Public political drama in China, usually remarkable only in its banality, was downright Shakespearean this past week. It began with unsubstantiated reports of gunfire in the streets of the capital, followed by rumors that Chinese elites had tired of President Xi Jinping’s efforts to develop his Mao-like personality cult. The ceaseless lionization of the president in state-owned media ground suddenly to a halt, restarting only when he appeared in Africa for a series of state visits. News agency Xinhua released an eyebrow-raising article about the downfall of former Communist Party chairman Hua Guofeng in 1980, implying that no Chinese leader is bulletproof. Abruptly, Beijing announced the appointment of a new security chief as party boss of Guangdong province – the southeastern coastal manufacturing powerhouse where much of the pain from the trade war is likely to be felt. A tussle between the central bank and the Finance Ministry over fiscal stimulus spilled into the media. U.S. Na
China’s Two-Front War
Censorship, social controls and a cult of personality can only go so far when the economy is bad.