to drive racing cars, pilot planes and ride horses. He has few chances to rescue girls or women, moving in an almost entirely male, sexless world, but is quick to defend small boys from unearned beatings. His quick wits compensate for his lack of brawn. André Malraux, a French writer and politician, claimed that General de Gaulle called Tintin his "only international rival", because both were famous for standing up to bullies.

Tintin is grandly uninterested in money. He is indifferent when―on occasion―he is offered large sums for accounts of catching some villain. Hergé's disdain for transatlantic capitalism is portrayed in the 1931 "Tintin in America", in which businessmen bid each other up to offer Tintin $100,000 for an oil well. When the young reporter explains the well is on Blackfoot Indian land, the businessmen steal the land from the Indians.

European snobbery about money permeates the books. Villains are frequently showy arrivistes. Old money is good. A gift (as opposed to gainful employment) allows his best friend, Captain Haddock, to buy back his family's ancestral mansion. The captain takes to castle life with relish. Enriched by a treasure find, he swaps his seaman's uniform for an increasingly Wodehousian wardrobe involving cravats, tweeds and at one point a monocle.

Hergé did not share his creation's lack of interest in money. He paid minute attention to marketing (in total, some 200m albums have been sold) and the production of puzzles, colouring books and toys. Though Hergé is routinely voted onto lists of "10 famous Belgians", he had no illusions about his homeland's limitations as a market. He quickly began excising references to Tintin's Belgian roots to boost his appeal on the French and Swiss markets, referring to him in 1935 as a "young European reporter". He was happy for English-language editions to leave the impression that Tintin was British. Captain Haddock's ancestral mansion changed from the Chateau de Moulinsart into Marlinspike Hall, and his most illustrious ancestor became a hero of the British royal navy, rather than a commander in the fleet of Louis XIV.

Assuming that Tintin does end up the subject of a Hollywood blockbuster, many around the world will soon think he is American. Hergé's heirs know Tintin's fame will take on quite different, global dimensions, in a way that will be hard to control. That will mark a big change.

After Hergé's death, his wife Fanny inherited the rights to his work. She remains in overall artistic control of the Hergé Studios in Brussels (day to day the studios are run by Fanny's second husband, Nick Rodwell, a British businessman). The studios are known for the ferocity with which they guard the works, scouring the world for abuses of copyright from Hergé's old offices on a smart shopping avenue.

Mrs Rodwell confesses to seeing risks in Hollywood doing Tintin. To her, the charm of Hergé's work is absolutely "European"―more "nuanced" than an American comic strip. The American style of telling a story threatens that European "sensibility", she suggests: American narratives are "very dynamic, but more violent, and are much more aggressively paced."

Hergé wanted the risk taken. He died days before a planned face-to-face meeting with Mr Spielberg, but had been briefed on the director's thinking by a trusted assistant, Alain Baran, sent to Los Angeles to open negotiations. Mr Baran later wrote that Mr Spielberg saw Tintin as an "Indiana Jones for kids", imagining Jack Nicholson as Captain Haddock. Such talk did not alarm Hergé. He said a film-maker like Mr Spielberg should be given free rein, and told his wife: "This Tintin will doubtless be different, but it will be a good Tintin."

Such artistic openness is perhaps surprising, given where Hergé began his career. He always said the Catholic boy-scout movement rescued him from a "grey" childhood in lower middle-class Brussels. From there, he fell in with a slightly hysterical clutch of hard-right priests and nationalists, one of whom gave him his first job, on a small Belgian Catholic newspaper, the Vingtième Siècle, which fervently supported the monarchy, Belgian missionaries in the Congo and Mussolini and loathed the Bolshevik atheists running Russia and "Judeo-American" capitalism.

Tintin was born in this unpromising environment, in a weekly children's supplement, Le Petit Vingtième. Hergé wanted to draw cartoons about the Wild West of America. His employer, an alarming priest named Norbert Wallez, had other ideas, ordering that the new fictional reporter be sent to the Soviet Union, then to Belgium's colony in the Congo.

The 1930 story "Tintin in the Congo" has done much to feed Hergé's reputation for racism. Its Africans are crude caricatures: child-men with wide eyes and bloated lips who prostrate themselves before Tintin (as well as Snowy his dog), after he shows off such magic as an electromagnet, or quinine pills for malaria.

Moulinsart-Studios Herge

In Scandinavia the staggering toll of African wildlife Tintin kills―especially a rhinoceros he reduces to blackened chunks with dynamite―has prompted additional angst. The book remains popular in Africa, Hergé defenders like to assert. But, in truth, it has lost any charm it ever possessed. It is a work of propaganda―not for "colonialism", as is often said―but more narrowly for Belgian missionaries, one of whom keeps saving Tintin's life in evermore ludicrous ways: first dispatching a half dozen crocodiles with a rifle then rescuing him from a roaring waterfall, seemingly unhindered by his advanced age and ankle-length soutane.

Hergé's reputation is also marked by charges of anti-Semitism. He received many complaints about one of his villains, the hook-nosed New York financier, "Mr Blumenstein". It does not help that this caricature appeared in "The Shooting Star", an adventure written in 1941 while living in Brussels under Nazi occupation. In the field of devout Tintinologists, much effort has been put to explaining this "lapse" away. Michael Farr, a British expert on Tintin, is typical, writing in 2001 that as soon as Hergé realised that his character was "liable to misunderstanding", he gave Blumenstein a different name and a new nationality, having him hail from "São Rico".

