Writer Roger Garside served twice at the British embassy in Beijing. Garside is the author of Coming Alive: China After Mao and China Coup: The Great Leap to Freedom, among others, as a long-term expert on China’s topic. 

Roger Garside said in a January 31 interview with  Chinese-language media Da Ji Yuan. “China’s system of government is very sick. Only a ‘transplant’ can save it, and the only other competitive system to choose from is democracy.”

Garside said top Chinese Communist Party officials, including Premier Li Keqiang, don’t support Xi Jinping’s direction. It is taking China toward a “perilous and risky” direction, which jeopardizes their wealth and power and the future of the Communist Party. That is why Garside predicts that anti-Xi groups are conspiring against the Communist Party leader.

During the interview, Garside pointed out China’s vulnerabilities, which could lead the opposition coup to take an odd chance. 

Private Sector

China’s private sector has become solid and autonomous, putting pressure on the Communist Party and causing anxiety among the country’s leadership.

Garside noted: “Alibaba raised 24 billion dollars on the New York Stock Exchange. 248 other private companies have also raised billions of dollars. The Communist Party didn’t control these funds.”

“These private companies can use the money to turn things around and buy off Chinese [Communist Party] politicians, as well as Xi Jinping’s rivals.”

The Chinese Communist Party realized in 2008 that China’s private sector would become too powerful if it continued its transition to a free-market economy. Therefore, the Chinese regime tried to set its sights on controlling the market.

When Xi Jinping came to power in 2013, Xi Jinping decided to “double down on the totalitarianism of the Communist Party.” In reality, Xi and his closest allies are still struggling to gain more control of the power and autonomy that the private sector has gained after ten years of trying. 

Internal vulnerability

Garside said that the Chinese Communist Party is strong on the surface but weak inside.

Since 2011, the Communist regime has been spending more of its budget on domestic security than on the military, meaning that the CCP is afraid of its internal enemies.

Garside further explained that the Communist Party had scattered control at regional and local levels. Xi Jinping has very shrewdly and subtly concentrated power in his own hands.

According to Garside, what the Chinese Communist Party has done against Hong Kong is an indicator of the weakness of the Chinese Communist Party.

A year after massive pro-democracy protests erupted in Hong Kong, Beijing introduced a draconian, so-called National Security Law in mid-2020 that significantly stifles freedom of expression and association in Hong Kong. The law gives the Communist regime broad powers to target any individual deemed by Beijing to be separating and subverting state power, committing terrorism, or colluding with foreign powers.

To date, dozens of activists have been arrested and imprisoned under the law or have fled Hong Kong since then.

Garside said, “Why are they suppressing Hong Kong? Because they are afraid of democracy and the rule of law there, and they are afraid of their people. Because if the people (on the mainland) see it working in Hong Kong, if they see the Communist Party allowing democracy, elections, freedom of speech and the rule of law in Hong Kong, they will want it too.”

Real Estate in Recession

The author said the Communist government “has been relying on the sale of land to finance itself for years, and now the price of land has plummeted. He noted that about 25 percent of China’s gross domestic product is real estate. But that sector is now disintegrating.”

Garside cited the growing crisis facing Evergrande Real Estate. Evergrande is the world’s most indebted real estate company, with more than $300 billion in debt.

The company and several other Chinese real estate developers failed to pay their foreign bonds, leading to several defaults in 2021. At that time, the developer sold its assets at a much lower price to generate liquidity. Yet, due to the lack of buyers and restricted domestic policies, Evergrande’s stock and real estate market prices, in general, fell sharply.

Transformation

Garside commented during the interview that a coup could be formed inside the Communist Party as a democracy. Communist Party officials have realized that the communist system no longer works and that constitutional democracy is better than communism.

Garside then cited information revealed by Cai Xia, a former professor at the Party Building Department of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China.

“[Cai Xia] has said that 60 to 70 percent of the senior Communist Party officials recognize that constitutional democracy is more effective than the system they have in place.”

Garside said that when a series of internal and external pressures are simultaneously combined. It will cause a coup to occur before the Communist Party of China National Congress this fall. The chance is low, about 20 percent.

Xi is trying to secure an unprecedented third consecutive term as Communist Party chairman at this year’s party congress. What matters, according to Garside, is whether opposition officials can act before then.

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