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The Cultural Revolution in China: Its 50th Anniversary Was Ignored but Its Legacy Lives on Today

07-06-2016

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was one of the most tragic periods in China's history. It unleashed a decade of violence, in which more than a million Chinese died, some 16 million were banished to the countryside and many others suffered imprisonment, seizure of property, torture or humiliation. It left in its wake a shattered country, a fractured society in turmoil and a devastated economy. The Chinese Communist Party ignored the 50th anniversary on 16 May of the start of the Cultural ...

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was one of the most tragic periods in China's history. It unleashed a decade of violence, in which more than a million Chinese died, some 16 million were banished to the countryside and many others suffered imprisonment, seizure of property, torture or humiliation. It left in its wake a shattered country, a fractured society in turmoil and a devastated economy. The Chinese Communist Party ignored the 50th anniversary on 16 May of the start of the Cultural Revolution, with no official commemoration. The state-controlled media then exhorted the people to regard the Cultural Revolution as a closed chapter and to look ahead. They distanced the Party from its responsibilities for the disaster, in an indication that the country's leaders are still haunted by its spectre. Nonetheless, the Cultural Revolution's legacy lives on in modern China and some parallels are being drawn with the current President Xi Jinping's crackdown against corruption. Xi's use of some of the Revolution's methods seems to reflect a pragmatic attempt to reassert the Party's authority in response to the new challenges posed by the rapid transformation of China, rather than heralding a repeat of the Cultural Revolution. The Party has said its lessons have been learned and it must not be repeated. Nevertheless, the former Premier, Wen Jiabao, cautioned in 2012 that without effective political reforms, a similar historical tragedy might happen again.

Vietnam: Despite Human Rights Concerns, a Promising Partner for the EU in Asia

14-10-2015

The year 2015 – the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and Vietnam – is likely to be a landmark one. Three years after the EU and Vietnam signed a framework agreement for a Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), the European Parliament has been requested to decide whether to give its consent to the agreement. Separately, the European Commission announced on 4 August 2015 that an agreement had been reached on a bilateral free trade agreement ...

The year 2015 – the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and Vietnam – is likely to be a landmark one. Three years after the EU and Vietnam signed a framework agreement for a Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), the European Parliament has been requested to decide whether to give its consent to the agreement. Separately, the European Commission announced on 4 August 2015 that an agreement had been reached on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), three years after negotiations were launched. For the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, deepening relations with the EU is a priority, a way of offsetting China’s strong influence while maintaining independence from the United States. Within the country, the Communist Party maintains a firm grip on the state apparatus. Media and civil society are severely restricted, and the human rights record remains poor.

Cuba: Political situation

22-09-2015

Although Raúl Castro has introduced some (mainly economic) reforms, the Communist Party remains in control and the political system seems unlikely to change substantially until he retires in 2018. However, the latest developments may facilitate a gradual transformation in the longer term.

Although Raúl Castro has introduced some (mainly economic) reforms, the Communist Party remains in control and the political system seems unlikely to change substantially until he retires in 2018. However, the latest developments may facilitate a gradual transformation in the longer term.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP): How to explain its longevity?

29-06-2015

With a membership of 86.7 million in 2013 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the largest political party worldwide, representing only slightly more than six per cent of the Chinese population. The CCP is the second-longest lone-ruling communist party, in one of the world's five remaining party-states. It heads assertively towards its 100th anniversary in 2021, since contrary to numerous past forecasts of the CCP's demise, no signs of regime change in China loom on the horizon. The CCP's strong ...

