As Xi Jinping continues his very own ‘Southern Tour’, numerous state and (more embarrassingly) international media outlets have fallen into the trap of taking every minor difference he demonstrates between himself and his predecessor (Smiling! Waving! Human emotions!) as evidence that change has come to China.
The South China Morning Post brings some much needed reality to this borderline hagiographic coverage:
[Xi Jinping’s] first stop in Shenzhen coincided with a strike by about 3,000 workers at a printing factory on Friday evening, witnesses told the South China Morning Post yesterday.
The strike was broken up by armed police, despite posing no threat to either the General Secretary’s safety or of disruption to his planned route through the city.
“Several workers were taken away and beaten by the cops,” said Zhou Shiyi, a sales manager of another printing factory nearby Huacai.
While there is nothing to indicate that Xi had any hand in ordering the crushing of this strike, don’t let the optimism pervading coverage of the new General Secretary to conceal the fact that this country has a long way to go, and more is needed than just flowery words about cracking down on corruption or banning red carpets.