Megan Shank is a wordsmith, entrepreneur and educator in New York.
January 5th, 2012

For Dissent

On July 1, 2011, halfway through a speech commemorating the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, President Hu Jintao stressed the importance of a people-centered approach to governance. Going forward, he said, the Party must “follow the principle of putting people first…we must consult the people on policies, learn about their needs and seek suggestions from them. We must listen to their views, truthfully reflect their wishes, help alleviate their hardships, and protect their economic, political, cultural and social rights and interests in accordance with the law.” Hu called on officials to develop closer bonds with the communities they serve. Alienation from the people, he warned, “poses the greatest risk to the Party.”

That is true—but it also smacked of irony. For during the preceding four months, the Party had received many clear signals that multiple segments of the country’s population felt that it was ignoring their needs…



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