2003 May 21 Wednesday
Hu Jintao Uses SARS Crisis To Consolidate Power In China

CNN Senior China Analyst Willy Wo-Lap Lam reports Chinese President Hu Jintao continues to use the SARS crisis to consolidate power.

Ways and means that senior party cadres including Hu and allies such as Premier Wen Jiabao are pursuing to safeguard stability, however, may run counter to the requirements of political liberalization.

For example, the Propaganda Department, police as well as the Ministry of State Security are cracking down on publications, Web sites, as well as mobile phone text-messaging that are construed as "destabilizing."

The spread of SARS in China was helped by the government's ability to keep news of SARS out of the Chinese press for months. Some Western commentators have expressed the hope that SARS has demonstrated the need for political liberalization in China so dramatically that the government would feel pressure to lighten up on press control and pursue more political liberalization. However, regime stability will continue to be the top priority even for political leaders such as Hu who are reported to be supporters of political reform.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 May 21 11:59 AM  Culture Open Versus Closed Societies


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