The markets and the advance of the state

Screenshot from Bilibili’s May Fourth Movement propaganda film.

It’s worth contrasting state media’s drumbeat of “reform and opening up” with this cartoon from exiled satirist Rebel Pepper, recently published on Radio Free Asia’s Chinese website. It shows Xi Jinping trying to drive two buses, one called “open economy” (经济开放 jīngjì kāifàng) with “totalitarian politics (政治极权 zhèngzhì jíquán).

On a similar theme: “At least 32 companies listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses sold controlling stakes to the Chinese state as of October 17, six of them to the central government, while 26 were taken over by provincial or city-level agencies,” reports the South China Morning Post. The article is titled “Chinese capitalism in crisis, as market rout drives firms to the state?” The Wall Street Journal also says that “China’s private-sector rescue looks like anything but (paywall), asking if Xi Jinping’s “support” for the private sector “might just mean another leg up for state control.”