On its “Foreign Media on China” page, the China Daily website reprints in its entirety an International Herald Tribune column penned by Philip Bowring that describes, and appears to laud, the Communist Party’s recent tightening of controls:
It is hard for liberals and democrats to accept, but there seems to an inevitability about the reassertion in China of the political supremacy of the Communist Party and the administrative dominance of the central authorities. Prosperity and a growing property-owning middle class does not lead directly to demands to broaden the political base, but to demands to preserve existing achievements through emphasis on stability over speed.
It is almost 15 years since Deng Xiaoping, with his Southern Tour, restarted the economic liberalization that had been stalled by the Tiananmen protests. But amazing economic progress has, unsurprisingly, not been matched by institutional change…The notion of property rights is still uncertain. Party, state and commercial functions are still interwoven. The legal system has only partly been detached from the political structure.
Under these circumstances, it may be true that assertion of the authoritarian tendencies at the heart of all Communist parties and all Chinese bureaucracies is necessary to address the most serious problems now confronting China – because the problems, taken one by one, can be seen as mirror images of China’s successes.[Full Text]
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