China, USSR, and Desperate Dire Predictions
A commentary [zh] widely published in China’s state media warns that the “European and American model of capitalism and constitutionalism”, promoted online by doom-laden false rumors, could tip China into an even bleaker predicament than that of the former Soviet Union. At China Real Time Report, Russell Leigh Moses suggests that the essay reflects unease among Party conservatives ahead of high-level meetings, and describes the online backlash against it.
Pointing to economic and political turmoil in post-Soviet Russia as evidence of the dangers of embracing political reform too soon is nothing new in China, but the Xinhua essay, penned by one Wang Xiaoshi, paints an unusually dire portrait of China’s neighbor to the north. According to Wang, the Russia that resulted from the demise of the USSR — the one where “people truly awakened to ‘democratization’ and ‘universal values of happiness’” — discovered that “GDP had fallen by half; access to the sea achieved through the centuries was gone, along with a fleet that aged, corroded and finally fell into a pile of scrap metal; where new domestic oligarchs plundered state assets; Russians lined up on the street in supply shortages; and veterans had to sell their medals in exchange for bread.”
[…] Among the critics was Chinese intellectual Yu Jianrong, who argued that China’s failings needed to be discussed first, especially “the widening gap between rich and poor produced by unrestrained predatory crony capitalism on the population,” as well as an unconstrained public authority “[guilty of] flagrant violations of the rule of law” and the subsequent “loss of social morality.” [Source]