When Deng Xiaoping started to conduct the reform capitalist in nature, did he not know that the reform was capitalist in nature? Readers certainly do not think that he was so stupid as not to know that.
Conservatives immediately started to attack the reform fiercely due to its capitalist characteristics. A fierce power struggle broke out between the conservatives and reformists regarding the nature of the reform: Was it capitalist or socialist in nature?
In order to reduce conservatives’ resistance to the reform, Deng told them to stop the debate but wait and see the outcome of the reform.
Still the power struggle went on and there was heavy casualty. First, Hu Yaobang, a top enlightened reformist was brought down as he wanted not only economic but also political reform.
Then Zhao Ziyang and quite a few other high-ranking reformists fell into disgrace.
The conservatives gained upper hand and almost reduced Deng to a general without army.
Though aged near 90, Deng Xiaoping made his Southern Trip to overcome conservatives’ resistance with his authority as the core of leadership. Reform regained its vitality. However, conservatives remained very much optimistic: Reform will pass away peacefully when Deng Xiaoping passes away.
They did not know that there was Jiang Zeming who had mastery of the art for being an emperor and that he was assisted by the new generation of talented scholars with moral integrity who had been making preparations for a long time for seizing Party and state power. As described in Chapter 5 of my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”, they successfully carried out a gradual, silent and peaceful coup d’état that enabled intellectuals to take over the Party and state.
Conservatives suffered a serious defeat. Their previous argument against reform was that the reform is capitalist in nature. When intellectuals had taken over power, Jiang Zeming used his Three Representatives to justify the capitalist road and turn CCP (Chinese Communist Party) into a party of the whole people that recruited capitalists, the targets of conservatives’ revolution.
The above was the history of the power struggle before Hu Jintao took over the job as CCP general secretary. It is now clear to all.
The next fierce power struggle was between the reformists publicly represented by Hu Jiantao and the conservatives lead by Bo Xilai. People are not very clear about the commencement, development and end of this power struggle that was vital to the continuance of reform. I give a detailed description of it in the second edition of my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”. As it is too long, I only give a short summary here.
It was started by Hu.
Hu Jintao who carried on Jiang Zemin’s reform knew that reformists’ victory was not a stable one and that the conservatives could use Mao Zedong Thought to attack the reformists.
Hu Jintao Omits Mao Zedong Thought
It was typically reflected in what Hu Jintao said in his 2010 New Year’s message on New Year Eve: “In the upcoming new year, we will unswervingly uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, further implement the Scientific Outlook on Development under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents,…”
In CCP’s and China’s constitutions, the guiding ideologies are Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, but here Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought were conspicuously missing.
Hu’s words became CCP jargon and was frequently repeated by him and other Chinese leaders and in CCP documents in the last couple of years when Hu was in charge. Premier Wen Jiabao repeated the exact wording in his speech in celebration of the 61st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. As CCP continued to urge its members to study Marxism at that time, clearly what Hu wanted was to omit Mao Zedong Thought.
As CCP wanted to protect Mao’s image for the legitimacy of its monopoly of power, Hu could not revise CCP constitution to strike out Mao Zedong Thought, nor could he omit it alone to give rise to suspicion that CCP would completely denounce Mao, Hu had to also omit Marxism-Leninism in order to avoid drawing too much attention. Certainly, when Hu’s idea that Mao Zedong Though is detrimental to reform, has become popular, the reformists will remove Mao Zedong Thought from CCP constitution.
Conservatives Lead by Bo Xilai Countered with Sing-Red, Propaganda of Quotations from Mao
Bo Xilai countered Hu Jintao’s omission by intensification of his sing-red campaign to remind people of Mao era. He often quoted Mao’s words and even sent quotations from Mao as message to all mobile phone users in Chongqing in early 2012. By so doing, he rallied all the conservatives in the nation around him into a powerful conservative faction as basis for seizing supreme power in CCP.
Evaluation of Mao became the major issue of the recent round of power struggle between conservatives and reformists.
Bo Xilai gained upper hand with his image, eloquence, charm and charisma and for a time became domestic and foreign media’s favorite. The sing-red campaign spread all over the country and even to capitalist Hong Kong while quotations from Mao became popular in Chongqing. It seemed that Bo Xilai would certainly be elected into the Politburo Standing Committee at the 18th CCP Congress and Bo believed that the time would soon come for him to grab the right of succession from Xi Jinping.
