But prosperity is a condition, not a value. And on the eve of a great patriotic celebration, at least a few Communist leaders must be wondering whether lashing patriotism to eternal prosperity is not, at least a little, like riding a tiger.
“There is no ideology in China anymore,” Zhang Ming, a professor of political science at Renmin University in Beijing, said in an interview on Wednesday. “The government has no ideology. The people have no ideology. The reason the government is in power is because they can say: ‘I can make your lives better every day. I can give you stability. And I have the power.’ As long as they make people’s lives better, it’s O.K. But what happens on the day when they no longer can?”