Chinese President Hu Jintao boasted at an Asian forum that his nation has made dramatic changes as a result of the of the efforts of Deng Xiaoping to embark “on the historic journey of reform and opening-up” to the world. He asserted his nation “has successfully made the historic transition from a highly centralized planned economy to a robust socialist market economy and from a closed and semi-closed country to a country that is wide open to the outside world.” He claimed the nation’s poor rural population has declined from about 250 milliion to about 25 milliion.
Hu Jintao promised to make the “Chinese society more vibrant” and admitted his nation “still has a long way to go before it can basically achieve the modernization and bring aboutprosperity to all of its people.”
There is no question the Chinese people have more freedom in their economic and social lives than had existed under the Mao tse-tung leadership of the past. The Olympics would be a wonderful opportunity for the Chinese government to demonstrate to the world that it is proceeding on the modern long march towards democracy by releasing dissidents from jail and linitiating talks with the Dalai Lama.