China’s state media said a multi-party political system would unleash chaos equal to the turbulent period of the Cultural Revolution, as the country marks the Communist Party’s 90th birthday.
The state-run Xinhua news agency, in a focus piece published late Friday after the one-party regime celebrated the anniversary, said Western political systems did not suit China’s “national conditions.”
“If China imitates the West’s multi-party parliamentary democratic system, it could repeat the chaotic and turbulent history of the ‘Cultural Revolution’ when factions sprung up everywhere,” the report said.
It added the current political turmoil, economic difficulties and social disorder in some countries “proved” this.
The 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution was a decade of brutal chaos launched by revolutionary leader Mao Zedong to bring down what he perceived as “capitalist” forces after other leaders sought to move away from his radical utopian ideas.
Untold numbers died in the ensuing turmoil as students turned on teachers, officials were purged and the country and its economy were brought to a virtual standstill. The subject is still sensitive today.
The Xinhua comments came as President Hu Jintao warned the Communist Party — which was founded in July 1921 and took power in 1949 — faced severe “growing pains” in a speech Friday marking the anniversary.
But he gave no sign that the party intended to loosen the iron grip on political power it has maintained for more than six tumultuous decades.
The Xinhua report singled out huge economic growth over the past 30 years, that had lifted more than 200 million people out of poverty, as proof that the Communist Party was looking out for people’s “welfare” and had “legitimacy.”
But analysts say political and social reforms do not match the nation’s economic success, adding the party is struggling to address a range of complex problems without the flexibility that democracy affords.
These include a yawning wealth gap, high inflation, environmental degradation, demands for autonomy from millions-strong ethnic minorities, and regular reports of corrupt and abusive officials that inflame the public.