Wen’s comments concentrated on two areas: what China needs to do now, and the reality of what China is ready for. Since China is not yet a mature socialist society, the reasoning goes, it is not ready for democracy. Running through the article is a common theme the Communist government is quick to remind us of: China is still a developing country. Of course this is true, but one cannot help but view it as an excuse not to provide real answers.
But it is a familiar line. China’s leaders have always been swift to smother criticism of their authoritarian style, saying that the current socialist system is not incompatible with democracy, it just needs time to mature, in this case 100 years or so. Currently, the central government refers to its National People’s Congress as a part of the democratic process. Wen subjectively labels China’s current socialist market economic system and legal system as not “perfect enough,” stating that “social injustice and corruption,” still exist. It’s good that he’s aware of the problems, but his comments on social injustice do not address how the opaqueness of the current political system contributes to these problems, nor does he provide any details as to how the so-called maturing process will take place.
Leaders in Beijing may theorize that the road to democracy for China goes through a "mature socialist system", and that "a highly developed democracy and a complete legal system are inherent requirements of the socialist system and important symbols of a mature socialist system," but reality shows a flaccid foundation for any hope of real answers from Beijing. Wen says China will democratize in its own way as it opens up. Hopefully, such openness will extend beyond just the economy.