Mark Kitto, writing in Prospect Magazine, explains in a long article why he is leaving China, where he has lived for decades. His insights are manifold, and worth reading, but I noticed this:
The government is so scared of the people it prefers not to lead them.
In rural China, village level decisions that require higher authorisation are passed up the chain of command, sometimes all the way to Beijing, and returned with the note attached: “You decide.” The Party only steps to the fore where its power or personal wealth is under direct threat. The country is ruled from behind closed doors, a building without an address or a telephone number. The people in that building do not allow the leaders they appoint to actually lead. Witness Grandpa Wen, the nickname for the current, soon to be outgoing, prime minister. He is either a puppet and a clever bluff, or a man who genuinely wants to do the right thing. His proposals for reform (aired in a 2010 interview on CNN, censored within China) are good, but he will never be able to enact them, and he knows it.
To rise to the top you must be grey, with no strong views or ideas
When the dynasty is afraid, the collapse is not a question of if but when. Gradually the emptiness at the center of power invites threats, each one larger than the last. We have seen this movie.