Tintinologists have a ready explanation too for another lapse: the fact that Hergé spent the war working for Le Soir, a Belgian newspaper seized by the German occupiers and turned into a propaganda organ. This is usually explained by Hergé's "naivety", as an author of children's comics (a defence also used for P.G. Wodehouse).

Alas, none of those arguments survive a reading of a biography of Hergé by Philippe Goddin, published in 2007. Mr Goddin's honesty is commendable: his is an official biography, based on Hergé's large collection of private papers.

Mr Goddin returns to "The Shooting Star", and its initial newspaper serialisation in Le Soir. This included a strip about the panic unleashed when it seemed a giant meteorite would hit the earth. In one frame, he writes, Hergé drew two Jews rejoicing that if the world ended, they would not have to pay back their creditors. At that same moment in Belgium, Mr Goddin notes, Jews were being ordered to move to the country's largest cities and remove their children from ordinary schools. They were also banned from owning radios, and were subject to a curfew. In the news pages of Le Soir, these measures were described as indispensable preparations for an orderly "emigration" of Jews. A year later, Hergé deleted the drawing of the Jews of his own accord, when the serialised "The Shooting Star" became an album.

Mr Goddin demolishes the excuse of naivety, thanks to papers found in Hergé's files. As early as October 1940, he records, Hergé received an anonymous letter accusing him of luring Belgian children to read German propaganda, by publishing Tintin in Le Soir's youth supplement. A few months later, Hergé had a bitter argument with an old friend, Philippe Gérard. In a letter, Gérard demanded Hergé either endorse the "odious propaganda" of Le Soir or make his disagreement with the German occupation known. Saying it was just "a job" would not do, his friend concluded.

By way of reply, Hergé offered a defence of neutrality. "I am neither pro-German, nor pro-British," he wrote back. "As I can do absolutely nothing to hasten the victory of either England or Germany, I watch, I observe and I chew things over. Calmly and without passion." His aim was to remain an "honest man", Hergé wrote, which did not mean shouting "Heil Hitler" or volunteering for the Waffen SS. Some said German occupiers were pillaging Belgium. An honest man had to acknowledge this was not true.

There is a link between Hergé, this disappointing man, and his creation Tintin, who fights against despots so bravely. It lies in the rationalisation of impotence: a very European preoccupation.

The key to Tintin is that he has the mindset of "someone born in a small country", says Charles Dierick, in-house historian at the Hergé Studios. He is "the clever little guy who outsmarts big bullies". And as a little guy, even a clever one, Tintin's bravery works within limits: he rescues friends, and foils plots. But when he finds himself in Japanese-controlled Shanghai, in "The Blue Lotus", he can do nothing to end the broader problem of foreign occupation.

Hergé's final complete adventure, the 1976 "Tintin and the Picaros", offers the clearest expression of this doctrine of neutrality. Tintin finds himself summoned to rescue old friends from a civil war between two Latin American warlords. One general is backed by "Borduria", a fictional but identifiably Communist-block nation. The other is financed by the (presumably American) International Banana Company. Tintin does not take political sides. He contents himself by backing the rebel general in exchange for his friends' freedom, and a pledge that the revolution will be bloodless, with no executions or reprisals. That focus on the death penalty is an extremely European way for Tintin to remain a "man of good faith", to borrow a phrase Hergé used about himself. There is no wild talk of promoting democracy, or even regime change.

Interviewed late in life, Hergé acknowledged the links between his wartime experiences and his moral outlook. The second world war lies behind a great deal in Tintin, just as it lies deep beneath the political instincts of many on the European continent. It matters a lot that the Anglo-Saxon world has a different memory of that same war: it is a tragic event, but not a cause for shame, nor a reminder of impotence.

Tintin has never fallen foul of the 1949 French law on children's literature. He is not a coward, and the albums do not make that vice appear in a favourable light. But he is a pragmatist, albeit a principled one. Perhaps Anglo-Saxon audiences want something more from their fictional heroes: they want them imbued with the power to change events, and inflict total defeat on the wicked. Tintin cannot offer something so unrealistic. In that, he is a very European hero.

Moulinsart-Studios Herge


Nobel Laureates, China Scholars Call for Liu Xiaobo’s Release

December 22, 2008

President Hu Jintao
People's Republic of China
Zhongnanhai, Xichengqu,
People's Republic of China

Dear President Hu Jintao,

We, the undersigned scholars, writers, lawyers and human rights advocates write to share our deep concern with the ongoing arbitrary detention of literary critic and former professor of literature Liu Xiaobo.

Mr. Liu, a prominent and highly-regarded intellectual both in and outside of China, was taken away from his home in Beijing by public security officers on the evening of December 8. During the accompanying search of his apartment, which lasted for several hours, police seized his computers, mobile phones, and most of his personal papers.

No official reason has been given for Mr. Liu's arrest. In violation of China's own laws and regulations, the police have failed to inform either his relatives or his lawyer of his whereabouts or the reasons for his detention.

Because of the fact that Mr. Liu's arrest came half a day before the publication of a public appeal to promote human rights and democracy in China entitled "Charter 08," and because the police detained and questioned several other "Charter 08" signatories at the same time, the presumption is that Mr. Liu has been arrested solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed under China's constitution and international law.

Mr. Liu's activities have always been peaceful and according to law. Although he was twice arbitrarily detained for several years for writing articles criticizing the government, he has never been convicted of any crime. In recent years, Mr. Liu's reputation grew as his essays on current affairs in China and his principled defense of human rights and democracy circulated widely. Mr. Liu has consistently opposed recourse to violence. In his articles, he has lauded the amendments to the constitution that stipulate respect for human rights and property rights. He has written strongly in favor of the development of a free civil society in China.

