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June 24, 2017

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Unique 2013 coming for Beijing

Gordon Chang, author of "The Coming Collapse of China," famously made a prediction in 2001 that the Communist Party would fall from power in a decade.

When 2011 came with the party still firmly in the saddle, he confessed his mistake and said: "I admit it: my prediction that the Communist Party would fall by 2011 was wrong. Still, I'm only off by a year."

"Instead of 2011," he wrote in Foreign Policy magazine on Dec. 29, 2011, "the mighty Communist Party of China will fall in 2012. Bet on it."

As a result, he made Foreign Policy's "10 worst predictions of the year" twice in a row.

Now it is 2013, and Chang is no longer predicting collapse. Instead, he is merely saying that China's "growth in 2013 is unlikely to meet forecasts," such as those by the World Bank that the Chinese economy would expand 8.4 percent.

But while Chang may have given up on making further dire predictions, at least for the time being, others have stepped into the breech. And they are the leaders of the party, no less.

President Hu Jintao, in his report in November to the 18th Party Congress, called on the party to combat corruption because "if we fail to handle this issue well, it could prove fatal to the party, and even cause the collapse of the party and the fall of the state."

Xi Jinping, in his first address after being chosen as the new party leader, dwelled on the same theme, warning that officials need to guard against the spread of corruption or it would "doom the party and the state."

These are grave warnings indeed. In fact, they echo words spoken by Chiang Kai-shek, the Nationalist leader who lost the civil war to the Communists more than six decades ago.

In the film "The Founding of a Republic," produced in 2009 to mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, Chiang said during the waning days of his government: "If we fight corruption, we'll destroy the party; if we don't fight corruption, we'll destroy the nation."

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