Holy Zhao! 趙紫陽

This is the most astounding news the Cowboy has heard in a while. 

Zhao Ziyang, the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party during the student demonstrations that culminated in the Tiananmen massacre, has a new book out!  No, he won’t be making the talk show rounds; he’s been dead for a few years now.  But he left us a BIG surprise:  a tell-all book that he dictated onto cassette tapes.  In a fabulous tale of information undermining authoritarianism, his allies helped him record his stories over pre-recorded cassette tapes while he was under house arrest.  He would not have been allowed blank ones of course.  Various individuals were present during the recording sessions to vouch for the veracity of the tapes later.  The tapes were then smuggled out of his home and out of China.

Now we will be privy to the hitherto secret inside conversations of the Chinese leadership during this volatile period.  With this earth-shaking revelation, the current Chinese leadership has to be nervous.  The economic crisis is already creating great strain in a country that has undergone massive change in the 20 years since Tiananmen.  While China’s growth in 2009 will likely be envied by many countries (many projections are coming in around 6% GDP growth), anything under about 8% was widely seen as a major threat to stability prior to the crisis.  This was due to the large number of people leaving their peasant lives in the country every week for jobs in the cities.  While this trend has slowed with many people losing their jobs, the idea of millions of unemployed men roaming the country is enough to make any authoritarian shiver a bit.  And because of the one-child policy coupled with a cultural preference for male children, the population is skewing male.  Unemployed men make great soldiers…or rebels.

Unfortunately, much as the Cowboy believes in the merits of democracy, stability in China is important for the world, particularly now.  So perhaps we should all be quaking in our boots a bit.


Published in: on May 14, 2009 at 20:56  Comments Off on Holy Zhao! 趙紫陽  
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