Helen Wang looks at the prospects of democracy in China, inside and outside the Communist Party. Both options do not look very viable, she writes in Forbes.
The Communist Party has picked up the best and the brightest, also from those returning from overseas.
In a trip to Shenzhen in August, Wen Jiaobao surprised many China watchers by saying that without political reform China may lose what it has already achieved economically. That view was reconfirmed in an interview with CNN on September 23, when Wen told Fareed Zakaria that “the people’s wishes for and needs for democracy and freedom are irresistible.” I was particularly struck by his ending line: “I will not fall in spite of strong wind and harsh rain, and I will not yield till the last day of my life.”
But the leadership in Beijing was divided and Wen’s efforts were shelved for the time being. Still, there is only one option for those who are looking for a change, as Wang concedes:
While the most competitive young people in America went into business, or even, in recent years, nonprofits, some of the brightest young people in China went into the government and joined the Communist Party. They recognized that the party is the only game in town and that party membership has significant advantages, such as career advancement, social status, or personal connections.