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State of China speeches, etc.

There are drama and excitement in an open democracy, which many people find does not produce the desired results, so they abstain from voting. Totalitarian congresses are so dull that people pay no attention. All in all, the former is infinitely better. We asked Paul to comment on the last Chinese party congress. He replies:

"Forget the LAST Chinese communist party congress and look to the next one (16th), coming this year. IT is mostly coreographed. In this case, the new president is chosen and will just get a rubber stamp. The behind-the-scenes jockeying starts years in advance, as various "red princes" try their sycophantic skills to get closer to the center. The summer gatherings at the Beidaihe beach resort are the famous place for this. Speeches at the Congress are totally scripted and controlled and everyone knows what will be said months in advance, sometimes years.The big question currently is whether Jiang will go gently into the good night or whether he will try to stay in power from behind the scenes as military commission head, ala 'paramount leader' Deng Xiaoping, clinging to power until he is all witless and unmanned. (and yes, stealing from a Welsh poet and an Oxford don's novel did indeed jazz up that sentence)".

Ronald Hilton - 2/1/02