Blocking ‘peaceful evolution’ will lead to instability in China
Wei Jingsheng, one of China’s most prominent dissidents exiled abroad, discusses changes within the Chinese Communist party, possibilities for political and economic reform, the impact of Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Peace Prize, and the West's deference to China.
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Reactions over Liu Xiaobo hurt reforms
Wei: For a Chinese dissident to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize is extremely embarrassing for the hardliners within the Communist Party. It is a great encouragement to the reformers. Certainly, it will intensify the struggle between the two.
Given the current balance of power, however, the reformers will lose to the hardliners because those in the middle, feeling humiliated and insulted by this act of the West, will react even more strongly against reform measures. Clearly, the time of the reformers has not yet come.
Also, given Liu Xiaobo’s more than two decades of cooperation with the Chinese government, the regime will exploit his status as a moderate to guide people to accept a more cooperative and less confrontational tone against the tyranny of the Communist Party. This will reduce the pressure on the party to change.
It will maintain its rule while people beg for reform.
The West now bows to China
No doubt the large Western companies will welcome this since they believe it will not affect their profits in China and maintain stability. In this they are mistaken.
What we will see is a replay of the failure of constitutional reform at the end of the Qing Dynasty. When the opportunities for peaceful evolution are lost, it will mean another revolution.
For now, as the world’s second-largest economy, China is very confident. For this reason it is likely the regime will release Liu Xiaobo or deport him – not because of Western pressure, which was the case when I was deported, but because now the West bows to China and it will do what suits it best.
Wei Jingsheng, one of China’s most prominent dissidents exiled abroad, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1979 when he called on Deng Xiaoping to implement the “fifth modernization” – democracy. He was released from prison in 1997 under pressure from then-US President Bill Clinton and deported to the United States.