As President of the People's Republic of China, you have yourself often pledged to strengthen China's legal system, stressing recently that "the rule of law is important for the promotion, realization and safeguarding of a harmonious society." We urge you to honor your commitment to ensure the civil rights of citizens who peacefully express their views on public affairs.

For the international community to take seriously China's oft-stated commitment to respect human rights and the rule of law, and for China's own citizens to trust the judicial system to redress legitimate grievances, it is urgent that China's central leadership ensure that no one be arrested or harassed simply for the peaceful expression of his or her views.

It is equally urgent that judicial authorities throughout China cease to use China's anti-subversion law to prosecute peaceful critics such as Mr. Liu Xiaobo, who should be released immediately without conditions.


Edoardo Albinati

Elisabeth Allès
Director, Centre d'études sur la Chine Moderne et Contemporaine (Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary China)
École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

Vincenzo Balzani
Professor, Department of Chemistry
University of Bologna

Geremie R. Barmé
Federation Fellow, College of Asian & Pacific Studies
Australian National University

Robbie Barnett
Professor of Tibetan Studies
Columbia University

Richard Baum
Professor of Political Sciences
University of California in Los Angeles

Jean-Philippe Béja
Senior Researcher, CNRS/CERI Paris, CEFC
Hong Kong

Robert Benewick
Emeritus Professor of Politics
University of Sussex

Gregor Benton
Professor of Chinese History and Archeology
Cardiff University
Wales, UK

Bernard Bernier
Professor, Department of Anthropology
Université de Montréal

Robert Bernstein
Founding Chair, Human Rights Watch

Thomas P. Bernstein
Professor Emeritus, Political Science
Columbia University

Igor Blazevic
Director, One World Human Rights Film Festival
Czech Republic

Board of International Pen
Jiri Grusa, President, International PEN
Eugene Schoulgin, International Secretary, International PEN
Cecilia Balcazar, Board Member
Mike Butscher, Board Member
Takeaki Hori, Board Member
Eric Lax, Board Member
Yang Lian, Board Member
Mohamed Magani, Board Member
Kristin Schnider, Board Member
Karin Clark, Chair International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee

Michel Bonnin
Professor, Centre d'études sur la Chine Moderne et Contemporaine (Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary China)
École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

Anna Bravo
Turin University

Alessandra Brezzi
Associate Professor
University of Urbino

Vincent Brossel
Head of Asia-Pacific Desk
Reporters Sans Frontières 

Jean-Pierre Cabestan
Professor and Head, Department of Government and International Studies
Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong

Claude Cadart
Researcher (Retired)
CNRS/CERI Sciences-Po, Paris

William A. Callahan
Chair in International Politics
Co-Director, British Inter-University China Centre
University of Manchester

Anita Chan
Visiting Research Fellow, Contemporary China Centre
Australian National University

Gordon G. Chang

Kristen Cheney
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
University of Dayton

Joseph Cheng
Professor of Political Sciences, City University
Hong Kong

Cheng Yingxiang
Researcher (Retired)
CNRS/CERI Sciences-Po, Paris

Leïla Choukroune
Assistant Professor of Law
HEC Paris School of Management

Martin Chung
Lecturer, School of Arts, Letters and Sciences
Macao Inter-University Institute

Marcello Cini
Professor Emeritus
La Sapienza University, Rome

Jerome A. Cohen
NYU School of Law

Patrizia Dado
Associate Professor of Chinese Modern and Contemporary Literature
Faculty of Oriental Studies
La Sapienza University, Rome

Gloria Davies
Convenor of Chinese Studies
Monash University

Michael C. Davis
Professor of Law
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Sara L.M. Davis
Executive director
Asia Catalyst

Bob Dietz
Asia Program Coordinator
Committee to Protect Journalists

Jean-Luc Domenach
Senior Researcher
CERI-Sciences-Po (Institute of Political Sciences), Paris

Michael W. Dowdle
Faculty of Law
National University of Singapore

June Teufel Dreyer
Professor, Department of Political Science
University of Miami

Ryan Dunch
Associate Professor, History and Classics
University of Alberta

Umberto Eco
Professor of Semiology
University of Bologna

Richard Louis Edmonds
Visiting Professor in the Committee on Geographical Studies
Center for East Asian Studies
University of Chicago

Fang Lizhi
Professor of Physics
University of Arizona

Feng Chongyi
Deputy Director, China Research Centre
University of Technology, Sydney

Ernesto Ferrero
Writer, Director of the International Book Fair of Turin

Eric Florence
Researcher, Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies
University of Liege

Marcello Flores
Professor, Comparative History
University of Siena

Christine Fréchette
Chaire d'études politiques et économiques américaines (CÉPÉA)
Montréal, Canada

Edward Friedman
Professor, Political Science
University of Wisconsin     

Matilde Callari Galli
Department Chair, Educational Sciences
University of Bologna

Anna Maria Gentili
Department of Politics, Institutions and History
Alma Mater Studiorum
University of Bologna

Carlo Ginzburg
Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa

Andre Glucksmann

Merle Goldman
Professor Emerita
Boston University

Richard J. Goldstone
Former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
Learned Hand Visiting Professor of Law
Harvard Law School

Nadine Gordimer
Nobel Laureate in Literature
South Africa

Lars Grahn
Book publisher, retired

Andrea Graziosi
Professor, Contemporary History
Federico II University, Naples

Giles Gunn
Professor and Chair, Global and International Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Tyrell Haberkorn
Peace and Conflict Studies Program
Colgate University

