In my post “China Establishing While USA Losing World Leadership” yesterday, I point out that President Obama’s plan to bring back manufacturing and jobs and increase export will cause America to lose world leadership. It in fact helps China to grab world leadership from America because China is gaining popularity now in getting richer and helping other countries to become rich by providing investment and job opportunities and expanding its market for imports. However, faced with serious unemployment, America has no alternative.
America remains world leader in military strength, but it is helping China to catch up as it makes China step up its military build-up by announcement of its intention to be involved in South China Sea disputes. China will, therefore, substantially increase its military spending while America is reducing its military budget. Chinese military budget appears to be much smaller than America’s, but China can assign military research and development projects to its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) without government funding as such projects may also be useful for civil purposes. Even if they are solely for military purpose, China can fund the projects by reducing the profit that state-owned enterprises have to deliver to the government. That will certainly not be reflected in its military budget.
In 2011, Chinese SOEs’ profit totals US$357 billion, of which 10% to 15%, i.e. US$35.7 to US$53.5 billion shall be delivered to the government, quite a substantial amount compared with China’s military budget of US$77.95 billion.
Moreover, Chinese government may also order state-owned enterprises to provide it with military hardware at a very low price without any profit, which enables China to get more hardware with much less spending than America.
For example, a 071 landing platform dock (LPD) costs China only US$300 million while an America San Antonio-class LPD of similar size and functions costs more than US$1.2 billion.
There are widespread malpractices of counterfeiting, and pirating of American software similar to rampant corruption difficult to eliminate due to involvement of local vested interest. Foreign, especially American pressure has helped Chinese central government and quite a few enterprises that produce quality goods realize the importance of developing China’ own brands, patents and software and make them popular not only in China but also the world over. Over the past two years, China has conducted lots of raids to put an end to such malpractices in order to facilitate first of all development of China’s own intellectual property.
America movies and music spread American values of democracy, human rights, etc. The Chinese government certainly wants to reduce their influence as much as possible, but they are popular and difficult to be censured unless the government has well justified reason. America, however, is helping China reduce their influence by pressuring China to put an end to pirating and thus make them less affordable.
Ambitious to be world leader, China is making much investment to spread its TV and radio broadcasting and setting up Confucius Institutes the world over. The Chinese Communist Party regards its movies and music as propaganda for its values and is willing to promote them at great costs. China has encouraged its skillful film makers to produce films such as “Hero” and “The Flowers of War” that not only serve its propaganda purpose but also earn foreign exchange.
“Hero” especially praises one of China’s two worst tyrants for his achievement of unification of China to justify the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s praise of Mao Zedong’s similar achievement and the legitimacy of its rule. Due to the film’s artistic success, people outside China paid to be brainwashed.
Last October, CCP Central Committee held its sixth session to adopt a decision to boost China’s soft power and maintain cultural security following China’s ongoing economic boom. It called on Chinese people to carry out the strategy of opening up international cultural market and continuously enhance the influence of Chinese culture in the world. China wants not only economic and military but also cultural leadership.
Moreover, America helps China by pressuring it to turn Renminbi into a freely convertible currency, but does not see the threat to US dollar’s position as an international currency. China is making efforts to turn Renminbi into the currency for settlement in its trade with some Asian and African countries. If China succeeds in establishing a greater Asian community, like Euro, Renminbi, if freely convertible, may become the major currency for the community.
Due to China’s strategic shift, it is narrowing rich-poor gap, improving its people’s living standards and expanding its domestic markets and needs natural resources and cheap labor. Its huge foreign exchange reserve and its people’s huge savings need to be invested elsewhere. Africa and quite a few ASEAN countries have rich natural resources and need Chinese investment and market to provide job opportunities for their cheap labor.
There are now over 2,000 enterprises with US$40 billion Chinese investment in Africa and China became Africa’s biggest trading partner in 2009 and its trade with Africa rose more than 20% in 2010. For better relations, Chinese government spent US$200 million to build the headquarters of the African Union. Its No. 4 leader Jia Qinglin attended African Union’s recent summit and promised to provide African Union with US$95 million funds over the next three years.
