The rift in Chinese society that should worry Party leaders

Scholar Tanner Greer makes a cogent argument that “the most dangerous thought in modern China” has nothing to do with Xinjiang, Hong Kong, free speech, human rights, or any number of Western democratic values — and probably not even the more sordid aspects of the Party’s history, which it works tirelessly to keep hidden. As he lays out on his blog, The Scholar’s Stage

The fissure that matters in today’s China is the gulf between the worlds of Mèng Wǎnzhōu 孟晚舟 and Lǐ Hóngyuán 李洪元. It is the breach between those who have spent their lives jumping through hoops in chase of a chimera, and those whose only worry is that their family might come down on the wrong side of the next anti-corruption campaign. It is the gap between those who ache for some guarantee that their children will have a place in the race, and those Red few who do not have to bother with running their children in it at all.

Understand: the gap I speak of is not that between the haves and the have-nots, though that is related. It is the void that separates those the Communist system is designed to save from those who it will blindly, indifferently sacrifice.

Meng Wanzhou is Huawei’s CFO, who, while detained (and living comfortably) in Vancouver, recently published an open letter lamenting the loss of her erstwhile life of luxury. Li Hongyuan is a former Huawei employee who was detained for suing the company for an end-of-year bonus he was owed. The “gulf” between their stories enraged the Chinese public, as outlined by Li Yuan in the New York Times (porous paywall). And it’s that gulf, that “fissure in the facade,” which Greer says will “sooner or later…explode.”

—Anthony Tao