Carol Hayman
Professor of Anthropology
Austin Community College

Seamus Heaney
Nobel Laureate in Literature

Donald Holzman
Professor Emeritus
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

Marie Holzman
Writer and sinologist

Sharon Hom
Executive Director
Human Rights in China

Jean-François Huchet
French Center for Research on Contemporary China
Hong Kong

Bruce Jacobs
Professor Asian Languages
Monash University

Jean-François Julliard
Secretary General
Reporters Sans Frontières

Lucina Kathmann
International Vice-President, International PEN
Novelist and essayist

Willem E.C. Van Kemenade
Visiting Senior Fellow
Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael)
The Hague, The Netherlands

Wendy Keys

Hari Kunzru

Jeri Laber
Consultant to the Association of American Publishers

Andre Laliberte
Associate Professor, School of Political Studies
University of Ottawa

Willy Lam
Akita International University

Alessandra Lavagnino
Professor of Chinese Language and Culture
University of Milan

Marc Lazar
Sciences-Po Paris (Institute of Political Science), Paris
Luiss University, Rome

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
Vice President International PEN

Steven I. Levine
Associate Director, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center
University of Montana

Xiaorong Li
Senior researcher, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy
University of Maryland

Lin Xiling
Former Rightist

Perry Link
Chancellorial Chair for Innovation in Teaching Across Disciplines
University of California, Riverside

Dimon Liu
Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, The Council of Independent Colleges

Stanley Lubman
Lecturer in Residence
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Richard Madsen
Professor of Sociology
University of California, San Diego

Alessandro Marzo Magno

Victor H. Mair
Professor Chinese Language and Literature
University of Pennsylvania

James Mann
Johns Hopkins, School of Advanced International  Studies

Barrett L. McCormick
Professor, Political Science Department
Marquette University

Françoise Mengin
Senior Researcher
CERI-Sciences-Po (Institute of Political Sciences), Paris

Alice Lyman Miller
Research fellow, Hoover Institution
Stanford University

Andrew Miller
Senior Editor, Alfred A. Knopf

Marina Miranda
Associate Professor
History of contemporary China
La Sapienza University. Rome

Olivier Mongin

Marc-Olivier Padis
Rédacteur en chef de la revue Esprit

Ronald N. Montaperto 
Consultant on Asian Affairs
North Carolina

Robin Munro
Research Associate, Law Dept, SOAS

Andrew J. Nathan
Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science
Columbia University

Barry Naughton
Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
University of California, San Diego

Valerie Niquet
Director, Asia Centre
French Institute of International Relations (IFRI)

Giorgio Parisi
Professor of Theoretical Physics
La Sapienza University, Rome
Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)

Enrico Parlato
Associate Professor
La Tuscia University

Pia Pera

Martyne Perrot
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris

Roberta Pierobon

Eva Pils
Assistant Professor
Hong Kong

Anemone Platz
Associate Professor, Asian Section
Aarhus University

Karoline Postel-Vinay
Senior Researcher
CERI-Sciences-PO (Institute of Political Sciences), Paris

Benjamin L. Read
Assistant Professor
Politics Department
University of California, Santa Cruz

Maria Rita Masci
Literary translator

Arthur Rosenbaum
Associate Professor of History
Claremont McKenna College

Kenneth Roth
Executive Director
Human Rights Watch

Elisa Rotino
Lecturer in History and Civilization of Far East
Università L'Orientale, Naples

Salman Rushdie

Victoria Sanford
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Lehman College and The Graduate Center
City University of New York

Éric Sautedé
School of Management, Leadership and Government
Macao Inter-University Institute

Patricia Scott Schroeder
President and CEO, Association of American Publishers

Jonathan Schwartz
Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of Asian Studies
State University of New York, New Paltz

James C. Scott
Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology
Yale University

Jacques Seurre
Agence France Presse

James Seymour
Honorary Senior Research Fellow
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Tsering Shakya
Canadian Research Chair on Religion and Contemporary Society in Asia
Institute of Asian Research University of British Columbia

Satoru Shinomiya
Professor of Law
Waseda Law School

Susan L. Shirk
University of California, San Diego

Joel Simon
Executive Director
Committee to Protect Journalists

Gianni Sofri
Università di Bologna

Dorothy J. Solinger
Professor, Political Science
University of California, Irvine

Yongyi Song
Associate Professor/Librarian
California State University

Wole Soyinka
Nobel Laureate in Literature

Elliot Sperling
Indiana University

Leslie E. Sponsel
Professor of Anthropology 
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Christine Stufferin
President, Alex Langer Foundation

Su Xiaokang
Chinese writer in exile

Frederick C. Teiwes
Emeritus Professor of Chinese Politics
University of Sydney

Stig Thogersen
Professor of China Studies
Aarhus Universtity

Emilie Tran
Visiting Professor
University of Science and Technology
Hong Kong

Steve Tsang
Reader in Politics, Oxford University

Toshiro Ueyanagi
Professor of Law
Waseda Law School

Jonathan Unger
Professor and Head Contemporary China Centre
Australian National University

Peter Van Ness
Contemporary China Centre and Department of International Relations Research School of Pacific & Asian Studies
Australian National University

Sebastian Veg
CEFC (French Centre of Research on Contemporary China)
Hong Kong

Sandro Veronesi

Wan Yanhai
Beijing Aizhixing Institute

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
Professor of History
University of California, Irvine

Martin K. Whyte
Department of Sociology
Harvard University

Calla Wiemer
Visiting Scholar
Center for Chinese Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Leon Wieseltier
Literary editor, The New Republic

