Ideology is always important in Chinese politics, especially in power struggle. Now, Xi Jinping has offended lots of powerful officials with his anti-corruption and mass-line campaigns and his mentor Jiang Zeming is 88 years old. Conservatives believe that they now have the golden opportunity to disrupt once for all Xi’s thorough economic reform.
Like their predecessors, they started their campaign to bring down Xi with ideological debates on Mao’s theory of class struggle.
In 1966, Mao used his theory of class struggle and constant revolution to grab back power from his selected successor Chinese President and CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Vice Chairman Liu Shaoqi.
Later in the era of reform, conservatives used the ideological struggle against Western spiritual pollution to successfully force the then CCP reformist General Secretary Hu Yaobang to resign.
Carried away by their success in bringing down Hu, under powerful conservative elders’ leadership, Deng Liqun nicknamed Leftist King and other conservative writers launched fierce attack at the reform capitalist in nature in order to put an end to the reform. Zhao Ziyang, another top reformist who had replaced Hu as the general secretary, silenced leftist writers by closing leftist writers’ headquarters the Research Office of CCP Secretariat and leftists’ mouthpiece the Red Flag magazine.
Zhao’s bold acts infuriated powerful conservative elders. They went to Deng Xiaoping to complain and asked Deng to remove Zhao from the post as CCP general secretary. However, Zhao won Deng’s firm support and was for a time able to carry on the reform.
Tiananmen Protests caused the downfall of Zhao who sympathize with the protestors. Reform suffered great setback until Deng used his Southern Tour to reinvigorate the reform.
The above is known to most people not only China watchers.
The power struggle between conservatives and reformists later has not been so clear to them. That is a long story described in details in the expanded 2nd edition of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements. Here I will give a short summary of it.
Jiang Zeming exploited the fear throughout the CCP given rise by Tiananmen protesters who almost overthrew the CCP, to conduct a silent peaceful coup d’état to substitute intellectuals’ dominance of the CCP and state for uneducated workers and peasants’. As a result, he was able to use his Three Represents to justify China’s pursuit of capitalism and recruitment of capitalists into the CCP. Failure to understand the first of his Three Represent makes most China watcher unable to see that.
Jiang’s successor Hu Jintao knew that conservatives might use Mao Zedong Thought to attack the reform again and disrupt the tremendous achievements of reform. He began his efforts to remove Mao Zedong Thought by omitting the Thought in his major speeches and major CCP documents. He has thus given Bo Xilai the opportunity to rally all the conservatives around Bo. With the strong support from conservatives, Bo used his charisma and charm to become a rising political star and was able to challenge the reformists by his Maoist Chongqing model.
The democracy and legal faction together with Wu Bangguo, a heavyweight of the Shanghai faction used trick to bring down Bo Xilai but no one is powerful enough to punish Bo. Finally, Jiang Zeming used his prerogative as the core of CCP leadership to punish Bo harshly.
However, conservatives, though had lost their leader, remained strong and Jiang had not put an end to the power struggle between conservatives and reformists by punishing Bo harshly. It was Xi Jinping who finally used Chinese dream to rally both conservatives and reformists around him and put an end to the power struggle.
For nearly two years, Xi has held Mao in high esteem and used Mao’s jargons to please conservatives but acted entirely as a reformist. Diehard conservatives have now realized that Xi is by no means a conservative. They have to use Maoism to bring down Xi and put an end to Xi’s further reform. They believe the timing is the best now to do so as Xi has offended lots of powerful officials and generals and Jiang is too old to support Xi.
Jiang Zemin has to come out to support Xi when Maoists attack reformists again
China’s National Day celebration was an important political show that China watchers have to watch closely. As China is now at a critical moment of its mass line and anti-corruption campaigns and radical economic reform, we shall be especially careful to find clues to the political situation and possible political struggle and changes.
I have made it very clear in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements that in China Xi’s top post does not give him the top power that the person holding the post shall have. Zhao Ziyang pointed out in his memoir that he and the Politburo Standing Committee led by him had no power. They were referred to by Deng Xiaoping as daughters-in-law while Deng was the mother-in-law in charge of them. Deng knew that the other two elders Chen Yun and Li Xiannian were also powerful enough to be their mothers-in-law. Deng told Bo Yibo to ask Chen and Li’s consent that they had to allow Deng to be the only mother-in-law.
From that we know that even when Deng died, Zhao if still had been the general secretary, would not have had the supreme power that he should have had due to his post. He would still be the daughter-in-law of a mother-in-law other than Deng. Only when he had built the powerbase a top leader must have could he really have been the top leader. By that time, he would have been not only the general secretary but also the core of the Chinese Communist Party with the power of an emperor.
In 1992 long after Deng has retired from all his posts including the post of the chairman of the Central Military Commission, he was still able to reinvigorate the reform across the nation with his Southern Tour, during which he said those who failed to carry out the reform should be dismissed. What power did he have to dismiss officials? He had the absolute power as the core of the CCP Dynasty.
