A highly significant essay, "A Thousand Yes-Men Cannot Equal One Honest Advisor," appeared recently on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which is in charge of Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign. It was signed under the pen name Lei Si and was widely seen as pushback against a range of Xi's recent policies, though elliptically cloaked through recalling tales of emperors and their advisors in China's long past. Read the English version here.
Clearly, fear-based rule was not left behind with the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, as many thought. This should not be surprising. Even as China's economy has boomed and modernized, its political system has retained its core totalitarian features: a state exempt from the rule of law, a domestic security apparatus with agents and informants virtually everywhere, widespread censorship, and weak protection of individual rights. Having never been repudiated, these institutional relics of Maoism remain available to be used and intensified whenever the top leadership sees fit, as it does today.
SINGAPORE -- At its fourth plenary of the 18th congress in October 2014, the Chinese Communist Party leadership passed an ambitious reform plan on the legal system. The party devoted this entire plenary session to discuss "rule of law" -- something unprecedented in the history of the party's plenary sessions. This act was widely interpreted as the Xi Jinping leadership's determination to build a system of "rule of law" in the country.