April 17, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass tennis team battles injuries as season comes to an end -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Change in sight for the Chinese Communist Party?

MCT

This week, the Chinese Communist Party will undergo a once-in-a-decade transition as President Hu Jintao turns the country over to current Vice President Xi Jinping.

In the president’s closing speech, he urged the members of the ruling party and its prospective leaders to deal with party-wide corruption. Corruption he admittedly stated is rampant throughout the nation and ruling system.

Hu stated in his final speech to the members, “If we fail to handle the issue well, it could cause the collapse of the party and the fall of the state.”

Within China there have been whispers of political, social, and economic reform. These whispers come from citizens, insiders and the ruling elite. Reports of civil protest are breaking the nation’s “great firewall” and reaching international audiences generally through social media and video-sharing.

But many political bystanders and Chinese citizens doubt if the party will take effective measures to deal with issues that could prove to haunt them later on.

The one party system, which is guaranteed sole control over the nation, is made up of “dedicated” and “trusted” members, who exert a large amount of power over Chinese policies, most of who descend from favored, privileged and wealthy families. The ruling body, while small, is an exclusive group maintaining control over a widely diverse population.

Hu Jintao’s acknowledgement during this transitional period comes perhaps in response to the recent controversy  and international attention surrounding ejected party member Bo Xilai, whose wife was convicted of murdering a British businessman. Talks of reform and actual actions seem to vary greatly in Chinese politics.

With the reform of corruption comes the reform of civil liberties, which is something that party members will likely challenge. It can be argued perhaps that privileged members of this one-party system have used gaps in their society’s protection of individual liberties to gain their power in the first place.

An increase in civil liberties would undoubtedly change the nation’s perspective and encourage discourse which would likely threaten the communist party’s very existence. Despite the vague possibility of such reforms, the governing body’s record of ruling and suppressing basic civil rights paints a very different picture.

The possibility of dealing with corruption is difficult when citizens live in fear of punishment for speaking out against local and regional leaders. Limits on their speech and reporting abilities are enabled by the party’s members and trusted affiliates.

For the Chinese Communist Party to address corruption, it must first address the operations of its party, and decide on the level of control it wishes to continue. Because of these controls on political discourse amongst citizens and repression of basic civil liberties, much of the Chinese population judges the effectiveness of the government’s actions based merely on the rising rate of income.

As long as the government continues to promote economic prosperity and raise the standard of living, citizens seem relatively uninterested in the political workings of their nation.

There is no doubt that many of China’s current and most pressing issues are directly related to corruption. But the presence of rampant human rights abuses, the world’s highest number of state executions, government censorship of the internet and the heavy-handed ban on all anti-government speech, calls for more than just a response to corruption.

The once closed-door Chinese system of internal socialism has morphed into one increasing similar, if not mirroring to a western system of capitalism. Perhaps just as its economic system has reformed over the past few decades to adjust for growth, so should the single-party ruling system that governs China.

Brian Doherty a Collegian contributor. He can be reached at bldohert@student.umass.edu.

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