Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The CCP gathers and misses the point

The opening of a Chinese Communist Party Congress is always attended with impressive pomp and circumstance, so much so that even quite astute observers are swept along. But as anyone who travels much in China or reads the Chinese press will know, what is asserted officially in Beijing is regularly proven false on the ground, elsewhere in China and even in Beijing itself. It is striking that this Congress is preoccupied with "strengthening" the position of President Hu Jintao and even considering who may be his successor. For the real issues in China are quite different. As this column, by yours truly, in the Washington Post suggests, the real issue for China is how she can democratize her political system in order to meet her most pressing need: for a legitimate government that has the confidence of her people, and which will therefore have genuine authority to address the country's many pressing problems.

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