The reformists seized Bo Xilai’s mistakes and exploited his wife’s murder of British businessman Neil Heywood to bring down Bo. Bo was placed under house arrest. But Bo’s conservative faction was too strong. It was only Jiang Zemin as the core who was able to make the final decision to punish Bo Xilai
However, Jiang Zemin only made a decision on punishing Bo’s crimes, but has not touched the evaluation of Mao. The issue was left to Xi Jinping to deal with. Xi skillfully applied the art for being an emperor to satisfactorily deal with it.
Xi Jinping’s Wisdom in Dealing with the Tricky Issue of Evaluation of Mao
By June 2013, eight months had passed since Jiang Zemin made the decision to punish Bo severely on September 28, 2012, Bo was still not punished, which proved that the conservatives remained very strong in spite of their leader Bo Xilai’s downfall.
Mao must not be denounced as it concerns the legitimacy of the Party’s rule, but Mao’s enthusiasm in public ownership and planned economy may be used by conservatives to attack the reform.
How has Xi Jinping dealt with the problem? He has repeatedly said that the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, i.e. the pursuit of reform and opening up is correct, and shall be adhered to. It indicates that he is a reformist and wants to carry on the reform. The reformists are certainly very happy he says so.
On the other hand, he has also said that the Mao era shall not be negated. That is in fact contradictory to his pursuit of reform. He just said that to please the powerful conservative faction.
Obviously, he applies the balancing art, one of the most important parts of the art for being an emperor. He knows well there is no harm in keeping a respectful image of Mao as after decades of reform, there is no return to Mao’s public ownership and planned economy. The conservatives, though advocate Mao’s egalitarianism, are not so stupid as to want the obviously impossible return to Mao era. They just want a fairer distribution of the wealth brought about by the reform.
Xi’s wisdom is reflected in his words: “Making empty talk is harmful to the nation, while doing practical jobs can help it thrive.”
It reflects his skillful application of the art to use popular wording to win popular support, avoid opposition and hide his true intention.
He regards negating Mao as harmful empty talk that may displease the conservatives as their opposition will hinder his further reform. He just wants to do the practical job of further reform and opening up with as little hindrance as possible. That is his hidden true intention.
It was indeed similar to Deng’s order to suspend debate whether the reform was capitalist or socialist in nature while hiding his intention to pursue capitalism.
Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Xi Jinping are all masters of Chinese art for being an emperor.
The power struggle between conservatives and reformists that has dominated Chinese political scene since the beginning of the reform does not end there. It will not end until a thorough victory of the political reform is achieved to bring China human rights and democracy. That will be a very long process that may take several decades.
Such a long process is entirely normal. It was perhaps a longer process in Britain and the United States if you study the history of those countries. There was a democratic constitution in the United States in 1787, but women did not have right to vote until 1920 and blacks had to fight for and win civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s.
Democracy Is a Very Sensitive Issue
Why is there so strong opposition to democracy in China? Because for many people democracy is synonym to multi-party democracy that may deprive the CCP of its monopoly of power. Due to its monopoly of power, the CCP is a huge group of vested interest that includes not only 80 million CCP members but also those who are not CCP members but rely on the CCP for their employment, income, benefit and even assets, including lots of non-CCP public servants, soldiers, employees of state-owned enterprises, etc. The number of those people including their family members and close relatives exceed one fourth of Chinese population according to my conservative estimate.
They are afraid that when the CCP is deprived of its power in a multi-party democracy, they will lose their jobs, privilege, fringe benefits, income and even assets
The large conservative faction opposes democracy desperately as many of them or their parents or relatives have fought and even sacrificed their lives to enable the CCP to gain monopoly of state power.
The new generation of talented scholars with moral integrity also opposes multi-party democracy strongly. They have grabbed monopoly of state power from uneducated workers and peasants and wanted to use the power to make their country powerful and rich and the people lead a relatively well-off life. A multi-party democracy may cause them to lose power to achieve the above-mentioned goals.
In their secret meeting described in Chapter 3 of my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”, they reached a consensus that there was no foundation for a democracy of universal suffrage in China; therefore, they had first to lay foundation for democracy.
That was reflected in the strong opposition to Western democracy by Wu Bangguo, a powerful oldest member of the generation.
Still, they want democracy, in Hu Jintao’s report to the 17th CCP Congress in 2007 and swan song speech on July 23, 2012, Hu repeatedly advocated democratic election, democratic decision-making, democratic administration and democratic supervision. So did Wu Bangguo repeatedly in his speeches to the Standing Committee of the National People’ Congress (China’s parliament).
However, due to strong resistance from the conservatives, they have achieved nothing for the democracy they advocated.