Jiang Zemin has the personal experience of the hard efforts he was to make in building his powerbase for years and the challenge he encountered from conservative and other pretenders for his post. He knows very clearly that as Xi’s mentor, he has to display not only his firm support but more importantly his supreme power and good health.
That is especially important because since May, there have been rumors about his death or serious sickness.
He showed that he was in charge by walking abreast of Xi Jinping instead of behind Xi in many previous occasions when he and Xi enter the hall to attend National Day concert. His message is very clear: I am still in charge and I am supporting Xi.
He showed on TV screen at both the concert and the National Day reception his healthy gait and ability to attend the concert and National Day reception for quite a long time without the assistance of his bodyguard.
I do not know how he managed to do so at the age of 88. However according to what I saw on TV screen, he sat by the side of Xi with satisfaction in giving the lie to the rumors of his death or poor health.
From what we saw on TV screen at the reception, we know that Xi wanted to use the occasion to show his gratitude to all the powerful elders for their support in his mass line and anti-corruption campaigns.
All the powerful elders were sitting at the head table with Xi and other Politburo Standing Committee members while the Politburo members who appear before the elders in official media reports had to sit at a nearby table.
Among the powerful elders sitting on the head table, there are three conservatives, Li Peng, Song Ping and Luo Gan. Among them, Li must be the most powerful as he was the premier and national people’s congress (NPC) chairman for many years and must have groomed quite a few followers. His opposition to Xi’s reform is obvious as shortly before 18th CCP National Congress, he published a book stressing state’s leading role in economy to oppose reformists’ reform to give market the leading role. However, his son Li Xiaopeng got the least votes in being elected an alternate CCP Central Committee member showed his unpopularity within the CCP.
However, his ability to have his book published and promoted by CCP’s mouthpiece the People’s Daily proved that he remained influential. It is most likely that he is behind conservatives’ attack at reformists with Mao’s theory of class struggle.
Anyway, we must be aware that until Xi has built a sound powerbase a few years later, Jiang Zemin’s good health is indispensable for China’s stability and prosperity.
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2md Edition
Sources: CCTV “65th National Day concert ‘Beatutiful China: Glorious Dream’ was held in Beijing” and “State Council held National Day reception to solemnly celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)
In the expanded 2nd edition of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements, I describe in details the commencement of the power struggle between refromists and conservatives by Hu Jintao’s omission of Mao Zedong Thought, Bo Xilai’s rise as the leader of the powerful conservative faction, his use of Maoist Chongqing model to oppose reformists’ further economic liberalization, his downfall due to the trick of the democracy and legal faction with the cooperation of a heavyweight of the Shanghai faction, Jiang Zemin’s decision to punish Bo harshly and Xi Jinping using Chinese dream to put an end to the power struggle.
If Xi had failed to put an end to the power struggle, China would have been a divided nation in which Xi would have been utterly unable to conduct his thorough economic reform.
The book also describes how Xi used Mao’s term of mass line to carry out his mass line campaign that is entirely different from Mao’s. Those are very long topics that the readers, if interested, can read the book.
What I have to point out is that the power struggle will remain until like Jiang Zemin, Xi has developed a theory accepted by the Party to justify his reform similar to Jiang’s Three Representatives that justify Jiang’s prusuit of capitalism and the recruitment of capitalists into the Party.
SCMP publishes a report on the debates in theory between Maoists and reformists that reflect the power struggle in the field of theory. I have to point out that it will be a vital struggle to smoothen the road of reform just as the debate at the beginning of Deng Xiaoping’s reform. Only when Deng’s doctrine of “practice is the only criterion of inspecting truth” prevailed over Hua Guofeng’s Maoist “two whatevers” (which advocate persisting in acting in accordance with Mao’s instructions) would Deng really be able to conduct his reform.
The following is the full text of the SCMP report:
Academic’s questions point to Communist Party divide over dogma
Party academics raise series of agenda-setting questions, reflecting differing internal views on how to merge ideology with economic reality
The Communist Party must bridge ideological divides that are driving a wedge between its factions, party analysts have said ahead of a key meeting this month.
Academics at the Central Party School have raised eight ideological questions, the answers to which they say will be crucial to the direction of the country’s development, according to a report by Shanghai Thinkers Forum, a theoretical journal run by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
The article was also posted on the People’s Daily website.
The questions revolve around the need to maintain the traditional communist ideology as the party tries to establish a capitalist-style market economy.
The issues run from the contradictions between the tenets of socialism and market economics; to how to promote core socialist values; and the need to settle the theory of class struggle.
Question marks have also been raised over interpretations of Soviet-era Marxism, modern governance of state affairs, the role of market forces in resource distribution, the coexistence of Marxism and traditional Chinese culture, and the mechanics of a market economy under a centralised government.
The article comes as the party prepares for its fourth plenum in Beijing on October 20-23, a gathering expected to cover major political and ideological issues, including the rule of law and judicial reform.
The plenum will convene under the leadership of Xi Jinping who, in the two years since becoming general secretary, has launched both anti-corruption and ideological campaigns to “purify” the party to justify its sole rule of the world’s most populous nation.
