Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs
Comparative Politics/International Relations presents
Seeking Truth and Hiding Facts: Information, Ideology, and Authoritarianism in China
Jeremy Wallace will present work from his nearly completed book project, Seeking Truth and Hiding Facts. How did a revolutionary Communist party come to justify itself through statistics, and why under Xi Jinping is it shifting away from doing so? The disastrous Cultural Revolution made pragmatic politicians and ideas attractive to a population tired of turmoil amid persistent poverty. Relaxing communist orthodoxy and decentralizing governance unleashed individual initiative. Keeping watch on just a few metrics of critical importance greased the wheels of performance. The system of limited quantified vision gave incentives for local growth and improved livelihoods while allowing local officials to profit. Numbers came to define Chinese politics, until they did not count what mattered and what they counted did not measure up.
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This event was first published on September 7, 2020 and last updated on October 7, 2020.