Friday, January 31, 2014

The Three Risks and China's Reforms

Xi Jinping visits China's border in Mongolia
Two telling articles recently appeared in the Chinese 'official' press.
The first one was published in Qiushi, a theoretical publication of the Chinese Communist Party (and the Party School). It speaks of three major risks affecting China’s political stability.
The 'Three Risks' are worth meditating upon:
The first is: "the decentralization of power. The article argues that democratic political reform carries the risk of polarizing the power of the central government. The article cited Vietnam as an example."
Practically, it means that there is no question of 'regional aspirations' or even a sort of federal system, like in India for example. It is far too dangerous for the Party which could explode (or implode).
The second 'risk' is an economic one: "Fluctuations in the economy. Sustainable economic development and maintaining social mobility are fundamental guarantees of social stability in countries going through industrialization and modernization. Over the next 10 to 20 years, maintaining sustainable economic development and social mobility will be vital for China's social stability."
The main objective of the recently-created Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms (with Xi Jinping at the helm) is to introduce just enough 'economic' reforms to be able to maintain 'social stability' and save the Party from a Soviet-type end. Of course, there is no question of kejrivalisation in the Middle Kingdom, just minimum of reforms to avoid the Chaos.
The third risk is 'losing control of the media'.
The Qiushi elaborates: "Guiding social ideology, controlling public opinion, and managing social emotions are an important part of national governance and important ideological conditions for maintaining social stability. From the experience of other countries and the new situations has China encountered in recent years, the challenges and risks from the impact of social media and from the management of society's emotional impact are increasing."
This explains the severe sentence inflicted on Xu Zhiyong, the pro-democracy activist. In November 2012, Xu had told The South China Morning Post: "For the world to become a better place, someone has to pay a price, I think it's glorious to sacrifice for the sake of social progress and fighting injustice."
He did, he is now in jail for 4 years. Xu, 40, was a law lecturer at Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications when he founded the New Citizen movement in May 2012. His objective was to enhance social equality and to push for a fair legal system.
According to the website Chinascope which translated the article, the author of the Qiushi article added that "it is foreseeable that social ideological guidance, the regulation of public opinion, and social emotional management will occupy a more important place in Chinese society in future governance and will play a greater role in maintaining social stability in the future."
A Tibetan Khempo was recently arrested in Tibet
It is quite scary.
The second article, also translated by Chinascope is about the new Leadership Groups which will have more authority to crack down on 'special interest groups'.
It first appeared in Consensus Network on January 26 and was later reprinted in the Qiushi Theory.
The article analyzed the new power relations between the CCP and the Government after the establishment of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms and the National Security Committee.
It explains: "As the Chinese Communist Party oversees the Chinese government, it is hard to distinguish whether the power is in the Party’s hands or in the government’s hands, but the two new leadership groups have a higher authority to crack down on special interest groups that were formed in the past."
The fact remains that it is Xi Jinping, the Secretary General of the Party (and Chairman of the Central Military Commission) who is the boss of both Leading Small (in size) Groups.
The article further states: "The new National Security Committee is responsible directly to the Politburo. It is chaired by the General Secretary and Vice Chairmen, representing the Party, the government and the National Congress. Its power is much greater than the US National Security Council. Therefore, the new power structure in China is a strengthened combination of the Party and the Government."
Once again, what is worrying is that the two new Small Groups will yield more authority and will have the more means "to crack down on special interest groups".
More repression against the Tibetans, the Ugyurs, the 'democrats' and others is in sight.
The Horse Year starts on an ominous note.
But can repression, always more repression help China to grow?
Certainly not, though it is what the apparatchiks believe that it will. 

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