Uncompromising China - Ambitious but anti-democratic

Uncompromising China - Ambitious but anti-democratic
Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Two of the reasons empires, past or present, exercise power is to show the plausibility of their ambitions or to show they still have, in theory at least, power to exercise.

China’s relentless expansion shows the first; the Gordian knot of the Brexit tragedy hints at the second in a delusional, wistful way.

China’s uncompromising attitude to those it regards as opponents, especially internal opponents, shows a relentless autocracy happy to deny human rights we in the West imagine, in untested theory at least, inviolable.

UN and American officials have reported that a million Muslims are held in Chinese internment camps.

Former inmates have told of how they were forced to renounce Islam and recite Communist Party songs for hours each day.

There are reports of internees being forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, both forbidden by Islam.

There are reports of torture and death as well. Cultural change imposed by force.

Intolerance is on display in Hong Kong too. Three campaigners behind the 2014 pro-democracy “umbrella movement” have pleaded not guilty to public nuisance charges brought because they advocated advancing democracy.

The grip of Chinese president Xi Jinping — described by The Economist as the world’s most powerful man — can be seen in a poll asking people if they agreed with the direction taken by their government. In China, 92% supported his regime.

If absolute power corrupts, then we are forewarned.

More on this topic

Li Peng, Chinese premier who backed Tiananmen Square crackdown, dies aged 90Li Peng, Chinese premier who backed Tiananmen Square crackdown, dies aged 90

Hong Kong protesters call for inquiry into police tacticsHong Kong protesters call for inquiry into police tactics

Explosion at gas factory in central China kills at least 10Explosion at gas factory in central China kills at least 10

Hong Kong elders march in support of young demonstratorsHong Kong elders march in support of young demonstrators

More in this Section

Analysis: The British people have a new Prime Minister and Boris has much to play forAnalysis: The British people have a new Prime Minister and Boris has much to play for

Populists on the right now run the show, but what exactly are they offering?Populists on the right now run the show, but what exactly are they offering?

Twitter is right to have special rules for Donald Trump – it's recognising that not all tweets are equalTwitter is right to have special rules for Donald Trump – it's recognising that not all tweets are equal

Isolationist policies spell danger for developing countriesIsolationist policies spell danger for developing countries


Lifestyle

Homemade ice pops are handy for many reasons, they refresh on a warm day, but also you know exactly what is in them; no strange colourings or preservatives.Michelle Darmody's home made ice pops

Sometimes travel can be more about the journey than the destination, as Caroline Hennessy and her family discovered when they took a 13-hour overnight journey from San Sebastián to Lisbon to check out the Trenhotel experienceTravelling by train in Europe - with kids

The Great Hack looks at the implications of the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, writes Laura Harding.When tech firms go bad: Netflix's new documentary on Cambridge Analytica / Facebook scandal

Often hailed as one of the greatest animated films ever made, The Lion King has a special place in the hearts of generations of children.New King of the jungle: The director behind The Lion King remake

More From The Irish Examiner