U.K.'s Blair Says Democracy in China Is `Unstoppable'
Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair said after talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that there is an ``unstoppable momentum'' toward democracy in China, the world's fastest-growing economy.
``The whole basis of the discussion I have had in a country that is developing very fast -- where 100 million people now use the Internet and which is going to be the second-largest economy in the world -- is that there is an unstoppable momentum toward greater political freedom,'' Blair told reporters in Beijing.
Blair, who holds the six-month rotating European Union leadership, was in China for two days of talks as head of an EU delegation before leaving today for two days of talks in India. The EU and China reached an agreement yesterday to end a stalemate that left 400 million euros ($502 million) of Chinese garments stranded at European ports.
China's National People's Congress will begin to ratify a 1966 United Nations human-rights accord ``as soon as possible,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a briefing today. Countries such as Britain have insisted China ratify the human-rights agreement and free activists still in jail who were involved in the 1989 protest in Tiananmen Square, which China violently suppressed.
China's human-rights record left many people with a ``question mark'' over the country, Blair said.
``People see China's development and want to know what kind of country they are dealing with,'' he said. ``It's not that people resent China, but they have got a question mark because they see this enormous economic power.''
Still, ``the current administration is different from the first times I went there,'' Blair said. ``There is no desire to escape the topic of democracy and there is a genuine sense of engagement.''
Wen said China would ``press ahead with its development of democratic politics, and that's reconstruction in an unswerving way.''
In ``several years,'' China might allow democratic elections on a ``town level,'' said Wen.