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Dissident says Stockholm syndrome a hurdle for reform in China

Cai Xia has been critical of Xi even before her expulsion from the Chinese Communist Party

Cai Xia in RFA interview (YouTube screenshot)

Cai Xia in RFA interview (YouTube screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member Cai Xia (蔡霞) has expressed pessimism about China embarking on a path of reform because she believes the Chinese people have developed Stockholm syndrome.

Once a devout believer in CCP doctrine and trainer of party cadres, Cai was expelled in August for referring to Xi Jinping (習近平) as a “mafia boss” and the party a “political zombie” after growing disenchanted with the increasingly totalitarian regime.

China, under the leadership of Xi, has entered the “totalitarian 3.0” era in which the government has exploited technological advances to exert control over its people and party members. Xi has further fortified his grip on power through maneuvers to cleanse dissent within the party in the name of fighting corruption, Cai said in an interview with Radio Free Asia on Saturday (Sept. 19).

Cai elaborated that the advent of the market economy has allowed party cadres to act for personal gain and provided Xi with an excuse to crack down on political rivals. People in China tend to support the iron-fisted approach that has succeeded in removing corrupt officials, but they fail to realize the true motivation behind such cleansing, she reckoned.

The outspoken dissident argued that the Chinese people, who were ruled by a monarchy for thousands of years, have fallen victim to Stockholm syndrome, or the tendency to empathize with their captors, and that they find those in power admirable. This has undermined their will to push for reform.

Cai admitted there is currently no force within the CCP capable of reining in Xi and that any movement seeking to do so will almost certainly be stifled. However, with situations dynamic both within China and abroad, some future incident may yet bring about his downfall, she said.