Monday, December 29, 2008

The Ghost Of Beijing Future?

An "Economist" writer, passing Christmas in a Beijing bookstore, reflects on the interrelatedness in China of economic and political stability:
Earlier in the week the authorities had arrested one of the country’s best known political activists, Liu Xiaobo, after he and some 300 other academics, lawyers, journalists and other intellectuals circulated a petition known as Charter 08 (echoing Charter 77, a document signed by dissidents in Czechoslovakia in 1977 calling for human rights protection).

The petition called for sweeping reform, including freedom of the press and the right to form opposition political parties. As the economy sputters, a pillar of the party’s legitimacy (its ability to deliver growth) is beginning to wobble. Such demands are the last thing the party wants in these anxious times. Officials are desperate for the middle class to get out and shop in order to help take up the slack caused by plummeting demand for China’s exports.

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