Think about it. Why would a government place secret cameras everywhere? Censor any criticism of the government? Mount massive propaganda campaigns to defend the infallibility of the ruling
If the people were all in for their form of government and their way of life, this wouldn't be necessary.
"In 2013 the party issued a list of seven topics that could no longer be discussed with students: universal values, a free press, civil society, civic rights, the party's past 'mistakes,' corruption and an independent judiciary," veteran
There are many reasons that
It also has an enormous number of very poor people, which can be destabilizing when you have considerable income inequality and corruption, which
For the last few decades, stability and social peace have been maintained by incredible economic growth. It's easier to keep the masses happy, or at least compliant, when most are either getting richer or believe their kids will.
But in the last few years, Chinese economic growth has slowed, even according to
In America, policymakers in both parties see this as the last straw for an arrangement they didn't like anyway. That means even more factories could be leaving
The scary part is that the Chinese government has seen the writing on the wall for a while now. Not only has it become more authoritarian than even a decade ago, it has become more nationalist.
This has been Russian President
While everyone in the West has been focused on the pandemic, Putin has been orchestrating a constitutional change that will essentially make him president-for-life.
As the social cohesion of economic growth has ebbed, the Chinese -- specifically the Han Chinese -- have doubled down on jingoism. Part of their strategy is to emphasize the infallibility of the government in general, but of
What worries me about the current brouhaha over what to call the virus is that everyone is playing into Xi's hands. The mainstream media's ridiculous obsession with proving
So is the Trump administration's determination to fight back on this. I'm actually sympathetic to the need to rebut
But the fact remains that the Chinese people will get a very different message than the one the Trump administration intends. Thanks to Chinese censorship and state-controlled media, the Chinese people will only get the message the Chinese government wants them to get. And that message is that the blame for their problems doesn't belong with their own corrupt government, but with the West.
I have no idea how to short-circuit the collective action problem in front of us. But I worry that things could continue to deteriorate in such a way that the worst consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic won't be matters of public health or economics, but an escalating cold war that could turn hot.
Liberty-loving columnists delivered to your inbox. FOR FREE. Sign up for the daily JWR update. Just click here.