Xi Jinping’s Fight for Democracy
Xi Jinping knows that talking about democracy may displease lots of people and encounter serious opposition so that he refrains from talking about it, i.e. no harmful empty talk, but as soon as he came to power, he closed all black jails and free all petitioners from the jails to allow people to lodge complaints against officials. That is a great step towards democracy.
Democratic supervision of officials by the people!
But according to him, it was the policy of putting people first in Hu Jintao’s Scientific Outlook on Development. He just does not want to mention democracy but did the practical job to really realize democratic supervision. He has thus hidden his true intention again.
Constitutionalism, Current Focus of Power Struggle between Reformists and Conservatives
Since democracy is a taboo, Xi Jinping uses constitutionalism as the rally call for his struggle for democracy as both democracy and CCP’s monopoly of power are written into China’s constitution so that there can be no justifiable opposition to the demand for full implementation of China’s constitution.
According to Xinhua, in his speech on December 4, 2012 in the meeting to mark the 30th anniversary of the promulgation and implementation of China’s constitution, Xi Jinping said, “No organization or individual shall have privilege above the constitution or law. Liability must be affixed to any act that violates the constitution or law.
“The life of constitution lies in implementation. So does the authority of constitution.”
According to another Xinhua report dated February 24, 2013, when Xi Jinping presided over a seminar of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee on February 22, 2013, Xi said that all citizens, social organizations and government agencies must exercise their rights or power, and fulfill their obligations in accordance with the Constitution and the laws.
SCMP says in its report titled “‘Chinese Dream’ trumps the constitution, says Communist Party paper”, that human rights activists soon responded to the rally call and “argued that they had a Dream of Constitutionalism, in which the Chinese government respected basic rights guaranteed by the Chinese constitution such as freedom of speech and assembly.”
When Southern Weekly fought for press freedom in early January, demonstrators supporting the newspaper held banners of Dream of Constitutionalism outside the headquarters of the newspaper in Guangzhou.
Conservatives certainly came out to counter Xi Jinping’s and democracy activists’ move. SCMP says in the report that Yu Zhong, director and professor at the School of Law at Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing wrote in the Red Flag magazine, a bi-weekly party publication on June 14, “the Chinese Dream is bigger than the Dream of Constitutionalism”.
SCMP says, “The People’s Daily and other state-run publications have picked up on the slogan (the Chinese Dream) and pointed to China’s unique development model and the country’s incompatibility with Western values.”
Here, Chinese official media opposition to Western values means first of all their opposition to multi-party democracy, i.e. democracy.
SCMP quotes David Bandurski, a researcher at the University of Hong Kong’s China Media Project as saying “I think these hardline voices are the iceberg tips of an ongoing internal debate over the future of reforms in China.”
“The recent spate of articles in Red Flag and other CCP media attacking the idea of constitutionalism speaks to a deep concern in some official circles over demands for greater rights and freedoms”, David Bandurski said adding that these could “potentially pose a challenge to vested interests in the leadership.”
This round of power struggle between conservatives and reformists will be the fiercest in Chinese history. Reformists shall have the wisdom to raise not the slogan for multi-party democracy but that for constitutionalism for democratic decision-making, democratic supervision, democratic administration and finally democratic election step by step. They must be prepared for a prolonged struggle. An overnight revolution like the 1911 Revolution cannot bring democracy to China.
Sources: Xinhua “Xi Jinping’s speech at the meeting of people of various circles in the capital to mark the 30th anniversary of the promulgation and implementation of China’s constitution” and “Xi Jinping says all must act in conformity with Constitution, laws” (summaries and excepts translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee) and SCMP “’Chinese Dream’ trumps the constitution, says Communist Party paper”
With long toots, two Chinese coast guard ships with displacement exceeding 1,000 tons each left a dock in Guangzhou for the South China Sea to conduct patrols to safeguard China’s sovereignty. An official of the relevant department revealed that a coast guard ship equipped with weapons “will have greater strength to intensify law enforcement on the sea.” He disclosed that China will transform many fishery administration and marine surveillance ships into armed coast guard ships.
Guangzhou Daily says in its report that at about 9:30 am on June 11, a large white ship sailed along the Pearl River, tooting. It was full of power and grandeur and the number “3210” painted on its bow and the marks “CHINA COAST GUARD” on its sides looked quite sharp.
That is a Chinese coast guard ship transformed from China’s most advanced fishery administration ship the Fishery Administration 310. It has a displacement of 2,580 tons. The official revealed that compared with its previous shape, the Coast Guard 3210’s greatest difference from its past is that it has been armed. The two machine canons looked quite impressive on its deck.