The ideological debate is reflected in the wrangle that two leading party publications – Qiushi (Seeking Truth), the party’s theoretic journal, and the Study Times, a key product of the Central Party School – have engaged in over late leader chairman Mao Zedong’s theory of class struggle.
Analysts said this rising debate highlighted the ideological dilemma the party had struggled with since the mainland embarked on market reforms 35 years ago.
“This is a very interesting debate. At the core is the Communist Party’s difficulty in re-establishing its legitimacy as political and economic conditions change,” said Professor Zhiqun Zhu, director of the China Institute at Bucknell University in the United States.
Zhu said the debate reflected deep divisions among party officials and scholars, disputes that could widen the party’s internal gaps and create opposing political camps.
“It may also be conducive to redefining the party’s very identity in the 21st century and lead to the transformation of the party [into one] that will become more politically open and tolerant.”
Xigen Li, an associate professor at City University’s department of media and communication, added: “The issue of ideological correctness and … reality is always a dilemma, which is difficult to resolve under China’s current political system.”
Li said the dilemma and the debates over the ideological issues would continue and have the benefit of bringing the issues to the table for those in power to face seriously.
“While ideological emancipation is the final solution – and the dilemma will exist for some time – at least some compromise could be made to solve compelling issues in economic development rationally and efficiently,” Li said.
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Source: SCMP “Academic’s questions point to Communist Party divide over dogma”
In the expanded 2nd edition of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements, I describe three black boxes in China: The Politburo Standing Committee, the powerful elders behind the scene and the secret police.
In Chapter 17 of the 2nd edition there are the following paragraphs:
The Two Black Boxes
Before the establishment of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty with a core like an emperor, there was only one black box at China’s power center with its inner operation kept as top secret. Now, however, there are two black boxes: the PSC and the group of elders who have greater power than the PSC and whose operations are even more carefully guarded secret as the elders would rather have people believe that they have really retired and would not interfere with PSC’s work.
Regarding the first black box, we indeed have much more information. We know what they are doing and where they are and see them often on TV screen. If one of them has been absent from news and TV screen for some time, we would wonder what has become of him. That was the reason for people’s amazement at Xi Jinping’s long absence in early September, 2012. Only, we know little about PSC members’ personal life.
As for the black box of the powerful elders who play their important role and exert their great influence in secret, we have absolutely no access to information about them. Usually, we do not even know where they are and what they are doing.
However, I believe that the elders are informed of the PSC’s operations and consulted in secret when the PSC makes important decisions. Their consent is indispensable for promotion, removal and punishment of high officials. An elder often has contacts with the members of his faction and sometimes protects them, but outsiders have entirely been kept in the dark about all those done by the elders.
In fact, if an elder remains entirely inactive, it is impossible for him to remain influential, especially for Jiang Zemin to maintain his power as the core for years after his retirement.
Due to the lack of available information about the elders, a party congress, especially the 18th party congress, provides rare chances to see the elders and know their health conditions and ranking and understand their influence.
I describe the major factions in CCP and the ranking of their position and strength in the chapter based on my observation of Chinese politics, especially official reports on the 18th CCP congress.
I pay great attention to the order of the elders when they walked into the meeting hall to attend the meetings of the congress as each elder had his idea of the order based on the Chinese etiquette to let those with higher seniority or greater power go first according to what they had been used to and their likes and dislikes of other elders.
The change in elders’ walk-in order indicates the outcome of the power struggle between them during the congress. Obviously, Li Peng’s faction was a loser in the congress. At the opening meeting Li Peng’s protégé Luo Gan went before Wu Guanzheng of the legal and democracy faction and Zeng Qinghong of the Shanghai faction.
At the closing meeting, Luo fell behind Wu and Zeng to the last of the line.
Let’s see the elders’ walk-in and seating order and how they were shown in CCTV footage in the National Day reception in the evening of September 30, 2014.
Readers must be clear that the order is different from their order in the text of official reports, which is based on their seniority and former positions and ranking and usually remains unchanged.
When the leaders walked into the reception hall, we saw a short shot, in which Xi Jinping went first followed by Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Li Peng and Zhu Rongji. No other leaders are seen in the shot. Obviously, Jiang’s instruction that he shall appear behind Politburo members was not followed.
According to China’s established seating order, there is the official arranged order of the PSC members and powerful elders at Xi Jinping’s table: Xi Jinping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, Zhang Gaoli, Li Peng, Zhu Rongji, Li Ruihuan, Wu Bangguo and others who we cannot clearly see.
When Xi Jinping was giving a speech, close-up shots were shown one by one of Xi Jinping the general secretary, Jiang Zemin the former general secretary, Hu Jintao the former general secretary with less seniority, the current PSC members other than the general secretary Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, Zhang Gaoli and the elders Li Peng, Zhu Rongji, Li Ruihuan, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Song Ping, Li Lanqing, Zeng Qinghong, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun, Luo Gan and He Guoqiang.
