Willy Lam: Why China's Reforms Have Hit a Brick Wall





Willy Lam is Adjunct Professor of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Senior Fellow with the Jamestown Foundation in Washington D.C. He is also a regular contributor for CNN on Chinese affairs.

There is only one thing that Chinese and foreign observers of China are looking for at the 18th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress: signs of reform, especially political liberalization.

The chances of meaningful political changes, or those that dovetail with global norms, however, are getting increasingly slim.

The reason may be simple. Until around about the time of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, to reform or not to reform belonged in the realm of ideology.

Even before the birth of the People's Republic in 1949, factions within the party had fought over the future direction of the country.

When Mao Zedong was running the show, there was the celebrated "struggle between two lines." This referred to the fierce competition between the Maoists -- who claimed to uphold unadulterated Marxism -- and the "capitalist roaders," led by then-president Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping....



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