The Scholar’s Stage: Fissures in the Facade

That led directly to his third objection: The field is not fallow. The Russians had success in America precisely because American society is already in shambles. The Russians could fake Texas secession and Black Lives Matters accounts because significant numbers of Texan and black Americans have already endorsed radical attacks on America’s existing body politic. The Russians did not create American political hysteria; they simply exploited divisions and conflicts two decades in the making.  It is for very similar reasons the PRC interference campaign in Taiwan has a good chance of working out: Taiwan, like America, is a society divided against itself. But is China? Where are the social fissures in which you could drive this wedge? He saw none.

He saw none—but I do. There is a fissure in the facade. The fissure that matters in today’s China is the gulf between the worlds of Meng Wanzhou and Li Hongyuan. 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.

What is the most dangerous thought in modern China?

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