Good old self-criticism, the Communist Party’s equivalent of group psychotherapy. It’s a venerable tradition that lost steam since the 1966–76 Cultural Revolution, when people denounced themselves and one another, donning dunce caps and delivering beatings. Although party members are still required to practice self-criticism, it has been in recent years largely pro forma. In fact, they can buy self-criticism essays online if they don’t know what to say.
Here’s where it can go wrong. The trick used in China these days by party officials party officals is identifying a fault that sounds plausible but is not too embarrassing.