China's Democratic Prospects: A Dissenting ViewIssue: Fall 1999
China today is roiling with turbulent economic and social change. As a result, Chinese politics is transforming as well. The Communist Party (CCP) struggles to maintain its authority in the countryside, where peasants have given up on corrupt officials and seek community in clan organizations and new religions. In the cities, persistent nationwide efforts to establish a formal opposition party have left communist leaders scrambling to shore up their control. Information, once easily monopolized by the state, now flows through cell phones and computer networks, enabling communication and organization among those disaffected with failed Leninism. The territorial integrity of the state is being challenged by the separatist aspirations of Uighurs and Tibetans. At no time in its fifty years of power has the CCP faced such a wide array of potentially disastrous problems.