A book by a Chinese dissident author who says he was threatened with imprisonment argues China's premier is not a reformist nor a man of the people, as popularly perceived at home, but a mediocre technocrat who rose to power through good acting.
Excerpts of China's Best Actor: Wen Jiabao, seen by The Associated Press ahead of publication, show how the writer Yu Jie hopes to contrast the Chinese premier's populist rhetoric with the hard-line actions and policies of the government he and President Hu Jintao lead, in which critics are routinely punished.
While the book is based on publicly available material, it puts forth arguments not openly expressed in China and is a reflection of the skepticism many dissidents feel toward the government's professed policy of putting the people first.
The book — to be published on August 16 in Hong Kong — is a collection of essays in which Yu argues that although Wen frequently touts a reformist agenda that promises to improve the lives of the people, it is merely empty rhetoric.
"Even today there are still many people who believe Wen is 'the people's good premier' who can't act on his plan because of pressure from certain interest groups," Yu writes in one essay. Yu says Wen could not have risen to power after the June 4, 1989, government crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators if he truly believed in political reform.
The writer says Hu and Wen are "two sides of the same coin" and their partnership is meant to complement each other's strengths.