How to End June 4, et al.

 

A Country That Controls the Internet Should be Able to Control the Calendar

A few years ago, it was reported in the Australian Financial Review that senior party members in the Chinese Communist Party were reading deTocqueville’s The Old Regime and the Revolution.  This was at the suggestion of Xi Jinping, who apparently wanted to call attention to the fate of leaders who ignore the people in favor of corruption and the easy life.  The end times of the French monarchy is a good model for what rulers should not do.

What Chinese cannot not talk about …

In a previous post, I mentioned the heavy hand of CCP coming down on internet access each year in the weeks leading up to date of the Tian'anmen Massacre in 1989.

What CCP sincerely wants is for Chinese netizens to model the three monkeys – see, hear, speak no evil – evil, of course, being in the eye of the CCP beholder and specifically any sight, sound, voice or thought related to the events leading up to and during June 4, 1989. 

My First Protest              February, 2015

 

We are in Jingzhou, Qing's home town in Hubei Province. 

We went out with Ben for a walk, and the Jingzhou district government compound is less than a block away.  The district is an urban subdivision, akin to a ward in Chicago, though much bigger than a ward.

The district compound is a series of small buildings, like a small university campus, some offices, some residences.  Leafy, low key, surrounded by the usual wall with three entrances, or gates.  Buildings look old, a bit decrepit, although probably built in the early 1980s. Qing says this area was pretty and clean and orderly when she was growing up.

Now, it is different. 

For prior posts in this series, see Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

 

Whither China post #9 – Question 7 – So no democracy, no resilience; heavy challenges. Now what?

We looked at authoritarian resilience, modernization theory, the contrapositive to modernization theory, and threats to innovation, and came up short in two ways - on the need for a democratic transition and the inevitability of a growth slowdown without democracy.

This is not to say that high levels of growth can continue or that protests will cease. The question then turns to the current challenges in China – what is happening?  A version of Minxin Pei’s Trapped Transition is likely, although I think there are necessary updates to his view.  It is Mr. Xi who is leading China into a trap.

For prior posts in this series, see Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

 

Whither China post #8 – Question 6 – But how about innovation.  Can you have that without democracy?

 

Willy Lam and others maintain that internet restrictions and other CCP constraints are anathema to building an innovative economy.  China is impressive on technical hardware, as noted by Timothy Beardson in Stumbling Giant: The Threat to China's Future, but it lacks non-hierarchical scientific culture, a fertile institutional framework, and critical thinking for innovation.  My own view is that Beardson and even Willy Lam are coming at this question from a perspective too old to take account of China now, in the second and third decade of the century.  Can China innovate now?  One need not think about this for a moment to answer. 

For prior posts in this series, see Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

 

Whither China post #7 – Question 5 – Whither China's economic development with no democracy?

 

contrapositive modernization theory – if not q, then not p – if no democracy, then no future growth

Many observers make not only the first phase of the modernization argument – that with economic growth comes demand for democracy – but also the second phase, the contrapositive argument – if no democracy evolves, then growth will slow or stop. Despite the successes to date, the argument goes, there is a looming disaster, as modern economic growth, or demands of a service economy, or post-industrial growth, or the era of IT, or AI, is incompatible with CCP authoritarian governance. 

News Comments

  • When Internet Blocking Fails

    When Internet Blocking Fails

     An internet not coming to a computer near you …

    CCP gets more paranoid than usual around June 4 of every year, particularly those years a multiple of five from 1989.   This year is 30 years since the Tian’anmen massacre.

    I was in Chicago around June 4 of 2009, but I made the 2014 anniversary.  Internet blocking began early in May.  Every foreigner in China gets accustomed to internet and social media blocking, but in 2014 the online ban was nearly total.  It was a lesson in how particular the censorship could be.   You know, it’s China – it’s complicated.

    Read more ...  
  • How to End June 4, et al.

    How to End June 4, et al.

     

    A Country That Controls the Internet Should be Able to Control the Calendar

    A few years ago, it was reported in the Australian Financial Review that senior party members in the Chinese Communist Party were reading deTocqueville’s The Old Regime and the Revolution.  This was at the suggestion of Xi Jinping, who apparently wanted to call attention to the fate of leaders who ignore the people in favor of corruption and the easy life.  The end times of the French monarchy is a good model for what rulers should not do.

    Read more ...  
  • What Chinese cannot not talk about …

    What Chinese cannot not talk about …

    In a previous post, I mentioned the heavy hand of CCP coming down on internet access each year in the weeks leading up to date of the Tian'anmen Massacre in 1989.

    What CCP sincerely wants is for Chinese netizens to model the three monkeys – see, hear, speak no evil – evil, of course, being in the eye of the CCP beholder and specifically any sight, sound, voice or thought related to the events leading up to and during June 4, 1989. 

    Read more ...  

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