Xi unveils CCP’s new era of legitimacy

An empty vase makes the most noise. The grandiosity of the Chinese Communist Party Congress – heralding a New Era of Wondrous Socialism with Chinese Characteristics – is designed to mask a system that has run its course.

The relatively easy (ideology-ditching) recovery from the depths of Mao’s economic disaster was over some years ago. Growth since then has been fueled by debt being channeled into loss-making investments and asset bubbles, with rampant corruption and inequality as side-effects.

The next step through Middle-Income Land should be towards higher productivity. That means the government letting go of the allocation of capital, and ending the protection and promotion of favoured industries. But to oh-so-confident Xi Jinping, ‘letting go’ means hastening the downfall of the Communist Party. He is so fearful that a USSR-1989 collapse could be imminent that he is tightening the centre’s grip on – as we know – everything. (Higher productivity also entails details like rule of law and freer flows of information, which are downright abhorrent to the ultra-conservative princeling.)

Maybe the CCP under Xi will discover the Marxist Holy Grail, where central planning and control – the opposite of competition – boost innovation, efficiency and output. But let’s be cynical and assume that it won’t happen.

Xi is eschewing reform and GDP-doubling as too risky to the CCP’s monopoly of power. So instead he must focus on creating a mirage of continued progress. This means delivering substitutes and placebos like aircraft carriers and anti-corruption campaigns. It means eradicating anything that might contradict the ‘everything is wonderful’ harmony-vibes – so internet access, academic freedom and human-rights lawyers must continue to disappear. It means ever-more insistent and mesmerizing messages and images, hopefully less clunky than the pre-movie Jacky Chan propaganda clips. And to be safe, unprecedented creepy surveillance and control through e-wallets, social credit rating and face-recognition.

Here’s a good summary tracing a line from the global crisis of 2008 to today’s arrests of lawyers. It ends by mentioning the elements of Xi’s ‘Chinese Dream’, like democracy, justice, equality and all the other goodies. They are thrust tastefully in your face wherever you go (cross the border at Sha Tau Kok and walk for one minute). The word ‘dream’ can mean ‘aspiration’, but strictly speaking it means an illusion. An even bigger fantasy is imagining that the CCP can glide through the coming financial, demographic and environmental mess this way.

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7 Responses to Xi unveils CCP’s new era of legitimacy

  1. HillnotPeak says:

    Is it me or does Jacky Chan more and more look like a woman? Hopefully Harvey doesn’t spot him….

  2. Probably says:

    My nomination for the new CCP / national anthem:


    If you seen the film you will also see the relevance even more so.

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    First it was fear of a “brain drain” about 30 years ago with the “best and the brightest” going abroad to seek their educations and fortunes.

    Then the CCP realized it needed experience. Management, financial, “innovation”, research, education, etc and 15-20 years ago it enticed those that left to come back with all sorts of incentives. And many came back not just for incentives but for the fact that EVERYONE was speculating in the red hot property market and high paying multi nationals that wanted “localization” (too quickly) needed to hire a Han chap that had experience abroad (but still had local “know how” when it came to greasing wheels and paying off the right people).

    Now everyone’s made their money and are desperately finding ways to get it the hell outta Dodge as purges, pollution, unsafe food, forced confessions on CCTV, “disappeared” businessmen, sword rattling and, of course, VPN crackdowns get more intense.

    China for the CCP “in crowd”. If you ain’t a princeling, you ain’t shit.

  4. Stephen says:

    I took all the usual precautions, no TVB or Pro China Morning Post, to ensure I didn’t get caught with all the flying ejaculate that I knew would be would accompany the Xi Dada show in Beijing. Alas even the BBC and Guardian are getting caught up this. It’s little more than, the often seen, Dictator cowers his people into submission thus ensuring the continuance of his divine right to rule and enrich himself forever. Yet from Libya to Romania to Panama to Indonesia it usually doesn’t end well for the Dictator, and it won’t here, even though the country is large or Xi’s Han brilliance ! The dearth of opposition in this particular country and its geographical size means the country will probably federalize after the Army has made a vain attempt to prolong the Dictatorship’s rule.

  5. Docta G says:

    But just think. If a similar number of Americans had Been lifted out of,poverty and ignorance the past 68 years, they wouldn’t be in the shifty state they are in today.

    Your propaganda and whole understanding is so 1980. Amusing. Keep it up. Nostalgia.

  6. Joe Blow says:

    Do any of you guys still wear safari suits or, if you are a broad, or Mary Melville, cheong sams ?

  7. @Docta G – don’t confuse being lifted out of poverty with being lifted out of ignorance. The bread and circuses formula suits the interests of the ruling class in many countries.

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