China’s Communist Party is passing around a memo from senior leaders, referred to as “Document No. 9,” that outlines exactly what the Xi Jinping’s political elite are really scared of, Christopher Buckley of the New York Times reports.
The Times reports that the memo refers to “seven perils” for the party:
The first was “Western constitutional democracy;” others included promoting “universal values” of human rights, Western-inspired notions of media independence and civil society, ardently pro-market “neo-liberalism,” and “nihilist” criticisms of the party’s traumatic past.
The memo sounds similar to another mentioned earlier this year in an article by Michael Sheridan of the UK’s Sunday Times, which told officials they must “completely understand the harm of viewpoints and theories propagated by the West” and “use battlefield tactics” to defeat liberals.
Sheridan also reported that another memo being sent to China’s universities told them to avoid “seven evil subjects,” which were listed as “universal values; western ideas of the freedom of the press; civil society; civic rights; historical mistakes of the Communist party; crony networks; and judicial independence.”
The similarity between the two reports seems to suggest that these seven issues (or some variation on them) must be what really keeps the Chinese elite up at night. And that’s not exactly surprising — China has been keen to modernize without creating its own Gorbachev-moment.
It’s still a little disheartening, however, for those who remember reading speculative talk that newly installed President Xi Jinping could be a great reformer. Most analysts say Xi has left the reformist wings of the Communist Party disappointed in his first few months in power, harking back to Mao more than they’d care for, and the new memo is said to have come from the top.
“There’s no doubt then it had direct endorsement from Xi Jinping,” Li Weidong, a political commentator and former magazine editor in Beijing, told the New York Times. “It’s certainly had his approval and reflects his general views.”
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