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

 

Whither China post #6 – Question 4 - must China have democracy … or die?

the mantra – if p, then q

Democracy must come eventually.  Once China reaches middle income status, the huge middle class, 200 or 300 million strong, concerned about the future and kids and education and health care and the environment, will demand democracy.  Democracy may actually be on the arc of history.  Countries other than the oil states that have achieved high level GDP per person have developed some version of democracy – think Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, even Singapore. China is at middle income to upper middle income status now, the income range when the transition is supposed to take place, according to historical experience.  The next logical step for China is democracy. And without political reform, China will have (pick one or more) political revolt, growing crises of confidence, fissures within the Party. And without political reform and economic reform to further open the economy, future growth is in jeopardy.

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

 

Whither China Post #5 - Question 3 - Does Xi have a plan … or even a solution?

The incurably optimistic saw wily manipulation in Xi’s moves.  He had to first clear away the obstacles to real reform.  With that accomplished, he could then open up the financial system, float the currency, open the economy to foreign service businesses, eliminate capital controls, and maybe … just maybe … move toward greater freedoms.

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

 

 Whither China? post #3 - Question 1 - CCP authoritarian resilience … or not

In the early Hu Jintao years, it did seem as if CCP was impervious to assault.  Over the decades, it weathered murder of landlords in the early years, then the Great Famine, then the Cultural Revolution, then Tian’anmen, then cancelling of dozens of millions of jobs in the late 1990s, and environmental and tainted food and land theft mass protests every year since.  Authoritarian resilience is the term coined by Joseph Nye in 2003 for this tough stability.

But since the last years of the Hu administration, and now forcefully with Xi, resilience is not how observers see CCP, and most decidedly, not how CCP sees itself.

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

 

Whither China? post #4 - Question 2 - Xi’s MO - Purifying CCP and the Chinese people – can Xi do it?

You know the stories - melamine in milk scandal, death of Wang Yue, gutter oil, ocean sand instead of river sand in high rise construction, fake college degrees, fake credentials evaluation, chengguan abuses. There are more where those came from.  A society highly desirous of harmony sees everything but harmony every day. 

Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

China observers in many fields – economics, psychology, philosophy, health care, education, politics, business - agree that there are critical or life-threatening issues for CCP and Xi to address.  They differ on the ability of CCP, via Xi, to successfully address the economic, cultural, and political concerns.  The era of China as the big dog on the international stage in 2019 does not mask the severity of issues.

I want to touch on several political questions salient in China over the next three years – or ten, or twenty, as long as Xi lasts in power.   First, is CCP resilient enough to withstand the pressures of modernization as well as the pressures of Xi?  Does Xi have a game plan for reform?  Many observers over the years, including senior Party theoreticians, have seen democratic reforms as necessary to future growth and CCP survival.  Is that even feasible?   Xi has now amassed more power than any leader since Mao, but created much uncertainty within China and around the world.  Whither China with and without Xi?  Must China come to democracy, or else?

Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

There are many questions about the direction in which Xi Jinping is taking China and CCP. A question left over from the World War II days is when will China democratize?  Even today, that remains a pertinent question for some observers, including CCP theoreticians.  Another – will CCP collapse?  Internal political weaknesses apparent from the Bo Xilai fiasco are now obvious to the world.  A third – is Xi Jinping a reformer (of sorts) with a master plan to restore China and purify CCP to ensure its dominance?  Will he have to destroy CCP in order to save it?

This is first of a series of posts perusing these questions.  Each post can stand alone.  This first post is just background reading – a set of references.  I briefly review work from well-known China hands, including Minxin Pei, David Shambaugh, Cheng Li, Willy Lam, Andrew Nathan, and Carl Minzner.  This is a long post, mostly for the reader who wants to read the original articles. Subsequent posts attempt to answer whither Xi, whither CCP, and whither China.

The list of posts is below. 

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.

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  • 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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