China cannot establish and maintain its leadership in Africa if its relations with Africa are not mutually beneficial. There have already been complaints about trade imbalance. In order to enable both parties to be winners, China’s deputy commerce minister Gao Hucheng said that China would increase its investments in African manufacturing and transfer technology and management skills to “change from made-in-China to made-in-Africa”.
Similarly, in Southeast Asia, Chinese is one of the leading trading partners and investors in quite a few countries and its labor-intensive industry is moving to Cambodia and other countries with cheap labor. If China adopts a policy similar to what it plans to adopt in Africa, China’s leadership in Southeast Asia is ensured.
Even the EU wants Chinese funds now.
In short, China is establishing its leadership in the world by providing funds, job opportunities and a growing huge market while making money from the investment and obtaining cheap goods for its people.
What about America?
In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama gives priority to bringing manufacturing and jobs back to America. He perhaps means bringing jobs back from China, but China is moving enterprises that require cheap labor to African and South East Asia. By bringing back jobs, America will reduce the job opportunities created by China in developing countries.
Moreover, while China is providing its expanding huge market for developing countries, President Obama plans to make “it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world.” He said he would “go anywhere in the world to open new markets for America products.” Certainly, demand for the products of those countries will decrease.
President Obama’s policies are certainly good for America, but who in the world will follow his leadership to have their job opportunities and domestic and export market shares reduced?
Chan Kai Yee is the author of “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements: The Silent Peaceful Coup D’état In China…”.
When Deng Xiaoping came to power, he wanted to establish a system of collective leadership in the Chinese Communist Party (the CCP) so that there will be no repetition of Mao’s autocracy that had brought disasters to China.
Their reform and opening-up were fiercely attacked by conservatives, who were the powerful majority in the Party then and who regarded public ownership and planned economy as vital indispensable elements of Marxist socialism. The conservatives tried every means in finding faults with reformists and succeeded in removing Hu Yaobang from CCP’s top leading post on the excuse of his failure to fight against bourgeois liberalization.
To counter the opposition, Zhao Ziyang invented the new concept of the “initial stage of socialism” based on the Marxist series of social development from feudalism to capitalism and finally to socialism and communism. Zhao held that as China skipped capitalism in its transition from feudalism to socialism, its economy was too backward and could not merely pursue socialism but had to be supplemented by the development of capitalism. That concept implies that public ownership and planned economy will be resumed when China has passed that initial stage.
However, conservatives did not buy it. According to Zhao Ziyang’s memoirs, before the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989, there was a campaign to overthrow Zhao. Conservatives’ opposition to Zhao’s reform was so vehement that Deng Xiaoping even planned to retire so as to force other elders to retire in order to prevent them from interfering with Zhao’s reform.
Before Zhao was removed due to his opposition to Tiananmen massacre, Deng only succeeded in making powerful conservative elders agree that Zhao was to serve two terms till 1997. Deng had not found any one capable of succeeding Zhao then and he might well be dead by 1997 as he would be 93 years old. Deng’s and Zhao’s only hope before the massacre lied in obtaining convincing achievement by the reform by 1997. That was why from the very beginning, Deng told all those who opposed the reform not to debate whether the reform was socialist or capitalist in nature but wait for its results.
However, due to the difficulties in price reform and transformation of the money-losing state-owned enterprises and the obstacles to the reform created by opponents to the reform, they did not seem to be able to obtain convincing achievements even if Zhao had not been removed (state-owned enterprises was not successfully transformed until early 2000s). .
When Zhao had been removed, conservatism prevailed and Deng was desperate. He had to find a way to ensure that his reform will be carried on. Drawing lessons from the Chiang Kai-shek Dynasty, Mao’s absolute monarchy and Deng’s failure to establish collective leadership, Deng realized that since the elimination of the imperial dynasty by the 1911 Revolution, China had remained an absolute monarchy. The Chiang Kai-shek regime remained an absolute monarchy with hereditary succession. The CCP regime differed only in having no hereditary succession. Mao was the absolute monarch but was not succeeded by his son. Deng called the absolute monarch of CCP regime the core of CCP’s collective leadership. When Mao was the core, Mao was able to conduct his Cultural Revolution with only a minority support of the Lin Biao and Zhou Enlai factions. When Deng himself was the core, he was able to carry on his reform in spite of the opposition of a majority of Party cadres and members.
