China Leadership Monitor

China under Hu Jintao

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Contrary to hopes expressed by both Chinese intellectuals and foreign observers that the new Hu Jintao administration would be more open to political change and to freer expression of ideas, Hu's government has backed away from some of the tolerance that existed (though insufficiently) under Jiang Zemin. While Jiang Zemin did not shy away from criticizing presumed Western efforts to "divide" and "Westernize" China, the Hu administration has actively backed a campaign to criticize "neoliberalism" and has cracked down on the expression of liberal opinion. For the moment at least, Hu seems determined to address the problems facing China by strengthening the Chinese Communist Party rather than adjusting the relationship between the party and society through greater openness.