Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

The Fall and Rise of China -- epilogue

So I did eventually finish the course on China that I reviewed the other week. As expected, it never manages to ever get quite as sordidly captivating again after the aftermath of Mao's death, but Tianenmen serves as another major foreshadowed climax in the story, and it ends with a good review of the state of China "today".

In a bit of wonderful timing, mindways posted a link to this fine article in Foreign Policy magazine, on the Bo Xilai affair. It's well worth reading, but the more you know about modern Chinese history, the more fascinating it becomes.

In summary: the past isn't prologue, it's not even past. This scandal, which has been quietly tearing things up in China's upper echelons for the past few months, is very much an echo of Tianenmen, and indeed of the post-Cultural Revolution legacy. It's the story of Bo Xilai, a populist who had sort of set himself up as an heir to the left-wingers who dominated when the Communist Party was actually communist, vs. the heirs of Deng Xioping, who opened up the economy -- and just as significantly, of Hu Yaobang, the party head who tried and failed to open up Chinese politics in the 1980s.

It's very intriguing, if frustrating -- the Party is better than ever at keeping a tight lid on the rumor mill, and I suspect it'll be a long time before the full story of what happened comes out. Signs are that, behind the scenes, the battles for control of the soul of the Party continue to rage, with deep implications for the entire world. And someday, it'll make an absolutely delicious HBO series, no doubt...
Tags: politics
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