Prominent Chinese scholars push for consensus in hope of mild political reform, not revolution

More than 70 prominent Chinese scholars and lawyers are urging new Communist Party leaders to undertake moderate political reforms, including separating the party from the government, though they avoid any mention of ending one-party rule.

The petition drafted by Peking University law professor Zhang Qianfan calls on the government to rule according to the constitution, protect freedom of speech, encourage private enterprise and allow for an independent judicial system.

Zhang said Wednesday that the document takes a mild approach in an effort to build consensus among people from various factions with often conflicting views.

Zhang says China runs the risk of seeing a chaotic revolution if no political reform is undertaken, especially while it faces widespread problems such as social inequity, abuse of government powers and corruption.