While the Chinese Communist Party maintains order today, it cannot ignore its citizens whose growing economic concerns could give rise to a more successful revolution in the years to come. Dale Swartz reports for The American Enterprise for Public Policy Research:
China’s version of the Arab world’s “Jasmine Revolution” was a complete failure. Online calls for protests against Communist Party rule have elicited little response from would-be protesters. Yet Beijing’s reaction was swift and overwhelming–harassing reporters, jailing dissidents, and ramping up its already-aggressive censorship of the Internet. Such tactics have left those both inside and outside the country puzzled. Why are China’s leaders overreacting? Maybe they are not. The factors underlying this movement could prove lethal to the regime if left unaddressed. Future challenges will make tackling the problem even more difficult.
On April 3, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei vanished from Beijing’s airport. Noted for such iconic designs as the 2008 Olympic “Bird’s Nest” stadium, Ai is also a visible activist for free speech in China and an ardent critic of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The government later confirmed that he has been detained on vague “economic charges.” Most observers now suspect that his arrest is an attempt to silence his human-rights campaign, and Ai is not the only protester to disappear. Dissent is hardly an easy undertaking in China, a country infamous for its capricious use of police and judicial power. Over the past several weeks–while the world’s eyes have been elsewhere–the government has waged a truly unprecedented crackdown. But its underpinnings are rather curious.