Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

We'll do it our way, thank you

Liberalizing the economy and strengthening democratic centralism seem to be the goals of the new leadership in China. Can it be done? Oh, and by the way, they'll not have any Chinese Khrushchevs or Gorbachevs there.

China Warns Against ‘Dangerous’ Western Values
The Chinese Communist Party has warned officials to combat “dangerous” Western values and other perceived ideological threats, according to accounts on Monday of a directive that analysts said reflects the top leader Xi Jinping’s determination to preserve top-down political control even as he considers economic liberalization…

The central document, “Concerning the situation in the ideological sphere,” has not been openly published… But what did come to light in the local summaries exuded anxiety about the party’s grip on opinion…

The Chinese government has confronted demands for democratic reform from activists emboldened by Mr. Xi’s vows to respect the law. In recent days, some activists have cited rumors that the party issued a warning against seven ideas that are considered anathema, including media freedom and judicial independence…

Officials must “fully understand the dangers posed by views and theories advocated by the West,” said the account from Chongqing, which said they must “cut off at the source channels for disseminating erroneous currents of thought.”

“Strengthen management of the Internet, enhance guidance of opinion, purify the environment on the Internet, give no opportunities that lawless elements can seize on,” it said…

Mr. Xi has accompanied such signals of [economic] change with the messages defending party tradition and control. In December, he said China must absorb the lessons of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which he blamed on political ill-discipline and ideological laxity under Mikhail Gorbachev.

More recently, Mr. Xi told officials that the Chinese Communist Party may not have survived if it had disowned Mao Zedong in the same way that the Soviet Union condemned Stalin, a party newspaper, the Guangming Daily, said last week…

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