Chinese Communist Party greats gathered at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing for their five-year congress.
Not a cup of tea will be out of place; not a murmur of protest will be audible. The Communist Party has always been obsessed with control.
But under President Xi Jinping, this obsession has deepened. After three decades of openness and reform under previous leaders, China has in many ways become more closed and autocratic under Mr. Xi. Surveillance has expanded. Censorship has tightened.
Party cells are flexing their muscles in private enterprises. Preserving the party’s hold on power trumps all other considerations.
The Roots of Communist Party Power
The Communist Party’s grip on power comes from a mixture of sources. The party controls the army and the police, which helps to ensure that any potential challenger to its power is dealt with quickly and harshly. The party also controls the media, which enables it to shape public opinion in its favor and present a positive image of the party to the outside world.
Additionally, the party uses its vast financial resources to buy the loyalty and support of key interest groups, such as business owners and government officials. Finally, the party relies on its vast network of members and supporters to help it monitor and control society as a whole. By using all of these tools, the party is able to stay in power despite widespread public dissatisfaction with its power.
The Communist Party’s obsession with control is not new; however, under President Xi Jinping, this obsession has reached new levels. After three decades of relatively open and reformist politics,
China has become more closed and autocratic under Mr. Xi. Surveillance is more widespread, censorship has increased, and party cells have greater influence over private businesses.
Preserving the party’s hold on power is now seen as more important than any other consideration. This obsession with control may eventually prove to be the party’s downfall, but for now, it remains firmly in power.