Singapore-based Lianhe Zaobao used to maintain good relations with the Chinese Communist Party. Recently, however, it published a commentary that openly criticized Beijing’s policy. Two versions of the commentary were published.
The first version has the author’s name in the title: “Liu Mengxiong: the Problem Is Economic, But the Root Cause is Political.” Liu is a Hong Kong businessman and former member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. In the past, he had a pro-Beijing stance. The second version of the article, titled “Commentary: the Problem Is Economic, But the Root Cause Is Political,” indicated the author’s name in a footnote.
In the article, Liu listed economic problems faced by China, praised Deng Xiaoping’s policy of economic reform, and criticized Xi Jinping’s policy (without mentioning Xi’s name explicitly). “The first 30-odd years of reform and opening up were characterized by a steady upward trajectory, but in recent years, [China] has fallen into a downward spiral. If we look at the essence of the phenomenon, we will find that the most fundamental reason for the economic reversal lies in politics.”
The article lists many policies that, in the author’s opinion, have had a negative impact. These include stressing the party’s control over companies, policy on COVID, and the CCP’s hostility against the U.S.
The article ends by calling for political reform and stating that “The economic adversity caused by politics must be treated politically. The question is, does the princeling leader have the sense of historical mission and vision necessary to realize economic marketization, the rule of law, and the democratization of politics through reform of the political system?”
1. Lianhe Zaobao, August 21, 2023
2. Lianhe Zaobao, August 21, 2023