Outgoing premier Jiabao 'doesn't want China to remember him'
Most leaders want to leave a legacy behind after they retire, but Chinese outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao would like China to forget about him.
Now spending his last few months as China's second most powerful leader, Jiabao told this to a gathering of overseas Chinese in Thailand.
"I hope people including overseas Chinese forget about me. But I will never forget about the motherland and its people and will never forget the tens of millions of overseas Chinese," he said.
According to the Washington Post, his latest comments appeared to be a 'swan song' of sorts for his decade-long reign as China's premier.
Foreign leaders, scholars and even party insiders have long been puzzled over Jiabao's true intentions and will likely continue to struggle in coming years over his legacy, the report said.
He has been the most outspoken about the need for reform in China among its current leadership, but he has also been highly ineffective in carrying out such dramatic changes, it added.
"What Wen says and does are two very different things," Zhang Lifan, a Chinese historian and political commentator in Beijing, said.
"There's two theories, he wants to change things but he can't. Or he doesn't really want to change and is simply finding excuses. In either case, I think in reality, he doesn't really have the power of his position," he said.
According to the report, Jiabao seemed to touch on this point in his speech in Bangkok, complaining cryptically, "I always felt there are a lot of things that haven't been finished."
He also seemed to defend himself against the allegations of corruption, quoting from a 2nd century B.C. poet Qu Yuan to make the point that he would be willing to "die nine times" if it meant the truth could be pursued and that "even I have to die for my own innocence, I die with honesty and integrity," the report added.