Lessons China Learnt from Failed Pursuit of Western and Communist Ideals


Failure of China’s Pursuit of Western Democracy
Lots of Chinese revolutionaries died or suffered hardship including imprisonment in their revolts to overthrow the Qing Dynasty and realize their ideal of Western democracy. That was the 1911 Revolution well-known in Chinese history. Chinese revolutionaries did overthrow the Qing Dynasty and put an end to China’s thousands years of hereditary feudal dynasties, but sadly they found that the republic they had established was not a Western democracy but a nation divided into quite a few warlord autocracies. It was in fact a repetition of the games called “fighting to catch the deer on the Central Plains (zhongyuan zhu lu)”. In this well-known description of the major political games in Chinese history for over two thousand years since the fall of the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C – 206 B.C.), “Deer (lu)” means the state power or the throne, “the Central Plains” mean the major part of the world because in ancient time Chinese people believed that China was the only major state in the world; while “fighting to catch the deer” means fighting for state power or the throne.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the leader of democracy fighters learnt the lesson from the war between warlords and realized the he needed a revolutionary army to establish democracy. However, after he died, his troops were controlled by his successor Chiang Kai-shek, who finally subdued all other troops except Mao’s small communist troops.

However, instead of establishing democracy in the republic established by Sun’s democratic revolution, he turned the republic into his hereditary dynasty.

However, there were still the communist troops he failed to conquer in order to finally win the game and catch the deer. As a result, the game became a civil war between Chiang’s nationalists and Mao’s communists. Mao won the game and drove Chiang away to Taiwan. He caught the “deer” by force. It was a repetition of the thousand year-old game, but as Mao used guns instead of knives and spears that were used before him, he invented the saying “Political power grows out of gun barrels”. Mao’s victory in the game is precisely the same as those who won the thrones before him. The only difference was the weapons used in the games. However, as people outside China have little knowledge of the Chinese games, they thought by inventing the saying “Political power grows out of gun barrels”, Mao invented the way to win political power with weapons.

The wars in the two revolutions and the wars among warlords resulted from the 1911 Revolution brought miseries to Chinese people. Even the victory of the second revolution, the communist revolution, did not bring happiness to Chinese people. The rural base areas of the revolution remained poor and backward years after the victory of the revolution.

The sufferings were perhaps worthwhile if a real prosperous democracy has been brought about by the revolutions. However, there was no democracy at all as Chiang always acted as an autocrat and passed the control of his troops and political power to his son Chiang Ching-kuo. His republic was in fact a hereditary dynasty.

Failure of Mao’s Socialism
What about the vast Chinese mainland under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party?

Mao wrote a well-known article on the new democracy he would set up in China when his revolution succeeds and then realize the ideal of communism where there will be abundant supply of all daily necessities so that people will get what they need while doing what they are able to for the society.
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That was the ideal that people died and suffered for the communist revolution and finally won the civil war for the revolution. The saddest thing for them was that unrealistic idealist policies were implemented for realization of the communist ideal, resulting in universal poverty and shortage of food and most daily necessities. Moreover, the fight for the ideal was carried on for years and finally resulted in chaotic Cultural Revolution.

Cessation of Pursuit of Either Western or Communist Ideals
Finally, wise Chinese politicians learnt from the decades of historical lessons in pursuing ideals. Deng and other veteran communists realized that neither the Western capitalist nor Soviet or Mao’s socialist ways work for China to attain their goal. Instead, China encountered lots of setbacks in the course of pursuing its ideals whether Western democracy or Soviet communism. They realized that as a large country with very complicated conditions at home and abroad, China had to find its own unique way instead of foreign or theoretical ideals. What they want is but a rich and strong China for the welfare of Chinese people. The pursuit of foreign or theoretical ideals only leads to misery. They have to be realistic to pursue real improvement instead of any ideal.

Article by Chan Kai Yee

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China’s New Sub-launched Anti-ship Missile World Best


In its report on January 16 titled “Disclosure of functions of China’s new submarine-launched missiles: Thrice the range of Russian product”, mil.huanqiu.com discloses the world best functions and performance of China’s new submarine-launched missile.

The core technology of China’s new generation of submarine-launched anti-ship missile is entirely developed by China independently on its own. It is leader in its major and comprehensive indexes in the world.

It is smaller and lighter than Russian Club missile but has a range three times of Club’s. It can adjust its super low trajectory according to sea conditions. The height above surface is so low that US Sparrow and Standard missiles cannot intercept. Its mixed subsonic and supersonic speed make interception even more difficult. Moreover it is a 360 decree all direction anti-ship cruise missile able to hit a much larger area than previous models.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Disclosure of functions of China’s new submarine-launched missiles: Thrice the range of Russian product” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese).


