Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gorbachev, NO; Putin, YES

The New York Times' Chris Buckley contends in this analysis that a result of the Third Plenum is the elevating of Chinese President Xi to a "godfather" like status or an emulation of Putin.

Buckley's analysis makes the prosecution of Bo Xilai an integral part of Xi's rise to power.

Xi, in ‘Godfather’ Mold, Looks Assertive and Even Imperial
Mr. Xi emerged from a four-day meeting of the Communist Party Central Committee stronger. He won endorsement for a new national security commission that is likely to enhance his influence, as well as for a leadership group on reform that could give him a more direct say in economic policy, which has tended to be the prime minister’s domain.
President Xi

One year after taking leadership of the party, Mr. Xi is looking like an assertive, even imperial president, who sits well above his six colleagues on the Politburo Standing Committee…

Xiao Gongqin, one of China’s most prominent proponents of “neo-authoritarianism,” thinks Mr. Xi is very a good thing: a new incarnation of his idea of a model leader, Deng Xiaoping.

Professor Xiao, who teaches history at Shanghai Normal University, attracted fame, and controversy, in the late 1980s for arguing that China needed a pro-market strongman to extinguish political opposition while shepherding the country into economic modernity…

But advocates of democratic liberalization see many perils in Mr. Xi’s potential amassing of power, as well as the formation of the new, possibly powerful security committee. Rong Jian, an outspoken opponent of neo-authoritarian thought in the 1980s, said he was alarmed by the outcome of the Central Committee meeting.

“He wants to be Putin,” said Mr. Rong, a political commentator…

Many economists and political analysts say that Mr. Xi’s immediate predecessor, Hu Jintao, failed to provide that authority… Mr. Xi has been polite but muted in his comments on Mr. Hu’s record. He has, however, mocked the former leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, as a coward….

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