October 23, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s soccer controls its own destiny as conference tournament approaches -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass soccer deploys new formation with Keys, Jess -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass calling on young swimmers to continue strong start to the year -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WMU, Ohio, NIU pick up wins in busy MAC weekend -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A comprehensive guide to the Ebola virus -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trio of freshmen leading UMass hockey’s offense early in the season -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A guide to comic collecting in the Pioneer Valley -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Letter: What’s behind the curtains on Birthright trips? -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FBI director’s fear-mongering view of data encryption is off the mark -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass Permaculture Initiative to add three new programs -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gov. Deval Patrick visits Amherst, awards $1.5 million grant for downtown development -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UHS offers more accessible vaccination clinics as flu season nears -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gamard: Is gluten really bad or just a fad? -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Three new students appointed as SGA special assistants -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Allymohamed scores game winner after suffering facial injury against Boston University -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Loaded weekend against Marist, Keene State challenges UMass club hockey -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UMass football seeing improvement on both the offensive and defensive lines -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Remembering Derek Jeter: an appraisal -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yellowcard switches things up on “Lift a Sail” -

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Campus Sustainability Day to take place Wednesday -

Tuesday, October 21, 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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