This is similar to the close-up shots in CCTV footages on meetings of the 18th CCP National Congress in November 2012. In the footages, Hu Jintao the then general secretary appeared the first, followed by Jiang Zemin the retired general secretary, the then PSC members other than Hu Jintao, i.e. Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang, Zhou Yongkang, and then the elders, i.e. Li Peng, Zhu Rongji Li Ruihuan, Song Ping, Wei Jianxing, Li Lanqing, Zeng Qinghong, Wu Guanzheng and Luo Gan.
Only the PSC members retired in 2012 were added to the old elders according to the ranking of their original positions. The one of the same position as an old elder appears later due to his less seniority. We know that the arrangement of the close-up shots has been made by the current PSC. However, we do not know the order that will be decided by the elders on their own as there is no shot to show the walk-in order of all of them. Anyway, the footage gives us a rare glimpse of the powerful elders behind the scene. Their presence gives us the impression that they have so far not been targets of the anti-corruption campaign.
Former PSC member Zhou Yongkang was absent as he is being investigated for corruption. Wei Jianxing was absent perhaps due to old age and poor health as he is known for his honesty.
The name of those powerful elders including Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao appear after the Politburo members in all the texts of official reports on the reception. In deciding close-up shots and the order of the shots, the current PSC did not follow Jiang Zemin’s instruction and placed Jiang’s shot right after Xi’s shot instead of after the shots of Politburo members.
All the elders sat at Xi’s table but no Politburo or Central Secretariat members sat there. It indicated Xi’s respect for the elders. Xi has encountered serious opposition in his anti-corruption and mass-line campaigns and further reform. He wanted to have all the powerful and influential elders to attend the reception to show their support for Xi while the elders are glad to be present to prove that unlike Zhou Yongkang, they are not targets of the anti-corruption campaign.
Therefore, to show that Politburo members are inferior to the elders, there are not close-up shots but moving shots of Politburo and secretariat members in their established order with two of them in view by turn
To show Xi’s respect for Jiang Zemin, the core of CCP with dominant power, and Hu Jintao, the head of the powerful Communist Youth League faction, close-up shots of them are shown three times while those of the PSC members other than Xi are shown only twice.
When all the participant held up their glasses for a toast, Xi Jinping clinked glasses only with Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.
The footage, though not long, give us quite much information of the black box of the powerful elders.
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Source: CCTV “State Council Held National Day Reception to solemnly celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Understanding of the political reality of the CCP Dynasty with a core like an emperor is very important. So important that those who oppose Xi Jinping’s cyclone against corruption and official despotism and his economic liberalization have spread the rumors about Jiang’s hospitalization and even death since May. Quite a few people I know well believed such rumor as Jiang after all is 88 years old now.
They all worried that if Jiang had died, Xi would have been in great trouble as he had offended so many powerful officials but not firmly established his powerbase.
Jiang’s physically and mentally healthy appearance is as important as Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour in 1992. Deng swept away conservatism across China to reinvigorate China’s reform and opening-up while Jiang’s appearance frightens off those who want to challenge Xi if Jiang were really sick or dead as alleged in the rumor.
Xi may be in trouble now if Jiang’s health fails as he has not yet soundly established his powerbase as so far we have not seen the promotion of any talented assistants he has chosen, not even the five candidates he will choose to replace the five PSC (Politburo Standing Committee) members that will retire in 2017.
Here, I have to correct my post yesterday on Jiang Zemin’s status as CCP paramount leader as it was based on Ming Pao’s description before I watched CCTV primetime news footage on Jiang attending the concert yesterday evening.
According to the footage, when Xi Jinping and Jiang Zemin entered the concert hall, Jiang went not right after Xi as described in Ming Pao’s exclusive report but almost abreast of Xi, leaving insufficient space for his bodyguard to go by his side.
In the footage we saw Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and PSC members Zhang Dejiang and Yu Zhengsheng queuing after Jiang in entering the hall. However, when the concert had begun, CCTV gave close-up shots of Xi Jinping, Jiang Zeming, the other six current PSC members in the order of their ranking and then the powerful elders attending the concert one by one in the following order: Li Peng, Wu Bangguo, Li Lanqing, Zeng Qinghong and He Guoqiang. Such shots were followed by two moving shots of Politburo members with two of them in view by turn.
That set of shots reappeared once. Ming Pao, however, failed to mention the appearance of other elders in the footage. So was my post yesterday that was based on Ming Pao’s report.
In the text of CCTV report, in accordance with Jiang Zemin’s instruction, his name appeared along with the names of other retired elders after those of the Politburo members. It gives Chinese people the impression that retired elders are no longer in charge of Chinese politics. However, how can Xi Jinping ignore the power of retired elders especially the dominant power of Jiang as the core of CCP Dynasty like an emperor.
Therefore, on TV screen, powerful retired elders were shown one by one in fixed close-up shots while Politburo members appeared on TV screen in two moving shots not so close up with two in view by turn. Due to Jiang Zemin’s status as the core of CCP leadership, Jiang was shown on the screen going abreast of Xi Jinping when he entered the concert hall.