Leroy B. Williams
Professor of History and Political Science
Harvard University

Richard A. Wilson
Gladstein Distinguished Chair in Human Rights
Director Human Rights Institute
University of Connecticut

Wendy Wolf
Editorial director, nonfiction
Viking Penguin

Dr. Guoguang Wu
Chair in China and Asia-Pacific Relations Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives
University of Victoria

Yu Maochun
Professor of East Asia and Military History
United States Naval Academy 

Francesco Zamponi
Researcher CNRS
Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris

Sam Zarifi
Director, Asia-Pacific Region
Amnesty International

Kate Zhou
Associate Professor of Political Science
University of Hawaii



































2008.10月 四川省成都市武侯区机投中学罢课





























山西太原将严肃处置违法信访行为 含进京上访等
  1. 在北京天安门广场、中南海、外国驻华使馆、中央领导驻地和省市党政机关等非信访场所上访的;
  2. 屡次违反《信访条例》的;
  3. 为制造影响到外国驻华使领馆和驻华机构实施穿状衣、举标语、喊口号的,
  4. 违反《信访条例》组织、煽动集体上访的,
  5. 进京上访的


























奇谈怪论: 男子扔鸡蛋污损党旗国旗军旗被拘 薄熙来亲批示

重庆时报讯 近日,我市公安机关经过近10天的艰苦奋战,成功侦破沙坪坝区红岩魂广场污损旗帜案,忠诚捍卫了党和国家的形象和尊严。中央政治局委员、市委书记薄熙来和市长王鸿举对此专门作出批示,充分肯定了我市公安机关所作的努力,认为此案的迅速侦破显示了公安机关的政治、业务素质。





出警105人次 排查873人















民族的败类.严惩不待!!!!!   查看原文>> 拜托你搞清楚"民族"和"国家"的区别。
我估计这两家伙是下岗分子,没事干了   查看原文>> 我虽然不是下岗工人,但猜测你这么高素质应该是党员
应该枪毙!!!   查看原文>> 枪毙谁啊?











---2008 年2月19日,铁道部新闻发言人王勇平回应广州政协副主席郭锡龄对铁道路的批评时说。他同时反驳郭:"从来就没听说过铁道部从长江以北调过任何一台内燃机车到广州地区参与救灾"。但之前的1月31日王曾发言:"像当年支援淮海战役一样,集中全路力量以最快的速度从北京、郑州...等铁路局紧急调集大量内燃机车、客车和大批人员驰援广铁。"














--2008年5月13日,汶川地震第二天记者招待会上,记者提问为何倒塌的大部分是学校,民政部救灾司司长痛心地回答。(rouge 推荐)




--2008年6月6日,王兆山(山东作协副主席)在《齐鲁晚报》发表词"江城子 废墟下的自述",词以废墟下遇难者的口吻,感叹党国赐与的幸福。











38 "成品油价格与国际油价实时联动背后的潜台词是价格一步到位,与国际油价接轨。但中国是发展中国家,什么价格都与国际接轨,这不太现实。"

--2008年11月25日,有记者问外交部发言人秦刚对美国一张名为《中国民主》的音乐专辑的看法,秦如此反问记者。(FlyingMonkey 推荐)




43 "你们将来受了处分,吊销了你们的记者证,你们不要后悔!"

43 "现在我们的人均寿命比30年前大大提高,60岁退休,活到90岁,吃30年养老保险,说不过去啊。"
――11月6日广州日报报道,经济学家、原社科院经济研究所所长赵人伟表示职工应该65岁后退休。 (zuozhi推荐)

44 当刘做到第三个俯卧撑的时候,听到李树芬大声说'我走了',便跳下河中……"

45 "公安机关依法打击一批,精神司法鉴定治疗一批,集中办班培训管教一批"。

46 可以考虑让市民每个月买20块钱的生态基金"。

47  "省卫生厅干部殴打志愿者与事实不符,纯属谣言"。

48  "依靠党委和政府的帮助,自己家盖起了新房,生活也都有了保障。"
----2008年1月12日,HU总前往淮河蓄洪区视察,村民郑继超对HU总如此说.网上检索"郑继超"得知,这位农民大叔短短三个月内已经受到了省、市、县各级领导的五次慰问和两拨记者的采访,是名副其实的"慰安专业户"。 (章立凡推荐)

49  打开美国媒体完全找不到对1968年美国黑人暴动的辱骂;打开英国媒体也找不到对英国大革命的辱骂;打开法国媒体同样找不到对法国大革命和五月风暴的辱骂;唯独中国媒体30年来片刻不停地充斥着对文革的辱骂.

50 "政府赔不少钱呢!"

51  "对于开发商低于成本价销售楼盘,下一步将和物价部门一起对其进行查处,以防止烂尾楼的出现。"