U.S. military puts ‘great power competition’ at heart of strategy: Mattis


Idrees Ali January 19, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military has put countering China and Russia at the center of a new national defense strategy unveiled on Friday, the latest sign of shifting priorities after more than a decade and a half of focusing on the fight against Islamist militants.

In presenting the new strategy, which will set priorities for the Pentagon for years to come, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called China and Russia “revisionist powers” that “seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models.”

The “National Defense Strategy” represents the latest sign of hardening resolve by President Donald Trump’s administration to address challenges from Russia and China, at the same time he is pushing for improved ties with Moscow and Beijing to rein in a nuclear North Korea.

“We will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists that we are engaged in today, but great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security,” Mattis said in a speech presenting the strategy document, the first of its kind since at least 2014.

It sets priorities for the U.S. Defense Department that are expected to be reflected in future defense spending requests. The Pentagon on Friday released an unclassified, 11-page version of the document, which did not provide details on how the shift towards countering China and Russia would be carried out.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking through an interpreter at a news conference at the United Nations, said the United States was using a confrontational approach.

“It is regrettable that instead of having a normal dialogue, instead of using the basis of international law, the U.S. is striving to prove their leadership through such confrontational strategies and concepts,” Lavrov said.

“We’re open for dialogue, we’re prepared to discuss military doctrines,” he added.

China’s U.S. embassy criticized the strategy, saying Beijing sought “global partnership, not global dominance.”

“If some people look at the world through a cold war, zero-sum game mindset, then they are destined to see only conflict and confrontation,” an embassy spokesman said in a statement.

Elbridge Colby, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, said at a briefing with reporters that Russia was far more brazen than China in its use of military power.

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 and intervened militarily in Syria to support its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Still, Moscow was limited by its economic resources, Colby said.

China, on the other hand, was described as economically and militarily ascendant. China has embarked on a far-reaching military modernization that Colby said was in “deep contravention to our interests.”

Experts praised the document’s targeting of the largest national security threats rather than the longer lists of risks in some previous strategies. But without knowing the budget commitments, it was difficult to assess if it was a sound strategy.

“If we don’t actually see where the money is, you know, there is the danger that it could become all words,” said Mara Karlin, a fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank and a senior defense official in the Obama administration.

SUPPORT FOR ALLIANCES

The document also listed North Korea among the Pentagon’s priorities, citing the need to focus U.S. missile defenses against the threat from Pyongyang, which beyond its nuclear weapons has also amassed an arsenal of biological, chemical, and conventional arms.

The document said that international alliances would be critical for the U.S. military, by far the world’s best-resourced. But it also stressed a need for burden-sharing, an apparent nod to Trump’s public criticism of allies who he says unfairly take advantage of U.S. security guarantees.

Trump has called the NATO alliance “obsolete”, but Mattis said the United States would strengthen its traditional alliances while building new partnerships and listening more to other nations’ ideas.

“We will be willing to be persuaded by them, recognizing that not all good ideas come from the country with the most aircraft carriers,” Mattis said.

The Pentagon is also working on a policy document on the country’s nuclear arsenal. While Mattis did not specifically address that review, he said the priority is deterrence.

“How do we maintain a safe and effective nuclear deterrence so those weapons are never used? It is a nuclear deterrent, it is not a war fighting capability unless it is the worst day in our nation or the world’s history,” Mattis said.

Mattis had harsh words for the U.S. Congress and its inability to reach agreement on budgets.

The U.S. military’s competitive edge has eroded “in every domain of warfare” he said, partly because of inconsistent funding. A bill to fund the government only through Feb. 16, approved on Thursday night by the House of Representatives, appeared on the verge of collapse in the Senate.

“As hard as the last 16 years of war have been, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combined impact” of spending caps and short-term funding.

In sheer spending terms, the United States’ military outlay per year is still far more than China and Russia. The United States is spending $587.8 billion per year on its military, China $161.7 billion and Russia $44.6 billion.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing by Grant McCool, James Dalgleish and Daniel Wallis

Source: Reuters “U.S. military puts ‘great power competition’ at heart of strategy: Mattis”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China says U.S. warship violated its South China Sea sovereignty


Reuters Staff January 20, 2018

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near a disputed shoal claimed by China in the South China Sea this week, U.S. officials said on Saturday, and Beijing vowed to take “necessary measures” to protect its sovereignty.

China’s foreign ministry said USS Hopper missile destroyer came within 12 nautical miles of Huangyan Island, which is also known as Scarborough Shoal and subject to a rival claim by the Philippines.

It was the latest U.S. naval operation challenging extensive Chinese claims in the South China Sea and came even as U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

Two U.S. officials confirmed that the USS Hopper had sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the patrol was in line with international law and was an “innocent passage,” in which a warship effectively recognizes a territorial sea by crossing it quickly, without stopping.

