In the first ideological purge in a decade, the Chinese Communist Party has expelled a well-known intellectual. The decision to punish Shanghai writer and literary critic Wang Ruowang is the first of what may be a series of expulsions, at least three of which may have been ordered personally by senior leader Deng Xiaoping.
In announcing the expulsion yesterday, the official press attacked Mr. Wang politically, quoting him as saying socialism is an ``empty illusion'' and capitalism is ``something most badly needed in China.''
Wang was also accused of opposing the party's leadership over literature and the arts and of saying that the party showed a fear of capitalism in its emphasis on common prosperity and its policies on taxing private enterprise.
The report said that Wang had refused to mend his ways, despite repeated criticism since 1979. It was not immediately known whether the Chinese press had accurately portrayed his views.
In a telephone interview with Hong Kong's South China Morning Post this week, Wang said, ``They won't harm me. I'm already retired and no one's been willing to publish my works for a long time anyway.
``If they want to expel me, they must tell me what I've done wrong. I personally don't think I've done anything and I was not involved in the student protests,'' he said before his expulsion was announced.
The disciplinary action was part of a general warning issued this week which said party members must ``observe strictly'' the political line and ``conscientiously abide by'' the party's constitution.
``A small number of people, who behave unscrupulously and, despite repeated warnings from the party organization, have seriously damaged the party, must be expelled from the party in order to maintain the party's purity,'' said a circular from the party's Central Discipline Inspection Commission. - J.B.