Tuesday, The Washington Post, whose motto since February 2017 has been "Democracy Dies in Darkness," gave precious access to a supporter of Xi Jinping's consolidation of power in mainland China. "Shanghai venture capitalist" Eric X. Li also taunted the West, claiming that "liberal democracy in its current state seems incapable of producing a leader half as good."
The Post's regularly indulges mainland Chinese propaganda. John Pomfret, a former Beijing bureau chief, criticized his former paper on January 19 ("China's thought police are extending their reach"):
... the state-run China Daily provides pro-Chinese reports that appear in numerous American daily newspapers and on their websites. The Washington Post is a beneficiary of this advertising largesse, running a China Daily report called ChinaWatch both in its newspaper and on its website. On the Web, the only way a reader can tell that the content is not from The Washington Post is by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and reading a disclaimer in fine print.
... China’s government is learning to leverage the freedom in American society to get its message out, even as it extends the lack of freedom in China to suppress alternative views overseas.
Other observers, including Fox's Tucker Carlson, have sharply criticized The Post's practice of carrying such "native advertisements" paid for by the governments of Russia, China, and others. It's hard to believe that the money involved hasn't affected news coverage or access.
That "leverage" Pomfret described is evident in Li's Tuesday column, which praises "consequential political reforms" that instead signal a likely permanent Orwellian nightmare.
Li began by berating Western press coverage of China eliminating its two-term presidential limit, headlined as "a good thing":
... The presidential term limit has no bearing on how long a top Chinese leader can stay in power and lifting it by no means allows anyone to rule for life. In fact, the position of real power — the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee — has never had term limits.
... The most recent draft of China’s constitution, written in 1982, set the presidency as a symbolic head of state, with no actual power. Although the two offices happened to have been occupied by the same person for more than 25 years since Jiang Zemin, the institutional mechanics of the offices are rather separate.
He then described the benefit:
Formally unifying these two positions at the very top will transform the entire Chinese governance structure by institutionally fusing the party and the state. This reform is good for China simply because the party has developed into the most competent national political institution in the world today.
That there's now no difference between the Chinese Communist Party and the state is "a good thing." Thus, whatever hopes there might have been for democracy in the mainland have apparently died in plain sight — and The Post's WorldPost blog, which began and still appears to be a pet project of elite liberal 1-percenters, are okay with that.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.