Charter 08

Translated from the Chinese by Perry Link
The document below, signed by over three hundred prominent Chinese citizens, was conceived and written in conscious admiration of the founding of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, where, in January 1977, more than two hundred Czech and Slovak intellectuals formed a loose, informal, and open association of people... united by the will to strive individually and collectively for respect for human and civil rights in our country and throughout the world.
The Chinese document calls not for ameliorative reform of the current political system but for an end to some of its essential features, including one-party rule, and their replacement with a system based on human rights and democracy.
The prominent citizens who have signed the document are from both outside and inside the government, and include not only well-known dissidents and intellectuals, but also middle-level officials and rural leaders. They have chosen December 10, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as the day on which to express their political ideas and to outline their vision of a constitutional, democratic China. They intend "Charter 08" to serve as a blueprint for fundamental political change in China in the years to come. The signers of the document will form an informal group, open-ended in size but united by a determination to promote democratization and protection of human rights in China and beyond.
On December 8 two prominent signers of the Charter, Zhang Zuhua and Liu Xiaobo, were detained by the police. Zhang Zuhua has since been released; as of December 9, Liu Xiabo remains in custody.
I. Foreword
A hundred years have passed since the writing of China's first constitution. 2008 also marks the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the thirtieth anniversary of the appearance of Democracy Wall in Beijing, and the tenth of China's signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy student protesters. The Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these same years, now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values.
By departing from these values, the Chinese government's approach to "modernization" has proven disastrous. It has stripped people of their rights, destroyed their dignity, and corrupted normal human intercourse. So we ask: Where is China headed in the twenty-first century? Will it continue with "modernization" under authoritarian rule, or will it embrace universal human values, join the mainstream of civilized nations, and build a democratic system? There can be no avoiding these questions.
The shock of the Western impact upon China in the nineteenth century laid bare a decadent authoritarian system and marked the beginning of what is often called "the greatest changes in thousands of years" for China. A "self-strengthening movement" followed, but this aimed simply at appropriating the technology to build gunboats and other Western material objects. China's humiliating naval defeat at the hands of Japan in 1895 only confirmed the obsolescence of China's system of government. The first attempts at modern political change came with the ill-fated summer of reforms in 1898, but these were cruelly crushed by ultraconservatives at China's imperial court. With the revolution of 1911, which inaugurated Asia's first republic, the authoritarian imperial system that had lasted for centuries was finally supposed to have been laid to rest. But social conflict inside our country and external pressures were to prevent it; China fell into a patchwork of warlord fiefdoms and the new republic became a fleeting dream.
The failure of both "self-strengthening" and political renovation caused many of our forebears to reflect deeply on whether a "cultural illness" was afflicting our country. This mood gave rise, during the May Fourth Movement of the late 1910s, to the championing of "science and democracy." Yet that effort, too, foundered as warlord chaos persisted and the Japanese invasion [beginning in Manchuria in 1931] brought national crisis.
Victory over Japan in 1945 offered one more chance for China to move toward modern government, but the Communist defeat of the Nationalists in the civil war thrust the nation into the abyss of totalitarianism. The "new China" that emerged in 1949 proclaimed that "the people are sovereign" but in fact set up a system in which "the Party is all-powerful." The Communist Party of China seized control of all organs of the state and all political, economic, and social resources, and, using these, has produced a long trail of human rights disasters, including, among many others, the Anti-Rightist Campaign (1957), the Great Leap Forward (1958�1960), the Cultural Revolution (1966�1969), the June Fourth (Tiananmen Square) Massacre (1989), and the current repression of all unauthorized religions and the suppression of the weiquan rights movement [a movement that aims to defend citizens' rights promulgated in the Chinese Constitution and to fight for human rights recognized by international conventions that the Chinese government has signed]. During all this, the Chinese people have paid a gargantuan price. Tens of millions have lost their lives, and several generations have seen their freedom, their happiness, and their human dignity cruelly trampled.
During the last two decades of the twentieth century the government policy of "Reform and Opening" gave the Chinese people relief from the pervasive poverty and totalitarianism of the Mao Zedong era and brought substantial increases in the wealth and living standards of many Chinese as well as a partial restoration of economic freedom and economic rights. Civil society began to grow, and popular calls for more rights and more political freedom have grown apace. As the ruling elite itself moved toward private ownership and the market economy, it began to shift from an outright rejection of "rights" to a partial acknowledgment of them.
In 1998 the Chinese government signed two important international human rights conventions; in 2004 it amended its constitution to include the phrase "respect and protect human rights"; and this year, 2008, it has promised to promote a "national human rights action plan." Unfortunately most of this political progress has extended no further than the paper on which it is written. The political reality, which is plain for anyone to see, is that China has many laws but no rule of law; it has a constitution but no constitutional government. The ruling elite continues to cling to its authoritarian power and fights off any move toward political change.
The stultifying results are endemic official corruption, an undermining of the rule of law, weak human rights, decay in public ethics, crony capitalism, growing inequality between the wealthy and the poor, pillage of the natural environment as well as of the human and historical environments, and the exacerbation of a long list of social conflicts, especially, in recent times, a sharpening animosity between officials and ordinary people.
As these conflicts and crises grow ever more intense, and as the ruling elite continues with impunity to crush and to strip away the rights of citizens to freedom, to property, and to the pursuit of happiness, we see the powerless in our society―the vulnerable groups, the people who have been suppressed and monitored, who have suffered cruelty and even torture, and who have had no adequate avenues for their protests, no courts to hear their pleas―becoming more militant and raising the possibility of a violent conflict of disastrous proportions. The decline of the current system has reached the point where change is no longer optional.
II. Our Fundamental Principles
This is a historic moment for China, and our future hangs in the balance. In reviewing the political modernization process of the past hundred years or more, we reiterate and endorse basic universal values as follows:
Freedom. Freedom is at the core of universal human values. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom in where to live, and the freedoms to strike, to demonstrate, and to protest, among others, are the forms that freedom takes. Without freedom, China will always remain far from civilized ideals.
Human rights. Human rights are not bestowed by a state. Every person is born with inherent rights to dignity and freedom. The government exists for the protection of the human rights of its citizens. The exercise of state power must be authorized by the people. The succession of political disasters in China's recent history is a direct consequence of the ruling regime's disregard for human rights.
Equality. The integrity, dignity, and freedom of every person―regardless of social station, occupation, sex, economic condition, ethnicity, skin color, religion, or political belief―are the same as those of any other. Principles of equality before the law and equality of social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights must be upheld.
Republicanism. Republicanism, which holds that power should be balanced among different branches of government and competing interests should be served, resembles the traditional Chinese political ideal of "fairness in all under heaven." It allows different interest groups and social assemblies, and people with a variety of cultures and beliefs, to exercise democratic self-government and to deliberate in order to reach peaceful resolution of public questions on a basis of equal access to government and free and fair competition.
Democracy. The most fundamental principles of democracy are that the people are sovereign and the people select their government. Democracy has these characteristics: (1) Political power begins with the people and the legitimacy of a regime derives from the people. (2) Political power is exercised through choices that the people make. (3) The holders of major official posts in government at all levels are determined through periodic competitive elections. (4) While honoring the will of the majority, the fundamental dignity, freedom, and human rights of minorities are protected. In short, democracy is a modern means for achieving government truly "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Constitutional rule. Constitutional rule is rule through a legal system and legal regulations to implement principles that are spelled out in a constitution. It means protecting the freedom and the rights of citizens, limiting and defining the scope of legitimate government power, and providing the administrative apparatus necessary to serve these ends.
III. What We Advocate
