The Coming Plenum: The Center Cannot Hold

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My headline will no doubt make the eyes of many of our readers glaze over. But for those of you interested in the inner workings of politics in the Communist Party–and after all what that comes down to is how China is run–there is an insightful look ahead to the Party’s imminent Plenum by veteran Zhongnanhai-ologist Willy Lam at the Jamestown Foundation website. Basically, it’s about the core reality of Chinese politics, the center trying to control the regions–and basically failing, hence things like the poisoned milk powder scandal. The central government has been flexing its muscles in recent months, firing local party officials to try and get them to bend to Beijing’s will. Willy doesn’t think its going to work.