With a membership of 86.7 million in 2013 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the largest political party worldwide, representing only slightly more than six per cent of the Chinese population. The CCP is the second-longest lone-ruling communist party, in one of the world's five remaining party-states. It heads assertively towards its 100th anniversary in 2021, since contrary to numerous past forecasts of the CCP's demise, no signs of regime change in China loom on the horizon. The CCP's strong resilience against internal and external threats to its survival appears to result from a combination of its excellent capability to adapt flexibly to changing realities, and its iron grip on power which relies on a systematic heavy-handed approach to political opposition and peaceful dissent that could challenge its monopolistic one-party rule. Since its inception, the CCP has witnessed transformations of varying degrees of its ideology, organisational structure, governance methods, leadership style and leadership succession practice, as well as membership size and composition, which have allowed it to safeguard its legitimacy and thus its longevity. Prospects are extremely bleak for the democratisation of the party-state triggered from outside the CCP by an opposition party able to threaten the CCP's control as the sole political party with 'genuine influence' in Chinese politics. Based on the CCP's self-established status as a 'vanguard party', i.e. a group of communist leaders determining what is in the best interest of the Chinese people, the CCP leadership adheres strictly to the conviction that the party monitors itself, and therefore staunchly dismisses the idea of outside scrutiny. Gradual democratisation inside the party is more likely in a long-term perspective.

The role of the army in China's politics

29-06-2015

With about 2.3 million troops, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), founded in 1927 as the Red Army and renamed in 1946, is the largest army in the world, although its power projection capabilities are not yet commensurate with China's regional and global status. The PLA has undergone a profound transformation from its beginnings as a revolutionary army of ground troops engaged in guerrilla warfare against enemies on Chinese territory. The post-revolutionary army is now divided into the PLA Army ...

With about 2.3 million troops, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), founded in 1927 as the Red Army and renamed in 1946, is the largest army in the world, although its power projection capabilities are not yet commensurate with China's regional and global status. The PLA has undergone a profound transformation from its beginnings as a revolutionary army of ground troops engaged in guerrilla warfare against enemies on Chinese territory. The post-revolutionary army is now divided into the PLA Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Second Artillery Force which is increasingly – although not exclusively – trained to deploy outside Chinese borders. A comprehensive modernisation process has been under way since the 1980s, including a drastic downsizing of the PLA Army, supported by a defence budget rising in double digits. Beyond traditional national defence and military operations other than war (MOOTW), such as anti-piracy and peace-keeping missions, emergency response and disaster relief, the PLA's fundamental role within the Chinese party-state is still to act as the military wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and guarantor of its one-party rule. Despite this functional continuity, civil-military relations have witnessed a major change from previously symbiotic ties. A gradual bifurcation of the civil and military spheres follows a generational shift in civil and military leadership at the end of the 1980s, and the PLA's growing professionalisation. With its specialisation increasing and its representation in the highest party bodies diminishing, the PLA seems to have lost part of its past relevance, as it becomes one political actor among many. The PLA has largely withdrawn from non-military policy-making. It has concentrated on marking defence-related foreign policy and domestic security matters with its conservative nationalism, and has gained limited autonomy from the party in technical matters. Analysts are nonetheless sceptical whether the PLA is in transition from a party-army to a genuine national army.

North Korea: Kim Jong-un's Great Purge

14-01-2014

While the news of the execution of Jang Song-taek, the second-most highly ranked leader in North Korea’s regime, surprised many outside the country, the event is unlikely to presage dramatic changes within the country. Jang Song-taek was sentenced to death on 12 December 2013 after being arrested during a public debate of the North Korean Politburo. His purge follows a major reshuffling of the army, the reorganisation of the ruling party and the execution of Kim Jong-un’s former fiancée and a group ...

While the news of the execution of Jang Song-taek, the second-most highly ranked leader in North Korea’s regime, surprised many outside the country, the event is unlikely to presage dramatic changes within the country. Jang Song-taek was sentenced to death on 12 December 2013 after being arrested during a public debate of the North Korean Politburo. His purge follows a major reshuffling of the army, the reorganisation of the ruling party and the execution of Kim Jong-un’s former fiancée and a group of popular artists. Jang Song-taek was known to be very close to Beijing and an advocate of economic reforms inspired by Chinese models. With Jang's execution, Kim Jong-un has reasserted his leadership and sent a clear signal to his country’s closest – perhaps only – ally, China. It does not seem that the purge was intended to suppress internal opponents. The country is quiet, the armed forced have been weakened, and the execution of the only credible alternative to Kim Jong-un makes the perspective of a putsch extremely unlikely in the near future.

Eelseisvad üritused

20-11-2019
Europe's Future: Where next for EU institutional Reform?
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