Authoritarianism is in general decline throughout the world; in China, too, the era of emperors and overlords is on the way out. The time is arriving everywhere for citizens to be masters of states. For China the path that leads out of our current predicament is to divest ourselves of the authoritarian notion of reliance on an "enlightened overlord" or an "honest official" and to turn instead toward a system of liberties, democracy, and the rule of law, and toward fostering the consciousness of modern citizens who see rights as fundamental and participation as a duty. Accordingly, and in a spirit of this duty as responsible and constructive citizens, we offer the following recommendations on national governance, citizens' rights, and social development:
1. A New Constitution. We should recast our present constitution, rescinding its provisions that contradict the principle that sovereignty resides with the people and turning it into a document that genuinely guarantees human rights, authorizes the exercise of public power, and serves as the legal underpinning of China's democratization. The constitution must be the highest law in the land, beyond violation by any individual, group, or political party.
2. Separation of powers. We should construct a modern government in which the separation of legislative, judicial, and executive power is guaranteed. We need an Administrative Law that defines the scope of government responsibility and prevents abuse of administrative power. Government should be responsible to taxpayers. Division of power between provincial governments and the central government should adhere to the principle that central powers are only those specifically granted by the constitution and all other powers belong to the local governments.
3. Legislative democracy. Members of legislative bodies at all levels should be chosen by direct election, and legislative democracy should observe just and impartial principles.
4. An Independent Judiciary. The rule of law must be above the interests of any particular political party and judges must be independent. We need to establish a constitutional supreme court and institute procedures for constitutional review. As soon as possible, we should abolish all of the Committees on Political and Legal Affairs that now allow Communist Party officials at every level to decide politically-sensitive cases in advance and out of court. We should strictly forbid the use of public offices for private purposes.
5. Public Control of Public Servants. The military should be made answerable to the national government, not to a political party, and should be made more professional. Military personnel should swear allegiance to the constitution and remain nonpartisan. Political party organizations shall be prohibited in the military. All public officials including police should serve as nonpartisans, and the current practice of favoring one political party in the hiring of public servants must end.
6. Guarantee of Human Rights. There shall be strict guarantees of human rights and respect for human dignity. There should be a Human Rights Committee, responsible to the highest legislative body, that will prevent the government from abusing public power in violation of human rights. A democratic and constitutional China especially must guarantee the personal freedom of citizens. No one shall suffer illegal arrest, detention, arraignment, interrogation, or punishment. The system of "Reeducation through Labor" must be abolished.
7. Election of Public Officials. There shall be a comprehensive system of democratic elections based on "one person, one vote." The direct election of administrative heads at the levels of county, city, province, and nation should be systematically implemented. The rights to hold periodic free elections and to participate in them as a citizen are inalienable.
8. Rural�Urban Equality. The two-tier household registry system must be abolished. This system favors urban residents and harms rural residents. We should establish instead a system that gives every citizen the same constitutional rights and the same freedom to choose where to live.
9. Freedom to Form Groups. The right of citizens to form groups must be guaranteed. The current system for registering nongovernment groups, which requires a group to be "approved," should be replaced by a system in which a group simply registers itself. The formation of political parties should be governed by the constitution and the laws, which means that we must abolish the special privilege of one party to monopolize power and must guarantee principles of free and fair competition among political parties.
10. Freedom to Assemble. The constitution provides that peaceful assembly, demonstration, protest, and freedom of expression are fundamental rights of a citizen. The ruling party and the government must not be permitted to subject these to illegal interference or unconstitutional obstruction.
11. Freedom of Expression. We should make freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and academic freedom universal, thereby guaranteeing that citizens can be informed and can exercise their right of political supervision. These freedoms should be upheld by a Press Law that abolishes political restrictions on the press. The provision in the current Criminal Law that refers to "the crime of incitement to subvert state power" must be abolished. We should end the practice of viewing words as crimes.
12. Freedom of Religion. We must guarantee freedom of religion and belief and institute a separation of religion and state. There must be no governmental interference in peaceful religious activities. We should abolish any laws, regulations, or local rules that limit or suppress the religious freedom of citizens. We should abolish the current system that requires religious groups (and their places of worship) to get official approval in advance and substitute for it a system in which registry is optional and, for those who choose to register, automatic.
13. Civic Education. In our schools we should abolish political curriculums and examinations that are designed to indoctrinate students in state ideology and to instill support for the rule of one party. We should replace them with civic education that advances universal values and citizens' rights, fosters civic consciousness, and promotes civic virtues that serve society.
14. Protection of Private Property. We should establish and protect the right to private property and promote an economic system of free and fair markets. We should do away with government monopolies in commerce and industry and guarantee the freedom to start new enterprises. We should establish a Committee on State-Owned Property, reporting to the national legislature, that will monitor the transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner. We should institute a land reform that promotes private ownership of land, guarantees the right to buy and sell land, and allows the true value of private property to be adequately reflected in the market.
15. Financial and Tax Reform. We should establish a democratically regulated and accountable system of public finance that ensures the protection of taxpayer rights and that operates through legal procedures. We need a system by which public revenues that belong to a certain level of government―central, provincial, county or local―are controlled at that level. We need major tax reform that will abolish any unfair taxes, simplify the tax system, and spread the tax burden fairly. Government officials should not be able to raise taxes, or institute new ones, without public deliberation and the approval of a democratic assembly. We should reform the ownership system in order to encourage competition among a wider variety of market participants.
16. Social Security. We should establish a fair and adequate social security system that covers all citizens and ensures basic access to education, health care, retirement security, and employment.
17. Protection of the Environment. We need to protect the natural environment and to promote development in a way that is sustainable and responsible to our descendents and to the rest of humanity. This means insisting that the state and its officials at all levels not only do what they must do to achieve these goals, but also accept the supervision and participation of non-governmental organizations.
18. A Federated Republic. A democratic China should seek to act as a responsible major power contributing toward peace and development in the Asian Pacific region by approaching others in a spirit of equality and fairness. In Hong Kong and Macao, we should support the freedoms that already exist. With respect to Taiwan, we should declare our commitment to the principles of freedom and democracy and then, negotiating as equals, and ready to compromise, seek a formula for peaceful unification. We should approach disputes in the national-minority areas of China with an open mind, seeking ways to find a workable framework within which all ethnic and religious groups can flourish. We should aim ultimately at a federation of democratic communities of China.
19. Truth in Reconciliation. We should restore the reputations of all people, including their family members, who suffered political stigma in the political campaigns of the past or who have been labeled as criminals because of their thought, speech, or faith. The state should pay reparations to these people. All political prisoners and prisoners of conscience must be released. There should be a Truth Investigation Commission charged with finding the facts about past injustices and atrocities, determining responsibility for them, upholding justice, and, on these bases, seeking social reconciliation.
China, as a major nation of the world, as one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and as a member of the UN Council on Human Rights, should be contributing to peace for humankind and progress toward human rights. Unfortunately, we stand today as the only country among the major nations that remains mired in authoritarian politics. Our political system continues to produce human rights disasters and social crises, thereby not only constricting China's own development but also limiting the progress of all of human civilization. This must change, truly it must. The democratization of Chinese politics can be put off no longer.
Accordingly, we dare to put civic spirit into practice by announcing Charter 08. We hope that our fellow citizens who feel a similar sense of crisis, responsibility, and mission, whether they are inside the government or not, and regardless of their social status, will set aside small differences to embrace the broad goals of this citizens' movement. Together we can work for major changes in Chinese society and for the rapid establishment of a free, democratic, and constitutional country. We can bring to reality the goals and ideals that our people have incessantly been seeking for more than a hundred years, and can bring a brilliant new chapter to Chinese civilization.



