søndag 10. mai 2020

Thorvaldur Gylfason and Arne Jon Isachsen: Too closed for comfort

One may wonder whether China will emerge as a winner in terms of soft power after the crisis. We don’t think so. Too closed for comfort. Had the pandemic started in an open society, a free press would have informed the citizens so that the outbreak could have been handled properly at an early stage. Free press is off the table in China. As are democracy and human rights. Perhaps more surprisingly, civil society is under attack. Why? Because people could come to discuss topics threatening to the rulers.

“Document 9,” which came to the attention of the rest of the world in the fall of 2013, and which lays out Mr. Xi’s view of how to handle ideas in liberal democracies, says it all. Universal values are a nonstarter in China. Individual rights and an independent judiciary do not go down well in a country where the Party leads everything “…, government, military, civilian, and academic; east, west, south, north, and center,” as declared by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in October 2017. The return to a Mao-era mantra of absolute CCP control is the making of Xi Jinping, China’s paramount leader, who sincerely believes Mao’s political legacy is relevant today.