China After The Party Congress: What Now?

 Authored by Roger Garside via The Epoch Times,

When Xi Jinping’s predecessor as leader of China and its Communist Party, Hu Jintao, was removed from the closing session of the Party Congress on Oct. 22 in full view of the 2,300 delegates, it was a demonstration to the world that Xi had swept aside all rivals and is now the undisputed ruler of the nation.

Yet, in his political report to the Congress, Xi listed an array of deep-seated problems, which his victory does nothing to resolve because they are the product of the political system he is determined to defend. Indeed, his victory will exacerbate these problems because in choosing subordinates, he has given priority to loyalty to him over experience and competence in government.

China After The Party Congress: What Now?

More importantly, the problems have essentially been caused by the very political system that Xi and his supporters are ever more determined to defend. They include economic problems like the debt mountain, an ecological catastrophe, a “zero-COVID” strategy that has led to isolation and perpetual lockdown, and the increasing hostility of the United States and its allies.

China’s body politic is terminally sick. It is like a person suffering from an advanced stage of uremia who can only be saved by a kidney transplant. China requires a political transplant: a democratic revolution.

Instead of systemic change, Xi has chosen a trajectory that has intensified China’s problems. He has replaced the “reform and opening” of Deng Xiaoping with regression and closure. He prioritizes state-owned enterprises over the private sector that produces the wealth. To rule, he relies upon techno-totalitarianism, not trust. His premature strategic challenge to the United States and its allies has turned their benign partnership into hostility and distrust. In all this, he is alienating 500 million Chinese who produce wealth, and enjoyed the newfound freedoms to create businesses, and travel and study abroad that Deng’s strategy brought them.

As unsolved problems give birth to crises - the debt mountain led first to the collapse of the property sector, and now to a slow-motion financial crisis - Xi will intensify confrontation with the United States and its allies, to mobilize nationalist sentiment behind him, exploiting the chauvinism long nurtured by the regime. This will be very dangerous for the world. Xi will be surrounded by yes-men who will not dare to restrain him.

We cannot sit back and wait for China’s autocracy to implode. We must be proactive.

We have great assets to mobilize, such as the world’s major reserve currencies, capital markets, pools of investment finance, and centers of scientific and technological creativity. After a slow start, the United States is taking decisive action; its allies must follow suit.

We cannot dictate how China is governed, but we can enable those Chinese who want systemic change to achieve it. Occasions such as the 20th Congress give a false picture. This is a regime that is outwardly strong and inwardly weak. If Xi were truly strong, he would not need to have his predecessor dragged out of the Congress. If the Party were truly confident, it would submit itself to the judgment of the people in free elections in place of this charade of strength and unity.

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