Deng decided that in order to carry on the reform, he should find a reformist successor who should become the core with the power of an absolute monarch like Mao and himself. His successor would then be able to carry on the reform in spite of strong opposition. He had the wisdom to choose Jiang Zemin, a true reformist, as his successor but told Jiang that Jiang’s priority was not to carry on the reform but to gain the position as the core like Mao and himself so as to overcome the opposition to the reform in the future.
Assisted by the Shanghai faction, Jiang, exploited the universal fear in the Party caused by Tiananmen protests to successfully establish his position as the core and carried out a coup to substitute intellectuals’ dominance of the Party and state for that of workers and peasants. He invented the first of his Three Presents by applying the basic Marxist principle that relations of production should meet the requirements of the development of advanced productive force. The economic stagnation in China and other communist countries has proved that public ownership and planned economy do not meet the requirements of the development of advanced productive force. However, the development of private sector in China has proved that capitalism meets the requirements. Jiang has thus not only justified his pursuit of capitalism adjusted by Keynesian macroeconomic control, but also denied the necessity to return to public ownership and planned economy.
By the first Represent, Jiang has thoroughly defeated economic conservatism and achieved economic liberation in China.
Jiang’s Three Represents and Deng Xiaoping Theory are the new Marxism based on Marxist materialist philosophy and Marxist basic principles.
Chan Kai Yee is the author of “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements: The Silent Peaceful Coup D’état In China…”.
On January 15 a young Chinese Mainland girl ate noodle and littered the carriage on Hong Kong’s East Railway. A Hong Kong passenger told the girl to stop eating as according to the rules, eating was forbidden on the railway, but the girl’s mother did not tell the girl to stop eating and a quarrel occurred. A bystander also from the Mainland joined the quarrel, speaking quite excitedly against the Hong Kong man. The Hong Kong man supported by other Hong Kong passengers, indignantly pushed the emergency button and complained to the driver.
The driver had to stop the train, come to explain to the Mainlanders the rules and admonish them to comply to the rules, but did not fine the Mainlander in accordance with the rules. Lots of passengers suffered some delay in their travel due to the incident.
A heated debate broke out on the Internet over the incident. Hongkongers criticized Mainlanders for habitual failure to follow the rules as they often see violation of rules when they travel in Mainland China; while Mainlanders complained that they had often been discriminated and maltreated in Hong Kong.
Littering, spitting, disobeying traffic and other rules, failure to queue and other uncivilized or rude behaviors are indeed quite common among Chinese tourists abroad and make people outside China wonder why people from a county with five thousand years of civilization lack sense of common decency.
That is first of all resulted from the Cultural Revolution, when people were encouraged to rebel against all rules and good educated manners were regarded as bourgeois in nature. The better one was educated, the worse one was struggled against and discriminated against while the less one was educated, the prouder one became for that. Educated people had even to pretend to be uneducated to avoid the trouble. The practice of acting in an uncivilized manner has become in vogue since then.
However, Chinese tourists now are from the newly emerged middle class. Most of them have become rich because they have received college and even post-graduate education. Their poor manners are one of the most serious problems in China’s education system. In people’s pursuit of wealth, education on ethics, etiquette and good manners is neglected and emphasis is entirely placed on passing the examination for entering colleges. As a result the tremendous increase in college education has not brought about improvement in the manners and moral quality of Chinese people.
The latest Party Central Committee’s plenary session focused on development of culture to enhance China’s soft strength, but we still have to wait and see whether it will greatly improve educated people’s quality.
Chan Kai Yee is the author of “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements: The Silent Peaceful Coup D’état In China…”.
