Will China eventually become a democratic country? How long would this take? These are two questions often in the minds of Western journalists in China. In a recent podcast interview with China Digital Times, New York Times journalist Howard French was asked what question he would most like to ask Hu Jintao if he was granted an interview. He responded that he would ask him about China's democratic future. What are the conditions that have to be set in place for China to have a democratic government, and how long would this likely take. It seems that his question has been answered for him. Premier Wen Jiabao recently came out with a statement that it would likely take another 100 years for the conditions to be established for democracy in China. Of course, the cynical view holds that 100 years from now, China's leaders will be saying the same thing. Yet whether or not Hu and Wen or their CCP successors will actually have the power to control China's democratic course is another story. Bruce Gilley's book China's Democratic Future suggests that democracy may come much sooner than planned. Of course this is all speculative, but then again, the democratization of other Asian countries in the past 50 years or so (130 years if you count Japan) is powerful evidence that "conservative" Asian societies with longstanding institutions of autocratic governance can make the transition, even if it's a shaky one.