Update at August 13 -

I wrote a bit about Epoch Times in the post below, mostly about Chinese getting their news from China news sources like public wechat.  Epoch Times is most decidedly anti-CCP, and published by organizations related to Falun Gong, the same people who bring you Shen Yun, the extraordinary dance and performance troup that has been wow-ing Americans for a decade.

In the last two weeks, Epoch Times has been bombarding YouTube with two minute (two minute!) video advertising in advance of a video one is watching.  The ads offer subscriptions to the newspaper, promising to expose the lies of the mainstream media in vilifying Donald Trump.  Here is a screen shot from one subscription ad.  "Honest news" is what they tout.

Donald Trump reads it every day.  'Nuff said.  Chinese can get their "honest news" from Beijing or Falun Gong.  Truly, only no news here is good news.

 

What Chinese are Talking About (3) - Love Mr. Xi, Love Mr. Trump

We know that mainlanders, particularly those in CCP, have a fondness for Mr. Trump.  There are several reasons – Chinese historically have been willing to defer to strong leaders, and Trump projects arrogance, if not wisdom.  It was clear before the 2016 election that if Trump won, Mr. Putin would win and Mr. Xi would also win.  Events bear this out.  There is no adversary so easy to fool as one convinced of his own superiority, particularly one with such poor justification.  Flattery and artifice will get you … everywhere.  For Chinese interested in foreign policy, all they need do is sit back and wait.  Trump’s unforced errors – TPP, belittling allies, cozying up to dictators, removing US from environmental treaties, threatening friends and foes alike – make Chinese arrogance and Mr. Xi’s own unforced errors look positively innocuous.  What’s not to love about someone willing to play the fool for you?

Learning from China ... and Hong Kongers

 “Don't trust China” is what the recent Hong Kong protesters told the G20 representatives in Osaka.

 I think that is right. It has been a sea change for me.  Fool me once.  Maybe even a few times. Still, over the last 15 years, I have come to realize that we should listen to the Hong Kongers (who don’t wish to be called Chinese).

CCP Internal Resilience – post 10 of 10

Bonding - A conclusion

Martin Jacques wrote When China Rules the World in 2009.  His analysis ignores the potential dangers in Chinese politics.  But his observation that the western world must learn to understand how Chinese think, those rules of the cultural road that are foreign to us, is quite correct.

Concepts about survival of authoritarian regimes need to account for China as sui generis.  Modernization theory, which sees regime change in China as a logical next step in an upper middle class society, has not confronted an occupying elite like CCP anywhere else in the world. 

CCP Internal Resilience – post 9 of 10

Strength Through Struggle – Nietzsche, anyone?

Western political theorists would like to find a single theory to explain changes in authoritarian governance patterns over time.  How to explain regime longevity and collapse in Europe, in Africa, in Asia?  How to explain transitions into and out of authoritarianism?  Why do some regimes collapse and others ride out similar shocks to the system?  What makes a regime more stable?  When and how does the authority in an authoritarian regime collapse?

CCP Internal Resilience – post 8 of 10

United we stand

As David Shambaugh pointed out in China's Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation, CCP has expended great effort in analyzing the collapse of the CPSU in 1991.  The principal conclusion is that dissolution comes from dissension at the top. Xi admonished the Party in a December, 2012 speech.  Analyzing the reasons for the fall of CPSU, he saw individuals and factions vying for power, and “nobody was man enough to stand up and resist.”  Xi sees himself as the man to stand up in China now.  Loyalty to Xi is the only test of loyalty to CCP.

CCP Internal Resilience – post 7 of 10

Chinese bureaucratic stability is not western bureaucratic stability

The bureaucracy can be, should be, must be, stable even if leadership is in crisis.  What keeps midlevel bureaucrats and above from collaborating for substantial change?  After all, there are leadership crises from time to time –Bo Xilai is the best known to us, but he was no midlevel, and there have been many more, back to the time of Mao.  And Bo Xilai had loyalists in Chongqing and Dalian, but no one was volunteering to go to jail with him.

Recent

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     CCP and Mr. Xi’s Learning Disability

    Two full months into the Covid-19 crisis, we see where Mr. Xi’s crackdown on communication and openness has taken him.  He is himself in no danger, but CCP runs into a conceptual wall with free flow of information. That is a disability – a learning disability – for CCP and China now.

    CCP has always shown itself to be flexible and adaptable.  That has been a strength.  But with a modern middle class society, and an arteriosclerotic governing structure, the crisis points out two things - limits of CCP tolerance for free flow of information in the Xi era and people’s anger, anxiety, and disgust at censorship of their heartfelt emotions. 

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  • For leaders, information does not want to be free - lessons from Wuhan

    For leaders, information does not want to be free - in US or China

    (Note: update at February 13 - Hubei has changed the manner of identifying virus infections, and the new system overnight adds about 15,000 people to the total.  The number of deaths is also changed, but obviously the government will not go back and change death certificates from the last month.  I have no access to the statistics, only reports from Chinese of illnesses and deaths, but an increase in the total of cases seems necessary.  There were just too many stories, too close to home.  The new count coincides with the change of the Wuhan and Hubei CCP leaders.  Politically, it will now be possible to identify the crisis with the former leaders, and the end of the crisis with changes made by Mr. Xi.  This is the China wechat meme of the moment.)

    We should not waste the coronavirus crisis.

    Whether or not it turns into a full-fledged pandemic, surprises and lessons already have emerged that demand attention and need to be learned by Chinese -- also by America and the rest of the world.

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  • Masks of the Red (Cross) Death

    Masks of the Red (Cross) Death

    You remember the Edgar Allan Poe story - The Masque of the Red Death

    Prospero and 1,000 other nobles have taken refuge in this walled abbey to escape the Red Death, a terrible plague with gruesome symptoms that has swept over the land. Victims are overcome by "sharp pains", "sudden dizziness", and "profuse bleeding at the pores", and die within half an hour. Prospero and his court are indifferent to the sufferings of the population at large; they intend to await the end of the plague in luxury and safety behind the walls of their secure refuge, having welded the doors shut.

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