In addition to the busy testing of its aircraft carrier, trial operation of its satellite GPS system, and launching of its third 071 landing platform dock (LPD) in September 2011, China recently launched its fourth 071 LPD during its Chinese Lunar New Year Festival according to Hong Kong’s “Mingpao” newspaper.
071 LPD is a 20,000-ton amphibious transport dock similar to the US-built San Antonio-class LPD. With a range of 6,000 nmi (11,000 km) and a capacity to carry 500-800 troops, 15-20 armored vehicles and 6 helicopters, it will be quite useful if China has to solve South China Sea disputes by force.
In July 2010, China reacted angrily at statements concerning South China Sea disputes by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during an Asean security gathering. It began to quicken the development of its navy. Since it decided to counter military threat with military strength, it responded to President Obama’s high-profile announcement of America’s return to Asia last year with a Xinhua comment entitled “Constructive US role in Asia-Pacific welcome” and reiteration of its statement that China’s peaceful rise constitutes no threat at all to America.
“Sun Tzu” begins its teachings by saying: “The art of war is an art of deception. Hence, one shall make his enemy believe that he is unable to fight when he is able to and that he has no desire to fight when he is going to.” Having followed the teachings in “Sun Tzu” for over 2,000 years, China believes that America’s activities in providing arms to and holding joint military drills with China’s border dispute opponents are aimed at containing China and that America’s statements to the contrary are but deception.
China launched its first 071 LPD in December 2006 and its second 071 LPD 4 years later in November 2010, but it launched the third 10 months later and the fourth five months after the third. Why was the haste, especially the haste in launching one during the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival? Because China is conducting an arms race with America in earnest. It now wants to catch up with and surpass America in military strength as soon as possible because it believes that America wants to bully it.
There is something quite similar between the China now and the Germany after World War I. German people suffered greatly when German economy collapsed due to the heavy indemnity imposed on it after it lost World War I. Chinese people suffered greatly when Britain forced it to accept import of opium after China was defeated by Britain. The misery lasted for over a century afterwards as China was bullied by various foreign powers and finally invaded by Japan for eight years. Hitler became popular as German people wanted revenge, but Chinese people do not want revenge. They want to put an end to its century-long history of being bullied by foreign powers.
Does America want to bully China? Certainly not. America is uncertain whether China’s rise will be a threat to its security and interest and world peace or beneficial to the world. It switched its strategic priority to China merely for the purpose that it can adopt preemptive action in case China turns out to be a threat. However, this shows America’s dire lack of understanding of China.
First, America is ignorant of Chinese people’s sensitiveness to bully by any foreign power. Its deviation from its traditional attitude of avoiding being involved in border disputes between other countries gives Chinese people the impression that it is playing off China’s neighbors against China in order to profit from the border disputes. Chinese people have begun to regard America as their enemy.
Second, it lacks basic knowledge about Chinese history, which is a history of dynasties. Usually, a major dynasty remained prosperous for about one century after its establishment. The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty has been established for only three decades since Hua Guofeng, the successor of Mao Dynasty, was dethroned; therefore, there will be at least several more decades of prosperity in the future for China. People kept predicting hard landing of Chinese economy, but it has never occurred because Chinese leader and his talented assistants with moral integrity are too wise and clever to allow it to occur.
People believe that it is safe to predict China’s tremendous growth cannot last for more that 30 years because Japan’s rapid growth lasted for only 30 years in the past. However the figure 30 has no magic force for China as China is an entirely different country.
My greatest worry is that a despot like Mao may be selected as a successor to the core of the collective leadership (paramount leader) in China’s current system of succession. When such a despot comes to power, he may exploit the enmity among Chinese people to confront America when China has grown stronger than America. Such confrontation may have disastrous consequence to China and the world but in China’s political system, no one can stop the despot.
Perhaps, America is ignorant about Sun Tzu’s art of deception and believes that China really welcomes America’s return to Asia to interfere in the border disputes. Perhaps, it does not believe that China will grow stronger than it. Perhaps, it is not aware of the enmity it has roused among Chinese people. Otherwise, it would not have declared its plan to reduce its military budget and give up its goal of being able to successfully fight two major regional wars when China is making every effort to surpass it in military strength.