Twelve nautical miles is an internationally recognized territorial limit.

The U.S. military says it carries out “freedom of navigation” operations throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and that they are separate from political considerations.

The Pentagon did not directly comment on the latest patrol but said such operations are routine.

“All operations are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan said.

The U.S. military put countering China and Russia at the center of a new national defense strategy unveiled on Friday. China criticized the strategy, saying Beijing sought “global partnership, not global dominance.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the USS Hopper violated China’s sovereignty and security interests and threatened the safety of Chinese vessels and personnel.

Lu said the Chinese navy ordered the vessel to withdraw after determining its identity.

The United States has criticized China for constructing islands and military installations in the South China Sea, saying they could be used to restrict free movement in a critical global trade route.

Lu said China “firmly opposes” efforts to use freedom of navigation as an excuse to hurt its sovereignty and urged the United States to “correct its mistakes.”

China’s defense ministry said the repeated dispatch of U.S. warships to the region was “undermining regional peace and stability” and hurting bilateral relations.

China’s defense ministry said the repeated dispatch of U.S. warships to the region was “undermining regional peace and stability” and hurting bilateral relations.

Greg Poling, a South China Sea expert at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said the Pentagon appeared determined to keep up regular freedom of navigation patrols in the sea, with one every six weeks or so, in spite of Chinese objections.

“The last made public was in October, but we should expect that there was at least one other in the interim,” he said. “The only time word is getting out these days is if Beijing makes an issue of it.”

Reporting by David Stanway in Shanghai and Idrees Ali in Washington; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Michael Perry and Lisa Von Ahn

Source: Reuters “China says U.S. warship violated its South China Sea sovereignty”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


The Conundrum of Permanent Termination of Class Struggle


According to Marxist theory, a person’s political status is determined by his economic status. A landlord or capitalist who has got his assets taken away and who has lived on the income from his labor shall have his class status changed from landlord or capitalist to that of a laborer after he has been a laborer for three years or longer. That was the case in the Soviet Union but not in China. Some years after deprivation of landlords’ and capitalists’ assets, the Soviet Union announced that there were no landlord or capitalist classes in its society.

China denounced that Soviet practice as revisionist. In China, a landlord or capitalist remained a landlord or capitalist after his assets had been taken away by the communists long ago. In fact, in Mao era, he was to remain labeled a landlord or capitalist and be politically discriminated and persecuted all his life.

That was the case with Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang’s relatives and friends. Deng and Zhao supported the communists in taking away their relatives and friends’ assets and expected that their relatives and friends would become laborers and enjoy the good life China’s socialist construction would bring them. They were sad to see that their relatives and friends had been labeled as landlord or capitalist and discriminated and persecuted though they were entirely innocent and had lived on their own labor for a long time while China did not become rich and remained poor in spite of the assets it has got from landlords and capitalists.

To put an end to such social injustice and switch the nation’s focus onto economic growth, Deng declared termination of class struggle and removed all the discriminating political labels.

As a result, with labels removed the landlords and capitalists who were mostly well educated began to make their contributions to China’s economic growth. Lots of them wrote to their successful entrepreneurial relatives and friend abroad and even went abroad to visit them in order to make them invest in China. Most of foreign investment that helped China’s economic development came from those overseas Chinese.

It makes the Chinese Communist Party understand China’s traditional wisdom of seeking harmony.

Article by Chan Kai Yee


China wants to reshape the global order


Bill Bishop of Sinocism January 19

The Chinese Communist Party emphasized its expanding global ambitions in a remarkable 5,500 character treatise on the front page of Monday’s “People’s Daily.”

“The world needs China, as all humans are living in a community with a shared future … That creates broad strategic room for our efforts to uphold peace and development and gain an advantage.”       — Communist Party “manifesto” on China’s role in the world

Why it matters: This is further evidence of the seriousness of China’s broad global vision. President Xi Jinping sees a remarkable opportunity, enhanced by the Trump presidency and its “America First” policies, to reshape the global order in ways that legitimize the Chinese political system and create more strategic advantages for the China.

The Xi Era and its growing global ambition was ushered in during the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress last fall, where Xi vowed to increase China’s global influence and reshape global governance. As Xi said in his report to the Congress: “It will be an era that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”

This week’s article — called 紧紧抓住大有可为的历史机遇期 or “Tightly grasping the very promising period of historical opportunity” and signed by the pseudonym “Xuanyan 宣言,” which means manifesto — called for the nation to grasp the historic opportunity now before the nation, according to state-run media.

•Noting the problems facing the world, such as a “democratic deficit,” “governance deficit,” “development trap,” wealth gap, terrorism and climate change, the article said “the drawbacks of capitalism-led political and economic systems are emerging; the global governance system is experiencing profound changes and a new international order is taking shape.”

