And would we know if there was?
Rumors have been swirling over the weekend, tearing across social media and even some news outlets like wildfire.
Whether there is any truth to these rumors- a military coup is underway in China, Chinese Communist Party head Xi Jinping has been taken into custody by the plotters, all flights in and out of the country have been suspended, massive protests are happening- it’s difficult to say for certain.
China, it is worth remembering now as any time, does not enjoy freedom of the press or the same access to information the rest of us enjoy. Chinese media agencies are state agencies; the state owns everything under communism. Every bit of information issuing from that quarter has passed through the maw of propaganda and protecting the party.
State owned media agencies certainly can’t be counted upon to objectively report on government businesses and the CCP maintains an iron-fisted grip on information flowing within the country.
But the CCP, for all its successes, just can’t seem to keep as tight a lid on things as they’d like. Not anymore. Much has changed in China over the past 50-years.
Five decades ago, China was still a world unto itself.
From the Great Wall to the Forbidden City, China’s government maintained a strict, uncompromising distance from their Western counterparts.
China even maintained a certain distance from its nearest neighbors.
During World War II, China quietly fought in the Pacific theatre against the country’s then arch-enemy, Japan, then quietly went back to isolationism and independence from outside influence once global hostilities ceased.
Resisting the then-growing imperialism of the Japanese empire wasn’t the same thing as joining the global community. The enemies of China’s great enemy weren’t exactly friends; and they certainly didn’t stay friends.
During most of the subsequent Cold War between the winners of the WWII conflict, China maintained a distrustful distance, as watchful of the intentions of Russia as of the United States.
But China couldn’t stay isolated forever.