China: The Economist flatters; the New York Times reveals

Friday, 26 October, 2012

The latest issue of The Economist features Xi Jinping, soon to be named China’s next president, on the cover and the editorial accompanying the title mentions the word “corruption” three times. Here’s the penultimate paragraph: “The Chinese Communist Party has a powerful story to tell. Despite its many faults, it has created wealth and hope that an older generation would have found unimaginable. Bold reform would create a surge of popular goodwill towards the party from ordinary Chinese people.”

Mao One should pause for a moment to consider the formulation “Despite its many faults, it has created wealth…” Here, “faults” could be construed to mean misdemeanors or, depending on how one views totalitarian regimes, crimes so hideous as to defy the imagination. As regards the “wealth created”, it is today’s New York Times, and not The Economist, which reveals the real nature of the gangsterism that Chinese communism has become. In a story headed “Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader“, readers learn that the family of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao now controls assets worth at least $2.7 billion, a staggering figure even in a country where government corruption is rampant. Beijing reacted to the story by promptly blocking the website of the New York Times. The Great Wall of the Party has gone digital.

When The Economist launched its new China section in January this year, editor John Micklethwait said, “We hope the China section becomes the starting point for anyone who wants to know more about this absorbing, complicated country.” Today, that means reading the New York Times. The Economist, meanwhile, is publishing flattery of the pluto-kleptocrats now running China.

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