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China’s Communists in party mood

CHINA: Founded by a few intellectuals 90 years ago, China’s Communist Party now presides over the world’s second-largest economy - but this feat has come at a price that threatens its survival, analysts say. The country is marking the CCP’s 90th anniversary on Friday with a propaganda blitz that includes a star-studded patriotic film and huge media coverage, but experts warn the future is clouded for the one-party regime.

“Because it’s not being managed in a democratic way, growth has carried a heavy price with environmental degradation, lack of healthcare and so forth,” said James Seymour, adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“Inherent weaknesses in the system mean that the party’s not going to be there for centuries. Judging by the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) and the Soviet Communist experience, they’ve got about another 10 years.”

The CCP was created in July 1921 by a dozen intellectuals in Shanghai. It seized power in China in 1949 after defeating the Nationalists in a bloody civil war.

Mao Zedong, the first Communist leader of China, subsequently unleashed nearly 30 years of chaos on the country through policies that led to political purges, famine and social upheavals in which millions died.

When Deng Xiaoping took over after Mao’s death in 1976, he launched a period of reforms and opening-up that saw the country’s economy grow at a dizzying speed, lifting millions out of poverty.

But the party’s small group of elite leaders continues to exercise an iron grip on the country’s political system, controls the media, manages the world’s largest military and decides how to keep the economy churning along.

Analysts say the lack of social and political changes to keep step with the economic reforms has sparked a litany of problems such as government abuses, illegal land seizures, a growing rich-poor divide and choking pollution.

Corruption within the party ranks is also a huge issue, and President Hu Jintao himself has acknowledged it presents a major threat to the CCP’s legitimacy.

AFP

 

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