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 #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. 

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.

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