In my article “China’s Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”, I mentioned China’s plan to establish an Asian community similar to the EU. I believe that the prospects of being benefited from China’s huge market will help China solve border disputes peacefully. If China adopts a win-win policy in dealing with potential members of the community, Asia may become the most prosperous region in the world.
With America’s economic power, before China has established its status as the centre of Asia, America may begin to establish an Asian-Pacific community consisting of all the potential members of the Asian community and other Pacific countries and regions. As China will also be benefited by the community, it may take an active part and become America’s mutually beneficial partner. Why does America not choose this alternative? Perhaps, due to America’s long experience of Cold War, it has got used to solving problems by force or military superiority.
Chan Kai Yee is the author of “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements: The Silent Peaceful Coup D’état In China…”
There is an established practice in China now that retired leaders keep a low profile and refrain from making any comment on the work of their successors. However, at the beginning of a Peking Opera show for Shanghai officials mostly at bureau-chief level on January 18, former premier Zhu Rongji broke his silence and gave a 9-minute impromptu speech.
Zhu began his speech with a joke, telling the audience to be patient as the show would last only three hours, not much longer than the official speeches they have been used to attend. Well-known for the efficiency in his work, Zhu attacked with humor officials’ lack of efficiency in giving excessive long speeches.
What provided much food for thought was that he recalled his work in Shanghai under the leadership of President Jiang Zemin and what he once said then: “We will have a satisfactory clean government in Shanghai and Shanghai will be able to achieve successes however great if only we watch closely our 506 bureau-level officials and give play to their talents.”
When Zhu retired in 2003, he firmly promised that he would not comment on government work. He expressed his dissatisfaction related to housing, automobile industry, urban communications, education, etc., during his visit to Tsinghua University for its centennial celebration in late April, 2011, but he did not mention Jiang Zemin and told his audience not to disclose what he said to outsiders.
Why did he break his silence now?
At the age of 88, Deng Xiaoping could not but break his silence in his famous Southern Tour in 1992 because conservatives were putting an end to his reform. What was the serious problem in China now that makes Zhu, 84, break his promise to remain silent? In spite of Zhu’s instruction to keep his speech in Tsinghua University secret and the CCP Central Disciplinary Commission’s notice immediately after Zhu’s speech that forbade such speech, sources revealed that Zhu was indignant that local governments robbed land from peasants to increase their income though they get 80% of the tax income of the nation. They have such excessive financial needs due to rampant corruption.
In my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements: The Silent Peaceful Coup D’état in China…” I point out that China’s current political system is the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty with a core who has the absolute power as the emperor of the dynasty whether the core is in office or retired. To prove that, I cited Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour to prove that the core though retired had the absolute power to rescue the reform when conservatives prevailed.
Will Deng’s successor Jiang Zemin continue to be the core ten years after his retirement or be replaced by Hu Jintao who will retire this year? To remain the core, Jiang’s Shanghai faction has to have a majority in the new politburo standing committee, while Hu needs a majority in it for his Youth League faction if he is to replace Jiang and become the new core.
This issue is usually resolved through behind-the-scene bargaining when preparations are being made for the coming CCP congress, but the words of a retired heavy weight in the Party and government will certainly have some decisive repercussion especially when he points out real serious issue in his speech.
That was why in spite of CCP Central Disciplinary Commission’s ban, Shanghai Party head Yu Zhengsheng, a politburo member, gave Zhu forum to air his views.
In my recent article “A Dynasty on the Verge of Collapse”, I point out that North Korea’s Kim Dynasty “has to feed its people and improve their living standards especially when its neighbors South Korea and China have become rich and mass protests for democracy are spreading to quite a few countries.” Otherwise it will soon collapse.
Just as I have predicted, Commercial Radio Hong Kong reported on January 23, 2012 that in a recent cabinet meeting, North Korea decided that this year it would concentrate its efforts on developing agriculture and light industry in order to improve people’s living standards. Kim Jong-il’s decade-long policy of focusing on developing military strength is discarded.
