Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Dissent emerges in China from a high place

From the story here:

Censorship and punishment have muted dissent in China since Mr. Xi came to power. So Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, took a big risk last week when he delivered the fiercest denunciation yet from a Chinese academic of Mr. Xi’s hard-line policies, revival of Communist orthodoxies and adulatory propaganda image.

“People nationwide, including the entire bureaucratic elite, feel once more lost in uncertainty about the direction of the country and about their own personal security, and the rising anxiety has spread into a degree of panic throughout society,” Professor Xu wrote in an essay that appeared on the website of Unirule Institute of Economics, an independent think tank in Beijing that was recently forced out of its office. ...

“As things continue in this direction, the question arises whether reform and opening up will come to a halt and totalitarian rule will return,” Professor Xu said in the essay, written in a densely classical style speckled with recondite phrases and historical allusions. “At this time, no other anxiety weighs most heavily on most people.” ...

Professor Xu’s future may now become a test of whether Mr. Xi will display greater tolerance of criticism.

“I have said what I must and am in the hands of fate,” he wrote at the end of his essay. “Heaven will decide whether we rise or fall.”