Gorbachev: Chinese Are ‘Nearing’ Political Change
AT A TIME when unrests are erupting at an unprecedented rate across China,
former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev told the Guardian in an
exclusive interview that the Chinese are “nearing" political change.
(Photo: Former Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev speaks during a
Moscow press conference on Aug. 17. Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty
Gorbachev, the last Soviet head of state who is known for his political
reforms that eventually led to the weakening and downfall of the Soviet
Communist Party, said
in an hour-long interview:
There will be a moment when [the Chinese people] will have to decide on
political change and they are already nearing that point.
During his six years of rule as the general secretary of the Soviet Communist
Party, Gorbachev had attempted to reform the communist state’s political and
social structure, in a fashion similar to that of many Chinese activists
nowadays, who seek to reform the bureaucracy of today’s largest communist state
in the world.
Despite garnering the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, Gorbachev, 20
years later, said that he shouldn’t have gone on “too long" in trying to reform
the communist party.
The Guardian reported :
He should have resigned in April 1991, he said, and formed a democratic party
of reform since the communists were putting the brakes on all the necessary
With the 80-year-old former leader hung onto the Soviet Communist Party until
it dissolved in summer 1991, Gorbachev said that his biggest regret is not
having withdrawn from the communist party.
I now think I should have used that occasion to form a new party and should
have insisted on resigning from the communist party. It had become a brake on
reforms even though it had launched them. But they all thought the reforms only
needed to be cosmetic. They thought that painting the facade was enough, when
actually there was still the same old mess inside the building.
Those sentiments bare potent lessons for today’s would-be reformers: there
is another way.