North Korea’s agriculture has been in great trouble since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. According to Chinese sources, North Korea has been trying hard to obtain aids from the capitalist world especially America and may become America’s dependency. Its nuclear blackmail is a shrewd trick to begin dialogue with America, but it has failed to turn America into its mentor perhaps due to incompatible political differences.
According to Chinese sources, for a long time, North Korea regarded China as much inferior to America in spite of China’s success in achieving tremendous economic growth. However, Kim Jong-il gradually saw China’s potential and decided a few years ago to begin to open up to China but did not really change his course of focusing on weapon development.
Now, in order to make its major change of course a success, North Korea has to draw in Chinese capital and technology and rely on China as its major market of export. As a result, China will succeed in setting a North Korean model for the establishment of a greater Asia co-prosperity sphere. Much more Sino-North Korean joint ventures controlled by Chinese parties will be established to exploit North Korea’s cheep labor and forest and mineral resources and North Korea will become rich along with China. This will attract China’s neighbors to do the same.
China has already signed a free trade treaty with 10 ASEAN countries, which South Korea and Japan are anxious to join and India is much interested in participating. The large number of rich overseas Chinese in ASEAN countries will certainly help China in its efforts to set up such a sphere, but the most attractive factor is China’s growing market of 1.3 billion consumers. In addition, China has been satisfactorily developing its relations with Central Asian countries and trying hard to resolve border dispute with India.
If China adopts a win-win policy in dealing with North Korea and extends this policy to other countries in the sphere, China will become the center of an economic community greater than the EU.
Chan Kai Yee is the author of “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements: The Silent Peaceful Coup D’état In China…”
In my article “A Dynasty on the Verge of Collapse”, I quote North Korean official news agency’s report that urges party organizations to prove their loyalty by resolving the “burning” food problem and point out that knowing well Kim Dynasty’s predicament, the regime’s three official newspaper’s joint New Year editorial even urges “the whole party, the entire army and all the people” to “become human bulwarks and human shields in defending Kim Jong-un.” Obviously, the Kim regime knows well that it is on the verge of collapse.
Recently, Kim Jong-nam, the prince who has failed to succeed to the throne, predicts his brother’s failure to maintain Kim Dynasty’s survival. Knowing well the dire situation in North Korea, Kim Jong-nam believes that King Jong-un lacks the experience to fulfill the Herculean task of resolving the food problem and improving people’s living standards. However, Kim Jong-nam forgets the China factor.
China is now at a turning point. For further economic growth to realize its dream to become too strong to be bullied by other countries, it needs a huge market, lots of natural resources and cheep labor. In order to greatly expand its domestic market, it has recently established nationwide life and medical insurance safety nets and is building millions of subsidized housing in order to make its people save less and spend more. In addition, it plans to speed up urbanization and substantially increase workers’ income.
However, when labor becomes expensive, lots of its labor-intensive factories will be in trouble. They have to move to North Korea where there is a shortage of investment and lots of cheap labor.
China is now exporting its Chinese model. Following China’s example, North Korea is now establishing Sino-North Korean joint ventures for China to utilize the natural resources and cheap labor there. North Korea will export lots of goods to China. This will make North Korea rich and greatly improve people’s living standards. North Korea will in turn become a growing market for Chinese exports. North Korea’s Kim Dynasty, if follows the Chinese model, will become popular. That will be the only way out for Kim Jong-un to maintain the survival of his dynasty.
The transformation of North Korea from poverty to prosperity will set a North Korean model that will be eagerly followed by China’s neighbors. Then the vast and populous Southeast Asia region will become sources of natural resources and cheap labor for China and a growing market for China while China will offer its huge market for those neighboring countries.
Decades ago, Japan shed lots of blood to fight for the establishment of its Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere but failed disastrously. However, it seems that China will succeed in establishing a greater Asia co-prosperity sphere centered on China without firing one bullet if it succeeds in setting a North Korean model.