英国《金融时报》中文网特约撰稿人棹元 2008-12-12

这一年,中国发生了诸多大事件:雪灾、西藏事件、奥运火炬传递、汶川地震等等。而正是这一系列事件,把这个国家的年轻一代迅速的拉到了前台。今年7 月底,《纽约客》用anger youth(愤青)概括了中国的年轻一代,把他们命名为新一代保守民族主义者。还有很多人给这一代贴上爱国主义、民粹主义、集体主义等等标签。甚至在有的学者眼中,年轻一代既像是中国义和团、红卫兵的衣钵传人,又像是德国纳粹、苏联青年近卫军的中国盟友。学者余世存曾这样描述改革年代成长起来的这一代人:他们多有自我中心意识,而少有人类意识;他们多有合群思想,而少有个性思想;他们多有势利心理,而少有同情心理;他们多有丛林意识,而少有社会意识。

今年第5期的《炎黄春秋》有一篇文章,题目是《中国需要提倡宽容的文化精神》,作者是曾在80年代担任中宣部部长的朱厚泽。看到这篇文章的标题,自然容易想起那个令无数人怀念的"朱三宽年代"。1986年,时任中宣部部长的朱厚泽在胡耀邦"逐步放开一点"的精神指导下,提出了意识形态管理"要宽松、宽容、宽厚"的"三宽"政策,突破了中宣部的意识形态管理传统,给中国大陆意识形态管理带来了清新的空气。很多人把这一时期叫做"朱三宽年代"。在 1986年深秋的北京,红叶飘落,弥漫着一股改革的气息。北方,苏联老大哥提出了"公开化",正在戈尔巴乔夫的领导下实行政治开放;南方,领导台湾的国民党也开启了开放党禁、报禁的政治自由之路。包括中共党内高层的很多人意识到,中国的经济改革进行到一个瓶颈,只进行经济改革不进行政治改革,犹如走路,一脚超前一脚落后,容易跌倒。在整个国家处在一道狭窄的坎上,邓小平重提被视为禁区的政治改革。