The China Media Project from the University of Hong Kong has an excellent report on the recent call for reforms by former Communist Party leaders.
The authors of the open letter argue that “privatization of newspapers and periodicals is the [natural] direction of political reforms” in China, and that without free and independent media it is impossible to “connect with the will of the people and attain true leadership.” In order to accommodate this goal, the signatories urge in Point Six of their concrete demands: “Southern Weekly and Yanhuang Chunqiu should be permitted to restructure as privately operated pilot programs [in independent media].”
In the most recent issue of Yanhuang Chunqiu, Du Daozheng (杜导正), a former high-level Party official and aide to Premier Zhao Ziyang (赵紫阳), draws on recent public remarks by Premier Wen Jiabao to talk about political reform in China.
The interview should also be seen as a rebuttal to recent remarks from leftist elements in the Party – such as this editorial in Guangming Daily — that argue that China must distinguish between the “false” democracy of Western capitalist nations and the “true” democracy of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
See the full interview and analysis at Du Daozheng on Hu and Wen, and reform
See initial report at Party elders in China call for freedom of speech