Is China’s Premier Wen Jiabao really a reformer?

The mantra “break up the big banks” is a call heard often these days from consumer groups to politicians. But to hear the clarion call coming from China’s Premier Wen Jiabao was a bit unexpected.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Jiabao is publicly taking the reform mantle, saying, “Let me be frank. Our banks earn profit too easily. Why? Because a small number of large banks have a monopoly. To break the monopoly, we must allow private capital to flow into the finance sector.”

But, some are hesitant to fully buy into Wen’s rhetoric, as blunt criticism is not to the unusual line to hear from a top party leader.

“Is this burst of rhetoric a last-gasp attempt by Wen to burnish his name as a reformer? That’s what some think who argue Wen’s calls are too little and too late and have limited power to influence real policy-making as the premier prepares to step down,” asks Businessweek.

He may, however, feel more confident to promote reform after last month’s ouster of rising star Bo Xilai, a member of the ruling Communist Party, reports Reuters. Only time will tell.


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