On 21 October 2017, the Beijing-based social commentator and historian Zhang Lifan 章立凡 posted the following tweet, referring to a line from Xi Jinping’s speech of 6 February 2013, delivered at a meeting to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Beijing.
The Four Confidences? First came the decree: ‘We must be able to take sharp criticism.’ But no sooner had I made a few critical remarks this time, the authorities promptly sent someone to my door to issue a warning. If they were genuinely confident in their system, its path, theory and culture, would they have done this? A regime that permits only eulogies and is intolerant of criticism will find it difficult to avoid repeating the mistakes of its predecessor.