Do Scandals “Embarrass” China’s Communist Party?

The Washington Post’s Keith Richburg summarizes some of China’s more infamous corruption and abuse of power scandals of 2010. He writes:

“Such incidents have deeply embarrassed China’s ruling Communist Party…

“These incidents weaken the government’s credibility little by little,” said Li Datong, a social commentator and former editor of the China Youth Daily’s weekly supplement. “It’s like a fire in a wood pile: A small incident can easily trigger a big mass incident during a time of social unrest. It’s a very dangerous situation, which is why the government spends heavily to maintain social stability by paying large sums of hush money to the victims’ families.”

Mr. Richburg is assuming that the Party can be embarrassed. Given the history of contemporary China, I do not think embarrassment is an emotion the CCP understands or worries about.

These incidents damage credibility, create ill will, require clean up efforts, may eventually threaten stability and in general are a headache to the Party. But we should not confuse that with “embarrassment”.

via Despite anti-corruption drive, scandals plague Communist leaders in China.

8 thoughts on “Do Scandals “Embarrass” China’s Communist Party?

  1. I think the party is embarrassed the same way Wall Street was embarrassed by the 2008 meltdown. As a result, the only thing they could do was give themselves record bonuses funded by taxpayer money.

  2. I think the party is embarrassed the same way Wall Street was embarrassed by the 2008 meltdown. As a result, the only thing they could do was give themselves record bonuses funded by taxpayer money.

  3. I think you miss the point. Dictatorships like China’s are actually very fragile. There cannot withstand widespread opposition to their policies for long. So while they may not be “embarrassed” by scandals, they are afraid of them — which is why, for instance, that just last week they blocked the Chinese media from covering the story of the son of an official whose involvement in a crime was covered up. They know anger at their policies simmers just below the surface and they must do all they can to keep it from exploding – which is they are trying to tamp down food inflation with higher interest rates.

    • Yan’an Rectification
      Anti-rightist campaign
      Great Leap Forward Famine
      Cultural Revolution
      and much more

      The Party has survived much worse, has never felt “embarrassment”, and China-based reporters of major US newspapers should understand better than to use that word.

      The government has $40B+ a year budgeted for security-related “social stability” work, to deal with the points you raise, which are very legitimate ones.

  4. I think you miss the point. Dictatorships like China’s are actually very fragile. There cannot withstand widespread opposition to their policies for long. So while they may not be “embarrassed” by scandals, they are afraid of them — which is why, for instance, that just last week they blocked the Chinese media from covering the story of the son of an official whose involvement in a crime was covered up. They know anger at their policies simmers just below the surface and they must do all they can to keep it from exploding – which is they are trying to tamp down food inflation with higher interest rates.

    • Yan’an Rectification
      Anti-rightist campaign
      Great Leap Forward Famine
      Cultural Revolution
      and much more

      The Party has survived much worse, has never felt “embarrassment”, and China-based reporters of major US newspapers should understand better than to use that word.

      The government has $40B+ a year budgeted for security-related “social stability” work, to deal with the points you raise, which are very legitimate ones.

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