China has much to celebrate.
After suffering 150 years of humiliation due to internal issues and intrusions by Western powers and Japan, China has again become the dominant power in East Asia and emerged as a world superpower. Most of the country’s 1.4 billion people enjoy the benefits of growing prosperity, including a higher standard of living, improved public health, better education, expanded career options, and increased opportunities for travel. Life for the country’s majority Han ethnic group has stabilized, giving many a feeling of greater personal security.
But almost erased from Chinese public memory is what China suffered to get here. When Chairman Mao Zedong and his comrades seized power in 1949, they initiated decades of loss and pain.
In recent years, President Xi Jinping’s increasingly repressive policies have reawakened fears that China’s social and economic progress has again come at the cost of individual freedoms and personal security.