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The left-baggage saga, new political groups set up by young people and in our studio to talk about China under Xi Jinping's rule is Rana Mitter of Oxford U. (16 Apr 2016)


 We all know the airport drill: “ensure your luggage had been packed by yourself”, bags are to be checked in or x-rayed before you board the plane, laptops on a separate tray, an electronic body scan … you might even have been asked to remove belts or shoes as you enter the restricted area. Flight security restrictions have been getting tougher with the rising threat of terrorist attacks. Flight crews in Hong Kong as elsewhere – more at risk than the rest of us - take such concerns very seriously. That’s why, this weekend, they’re planning a protest at Chek Lap Kok airport. And it’s all because of the saga of one baggage item with a name tag reading : “CY Leung”. There’s no doubt that Hong Kong’s young people are getting increasingly dissatisfied with what they see as facing a bleak future. They are also increasingly involved in political activism, from protesting against the demolition of Queen’s Pier in 2008, to opposing national and moral education in 2012 and in the street occupations of the Umbrella Movement two years ago. Now some of them have decided to take it to the next step: forming political parties and running for election. The global repercussion of the leaked documents from the Panamanian offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca have been enormous, toppling one prime minister, forcing demands for disclosure from other leaders and severe embarrassment in many quarters. What are now known as the Panama Papers reveal how prominent and not so prominent members of the global elite have evaded tax and disclosure of their funds by setting up offshore companies. Among them are nine top Chinese officials, including the brother-in-law of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The one place where you won’t read anything about that is on the mainland, where not only has the news been censored but also any criticism of the leadership is immediately suppressed. Mr Xi is accused by critics of building a personality cult to rival that of Mao Zedong and there is unease over the purge of very senior officials, who have been caught up in an anti-corruption drive which has every appearance of going further than just dealing with corruption. While all this is going on inside the country, Mr Xi has directed an increasingly provocative policy towards China’s neighbours by laying claims to large swathes of the South China Sea. Is he using nationalist sentiment and external conflict to consolidate power even further? Well to discuss this and other matters is Rana Mitter, Professor of History and Politics of Modern China at Oxford University.

The Pulse
Publish Date: 
Saturday, April 16, 2016
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