Tuesday, May 24, 2016

[Opinion] China's Path to Dictatorship?

1. I am very alarmed by the institutional reforms Xi Jinping is undertaking in China.

Under the guise of anti-corruption and efficiency, Xi Jinping is making far reaching institutional reforms.

Collectively, I believe the reforms set the stage for dictatorship by dismantling whatever checks and balances there are in China.

2. China's 2016 Military Reform is a step in the wrong direction.

China's military is under the control of the communist party and to prevent the in-fighting of the communist party from spilling into the military, the Chinese military has traditionally dispersed its power among the Central Military Commission, the four general headquarters, and the seven military regions.

The 2016 Military reform has completely reorganized the chain of command and the command authority.

The 2016 Military Reform has streamlined the chain of command but at the same time destroyed the traditional check and balance within the Chinese military.

The 2016 reform is more suited for a democratic country where the military is under civilian control than for an authoritarian state such as China.

3. The Communist Youth League is one of the traditional training ground and power base of the Communist Party of China.

Hu Yaobang (General Secretary 1982 -1987), Hu Jintao (General Secretary 2002 - 2012), and Li Keqiang (Premier 2013 - present) were all one-time First Secretary of the Communist Youth League of China.

According to news reports, the budget of the Communist Youth League for 2016 has been slashed to 306 million yuan from 2015's 624 million yuan.

That is a reduction of over 50% in one year.

The budget reduction coupled with a yet to be announced reorganization plan might crippled the Communist Youth League.

The Communist Youth League provides a check on the power of Xi Jinping who is from a different power base, the "Second Generation Reds".

4. There is a rumor that discussion has begun about reorganizing the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The Politburo Standing Committee has traditionally been composed of between 5 to 9 members; the current number of members is 7.

The rumor is that abolishing the Politburo Standing Committee is on the discussion table.

How the Politburo Standing Committee will be reorganize is another bellwether for the check and balance of power in China.

5. The need for check and balance on power is rooted in human nature.

There is both a noble side and an ugly side to human nature.

In politics, the ugly side of human nature is manifested in the hunger for power to control others.

As Lord Acton (1834-1902) famously said: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

I am very alarmed by the recent institutional reforms of Xi Jinping because he is destroying the check and balance on power in China in the name of anti-corruption and efficiency.

Given the authoritarian nature of the Chinese government, the dismantling of the checks and balances may be a prelude to dictatorship.

Will Xi Jinping going to be the General Secretary for life?