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China's former premier 'criticises President Xi' in essay

China's former premier has written an essay which has been interpreted as a coded criticism of President Xi Jinping. 

Wen Jiabao, who served as China's Premier from from 2003 to 2013, called for 'fairness and justice' in the essay.

He also discussed his father, who was persecuted during China's Cultural Revolution. 

Wen Jiabao, who served as China's Premier from from 2003 to 2013, called for 'fairness and justice' in the essay. Wen is pictured above 

The piece was shared hundreds of thousands of times online before being taken down by censors, according to a report in CNN. 

The essay, although mild in its apparent criticism of President Xi, is a bold move for a party elder amid a crackdown on dissent in the run-up to the Communist Party's centenary in July. 

Wen outlined his vision for China, writing: 'In my mind, China should be a country full of fairness and justice. 

'There should always be respect for the will of the people, humanity and the nature of human beings. There should always be youthfulness, freedom and a striving spirit.' 

He also mentioned how his father, who was persecuted during China's Cultural Revolution, was placed under house arrest and suffered brutal interrogation and beatings. 

China's former Premier has written an essay which has been interpreted as a coded criticism of President Xi Jinping, pictured above 

Wen, who is considered a liberal figure in China, was previously censored in the country in 2010 after an interview with CNN, in which he described freedom of speech as 'indispensable'. 

China has come under criticism for its heavy-handed approach to dissent, including a crackdown on mass anti-government protests in Hong Kong in 2019. 

The crackdown led to over 50 of Hong Kong's most prominent pro-democracy activists and politicians being arrested. 

Beijing has also faced claims of genocide against Uighur Muslims in its western Xinjiang province. 

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