China

One of the biggest news in China in December was a village in Guangdong that “rose up” against local government/party officials and basically kicked them out. Some people thought that this was similar to an uprising and in a way it was, but not in the conventional sense. It was a strong, united action against local officials whose authority was suspended for a period of time. But the village wasn’t trying to secede or call on the government to step down. On the contrary, the villagers were actually calling on the national government to help them. This contrast isn’t unusual in China where the national government is seen as infallible and respected, whilst local officials are rotten and corrupt. In reality, things aren’t really so black and white, but neither are most Chinese really so naive or simpleminded. Rather, this attitude is a practical one, brought about by the reality of living in a large, complex nation with a strong authoritarian regime. Single-party rule, as practical as it might seem, is not the most efficient or righteous way to run a country, but many citizens are likely to tolerate or support it as long as progress is made. This Atlantic article describes the precarious situation and raises some valid points such as: “Right now, the economic interests of the Party leadership, local officials and industry cronies, and Chinese citizenry generally line up. That could pit the Communist Party against some of the Chinese firms and individuals who have been enriched (and have entrenched their influence accordingly) by three decades of export-led growth.”

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