Thursday, September 20, 2012
So the heir-apparent to China's leadership is back in the public eye after a two-week, unexplained absence. The state's failure to say why Xi Jinping was gone touched off enormous speculation and fears about the political situation in China. Apparently, the worries were needless, but who knew? Authorities weren't speaking and the opaque nature of the communist bureaucracy allows only for uninformed guessing. Were the situation in the US or Europe, there would have been lengthy stories from the beginning explaining the situation, whatever it was -- a vacation, a hospital stay, a political tussle, a decision to leave the public arena for a few days. The Chinese government, however, creates its own public relations problems by resolute silence. Maybe that serves the interests of its leaders but it doesn't help the citizens. China could learn something from the West when it comes to communications.