NEW DELHI: As the Chinese Communist Party celebrated its 100th anniversary last week, President Xi Jinping praised the party to the high heavens, crediting it for all good that has happened to China. He even issued threats: foreign powers would have their ‘heads bashed’ if they tried to bully China. In the run-up to the party’s centenary, StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale spoke to China specialist Bonnie Girard on what the party has achieved so far and what lies ahead. Here’s what they discussed:
What is the influence of CCP in the day-to-day lives of Chinese citizens?
- The influence and power of the CCP is omnipresent in the lives of the Chinese people
- Whether it is offices, companies or neighborhoods, party members keep a close watch
- CCP members are present in schools and colleges; the curricula is defined by the party
- The educational system is fully controlled by the CCP
Was the Tiananmen Square incident (1989) a turning point?
- Tiananmen Square event was a turning point for the Chinese people
- It was actually the fuel which led to economic reforms (which had already begun by the party) being accelerated
- CCP used the event to distract the population and used it to bring in investment and technology even faster than it had already done
- The party under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping turned the focus/attention away from political matters
- People started realising their entrepreneurial dreams
- It accelerated a big explosion of the Chinese economy
Going forward, can the CCP sustain itself with lower economic growth?
- Yes, it can sustain as long as incomes rise but the failure of the CCP won’t be on economic lines alone
- China has created a devil for itself; it has allowed a significant chunk of its population to be well-educated, well-travelled and to be educated overseas
- The young Chinese students who have been abroad have seen how the rest of the world lives and prospers
- The message of democracy and other values are getting across to them; also the generation of the cultural revolution is fading away
Is the CCP adapting to the aspirations of Chinese population?
- The CCP hasn’t had a great deal of success. It can’t be credited for the economic growth as people did the heavy lifting
- Xi Jinping is not widely loved, either by people or even by many in the party
- Perks and privileges prevalent for decades have been taken away from party functionaries, also the crackdown on corruption has caused a lot of resentment
- The party isn’t a tremendously effective institution, it rules because it depends on fear but fear goes away
Is the CCP at a crossroads/inflexion point?
- The CCP has been responsible for many disasters and debacles
- The world is saying CCP is the reason the Covid-19 virus escaped from China and caused so many deaths worldwide
- It’s up to the people of the world to make it an inflection point
- China has indulged in wolf warrior diplomacy to ward off any criticism with regard to Covid-19
- There has been no transparency in conducting/facilitating investigation into the origin of the virus
- Although China clamped strict restrictions on movement inside China, it deliberately let people from Wuhan travel abroad.