China’s rule by coercive power causes mistrust in the world
The National People’s Congress of China, equivalent to Japan’s Diet, completed its 12-day session.
What attracted people’s attention at the People’s Congress was the title of President Xi Jinping. Although the term “Core” was not used which previously referred to the late Chairman Mao Tse-Tung or Deng Xiao Ping during their era, speakers often used similar terms such as “Core consciousness” during the recent session.
Conspicuous enhancement of control of free speech
The Xi administration announced hunt for tigers and flies, and initiated anti-corruption campaigns, indiscriminately targeting both party executives and minor officials. Through anti-corruption campaigns, the Xi administration succeeded in not only eliminating political enemies but also obtaining enthusiastic public support. President Xi who secured a broad support for the administration may have yearning for the authority equal to that of the late Chairman Mao and Deng.
In the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square incident, Deng Xiao Ping expelled Zhao Ziyang and exalted Jiang Zemin as the General Secretary of the party. He subsequently appointed Hu Jintao as the successor to Jiang Zemin. In other words, both Jiang and Hu had the backing of Deng. However, Xi does not have such backing, and he urgently needs his own authority.
In the past three years since Xi’s elevation to the Party General Secretary post, his conspicuous characteristics have been his rule by coercive power. Notably, he jailed and silenced human right activists and lawyers and strengthened control of free speech. Xi stated, “The surname of the media managed by the party and the government has to be Party,” during his visits at media organizations prior to the National People’s Congress.
In China under one-party rule by the Communist Party, the media are nothing but a “mouthpiece of the Communist Party.” Media may be allowed to expose corruptions of local officials in power, but they do not have freedom to challenge the Party Central Committee. Xi urged recognition of such media role.
In recent years, especially notable is the reality of China’s restriction on the Internet. The Chinese authority is making efforts to restrict the Internet which is rapidly spreading with widespread use of mobile phones and computers. China tries to eliminate information unfavorable to the party and the government and online criticism against the ruling system by mobilizing net police reportedly composed of 400,000 enforcers.
However, such criticism based on the true facts can contribute to trust in the administration, and is not something that should be sealed off. The administration can never be sustained by fictitious glory.
A major cause of decline of Chinese stock market price and currency value since last year is lack of transparency in market operations. The more China implements information control through rule by coercive power, the more the world comes to mistrust China.
China’s defense budget for this year amounted to 954.354 billion yuans (about 16.7 trillion yens), 7.6% increase from last year. The rate of increase was depressed to a single-digit percentage for the first time in the past six years, but the size of China’s defense budget is still more than three times of that of Japan.
The breakdown of the defense budget is unclear and many speculate that the actual figure is a few times as big as the publicized figure. China’s ongoing military buildup in the South China Sea can threaten freedom of navigation, causing concerns among relevant countries.
Communist Party dictatorship cannot last forever
In the National People’s Congress, reform of state-owned enterprises was called for and the need to phase out “zombie companies” that should have been eliminated long ago but still remain emerged as a consensus.
However, zombies lurk in the very system of the one-party dictatorship by the Chinese Communist Party. If left alone, the administration ruled by the Communist Party will eventually phased out.