Sunday, January 04, 2009

"The Sun King"

Fascinating article in the Times (UK) that illustrates the factionalism in the CCP that I've often cited. Prominent dissident Bao Tong, still under house arrest for his role in the "unfortunate events" of 1989, issued an online criticism of late Premier Deng Xiaoping. Far from being a reformer who opened up China to economic liberalization, Bao Tong characterizes Deng as a modern-day Louis XIV:
Bao says true economic reform died in 1989 when Deng turned against political liberalism and backed rule by a strong state. He argues that the party has merely transferred economic privilege to a corrupt bureaucratic elite. “The price we have paid for it today has been too steep: a cheap labour force, added to massive plunder of natural resources, poisoned air and polluted water,” Bao writes...

...Deng was not interested in economics, did not understand markets and never intended to liberalise, says Bao. His aim was to save the party’s power.
Bao Tong was a high-ranking official who knew Deng Xiaoping personally, making his critique particularly devastating. That Bao Tong has not been further punished for his criticisms suggests the reformist faction in the party is strong enough to protect him. As the Times article points out, "One comrade who worked alongside him, Wen Jiabao, is now the prime minister."

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