Source: CCTV “Beijing held 65th National Day Concert ‘Beautiful China: Glorious Dream’” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
In Chapter 8 of the expanded 2nd edition of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements, I give quite detailed analysis of the current Chinese political system of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty with a core like an emperor.
As it is a very long topic, I only give a short excerpt here in order not to be boring:
CCP Is Ruled by Its Core Not by Its General Secretary or CMC (Central Military Commission) Chairman
A paramount leader (the term used by Westerners) or core (the term used by Deng Xiaoping) of CCP is an emperor rather than an official. He needs no official title but can still have the absolute power and he just does not retire (from his position as the core). The fact that Deng could sweep away overwhelming conservatism across the nation by his Southern Tour in 1992 (when he had retired from all official posts) proved the absolute authority of the core.
For people outside China ignorant of China’s traditional political systems, that is something wield, but if they have carefully studied Zhao Ziyang and Zishui Li’s memoirs, they certainly will understand my analysis. People who really know Chinese history certainly understand such special characteristic of Chinese politics.
Who is the core, i.e. de facto emperor now? I point out in my book including its first edition that it is Jiang Zemin.
Quite a few China watchers began to realize that when Jiang presided over a Politburo meeting to make the decision on punishing Bo Xilai others could not make in late September, 2012 as described in details in Chapter 16 of the 2nd Expanded Edition.
In the section titled “Signs of Jiang Zemin’s Intention to Have Xi Jinping Succeed Him as the Core” in the chapter, I described two signs that display Jiang’s intention:
First, the change in the order of appearance in media reports on January 22, 2013 where “the wreath placed in Jiang’s name came behind that of President Hu Jintao, party general secretary Xi Jinping and other PSC members at the funeral service for General Yang Baibing, who died at the age of 93 in Beijing on January 15, 2013. “
“It was the first time that Jiang’s name had been placed behind that of Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) members other than the general secretary since he retired as general secretary at the 16th Party Congress in 2002 and stood down from his last official post as chairman of the Central Military Commissions in late 2004.
“In Xinhua report earlier on the funeral of Bishop Ding Guangxun on November 27, 2012, Jiang’s name remained behind Hu and Xi but ahead of PSC member National People’s Congress chairman Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao.
“Xinhua says the change in order was done at Jiang’s request. CCP is very particular about the order of appearance of leaders’ names in its official reports. The recent change in the order indicated Jiang’s desire for Xi to take over as the core.”
The second sign is described in the following paragraphs of the section:
Another clearer and more definite sign was found in the headline news at the website of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 23 on Jiang Zemin meeting Henry Kissinger on July 3. In the meeting, Jiang said to Kissinger, “You know, a large country like China with 1.3 billion people needs a strong and vigorous leader.” “Xi Jinping is a state leader of great ability and wisdom. In such a huge country as China, undoubtedly there may be all sorts of problems, which are not fearful. The key is that the problems must be handled resolutely. Recently, some incidents of violent terrorist attacks occurred in China’s Xinjiang. Xi Jinping made decision resolutely and quickly controlled the situation.”
Moreover, Jiang Zemin told Kissinger that he talked with Xi Jinping over the phone not long ago and Xi asked Jiang to convey his greetings to Kissinger.
That again proved what this book describes about China’s core system. Jiang remains in charge and keeps on discussing state affairs with Xi Jinping. In the process, Jiang has been very satisfied with Xi’s performance so that he praised Xi highly before Kissinger. It proved that Jiang was happy that he had found the right successor to him as the core of CCP leadership.
In the expanded 2nd edition, I hold that the order of lineup when powerful elders appear on TV screen is more revealing of their ranks and strengths than that on the written news reports. There are detailed descriptions of elders’ lineup in Chapter 17 of the 2nd edition. Here I am going to describe Jiang’s status as emperor when he was given limelight at the concert commemorating the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Peoples’ Republic of China in Beijing yesterday.
According to an exclusive report by Hong Kong’s Ming Pao, in Xinhua News Agency’s written report the names of Jiang Zemin and other retired elders Li Peng, Wu Bangguo, Li Lanqing, Zeng Qinghong and He Guoqiang appear after the current CCP Politburo members.
However in Chinese official media’s photos and TV footage on the event, only Jiang appears and is given limelight. Jiang entered the music hall the second, right after Current CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping amid tremendous ovation. He is followed by all the current PSC members.
The most impressive is the order of lineup when Jiang left the hall. He went the first followed closely by Xi Jinping and then by Premier Li Keqiang.
No one but the emperor can go before the current top leader Xi Jinping!
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Source: Ming Pao “Jiang Zeming appears to listen to music along with Xi Jinping: National Day concert attended by all the seven PSC members” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Some analysts are nervous when they find Chinese President Xi Jinping upholding Mao Zedong Thought. Will Xi resume Mao’s policies of class struggle and constant revolution? they wonder.
Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao tried to omit Mao Zedong Thought but enabled Bo Xilai to rally the vast number of conservatives around Bo to fight against the reformists and obstruct Hu’s further reform, which Xi is able to carry out now.
The fierce power struggle between the conservatives and reformists and the defeat of Bo are described in details in the second expanded edition of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements.
