By: Jianli Yang – Jan 3, 2021

When showing off China’s economic achievements and using them to denigrate democracy, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) often has claimed that “Democracy cannot be eaten.” Chinese leader Xi Jinping recently portrayed China’s political system under his rule as a “whole process people’s democracy” — more democratic, the CCP asserted, than any other democracy in the world. But many in China, perhaps including Xi himself, have come to realize that Xi’s whole process people’s democracy cannot be eaten, either.

It’s true that China rivals the United States for the world’s largest economy — even overtaking the U.S. in terms of gross domestic product adjusted for purchasing power. But China’s problems, festering in the CCP, threaten to put the country’s economy off-kilter and that could affect Xi’s goal of indefinite rule just as he is about to start his third term in office.

This month, the political formulation of “keeping economic development as the central task,” which had almost disappeared in China’s policies in recent years, suddenly resurfaced in its Central Economic Work Conference. This formulation had permeated China’s policies for nearly three decades after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 and held a dominant position until China entered the “Xi Jinping New Era of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.” Tiananmen broke the CCP’s ideology, and it almost lost its ruling legitimacy. Rapid economic development had become one of two lifesaving straws. The other is nationalism, but its importance is far less than the former, especially in the early stages… [Continue Reading]