While I was on vacation, something amazing may have happened.
Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, gave a speech that one official newspaper called one of “extraordinary importance”. “People’s democratic rights and legitimate rights must be guaranteed. People should be mobilized and organized to deal with, in accordance with the law, state, economic, social and cultural affairs,” Wen stated. While critics are very active right now and making mention of political motivations, I think our Government 2.0 global community has an obligation to accept the PM’s words as an honest effort to couple the incredible economic expansion in China with potential political reforms.
I have had the honor to brief multiple members of the government in PRC and have been unbelievably impressed by the dedication of the officials I have met with. I have had very open conversations with them about the power of technology in new governmental efforts to bring citizens closer to their government. I believe, especially given the location of the comments, this is an opportuntiy to have the largest polity on the planet embrace the tenets of Government as a Platform for change.
The comments were made at Shenzhen, which most of you will recall was also the location that Deng Xiaoping announced rock solid commitment to market oriented reforms back in 1992. Deng’s comments then may have been part of what saved the world’s economy a decade later as we find our way through this crisis.
Could Mr. Wen’s comments unleash a similar commitment to Open Government in PRC? Could this somewhat downplayed set of comments actually have China showing the rest of the world what true commitment to open government could be everywhere?