“Communist Party frets over a new threat: A book”

Oh good, another senior citizen to add to the ‘old guys who terrify Beijing’ list (via WaPo):

Bao, the publisher, said he got a late-night call last week from officials in Beijing — who have no jurisdiction over what gets written or read in Hong Kong — demanding that he halt publication of a collection of essays by Du Guang, a retired professor at the Central Party School, which serves as both a think-tank and ideological boot camp for China’s ruling Communist Party.

“This is what happens if you give unlimited power to the security apparatus,” Bao said, echoing a widespread view that the Party, though the architect of China’s spectacular economic renaissance, is in thrall to retrograde security organs that see flickerings of subversion in every corner.

Unlike student protesters who enraged the Party by erecting a statue modeled on New York’s Statue of Liberty in Tiananmen Square in 1989 or the jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo who championed Western liberties and mocked Party dogma, Du is a Party member who takes Chinese communism seriously. In some ways, though, that makes him especially troublesome.

His book, an advance copy of which has been reviewed by The Washington Post, doesn’t ridicule the Party or call for its overthrow but instead dissects its theoretical gobbledygook and traces how far it has drifted from its own early ideals. The book’s title: “Getting Back to Democracy.”

In his still unpublished book, Du reflects on how he embraced communism more than half a century ago because it promised an end to dictatorial rule but “slowly came to realize that there is a great distance between the ideals of the past and the road taken by our society and county. I feel a responsibility to cry out to those who lead this country’s ruling party and to common people: we have taken the wrong road.”

The Party argues that it doesn’t reject democracy but only its Western forms, an argument that resonates at a time of growing Chinese nationalism. It points to the National People’s Congress, which has nearly 3,000 members, allows some discussion of policy and no longer votes unanimously in favor of everything.

Du’s book provides a detailed theoretical critique of Wu’s arguments. His conclusion: “The National People’s Congress is nothing more than a democratic signboard for a one-party dictatorship.”

Once this whole single-party state thing blows over they should arrange a retirement home for geezers who kept Zhongnanhai up at night in terror. It’d be a cool place to hang out.

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