B is for Ballot

As students across China prepared for their National Day vacation last week, President Hu Jintao ordered the Communist Party Politburo into the classroom. He arranged for two respected professors to lecture the leaders on a touchy curriculum: law and democracy. During a 90-minute talk, the professors discussed such sensitive notions as how "the power to rule derives from the constitution and from law," says a source who attended the meeting. Hu closed the session with his firmest comment to date on political reform: "The party must enrich forms of democracy, perfect democratic procedures, expand citizens' orderly political participation and ensure the...

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