The ruling Chinese Communist Party marked its 100th birthday last Thursday. There is a lot for the party and the Chinese people to celebrate: China’s international power and influence are at a historical high — at least for the modern era — and the country and its leadership are convinced that this trajectory has not reached its apogee.

The CPC’s accomplishments are many, but the confidence feels somewhat forced. For all its successes, modern China is sometimes brittle, possessed of an anxiety, not quite a fear, that all could be lost. Sadly, this insecurity, rather than China’s very real problems, could be the greatest threat to the CPC.

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