Closely following it was the Coast Guard 3102, which also sailed along the Pearl River magnificently for the South China Sea. That ship has a displacement of 1,000 tons and is said to have been equipped with a new type of China-made automatic cannon.
In addition to the two ships, the Marine Surveillance 167, Marine Surveillance 168 and Marine Surveillance 169 that previously belonged to China’s Marine Surveillance South Sea Command have respectively been transformed into Coast Guard 3367, Coast Guard 3368 and Coast Guard 3369 and been immediately commissioned.
Source: Singtao Daily “Coast Guard Ships Carry Weapons to Patrol South China Sea” (translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)
Elite Reference says in its report “Frigates of Chinese aircraft carrier battle group secretly assembled at the military port for aircraft carriers”, “Soviet last aircraft carrier Ulyanovsk, though failed to be commissioned but leaves experience and lessons, which may be provided to China for reference in China’s pursuit of nuclear aircraft carriers.”
I have revealed in my posts that China’s first aircraft carrier the Liaoning has recently set sail for the sea for training, especially landing and taking-off of aircrafts on it and that China has begun research projects for the development of its own nuclear aircraft carriers.
Please refer to my posts: “China: Aircraft Carrier Sets Out for Landing and Taking-off Training on the Sea” on June 12 and “China: PLA on course for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers” on February 22”.
Elite Reference says, “There has been analysis that China will carry out its plan for aircraft carrier construction by stage. At the first stage, four conventional carriers will be built; while at the second stage, at least two nuclear carriers will be built. They are expected to be delivered to Chinese navy around 2020.”
It says that according to Hong Kong’s Asia & Pacific Defence Quarterly, the Soviet Union completed the design of its nuclear aircraft carrier Ulyanovsk, which was dismantled halfway in construction due to lack of funds. However, they already completed building two of its 4 nuclear reactors by that time.
The magazine is of the opinion that as China cannot obtain technical information about nuclear aircraft carrier from the West, Russian and Ukraine where the Ulyanovsk was built, can teach China how to build a nuclear aircraft carrier based on their experience in building the Ulyanovsk. China will certainly want such expertise from them earnestly. As both Russia and Ukraine are under economic pressure and have strategic demand, it is very difficult for a third party to prevent the two countries from providing China with assistance.
Source: Elite Reference “Frigates of Chinese aircraft carrier battle group secretly assembled at the military port for aircraft carriers” (summary and excerpts translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)
The recent revelations made by senior Beijing venture capitalist Cha Li that at least 6,000 “super landlords” each own 300 flats in the Chinese capital has sparked a controversial debate among China’s real estate professionals and property owners.
While many remain sceptical about the number, others consider it proof of how polarised China is today.
Cha shared the shocking discovery that “cannot be found in any property market report” in his recent column “Don’t misread mobile internet investment.” He talked about how he finds talented entrepreneurs with potentially valuable projects in a piece published on the Economic Observer website.
“At least 5,000 to 6,000 people in Beijing own 300 flats each,” he wrote. “When an entrepreneur told me this number, I couldn’t believe it myself. ”
Cha then quoted a realtor he worked with as saying, “now we only service landlords who own more than 300 flats, since we don’t have the energy to work with smaller landlords. ”
“Our own investigation finds the number to be even bigger,” Cha wrote.
Cha’s finding seems to be in line with a 2012 Hurun report.
According to findings presented in the Chinese Millionaire Wealth Report 2012 by the Hurun, Beijing led other cities with the largest concentration of millionaires – 179,000 of them.
The majority of these millionaires engage in manufacturing and real estate, said the report.
While the identities of these millionaires remains unknown, China’s disgruntled net users say they believe many are “corrupted officials and bosses of state-owned firms.”
“A small group of people have reaped the amount of wealth they are not entitled to,” a Sohu news reader commented, ”And the bubbles in the property market worsened the gap between the rich and the poor.”
“The inequalities in our wealth is a result of inequalities in receiving education, “Sun Lijian, an economics professor at Fundan University told Sohu.com. “It leads to ineuqualities in job opportunities and income.”
Many more microbloggers went on to urge officials to declare assets.
The online campaign demanding China’s officials to declare assets has been gaining momentum in recent months. In a viral post this week, Liu Zhijun, former railways minister who stood trial on Sunday on corruption charges, was called by bloggers “the first high-ranking official to publicly declare his assets”.
Liu’s fortune of more than 800 million yuan (HK$1 billion) and fleet of 16 cars had been exposed prior to his trial.
Source: SCMP “Claim that 6,000 ‘super landlords’ each own 300 flats in Beijing sparks controversy”