Reports from Hong Kong media and the blogosphere in China are talking of a radical upset in next weeks change of leadership with hardliners looking to take control of the seven member standing committee.
The return to the failed policies of the past would be disastrous for China economically, socially and politically but the insistence of the current regime to suppress dissent and censor criticism, not for the oft quoted reasons of social stability, but to hide their grubby secrets which range from gross self enrichment to somewhat bizarre sexual behaviors has opened the door for hardliners and anti-reformists to take control.
It is a squandered opportunity. China’s emerging middle class have embraced new technology and the country could have been a world leader and innovator in the use of social media to usher in peaceful social reform if the leadership had really wanted it.
The hardliners are now an attractive alternative because they offer a return to a time of supposed political stability under Jiang Zemin. It is his appointees who are at the forefront of the move.
It is naive to expect moral decisions from more than a minority of those who wield power. But self interest of the kind that looks further than the next corrupt deal or squalid sexual dalliance should have motivated China’s current leadership at all levels to have tried to secure the recent reforms in place and not allow the door to be opened to the lunatic failed communist past.
The attraction of instant gratifications means the leadership ignored that danger and have blindly gone about illicitly enriching themselves and their families at the same time using the country’s draconian censorship apparatus to hide this malfeasance from the rest of s0ciety.
Instead of grabbing the opportunity of creating a vibrant open and involved society with China’s widespread adoption of the internet and social media, the leadership instead suppressed information and quietly made a fortune.
It is hardly surprising the average Chinese worker is unamused by this sort of behavior which leads to the threat of the greatly feared social upheaval. And well it should be feared. When the communists came to power the first people up against the wall and shot were the officials who had been enriching themselves at the country’s expense.
This is a case of “same meat different gravy”. The titular communists may be in power but they are behaving like their capitalist forebears and could well meet a similar fate.
In this uncertainty it is hardly a shock that the consensus will be to look for a safe haven and the only one on offer is a retreat into the past.
The problem with a blunt instrument like censorship is that it never works. Word gets out sooner or later and recently it has spread far and wide from the Bo Xilai debacle to the more recent revelations about billions of dollars accumulated by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and his family revealed by the New York Times just over a week ago.
But it is hardly new. Former British diplomat Hugh Cortazzi in May this year wrote about the 3000 Chinese princlings, the children of high ranking officials currently attending grotesquely expensive British schools and universities.