I point out in the book that the current core of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty Jiang Zemin made the decision on punishing Bo harshly in late September 2012, but he did not deal with the power struggle between the conservatives and reformists.
It was Xi Jinping who used his China dream to rally both the powerful conservative and reformists around him and put an end to their fierce power struggle. To win over conservatives, he certainly has to use some of their terms.
The term of China dream was borrowed from Liu Mingfu, a conservative Maoist PLA senior colonel, who wrote the bestseller China Dream that advocates China’s military rise to surpass the US. Hu Jintao banned its reprint due to the book’s Maoist ideas.
Xi exploits conservatives’ China dream but has extended its meaning to make it mean the revival of the Chinese nation.
That’s a very long topic. If interested please refer to chapters 13 and 19 of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition.
Here I have to point out Xi uses Mao’s term but imbue it with new meaning.
In my book, I describe in details the difference between the three mass lines: CCP’s traditional, Mao’s and Xi Jinping’s mass lines and point out Xi’s wisdom to imbue Maoism with his own idea.
That’s too much to write about here. I have only to point out there is a CCP document on certain historical issues, the tenets of which are stressed by Deng Xiaoping in the recent TV series on De Xiaoping:
1. Mao Zedong Thought was developed by the old generation of CCP leaders including Mao, Liu Shaqi, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, Chen Yun, etc. Mao represented the Thought.
2. Mao’s later ideas such as class struggle and constant revolution are wrong. They are negated in the document along the Cultural Revolution, which Mao launched based on those ideas.
3. The essence of Mao Zedong Thought is pragmatism, i.e. the doctrine of “Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth.” It is repeated again and again through Deng’s mouth in the TV series.
Therefore, there are no grounds for some analysts’ worry about the revival of Mao’s later ideas of class struggle and constant revolution that have been negated by the CCP itself.
As for whether Xi will become an autocratic despot like Mao, I don’t know. It depends on Xi’s personality, which may change due to old age. Anyway, it is possible for a tyrant like Mao to emerge in China’s current system of CCP Dynasty with a core like an emperor and there is no mechanism to remove such a tyrant if there is no change in the system.
The following is the full text of SCMP’s report on analysts’ views on Xi’s stress of Mao Zedong Thought:
Party must embrace Mao spirit to survive, Xi Jinping quoted as saying
Party papers shed new light on leader’s views about the importance of ‘Great Helmsman’
President Xi Jinping has reiterated the close relationship between the party’s survival and upholding Mao Zedong thought, according to newly released documents collected since the party’s 18th congress in November 2012.
Xi has urged party members to embrace of the “spirit” of Mao – a guiding party doctrine including class struggle and constant revolution to ensure the party’s survival – prompting analysts to say he might turn out as autocratic as the “Great Helmsman”.
In a study course chaired by Xi on January 5 last year, on the topic of maintaining and developing China’s special form of socialism, Xi stressed that an evaluation of Mao was “not just a theoretical issue, but a political question for China and the international community”.
In the collection, published recently, Xi also cites Deng Xiaoping’s affirmation of Mao’s contribution to the party’s development, saying China would fall into chaos if it “totally repudiates Mao thought”.
“Just imagine how our party could be tenable if we abandoned [the spirit] of Comrade Mao Zedong. Our socialistic system … the whole country would fall into chaos”, the president was quoted as saying in one of the eight articles, which have been made public for the first time.
In his speech, according to the article, Xi also called on senior cadres to learn the lessons of the collapse of the former Soviet Union, one of the main ones being that “almost all party members [in the USSR] gave up their ideological thinking”.
Hong Kong-based political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu said it was contradictory for Xi to promote Deng and Mao.
“Deng is remembered for his pragmatic style, while Mao launched the Cultural Revolution and a series of violent and political struggles from the 1950s to the 1970s, which still leave painful memories for the Chinese people,” Lau said. “It might make people worry whether Xi will be as dictatorial as Mao, even though he abides by Deng’s legacy of economic reform.”
Professor Jean-Philippe Beja, a senior researcher at the French Centre for Studies on Modern and Contemporary China in Hong Kong, said China’s ideological campaigns had shifted towards the left since Xi came to power nearly two years ago.
“All of Xi’s slogans, including ‘catching big tigers’ and ‘taking the mass line’ that have emerged from the ongoing nationwide anti-graft campaign, originate from Mao,” Beja said, adding that he was worried that China would further restrain political reform and human rights.
“Xi’s political advisers have just adopted old thinking and violent, rough measures to deal with today’s complicated social and political problems arising from the economic development of the past three decades.”
In the new collection of documents, Xi also requests cadres to report changes in their personal lives, including divorce, remarriage, and whether they have sent all their family overseas.
“We will not leave the party in a good position if we discover such information on the internet, then have to rush to confirm with them later,” Xi was quoted as saying at a meeting in January.
He also criticised party officials who had built up special personal relationships, or guanxi, for personal benefit.
“We shouldn’t turn the relationship between party leaders and subordinates into the feudal monarch-minister style,” one article quotes Xi as saying. This also violates Mao’s thinking, he adds.
