China Naif

I just went back and revisited the post I refer to below on China’s new “anti-corruption” campaign. And I can’t believe I didn’t comment on that post’s headline, “Hu makes huge inroads toward ‘intra-party democracy.” So let me comment now.

I don’t mean to be over-critical of Adam, who is a great blogger and is doing a fine job with his China news site. But this is really a s t r e t c h.

“HUGE INROADS”??? I’m not sure which dictionary Adam uses, but what actually happened — Hu has announced a plan for intra-party checks and balances — doesn’t meet the definition.

To call it an inroad at all is questionable, but a huge inroad — that’s downright misleading (even if unintentionally so). Announcing such a program is novel, unusual, perhaps even a breakthrough. But whether or not huge inroads have been achieved can only be said after we see what the effects of the program are (if it is even implemented).

If corruption is measurably reduced we have huge inroads. If not, we know we’ve seen more smoke and mirrors, like the new-found “freedom of the Chinese press” so many were celebrating after the big SARS press conference.

I don’t mean to be pedantic. But how we phrase things is important if we are running a news service. Otherwise, great job Adam.

The Discussion: 3 Comments


I wasn’t commenting on China’s new anti-corruption scheme. I’m just as sceptical as the next about how that works.

What I was commenting on was the Hu’s sort of “rise to power” in making those decisions that are changing the way the Party is doing business. I mean, we can all disagree about the direction China is taking, but that Hu seems to be de-Jiangifying the country is a serious and, yes, even momentous event. I’m going to call it that.

Strange, I never thought of myself as providing a news service.

September 27, 2003 @ 1:01 am | Comment

Maybe I am being pedantic, but the headline doesn’t say what you say in your comment here. (And isn’t PRC News a news service of sorts? Sorry if I misunderstood what you intend it to be.)

September 27, 2003 @ 2:03 am | Comment

the ‘intra-party democracy’ line in headline of the post refers to Hu’s pet project to change the way the party does things. In fact, it’s a straight translation from the chinese.

Sorry I didn’t make that clear in my post. Thanks for pointing it out.

September 27, 2003 @ 4:01 am | Comment

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