That’s the question I propose to answer in my book The Perfect Dictatorship: China in the 21st Century (now out in Hong Kong, released in the US and Europe in August/September). Here, briefly, is part of the answer:
- The People’s Republic is a party-state, not just a one-party state but a party-state. There are two overpowering bureaucracies, side by side and intertwined, a party bureaucracy and a state bureaucracy. That double helix makes for an awesome force of dictatorship.
- This regime has one supreme determination that stands above all else: to perpetuate itself. In that interest, it exercises totalitarian control over society. Strange as it may seem in a population of nearly 1.4 billion, the party sees everything, hears everything and knows everything,
- As a result, this is a country in which, if you are of independent mind and sometimes express criticism of the regime, and even more if you engage in activism, you cannot sleep at ease at night. You have reason to fear that someone will knock on your door, break it down, evict you from your home, have you fired from your job, throw you in jail, beat you up, force you into exile, disappear you, and that family and friends will be threatened and harassed.
These are the basic and elementary truths about the People’s Republic of China.