Growing resistance to China’s political controls


The rise of ‘abusively racist clown’ Donald Trump proves democracy doesn’t work, according to China’s ruling Communist Party, citing his success as latest example of how allowing the masses a say in choosing their leaders is a bad idea, the Guardian reports.

“Mussolini and Hitler came to power through elections, a heavy lesson for western democracy,” the party-controlled Global Times crowed this week.

But China’s authoritarian model regime may not be as robust as it seems, judging by this week’s National People’s Congress.

“Obscurantist propaganda by numbers; a Potemkin parliament; a stifled press; even lapel badges of the great helmsman: it all reeks of the bad old days. ….The NPC’s unruffled, unaltered façade is an unconvincing distraction from the ferment affecting a society in the grip of wrenching economic and social change,” says The Economist:

Meanwhile, the party has launched yet another ideological campaign. Assuming his people have already mastered his “Four Comprehensives” policy and his “Five Development Concepts”, Mr Xi now wants them to start counting on their toes as well. The press is promoting a new “Four Consciousnesses” movement. They span “ideology, the whole, the core and the line”. It seems yet another way of saying absolute loyalty to the party and its leader is the order of the day. 

Facing internal party dissent and growing labor unrest, the ruling party is jittery because the country is facing a new age of economic anxiety, The New Yorker’s Jiayang Fan reports.

“Acknowledging an economic downturn may be uncomfortable for an authoritarian regime that has long prided itself on its stewardship of the socialist economic engine,” she writes. “But, for a generation of Chinese reared on the rhetoric of a relentless and freewheeling economic ascent, it is terrifying.”

This year’s Two Sessions meetings in Beijing have been marked by uncharacteristic outspokenness against official policy, both at the Great Hall of the People and in the media, notes China Digital Times (a grantee of the National Endowment for Democracy):

In particular, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee delegate Jiang Hong, a professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, has caused a stir with remarks calling on the government to allow advisors like himself to offer unrestrained suggestions. His remarks were in turn censored from an article in Caixin, which then published another article criticizing the censorship. At this week’s meetings in Beijing, BBC reporter John Sudworth interviewed Jiang before he was hurried away by an official…..

But with Jiang Hong’s comments, statements of defiance from property  tycoon Ren Zhiqiang and a Xinhua journalist, and an open letter allegedly from “loyal Communist Party members” calling on Xi to resign, resistance to Xi’s brand of media and political control appears to be growing at various levels of society. Andrew Browne at The Wall Street Journal reports on the various way Chinese citizens register their discontent with official censorship.

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