Beijing Faces a Fresh Legitimacy Test

For Asia Times, Verna Yu looks at questions over the legitimacy of the on the eve of the People’s Republic’s 60th birthday:

At the end of the annual plenary session of the powerful Communist Central Committee last week, candidly admitted that many problems threatened its political standing, including rampant , ethnic tension and social . These problems have “harmed the flesh-and-blood ties between the party and people, hampering efforts to consolidate the party’s ruling status”, and its “mission to strictly manage the party has never been so arduous and urgent”, the plenum communique stated.

With an estimated 100,000 street and disturbances across the country taking place last year, a yawning -poor gap and continued ethnic turbulence in Tibet and , Chinese leaders are clearly thinking about how best to continue their rule.

Amid widespread social discontent, many people were now questioning the legitimacy of the Communist Party’s rule, said former Chinese Academy of Social Sciences historian Zhang Lifan.

“The promises it made 60 years ago have not materialized, for instance, a directly-elected National People’s Congress [China’s legislature],” he said. “The [uneven ] distribution issue has not been resolved – all these affect the legality of their rule.”

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