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FT: How Beijing kept its grip on power

Author: Minxin Pei, Director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, Claremont McKenna
June 2, 2009


This article explores what methods the Chinese Communist Party has successfully employed to consolidate its power over the past twenty years.

It is hard to miss the self-congratulatory mood in Beijing's corridors of power these days. The Chinese Communist party was practically written off after its army crushed the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square on June 4 1989. At home, it faced a shocked and resentful population. Internationally, it was isolated. The fall of communism in the former Soviet bloc further demoralised its members. A sense of impending doom permeated Beijing.

Twenty years later, things could hardly be more different. China is riding high as a new economic and geopolitical giant. The party's rule has never felt more secure.

Chinese leaders appear to believe that they have discovered the magic formula for political survival: a one-party regime that embraces capitalism and globalisation. Abroad, the party's success raises fears that it has established a viable new model for autocratic rule.


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