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Started by Threviel, September 16, 2021, 12:45:13 AM

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Quote from: Jacob on March 14, 2023, 11:36:18 AMSheilbh, I don't disagree with that analysis of Xi's rise, though as with many retrospective analyses there's a bit of an "inevitability of present conditions" air about it. I'll just note that fighting corruption may well be something the party had an appetite for (and for good reason), but it is also an incredibly useful political cudgel to wield against enemies or the merely inconvenient in a system such as the Chinese.
Yeah I get that and I think that's absolutely part of it with Xi. I think the party wanted and needed to fight corruption because they saw it as an increasingly existential risk. As you say the problem is that fighting corruption is a cudgel which can be used internally and externally and to fight corruption you need a degree of carte blanche to go after other entrenched interests. Which is what's happened with Xi.

It's where I think the party wanted someone like Xi in general approach but maybe hadn't fully realised/appreciated what they were getting with Xi. Especially because I always wonder about that Bo Xilai alternative and if actually the party thought they were getting (to use the CIA guy's phrase) a "sexier Hu Jintao" in contrast to the riskiness of Bo, but maybe ended up with someone even riskier on the global stage and better able to consolidate power internally.

As ever while it's not a democratic system it's still politics and there are cycles and conditions that shape the range of options - but it still takes someone's particular skills, style, ideology etc to shape what the outcome is. So while I think the broad shape of a far more assertive China and anti-corruption purges were broadly what the party leadership wanted, I think it's very definitely the case that Xi has shaped the outcome in a way maybe no other leader would've.

QuoteI also broadly agree that there are strong elements of truth in the Chinese national narrative - the century of humiliation and all that - but it is also heavily shaped and spun. This isn't really that different from most national narratives. They all have to build on something resembling reality one way or the other.
I think this is true - but I wonder where it goes because I think at some point it is going to require a reckoning with the West and our world order based on our wealth and power which in signifcant part is directly tied to or a consequence of the century of humiliation, the British in India, the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on West Africa, extractivism in Latin America. I think as countries with those (largely true) national narratives become increasingly powerful and want a bigger say, I think it will clash with our own national narratives but also world order narrative.

QuoteMy assessment was more on character, and to the extent that Xi's character influences the direction of the CCP and PRC I think he's inclined towards drastic action on Taiwan whereas other hypothetical leaders might not have been.
Yeah - although as I always wonder about Bo Xilai. But maybe he would have actually been less of a risk and less of a personality cult etc precisely because he was (incredibly) corruptible, as opposed to a true believer which it seems like Xi is. Maybe it would've all been better if they'd just gone for the crook.

QuoteOn a personal level, I think it means we need to visit China (for family reasons) and Taiwan (for pleasure) sooner rather than later as it may not be long before such visits are impossible.

I don't have family connections - I've got friends who do - but I always regret not going to China and Hong Kong at earlier points in the 2000s, because I'd love to go but I don't want to go to this China (and maybe I'm just a massive hypocrite as it was still a repressive dictatorship then, Tibet etc). I plan to go to Taiwan in the next year or so for pleasure precisely for that. To have a chance to go to a China that is free and that isn't ethically as much a problem for me.
Let's bomb Russia!


As a Canadian I'd stay far, far away from China, Jake.
Being lazy is bad; unless you still get what you want, then it's called "patience".
Hubris must be punished. Severely.


Interesting observation of Bo Xilai, Sheilbh. I didn't particularly have him down as someone who was "(incredibly) corruptible." Do you mind expanding a bit on that? I feel like I might have missed something.


I was thinking of the whole situation around the murder of Neil Heywood. I remember an excellent podcast done by the BBC's then China Editor Carrie Grace about it called Murder in Lucky Holiday Hotel. But she also did a really good article about it:

Maybe it isn't that incredible - but I'd still say pretty corruptible :lol:
Let's bomb Russia!


Quote from: Jacob on March 14, 2023, 11:36:18 AMOn a personal level, I think it means we need to visit China (for family reasons) and Taiwan (for pleasure) sooner rather than later as it may not be long before such visits are impossible.
There have got to be easier ways to be on the news, you know...  :ph34r:
I don't do meditation.  I drink alcohol to relax, like normal people.

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