China syndrome

Authoritarian habits

The People's Republic of China marked its 50th anniversary on October 1, and in preparation for the occasion China's Communist Party did more than spruce up the streets of Beijing. It reasserted the authority of the party and made clear in old-style communist fashion that it intends to remain the sole actor in the political realm.

That resolve has been evident in the continuing crackdown on Falun Gong, a popular exercise and meditation movement. In April, after 10,000 adherents of Falun Gong demonstrated in Beijing to protest the detention of movement leaders, authorities arrested thousands of members, banned further meetings, and called for the group's eradication. In September, the People's Daily demanded "complete victory" over Falun Gong. "If we don't thoroughly destroy the organizational setup of Falun Gong," said the party newspaper, it will "publicly contend with our party and government in politics."


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