Comments Off on The Communist Party at 90

The Communist Party at 90

A mix of propaganda and paranoia

It’s been a painful few months of build-up to today’s 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party and I imagine I’m not the only who will be heaving a sigh of relief tonight that it’s finally all over.


The TV stations can go back to showing the soaps and spy dramas that people actually want to watch, the cadres can relax their vocal chords after weeks of belting out “Red” songs and even the web censors, I’m guessing, will enjoy not having the mechanisms of control on quite such a hair-trigger as they have been these last few weeks.

It’s hard to know if the Party has really advanced its cause. At the risk of gross generalisation, the Chinese people give the CCP credit for the economic achievements of the last three decades, but see straight through the propaganda, as we reported from Chongqing this morning.

President Hu’s speech was packed with perspicacious analysis that – you’ll not be surprised to hear – conspicuously failed to draw any of the obvious (reform-minded) conclusions.

“We must not turn our power into an instrument for making personal gain for a handful of individuals,” said Mr Hu, correctly identifying the rising bitterness in China against the ‘500’ ruling red families and their privileged access to the economy.

But the fix is not the fresh air of fair competition or a watchdog media or a legal system that dares to hold the party to account. Instead: “It is more urgent than ever for the party to impose discipline on its members.”

“If corruption does not get solved effectively, the party will lose the people’s trust and support,” says Mr Hu, acknowledging what every poll in China shows, viz that corruption is the chief bug-bear of the people.

The solution, of course, is not another party, or even a party-within-the Party to keep the CCP cadres honest, but a tired exhortation to “make more efforts in fighting corruption and building a clean government.”

“In some historical periods, we once made mistakes and even suffered severe setbacks, the root cause of which was that our guiding thought then was divorced from China’s reality,” said Mr Hu, referring to the Cultural Revolution and the famine that followed the Great Leap Forward.

Which of course points directly to the political elephant in the Great Hall of the People: the Party is indeed “divorced from China’s reality”, it well knows this, and it really can’t decide what to do about it.

If the party was “in touch with reality” of modern China, would it really need to launch all these anachronistic “Red” campaigns, fill the airwaves with “red TV” that sends ratings plummeting and spend countless billions monitoring the “happy” citizenry?

Of course it wouldn’t, which is why this wearing mix of propaganda and paranoia has ultimately served only to highlight the party’s fault-lines and frailties to everyone else looking on.

David Shambaugh, a long-time scholar of China, summed it up neatly in the New York Times. “China’s Communist Party at 90 is a bit like many 90-year-olds: increasingly infirm, fearful, experimenting with ways to prolong life, but overwhelmed by the complexities of managing it.”

Filed in: Computer Tips

Share This Post

Recent Posts

© Daily-Tips.Net. All rights reserved.