Xi’s reiteration of Mao’s thinking indicated that he would emulate Mao’s vigorous style to sweep away corruption on the mainland to win public support, Lau said.
“Xi is the second party chief after Jiang Zemin to stress that the party would be overturned if it failed to rein in corrupt officials,” he said. “Jiang failed, but Xi hopes promoting Mao will help him push the anti-graft campaign forward.”
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Source: SCMP “Party must embrace Mao spirit to survive, Xi Jinping quoted as saying”
Just days before China was set to deliver its edict on electoral reform in Hong Kong, Beijing’s most senior official in the city held a rare meeting with several local lawmakers whose determined push for full democracy had incensed Beijing’s Communist leaders.
The setting at the Aug. 19 meeting was calm: A room with plush cream carpets, Chinese ink brush landscape paintings and a vase of purple orchids. The political mood outside, however, was fraught. Democratic protesters were threatening to shut down the global financial hub with an “Occupy Central” sit-in if Beijing refused to allow the city to freely elect its next leader.
After the formal smiles and handshakes with Zhang Xiaoming, the head of China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, the mood soured. Pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung asked Zhang whether Beijing would allow any democrat to run for the city’s highest office.
Zhang, 51, dressed in a black suit and a navy blue striped tie, delivered a blunt response. “The fact that you are allowed to stay alive, already shows the country’s inclusiveness,” he answered, according to two people in the room who declined to be named. Zhang’s office did not respond to several faxed requests for comment.
VISIONS OF CHAOS
Zhang’s remarks stripped away any pretence China could find common ground with Hong Kong’s democracy camp. The two sides have been wrangling over what it means to have “one country, two systems” for the past 30 years – China stressing “one country” and democrats in the former British colony the “two systems”.
For Beijing, Western-style democracy conjures up visions of “color revolutions” and the “Arab Spring”, of chaos and instability that could pose a mortal threat to the ruling Communist Party. For many Hong Kong residents, free elections means preserving the British-instituted rule of law, accountability of leaders, and multi-party politics as a check on government powers.
At the Aug. 19 meeting, Zhang said Beijing had been generous even allowing democrats such as Leung to run for legislative seats. He insisted that the next leader had to be a “patriot”.
“We were shocked,” said one person who attended the meeting. “But Zhang Xiaoming is only an agent who delivered the stance of the central government without trying to polish it.”
Few were surprised, though, when China’s highest lawmaking body, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC), announced an electoral package on Aug. 31 that said any candidate for Hong Kong’s chief executive in the 2017 election had to first get majority support from a 1,200-person nominating panel – likely to be stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists.
Democrats say the decision spelled out China’s bottom line on political reform: A direct vote will be allowed, but only if Beijing vets the candidates.
Yet the pro-democracy movement is vowing to press on with its campaign of civil disobedience. It is threatening to lock down Hong Kong’s main business district with sit-ins in October, protesting what they call “fake” Chinese-style democracy. Students plan to boycott university classes later this month. And the city’s 27 pro-democracy lawmakers have threatened to block Beijing’s 2017 electoral package in the legislature, where they hold nearly one-third of the seats – enough to veto the law and block future government policies.
Benny Tai, one of the movement’s three leaders, takes a longer-term view. “I call this a process of democratic baptism … by participating, people will be baptized by democratic ideals,” Tai told Reuters. “So it is not the end of the movement, it’s the beginning of the movement, the beginning of a disobedience age.”
“LEAD CHINA FORWARD”
As a colonial power, Britain appointed Hong Kong’s governors and never encouraged democratic development for almost all of the 156 years it ruled the colony. It was only when Britain and China broadly agreed on how to hand over the colony to China, beginning with a “Joint Declaration” in 1984, that a blueprint for democracy was envisioned. It led to the signing of the “Basic Law” in 1990, which said the city could keep its wide-ranging freedoms and autonomy, and for the first time stated universal suffrage as “the ultimate aim”, while ensuring China still had ample levers to ensure its influence over the city.
Martin Lee, a founder of the city’s main opposition Democratic Party who helped draft the Basic Law, recalls meeting late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on April 16, 1987.
“He said many things. But one of them was if 50 years should prove not enough for you, you can have another 50 years,” Lee said, referring to China’s pledge not to change anything in Hong Kong until 2047.
China’s 1989 crackdown on the protests around Tiananmen Square was a watershed for both sides on how democracy might evolve. After mass demonstrations erupted in Beijing, new democratic groups sprouted up in Hong Kong. China began to see Hong Kong as a potential national security threat.
“When Deng formulated ‘one country, two systems’, I suppose he didn’t anticipate there would be the June 4 massacre which caused Hong Kong people so much anger against the Communists,” Lee said in his law office, which contains a bronze bust of Winston Churchill and a picture of a June 4 candle-light vigil in the city. “He thought he could win us over.”
Fear and anxiety mounted instead. The years leading up to the actual handover of the city to Beijing in 1997 saw a wave of people and businesses emigrating abroad, fearful of the imminent handover to China.
