In the aftermath of China’s agressive crackdown on dissedents, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao has once again called for democracy and human rights for Chinese citizens. China observers, however, are mixed in their reactions with statements of the soon to be retiring top Communist Party official. Although some have applauded it, others meanwhile think he is simply whistling the same old tune and he does not speak the sentiments of the rest of ledership in Beijing.

In his speech to the Royal Society in London last week, Premier Wen discussed about “socialist democracy” and how to improve governance. According to the English transcript of the speech released by the Xinhua News, China’s state press agency, Wen stated that the China’s future will feature “democracy, the rule of law, fairness and justice.”

Many experts on Chinese affairs, however, believe there is actually no possibility that the Communist Party will lossen some of vast powers especially that it is expecting a huge big political change in 2012. Many have also observed that Wen, who will be retiring next year, has lately been more forthright about his opinions on political reform compared to his comrades in the Party who continue to take a more conservative stance concerning issues on human rights and democracy.

While speaking in front of the audience at the Royal Society, during his visit in Britain, Wen tackled how corruption and income disparities are making the lives of the Chinese people difficult. He said: “To be frank corruption, unfair income distribution and other ills that harm the people’s interests still exist in China.”

Meanwhile, skeptics have regarded Wen’s statements as an attempt to boost his image and reputation at least before he steps down without really providing any concrete step to achieve genuine change. “This was screen idol Wen staging a performance in London,” said Chen Yongmiao, a lawyer and commentator based in Beijing. “He may be speaking from the heart, but it doesn’t mean anything,” continued Chen.

Meanwhile, those who haved symphatized with the Wen said that although the liberal ideas being pushed by Wen are facing an uphill fight within the leadership of the Party, however, could gain some ground next year, when the Chinese Premier as well as President Hu Jintao will step down and make way for new and much more moderate thinking leaders.

Outside the building in London where Wen delivered his speech, activists also denounced Beijing’s continued rule in Tibet. Wen, who is set to who retire next year after being Premier for nearly 10 years, also traveled to Germany and Hungary as part of his short European tour.

The Communist Party’s military crackdown that crushed the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Beijing has become a hard lesson for the leadership and is a precursor to their hardline stance against Western-style democracy.

Because of the developments in the Arab world dubbed as the “Arab Spring,” Chinese leaders have reemphasized central controls fearing that the anti-authoritarian revolts in Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia could inspire their own one-party authority. They regard their own brand of human rights as somethng that provides for the basic needs of their people including as medical health care, food, and housing.