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. 

Crash-out.  Or D-Day - Disaster Day - minus 7

The original D-Day was salvation for Britain and Europe - even, in its way, for Germany.  This one seems less promising.

Not much to say anymore.   Cue the violins and watch the China moves.

Update at April 28 - Aside from the current delay in the crash-out - From Brexit to Belt and Road by Keith Johnson in FP - Britain's turn to China for salvation

Read Ives Smith at Naked Capitalism - https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/03/brexit-opening-the-seals.html

She opens with

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

– Revelations 5:1-2

I didn't know, but this is where the Four Horsemen come from.  And it is the apocalypse.

Right following the Brexit vote in 2016, I thought Britain had voted itself out of being a major world economy.  Now it appears we will see if that was right.  China, of course, will be sympathetic to a now developing country that needs assistance. 

This can only be shuang yin - win-win for China.  Or maybe win-win-win.   Help the Chinese economy, better entre to the EU, more confounding of US policy. 

http://chinareflections.com/index.php/104-comments-on-the-news/379-shuang-yin-win-win

 

 

 

 

 

Huawei - Taking a Fall, Hoping for a Call

 

Pardon the soccer reference.  But to my mind, that is the Huawei move.  But Huawei has the support of the fans, at least in China, and they are vocal.

Don Clarke, professor of law at George Washington University, has penned this response to the declaration of the Zhong Lun law firm in Beijing, in support of Huawei as an innocent private company caught in a nasty trade spat.  According to the declaration, no company in China is ever required to comply with demands from the central government to install spyware or backdoors in any communication equipment.   Clarke points out that this is misleading and inaccurate.  Chinese law says nothing about what provincial and local governments might demand from a company, and in any case, law is not a constraint. 

“There’s a whole variety of pressures that the government can bring to bear on a company or individual, and they are not at all limited to criminal prosecution Clarke says.  “China is a Leninist state that does not recognize any limits to government power.”

This paper was published in the Journal of the Zhejiang Province School of Administration (otherwise known as Party School) in 2015.

So far as I know, it is the only original contribution by a foreign author to this Journal.  Since the Journal is from CCP in Zhejiang, one of the wealthiest and most sophisticated provinces in China, it is as well respected as a CCP journal can be.

The paper is way too long for a blog read.  I outline a way for CCP to provide meaningful voice to populations angry over land thefts, pollution problems, and corruption.  Among other suggestions, a ready-in-waiting conflict resolution organization, structured at the provincial level, could be brought to bear on incidents of mass protest.  A stand-still agreement is necessary to force parties to negotiate.  This is one way to provide voice to Chinese people in the absence of democracy. 

This is a theoretical paper, although no one in China would describe it that way.  A bit too clear and direct.  The paper was presented at a conference at Zhejiang Business and Financial University in 2015, although my presentation was kept apart from those of other presenters.  I gave a more or less private briefing to about 30 faculty and students - either to inoculate others from dangerous ideas or provide me with a rapt audience.  Probably both are true.  The presentation was in the school's Party conference room.  

 
What Chinese are talking about ... real fake news

You know that China is increasing pressure on every state it can bully.  The bullying is easiest when the victim state has a substantial share of its GDP connected to China, whether as exports or as Chinese FDI coming in.  Now come fake news stories published in China, quoting New Zealand politicians approving of Chinese policies on the Belt and Road initiative.  New Zealand is in a tough spot. 

A Note on the Middle Income Trap

In the last couple of years, a number of China political observers have commented on the dangers to China of the middle income trap.  The fear is that the Chinese economy will fall into the trap. Since economic growth is the remaining claim to legitimacy for CCP, a substantial slowdown from real growth rates of 6 to 15 per cent per year, which obtained in the last forty years, will be disturbing to the harmony that keeps CCP in power. 

In what follows I am not making direct claims for or against the middle income trap in China, only describing the concept. 

Recent

  • The Great American Cultural Revolution

    The Great American Cultural Revolution

    Further to  Xi, DJT, GOP, CCP

    About two years ago, I wrote a series of posts pointing out similarities between Mr. Xi and Donald Trump and their respective political parties.  Now comes the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution – with American characteristics. 

    We have a leader who promotes violence but keep his hands sufficiently clean by not leading, like Mao. We have a political party with fortunes tied to the words of this mercurial leader.  Dissension has risen within GOP, as it did in CCP, but the political leaders who are rebels will be slapped down. The entire party is in thrall to a crazed minority, who determine policy for years.  From a trumpian perspective, Mao's famous quote is right on target - “there is great disorder under the Heavens and the situation is excellent.”

    It would be too delicious if it weren't so scary. I can’t help but paraphrase the wiki entry on the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Go ahead and read that first. Won’t take but a minute. The parallels are eerie.  Below, I changed a few words from the wiki.

    Read more ...  
  • Political values and social media in Trumpworld-GOP and CCP

     Political values and social media in Trumpworld-GOP and CCP

    Written back in June. Seems like ages ago, but the virus in all its forms is still with us, even after the election. And the Covid-19 vaccine will have 0% effectiveness on the political virus.  Michelle Goldberg back then on the recent NYT Tom Cotton op-ed business –

     It’s important to understand what the people around the president are thinking. But if they’re honest about what they’re thinking, it’s usually too disgusting to engage with. This creates a crisis for traditional understandings of how the so-called marketplace of ideas functions. It’s a subsidiary of the crisis that has the country on fire.

    Read more ...  
  • Once Upon a Time, America

    Once Upon a Time, America

     

    At the end of 2018, I wrote a series of posts on similarities between Xi and Trump, CCP and GOP.  See below.

    Now, about six weeks before the election, Barton Gellman at the Atlantic has an analysis of how Trump can disrupt the election and refuse to leave.   This is by no means the only story like this, and the idea seems more and more possible.  What if Trump Refuses to Concede?

    Read more ...  

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