DISMEMBERMENT BY ‘BLACK HANDS’
Chinese officials rankle at current-day comparisons to British rule, pointing out that Britain never brought democracy to Hong Kong during a century and a half of colonial rule. “Hong Kong people did not stand up to demand democracy,” said a person with ties to the leadership in Beijing. “This is a big improvement compared with the British. Still, some people do not see it as the glass half full, but half empty.”
Any criticism of China’s handling of Hong Kong by countries like Britain and the United States also draws claims of foreign intervention from Beijing. China, ever mindful of how it was carved up in the 19th century by foreign powers, fears the democracy movement in Hong Kong could precipitate another break-up, said a source in Beijing close to the Chinese leadership.
“When there is chaos in Hong Kong, they will push for Hong Kong to become independent,” said a second source with leadership ties, referring to meddling by “black hands,” or foreign agents. These forces “want to influence the mainland to become a democracy and be dismembered like the Soviet Union.”
In the years after 1997, Beijing seemed content to stay at arm’s length from Hong Kong. Former president Jiang Zemin made reunification with Taiwan a top priority and so it was important for China that the “one country, two systems” formula was seen as successful.
Beijing also hoped that people in Hong Kong would slowly begin to identify with the Chinese nation over time, especially younger generations schooled under a post-colonial system.
But a series of opinion polls taken every six months since the 1997 handover tells a different story. The number of respondents in the University of Hong Kong survey expressing confidence in China’s future has fallen steadily from 75 percent in 1997 to 50 percent in June. Moreover, the survey showed the younger the respondent, the less proud they were of becoming a Chinese national citizen.
China’s current unbending line on Hong Kong also has to do with its emergence as a power on the world stage and is in line with a more assertive posture adopted by President Xi Jinping. When Jiang negotiated the island’s future in 1997, China’s gross domestic product was US$0.95 trillion (7.9 trillion yuan). Today it is US$9.4 trillion, making it the world’s second-biggest economy.
“(Beijing) was poor, tolerant and made concessions then to (try to) win the hearts of Hong Kong people,” said the first source with ties to the leadership, referring to China’s more conciliatory approach under Deng and his successors.
It may also have to do with internal Chinese politics. Xi’s uncompromising line on Hong Kong may be an effort to protect his flank as he pushes ahead with economic reforms and a far-reaching anti-corruption campaign that has targeted powerful figures in the Communist Party.
“China needs to draw lessons from the achievements of foreign politics, but the foundations of our system should absolutely not be given up,” Xi said in a September 5 speech in Beijing.
PEACE AND LOVE
“The Occupy Central with Love and Peace” movement coalesced in January 2013 after Benny Tai, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, wrote a newspaper column proposing a Gandhi-like civil disobedience movement – an escalation from the usual marches and candlelight vigils – to press for universal suffrage.
The movement got an indication of Beijing’s bottom line on democratic reform in June when the Chinese government issued a “White Paper” that reminded Hong Kong residents that it wields supreme authority in the city. Hong Kong administrators, including judges, had to “love the country” as a basic requirement to hold office, it said.
Undeterred, the Occupy movement organized an unofficial referendum on universal suffrage at the end of June that drew 800,000 ballots calling for free elections. Then, on July 1, nearly half a million protesters marched to the financial district. Over 500 were arrested after activists staged an overnight sit-in.
That sparked consternation in Beijing. It was a reminder of a mass protest in 2003 when half a million people poured onto the streets of Hong Kong to protest an anti-subversion bill by the territory’s legislature – the biggest anti-government protest on Chinese soil since the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.
“When they saw the Democrats attending these rallies, they just drew the line and treated us as enemies,” said Martin Lee.
Pro-Beijing groups countered in August with a mass demonstration of their own at which they warned of public disorder and the perils of antagonizing China.
Jasper Tsang, one of the founders of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the city’s largest political party, said China’s leaders never promised full democracy.
“I would think if the Basic Law were written in the last five years, it would be very likely that we would leave out the words ‘universal suffrage’”, Tsang said.
BETWEEN FATHER AND SON
Protest-leader Benny Tai counsels patience. He says a time will come when China is truly ready for political reform. When it does, “Hong Kong naturally will be chosen as the experimental ground for democratic reform in mainland China,” he says. “I still have confidence in the long run. We may be able to win the war, even if we lose this battle.”
The view in Beijing is less accommodating.
“The mainland has been too nice to Hong Kong,” said the first source with leadership ties. “The relationship between the center and Hong Kong is not one between brothers, but between father and son. The son has to listen to the father.”
Source: Reuters “China asserts paternal rights over Hong Kong in democracy clash”
- Hong Kong Democracy a Model for China’s Democratization dated September 6, 2014
- The Wise Way to Fight for Democracy in Hong Kong dated September 3, 2014
- Hong Kong braces for protests as China rules out full democracy dated September 1, 2014
- China and Hong Kong poised for showdown over democracy dated August 31, 2014
- Beijing Tightening Its Grip of Hong Kong by Various Means dated July 2, 2014