In its New Year report, North Korea’s Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said, “The food problem is a burning issue in building a thriving country” and urged various Party organizations to “resolve that problem to prove their loyalty.”
Obviously exacerbation of this decade-old “food problem” to a burning extent reveals those organizations’ failure to “prove their loyalty” to the regime.
The lack of loyalty is further revealed in KCNC’s quote of the New Year editorial carried by three newspapers that “The whole party, the entire army and all the people should possess a firm conviction that they will become human bulwarks and human shields in defending Kim Jong-un,” Kim Join-il’s successor. Certainly, people do not possess such a firm conviction, or they would not be urged to do so.
While the Kim regime itself is clearly aware of the lack of loyalty, there is a commentary in America that “Mourning by North Koreans in the better-fed capital may largely have been genuine” (p 14, Newsweek 9-14 Jan. 2012).
There are certainly some Kim loyalists in North Korea among the core classes of military personnel, officials, cadres, workers and poor peasants constituting 30% of the population. However, according to defecting soldiers, food shortage is so serious that even soldiers do not get enough to eat. How can people be better fed in the capital, where at least 20% of the population is of enemy classes and 50%, wavering classes who the regime cannot rely upon. The percentage of core classes is smaller in the capital as soldiers and peasants who constitute major parts of the core classes, do not live in the capital.
It is very clear to those who have been used to read communist party’s documents and propaganda between the lines, that there is widespread disloyalty to the Kim Dynasty not only among ordinary people but also among the ruling elite there.
How could there be such a scene of grief if people are not loyal to the deceased tyrant? In fact, it was but a common show of grief in Chinese culture.
When my grandma died in Shanghai, I for the first time understood the Chinese way of mourning. We had someone outside as a lookout. When he saw some relatives or friends of the family coming to offer their condolence, he immediately came in to inform us. Then we all stopped chatting and began to cry and make a loud show of grief. Soon after the guests had left, we stopped crying and resumed our chatting. My grandma’s two daughters-in-law who used to hate my grandma, cried the loudest as if their dearest one had died. I asked my mother why they were so sad at the death of the person whom they regarded as a dominant and oppressing mother-in-law. My mother said, “They are making a show that befits them as daughters-in-law no matter whether they love or hate Grandma. You see my friends who have just left cried sadly along with me. In fact they barely know Grandma but as my friends they had to make such a show and I am grateful to them for that. We need loud crying for such an occasion.”
North Korean films and books give me the impression that influence of old Chinese culture is stronger there than in China. The people there must be even more skillful in acting grievous mourners than Chinese people.
One of a totalitarian regime’s best tricks to maintain its rule is to have people watch one another. People of the enemy classes are watched even more closely.
When I was listening to the news on Mao Zedong’s death in the workshop of a factory in Shanghai, I was worried that I could not control myself not to yell wildly with joy. A few years before, my father, a successful doctor, was imprisoned for a non-existing counterrevolutionary crime. I was struggled against and told to inform the authority of my father’s counterrevolutionary activities and speeches. I told the authority that I had never found my father doing or saying anything counterrevolutionary. I got the conclusion of having committed serious political mistakes. I had to be very careful as I might be labeled a counterrevolutionary and even be imprisoned like my father for any further misconduct. Failure to be sad at the news might be one of such misconducts, but if I had shown my joy openly, I might have been beaten to death by Mao loyalists.
Fortunately, I soon heard a stern voice telling me to sit straight and behave myself. It was the director of the workshop where I had been working as a temporary worker for a few days. I immediately realized that all the information about my political background was given to the workshop as soon as I was assigned the job there and there were lots of eyes watching me. The sense of danger made it easy for me to pretend to be sad.
At Mao’s funeral, everybody knew that he was watched by others. It was clearly show time for everyone to display his loyalty. Those of the core and wavering classes wanted to move up as political status was very important for obtaining promotion and jobs and entering university; while those of the enemy classes wanted to prove their loyalty in order that their labels as enemy of the regime may be removed.
