China’s Communist Party

China’s Communist Party

A Chinese tycoon criticized coronavirus response. Now he is missing
Friends of Ren Zhiqiang, the Chinese former property tycoon and outspoken critic of the country’s ruling Communist Party, are concerned about his whereabouts after losing contact with him for several days. The 69-year-old has been out of touch since an article he wrote criticizing the way in which Chinese authorities responded to the coronavirus outbreak was widely circulated online, they said. “I haven’t been able to reach Ren Zhiqiang since Thursday night … it’s been over 72 hours already,” Wang Ying, an entrepreneur and friend, said. Zhang Ming, a history professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said he too had been unable to contact Ren. “A citizen can’t just disappear, we need to know
Xi’s China faces ‘crisis of Chernobyl proportions’
Long before it became synonymous with a viral outbreak, the central Chinese city of Wuhan had been at the heart of some key political events in the country’s modern history. It was where an armed uprising began in 1911 that ended thousands of years of imperial rule. It was where Mao swam across the Yangtze River in 1966, at the age of 72, in a publicity stunt that helped rally support for his Cultural Revolution. This winter, it was the starting point for an outbreak of a new coronavirus – which causes the disease now officially known as Covid-19 – that has rapidly spread across the country and beyond, killing more than 1,380 people and paralyzing cities. The crisis has been referred to as C
China commemorates national hero: its first female tractor driver
Liang Jun, a woman who became an archetype for the ideal socialist worker, died on Tuesday in the northern Chinese city of Harbin. She was 89 years old.  Liang, who had been sick for the past two years, was famous in China because she was featured on the country’s 1 yuan banknote, which pictured her contentedly driving a tractor. The banknote was released in 1962 and stopped circulating in 2000. In 1950, Liang was hailed as “China's first female tractor driver” by People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece. That same year, she became a “national model worker,” which is an honorary title given to those deemed to have contributed significantly to building a socialist society. The title w
Here’s why Beijing’s new Hong Kong envoy was a surprise choice
Bringing a political veteran with no relevant experience out of semi-retirement and making him the top envoy to Hong Kong shows Beijing’s determination to reset its policy on the city, according to insiders and observers. Luo Huining’s appointment as the new director of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong came as a surprise even to Communist Party insiders. But while he is seen as capable, he was an unlikely candidate for the job. Having turned 65 in October, Luo was supposed to be easing into semi-retirement. Under party rules, senior officials of Luo’s rank are relieved from key positions at the age of 65.  They are then transferred to less demanding roles – usually in Chi
Why Xi Jinping wants everyone to know he ate on the train
Chinese President Xi Jinping is the kind of president who does not mind eating his dinner on the train and who shuns luxurious accommodation, according to the latest state media reports designed to portray him as a thrifty and frugal leader. The report by state news agency Xinhua published on Monday depicted him as a man who would spend his birthday working and personally intervened to ensure that meals in honor were not too extravagant. The report was also intended to reinforce the message to officials that staying down to earth was “no trivial matter” but was key to fulfilling the party’s “original mission” in what one analyst described as a Mao Zedong-style effort to show he was on the si
Can China learn the lessons of a failed dynasty?
Are we finally seeing Pax Sinica 2.0, or is China engaging in a self-fulfilling prophecy that will lead to its doom (again)? Back in 2013, I wrote that China proffered a valid voice that would help maintain and shape the international order in its current form.  My 2015 book China, State Sovereignty and International Legal Order argued that China’s assertions and exercise of sovereignty should not be taken automatically as signs of aggression, or acts beyond the remit of international law, that would threaten world peace.  In turn, international law would moderate and influence China’s state behavior, both within its territory and in its relations with other states. Since then, President Xi
The year the Chinese propaganda machine failed spectacularly
If President Xi Jinping’s team carries out annual job appraisals, China’s overseas propaganda team will surely be found to have performed catastrophically.  Whether it is Hong Kong or Xinjiang, Huawei or the trade war with the United States, the Chinese regime has had a string of notable public relations failures this year. While the regime’s propaganda efforts have worked quite well on the domestic audience, mainly because of the Great Firewall, the overseas propaganda arm has suffered major defeats.  Despite deploying numerous resources via official and unofficial channels, the regime has not only failed to achieve its intended purpose of interacting well with the rest of the world but als
Beijing is struggling to recruit people to run Xinjiang
China’s Xinjiang autonomous region has attracted international attention for all the wrong reasons – police crackdowns and reports that local ethnic Uygur people are being held in internment camps.  What hasn’t gained much attention is the difficulty Beijing has drafting staff to execute its policies in the far northwest area. The measures targeting Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang have triggered “widespread discontent among Han Chinese officials and citizens,” a source close to the central government told the South China Morning Post.  The source said Chinese President Xi Jinping was aware of the problem because he had been briefed by the country’s chief Xinjiang policy coordinator, Wan
China to scale back affirmative action for ethnic minorities
China is set to scale back its affirmative action policies for ethnic minorities, which could result in curbs on education opportunities as well as the removal of tax benefits and other subsidies for minority groups.  China has 56 officially recognized ethnic groups. The majority Han Chinese make up more than 90% of the population, while the other 55 groups, including ethnic Mongols, Tibetans and Uygurs, have about 110 million people, or four times the population of Australia.  Many minorities live in less-developed regions and face prevalent discrimination in the Han-dominated society. For decades, the government has granted them certain benefits, which resemble the affirmative action polic
Chinese patriots must also love the Communist Party, new guidelines say
Beijing has issued a new set of “patriotic education” guidelines, vowing to ramp up efforts to unite the country’s 1.4 billion population amid continuing social unrest in Hong Kong. Compared to the previous guidelines, published in 1994, the new framework goes a step further in emphasizing the role of the party in the country.  The new document explicitly defines patriotism as not just love of the country but also of the ruling Chinese Communist Party and its official political ideology. “The fates of the country and the party and socialism are inseparable,” the guidelines said, echoing previous remarks by President Xi Jinping. The guidelines, jointly issued by the Communist Party’s Central