Only Tyrants Can Give A 3.5 Hour Speech

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Originally published by Herald Sun on October 19, 2017

It is a sure sign of a tyrant, showing no concern for his audience and confident that none will dare walk out or tell him to stop: “Xi Jinping  … [tested] his comrades’ eyelids – and their bladders – with a three-and-a-half hour, 65-page sermon in which he outlined his brave new vision for the Communist party, and the world.” China has a new Mao.

But he genuflects to the green gods, so will be forgiven by some in the Left:

One moment Xi was an environmental evangelist. “Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets,” he said. “We should be good friends to the environment … for the sake of human survival.”

One man in the huge audience, though, could show impatience – because Jiang Zemin is 91 and a former President himself, so what’s anyone going to do to him?

It was a vision of a reinvigorated Communist Party, backed by a strong economy and a powerful, modern military that increasingly has challenged US influence in the Pacific.

“Achieving national rejuvenation will be no walk in the park,” Xi told more than 2,200 members of the party’s elite in the mammoth Great Hall of the People… “Every one of us in the party must be prepared to work even harder toward this goal.”

Yet outside, the run-up to the 19th Party Congress has been most marked by the Communist Party’s particular brand of paranoia…

Ordinary public gatherings – including a high-profile football match – have been closed down or postponed. 

Censorship of the internet and controls on private chat groups have dramatically intensified, while massive lines built up at subway stations in the capital this week as security checks were stepped up. Volunteers with red armbands and security personnel patrol almost every street corner, while banners extolling the party dominate almost every free space…

Chinese Human Rights Defenders documented 14 activists who were criminally detained and two cases of enforced disappearance in the run-up to the meeting. Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo – who died in Chinese custody this year – and who has herself been under house arrest since 2010, was also reportedly forced to leave Beijing by government agents.

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