Under the headline “Make China Great Again,” the South China Morning Post quoted the manifesto calling out the “drawbacks” of the the capitalist economic system and said “a new international order is taking shape,” with China facing an historic opportunity to “restore itself to greatness and return to its rightful position in the world.”

Be smart: China is not getting back into the business of exporting revolution as it did in the Mao-Era, and China’s style of Leninist-Mercantilism is unlikely to fit other countries. But Xi and the Communist Party’s Marxist theoreticians who believe in “historical determinism”, a phrase that appears repeatedly in the manifesto, see America’s retreat as a moment to increase China’s influence in the world.

Source: AXIOS “China wants to reshape the global order”

Note: SCMP’s article believes the People’s Daily article means China wants to replace the US as world leader. It quotes Jonathan Sullivan, director of the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham, as saying, “It reflects the Chinese leadership’s belief that right now is a huge opportunity for China to stake out a global leadership role.”

If China wants world leadership now, its leaders are stupid as China is far from strong enough to be world leader. I believe AXIOS’ note “Be smart” is more sensible. As I pointed in my previous posts, Xi Jinping Though on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics is but China’s declaration that China can say no. What China wants is but to enhance its influence in the world to put an end to US world hegemony and make the world a multipolar one.

Full text of SCMP’s article can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2128711/make-china-great-again-communist-party-seeks-seize.


The Conundrum of Communists’ Pursuit of Capitalism


Chinese People’s Victim Mentality
For decades China has been saying that it wants peaceful rise, but why does China want rise in the first place?

That was Deng Xiaoping’s dream.

Most people regard Deng and his generation of Chinese communists as inveterate communists. If that was the case, how could Deng bring a U turn to China from dogmatic communism to pragmatic capitalism?

Patriots Turned into Communists
In fact, those old communists were mostly of well-to-do family background and had received Chinese traditional and Western education. They were all Chinese patriots anxious to make China strong so as to put an end to China’s predicament at that time of being bullied by foreign powers for a century. Like Doc. Sun Yat-sen they at first wanted China to become a capitalist democracy like the United States and believed that China may become rich and powerful through capitalist democracy. However, warlords’ rule and constant wars broke their dream. They switched to communism and hoped China could change its fate through communist revolution. However, their family background and education make communism unacceptable at the bottom of their hearts.

The most important factor for them to become communists at that time was that of all world powers, only the Soviet Union was willing to help China grow strong through communism. Those old patriots set up the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and conducted communist revolution with Soviet aids for almost two decades, but only their resistance to Japanese invasion made them strong and finally be able to win the civil war and become China’s ruling party.

Most Chinese communist officials of the second generation are dogmatic communists, but there are also quite a few high-school students of well-to-do family background who joined CCP to fight the Japanese invaders especially in 1938, the second year of Japanese invasion. They are first of all patriots and became communists only when they have joined the CCP and received some communist education. They are usually called 38-style cadres. No doubt, their first priority is national salvation. Communism at best is their second priority.

Experience of Failures of Orthodox Socialism
When Deng returned to power in 1978, the first generation of communists like him and lots of 38-style second generation of communists like Zhao Ziyang had experienced and saw enough failures of communism in China and the Soviet Union, but became impressed by the success of capitalism in Japan and the four Asian dragons. As a wise leader with the ability to make quick decision, Deng switched to capitalism abruptly in order to make China rich and strong without being able to convince most of the communists younger than him. Making China rich and strong was his dream. It does not matter whether by communism or capitalism. “The cat that catches mouse is a good cat no matter whether it is a white or black one”, according to him.

However, Deng’s decision was reasonable as it was made after seeing the failures of China’s 1911 revolution and communist revolution and construction and the success of private sector after he had returned to power. As a mature politician, he began to realize that there was no foreign example that China could follow blindly.

China’s pursuit of American democracy failed. The presidents of the Republic of China established through armed revolt were all despots until Taiwan’s democratization.

China’s communist revolution fared even worse. Most communist officials who had received good education came from rural gentry or urban capitalist families. They betrayed their own classes in pursuit of their communist ideal for a fair and common rich society. Instead, they got a society as poor as before the communist revolution and direly unfair in discriminating and persecuting intellectuals and members of former gentry and bourgeoisie.

Those educated communists sacrificed their families’ interests for that ideal for a rich and strong China with a fair and common rich society. What they had got from the communist takeover and the end of the Cultural Revolution? The discrimination and persecution of their relatives and friends and the common poverty of all Chinese people.

Seeing the benefits capitalism has brought to their country and people, they naturally switched to capitalism.

Article by Chan Kai Yee