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 Post Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:20 am 
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So i guess the big question is, is Xi so strong, that he does not need the comittee, or is he so weak, that he has to purge the comittee preemtivly, before they can do anything against him?

What sort of powerbase does he have?

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 Post Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:21 am 
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Kea wrote:
Like Dodger said, China never had any elections to remove in the first place!


...okay, right, I'd somehow got the impression that there were elections but they were just designed such that the popular vote could basically be ignored. Given this situation, though... I hope you've got an emergency route out and passport up-to-date, Kea, because that is a lot of red flags.

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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:32 am 
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arcosh wrote:
So i guess the big question is, is Xi so strong, that he does not need the comittee, or is he so weak, that he has to purge the comittee preemtivly, before they can do anything against him?

What sort of powerbase does he have?

OK this is going to be a little bit long.

There have always been rival factions inside the Chinese Communist Party, and Xi Jinping seems to have won at bureaucracy-fu in a really big way. The article linked above is probably a bit of an oversimplification, but Xi Jinping is aligned with the "Princeling" faction - the faction of the wealthy, politically connected entrepreneurs. He is a lifelong Communist Party official who is the son of a Communist Party bigwig and parlayed his family name into promotions and enormous wealth.

The previous president Hu Jintao was aligned with a different faction of conservative old-school Communist bureaucrats. Hu was perceived as a weak rule-by-consensus leader because he never really achieved total dominance over the party - the previous president Jiang Zemin hung around in the background and kept some key allies in place to monitor Hu.

But Xi has not only managed to completely overshadow Hu's people, he's systematically wiped out Jiang's cronies too. Under a massive anti-corruption campaign, he has had many of his rivals jailed, chief among them Bo Xilai, the charismatic party secretary of Chongqing (a city in the southwest) who had served as commerce secretary under Hu. It was absolutely bananas Game of Thrones stuff involving wire tapping, betrayal, attempted defection to America, and murder charges (read the Wiki bit about his downfall). There are some rumours that that there was a coup being planned and that Xi successfully defeated it. There could still be someone plotting to bring him down, who knows? But they probably won't dare make a move anytime soon.

Since then he's consolidated control over the military by getting rid of generals he didn't like, and taken over economic policy which is usually the portfolio of the premier - sort of like a Prime Minister/Vice President. He has cracked down on the media, banned foreign ideas from universities, built a cult of personality, and pursued an aggressive foreign policy. The average person in the street supports him because of his patriotic and tough-on-corruption image.

So I guess the answer is that Xi, like many autocrats, is incredibly strong and powerful until the day he suddenly won't be anymore.

CCC wrote:
I hope you've got an emergency route out and passport up-to-date, Kea, because that is a lot of red flags.

I've still got my handy-dandy 'merican passport, although living in Donald Trumpland is not exactly appealing either. Thing is, life doesn't feel dangerous. To the average person going about their average life, things continue as normal. Life under repressive regimes is surprisingly mundane.

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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:27 am 
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Kea wrote:
I've still got my handy-dandy 'merican passport, although living in Donald Trumpland is not exactly appealing either. Thing is, life doesn't feel dangerous. To the average person going about their average life, things continue as normal. Life under repressive regimes is surprisingly mundane.


Yeah, up until the leader of said regime makes a mistake and everything goes south with surprising speed, and before you know it you need to take a wheelbarrow full of money down to the store to buy bread and then a thief comes by and steals the wheelbarrow but tips out the cash 'cos it's not worth taking.

I mean, alright, that's pretty near a worst-case scenario, but for an autocracy that's a believable worst-case scenario.

Though you make a good point about the Land of Trump as well. Might be worth looking into what it'll take to move to other countries - not with a view to dropping everything and leaving now, but more with a view to ensuring, if something happens, that the paperwork is not going to be an impediment.


Last edited by CCC on Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:51 am 
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Shocking economic mismanagement on the scale of Zimbabwe or Venezuela is highly unlikely; this is nothing if not a technocratic dictatorship. However, I do expect a big ugly recession to hit sooner or later, which may or may not come with political instability. China's economy is severely over-leveraged, meaning it's built on debt stacked on top of debt. They bailed the country out of the 2008 global economic downturn by pumping up lending and sooner or later all those loans have got to come due. But they've defied the doom and gloom forecasters for this long already, so I'm not holding my breath. They might manage to duct tape over the cracks for a good while yet.

One sign that all is not well though - Chinese millionaires are desperately parking their money overseas. Either they're trying to hide their ill-gotten gains from Xi's anti-corruption task forces or they're anticipating that it's all going to go wahoonie shaped. Maybe both.

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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:07 am 
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Duct taping over the cracks can delay a crash, but then it generally means that when the crash hits, it hits a lot harder.

It can give people time to actually fix the cracks in question, take a cautious, careful long-term view and make sure that everything's on a solid base... but for some reason people generally don't seem to stop and do this. Rather, it seems to engender a mentality of "We got away with it this far, let's see if we can't stretch things a little further"...

I guess what this really comes down to is just, stay safe Kea.

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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:45 am 
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AFAIK Venezuela was pretty stable too, until oilprices dropped and the government tried to ignore, that they had suddenly much less income.

Now i suppose Chinas ecconomy is more diverse and thus less likely to receive such a big hit.

On the other hand governments of autocrats, like you describe Xi, are more likely to have a Venezuelan reaction to a crisis, then rule by consensus oligarchies. After all factions, that sit in the tent are less likely to incite or surf any uprising and they are less likely to resist any cuts in their revenue, if that is part of a compromise negotiated with them, then if they are outside and want in. And also if the place in the tent is relativly secure, players inside the tent are more likely to have long term plans, and are thus more likely to agree to temporary cuts because of a crisis.

I am not saying that i expect a Chinese crash, but i think something that might habe been a bump in a previous government, might throw the whole thing off the track under Xi.

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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:35 pm 
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You may have heard a about how Xi Jinping is paranoid enough to ban Winnie the Pooh.

If this leads to systematic suppression and denial of information even within the government, then a crash might hit very hard indeed. The biggest risk of autocracy is that the leader becomes so surrounded by yes men that he no longer knows what is going on until it is too late.

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 Post Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:58 am 
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Kea wrote:
You may have heard a about how Xi Jinping is paranoid enough to ban Winnie the Pooh.


...odd, and more than a little worrying.

Worse, according to the article it seems he has banned the English letter 'N'. This just raises even more red flags.

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 Post Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:18 am 
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That's how Chinese web censorship works. People invent coded phrases to get around the censors and when the censors catch on, they block the coded phrases. It becomes increasingly silly until perfectly innocuous words are banned.

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:01 am 
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One of the delusions of living in an authoritarian society is the belief that if you just keep your head down and follow the rules, nothing bad will happen to you or your friends. That is a lie.

My former coworker's husband is being kicked out of Hong Kong for committing an act of journalism. His offence was to allow a young man with controversial views to give a speech at the journalist's association venue that he managed. He broke no laws. Hosting a person with controversial opinions is not a crime. But they can change the rules on you at any time for any reason they like, and you will be punished.

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:19 am 
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Yes authoritarian states might give the impression that there are rules, but actually there aren't any rules, just rulers.

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 Post Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:12 pm 
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You won't be safe anywhere either. His daughters are being stalked and threatened; they live in Europe.

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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:27 am 
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We are even more screwed now. The last of the by-elections to replace the ejected legislators has taken place, and the democrats failed to hold the seats. Bad weather, low turnout and muddled campaigning sealed their fate. They have lost their veto power.

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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:42 am 
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...well, that's not good.

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