So it appears the Chinese Communist Party has finally figured out how to solve its Brezhnev-redux problem.
Take steps to fix an economy busted by decades of corruption and manipulation (Epoch Times)? Of course not.
Reach out to the disaffected masses (Epoch Times)? No dice, save for an embarrassingly faked propaganda moment (Washington Post).
Take aim at the corruption that has literally poisoned the Chinese economy - domestically and internationally (Epoch Times)? You're joking, right?
Reign in the Korean colony? Why should Beijing mess with success (CNN, CNN again, One Free Korea, more One Free Korea, and the Washington Times)?
Face up to their brutal history as occupiers of Tibet (BBC and CNN) and East Turkestan - the latter of which has become so horrid that even your fellow occupying cadres have had enough (Epoch Times)? Try again.
Rethink their treatment of their own people, including following a UN panel's recommendation to look into the Falun Gong organ-harvesting outrage (Epoch Times). In a word: no.
Instead, the Communists have decided that their silver bullet for all of the above maladies is . . . to launch a rhetorical broadside against Axl Rose (Between Heaven and Earth and the London Telegraph) because he wrote an anti-Communist song - the title track for Chinese Democracy.
On one level, the absurdity of going after a song in the face of, well, everything else is comical, especially considering the Rose and his Guns 'N' Roses band's sails lost the Zeitgeist years ago. Then again, the CCP remains the entity that accidentally performed the heretofore impossible task of restoring the reputation of the Prince of Wales.
However, this is one regime that understands the sword's weaknesses against the pen. It's why they have stretched the Long Arm of Lawlessness out to smack NTDTV (Epoch Times), bury the unpleasant aspects of its history whenever and wherever possible (Weekly Standard), etc.
Trouble is, for all their efforts, the regime's true face keeps being seen (San Francisco Chronicle and the USCC), such that even their success in Taiwan (Epoch Times) comes with caveats (Washington Times).
In short, the cadres are exactly where the Soviets were thirty years ago, with an economy and social structure rotting away, and international acceptance just outside its reach - exactly where they did not wish to be.
Yet they refuse to do what the very few surviving European Communist parties (Hungary and Bulgaria, mostly) have done: namely abdicate power, admit to their mistakes, and take their chances on the electorate. So the economy and society will continue to decay; an aging rock band gets an unintentional boost to its career; and the clock continues to wind down on the Chinese Communist Party.