Chinese Official Warns Against ‘Trap’ of Civil Society

May 16, 2011 Last Updated: May 26, 2011

A high-ranking Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cadre recently attacked the idea of civil society in China, emphasizing the “fundamental difference” between China’s current political system and democratic systems, and praising the increases in “scientific social management.”

The editorial by Zhou Benshun, General-Secretary of the CCP’s Central Commission of Political Science and Law, was published on the website of Phoenix, a Hong Kong broadcaster known for its strong loyalty to the Chinese leadership.

The editorial comes as part of a recent CCP campaign, often violent, to repress domestic dissent. The “scientific social management” policies referred to by Zhou include the array of technical means used by Chinese authorities to censor and repress opposing voices.

One sentence in the article appears in bold: “Guard against mistaken beliefs and propaganda, lest we fall into the trap of so-called ‘civil society’ that some Western countries have set for us.”

In Chinese communist publications, certain terms are placed inside scare quotes to belittle their legitimacy or importance; the term “some Western countries” is usually an oblique reference to the United States.