China’s Stubborn Anti-Democracy – Ying Ma

From Hoover Institution’s Policy Review:

…… Simultaneously, the ccp has keenly and successfully co-opted potential political competitors. According to Minxin Pei, the party has built coalitions with 1) intellectuals, who were at the forefront of criticizing the regime in the 1980s and in leading the Tiananmen Movement of 1989; 2) private entrepreneurs, who comprise the emerging middle class that many believed would demand more rights as they acquired fuller stomachs; and 3) technocratic reformers, who focus on the changes necessary to institutionalize and modernize China’s governance.8 By doling out everything from party membership to senior government positions to financial perks, the party has rendered moot the political threat from these three potent and potential opposition groups.9

The ccp’s suppression strategy is capped off with the restriction of what democracy scholars refer to as “coordination goods.” These goods include political rights, such as free speech and the right to organize and protest; general human rights, such as freedom from arbitrary arrest; and press freedom. Bueno de Mesquita and Downs contend that the availability of coordination goods affects democratization because they drastically influence the ability of political opponents to coordinate and mobilize but have little impact on the continued economic growth that is crucial for sustaining an authoritarian regime’s legitimacy.10 The Chinese government suppresses these goods by censoring the press and the Internet, cracking down on coalition-building and organization among dissident groups, diffusing and discouraging protests through a combination of cash payoffs and outright intimidation, and trampling on the human rights of its citizens. By suppressing these coordination goods, Beijing has in effect elevated and prolonged its survival prospects.

In short, the Chinese regime has not sat haplessly by when confronted with challenges to its rule but has instead aggressively fought to maintain power. Its tactics may have differed with each political challenge, but the result ” continuation of ccp rule ” has remained the same. [Full Text]

Ying Ma is has worked on China-related issues in the U.S. nonprofit sector and the Chinese internet industry. She has recently joined the staff of the congressional U.S.-China Commission.

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