Paranoia alive and well

The 新青年学会 Xin Qingnian Xuehui – New Youth Study Group formed in Beijing in 2000. Really no more than a group of like-minded politically-motivated students and graduates who got together sporadically and debated politics and social issues, most of them are now in jail, except the one who betrayed them.

The Washington Post has a lengthy article on the group, in particular Li Yuzhou a philosophy major who betrayed the group to the Ministry of State Security, and fled, guilt-stricken soon after to Thailand.

The leadership’s interest in such a ragtag group reflects a deep insecurity about its grip on power. The party has delivered two decades of rapid growth, defying those who believe economic reform must lead to political liberalization. But it is struggling to manage rising social tension and popular discontent and remains especially wary of student activism, which sparked the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.