Ever since Tiananmen in 1989, one of the main priorities of the CCP is to contain and put down any civil unrest as quickly as possible. They practically have it down to a science by this point. A lot of AI investments made by the government are specifically tailored to prevent any kind of protest messaging from spreading.
That said, as the economy gets worse in China, people will start pointing fingers at the government and things could get really messy. Angry students is one thing — jobless blue collar workers is completely different. If the world really does go into a recession, I would expect things to get really interesting in China.
Indeed, the Chinese people expect a higher standard of living now so the economy getting really bad could very well lead to big problems. And since it seems like Xi is doing a great job of exacerbating an inevitable slowdown it may very well get to that point.
Yeah. The idea that there will be any kind of actual threat to the party from this is laughable. The infrastructure of propaganda and repression is so well developed that the threat from the populance is minimal.
And Xi has made it very clear that he won’t tolerate internal dissent within the party at all. In 59 when Mao lost a good portion of his power the rules of the game were still mutable, and the economic disaster was so great that simple reality meant Mao needed the moderates.
Nowadays everyone in the higher echelons of the CCP knows that to not support Xi in all respects is to be investigated for corruption. And while bad, zero-COVID isn’t exactly “starve 30 million people” bad. The economy will still function, and there are plenty of senior leaders willing to run it as Xi desires.
Regardless of how strong Xi’s grip on the Party might be, and how strong the Party’s grip on the levers of power is, in a society increasingly attuned to global discourse and increasingly expectant of material prosperity and much of the lifestyle that comes with it, stuff like randomly shaking people down to inspect their phone apps does not seem like a sustainable strategy.
In some respect, that’s true. Times change, though. Even China does not remain static. We cannot know for sure, but I suspect that today’s Chinese are not exactly like the Chinese of twenty or thirty years ago. The Internet, cell phones, even COVID have changed things dramatically in much of the world, and I don’t think China is immune. I do agree though that substantial change may be slow in coming. There is little sign that the status quo is in danger of being upended quite yet.