Each has his intention in acting grievous mourner while true Maoists were busy watching others and did not join the loud show of grief.
However, it is difficult for people outside the iron curtain and without knowledge of Chinese culture to understand their genuine intentions.
In fact, in spite of my personal experience of people’s predicament under communist tyranny, I regarded scenes of North Korean mourning for King Il-sung as genuine before I learnt the truth from North Korean immigrants in Qingdao, China. According to them, the situation there was precisely the same as that when Mao died in China.
In Mao era, starving peasants in Guangdong, China stealthily crossed the border to Hong Kong to avoid being Mao’s loyal citizens. Similarly, lots of North Korean people have moved to China. When border rivers are frozen for months in winter, it takes minutes to flee to China but border control was tightened later and a treaty has now been signed between China and North Korea to repatriate illegal immigrants.
According to gossips, there are now 200,000 to 300,000 North Korean immigrants in China. The exact number is a mystery as there is no official figure and lots of such immigrants were able to be registered as Chinese residents due to their Chinese origin, sympathy of Chinese rural officials, bribes, etc. According to some immigrants, all their classmates back in North Korea have moved to China. If so, the number of immigrants must be enormous.
There are over 2 million people of Korean ethnic minority in China, but lots of North Korean immigrants have registered as people of Han (the major race in China) instead of Korean nationality. They speak perfect Chinese and Korean languages. When asked whether they are Chinese or Koreans, they said that they were not clear themselves. Anyway, they preferred being Chinese and liked the freedom and better living standards in China.
Are Korean tyrants not aware that public anger at the everlasting famine may erupt like a volcano soon?
In the past, they had two providers, Russia and China, who vied with each other to provide generous aids and thus helped them establish and consolidate their dynasty. The torrent of Chinese aids has been reduced to a tricklet since Mao’s death while Russian aids have simply dried up since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Without Soviet machinery and fuel, their collective farming is unable to produce enough food in spite of all the pressure they have brought on their peasants. They had to find new providers. How? They resort to nuclear blackmail to force America and South Korea to be their new providers. This does not seem successful as not much has been obtained from such sources, but it has enhanced American enmity, which at least helped the dynasty survive in those years of hardship according to some North Korean immigrants in China.
First, North Korea is a small, weak and poor country with limited resources for development of weapons, but some people exaggerate its potential in developing nuclear weapons and missiles. Ridiculously, even its poorly fed and equipped troops are regarded as a fierce threat. They have thus turned the spotlight on the late Kim and made him a star to be worshipped by Korean communists.
Second, the damage that North Korea suffered during the Korean War make it easy for North Korean people to believe that America is their major enemy. The Bush Administration fought a second Gulf War and designated North Korea as one of its major enemies. North Korea has thus been provided with the excuse that threatened by US invasion, it has to focus on developing military strength including nuclear weapons and thus lacks the resources to develop its economy and improve people’s living standards. When a small country is threatened by a superpower and has lost the protection of its former allies, Russia and China, the people there naturally want the leadership of a strongman like Kim to protect them.
Kim’s autocracy is bad but American invasion is even worse. America makes North Korean people choose Kim–the less of the two evils.
However, in the long run, the Kim regime cannot rely on the fear to maintain its rule. Ultimately, it has to feed its people and improve their living standards especially when its neighbors South Korea and China have become rich and mass protests for democracy are spreading to quite a few countries.
Being isolated, China is now the only country North Korea can turn to for help. With its huge foreign exchange reserve, China is certainly able to help North Korea out. However, it is no longer ruled by a despot who pursued leadership in the communist world at the expense of his people’s wellbeing. During his visit of North Korea in 2005, Chinese leader Hu Jintao spoke about the problems China had at a banquet Kim Jong-il gave in his honor. That was a clear sign that China was unwilling to give substantial aids free of charge. Obviously, Chinese aids have to be mutually beneficial.
North Korea has to conduct reform and open up to China. Major foreign investment has come from China since North Korea began to open up. In 2005, Chinese investment was only allowed to have 50% share in a Sino-North Korean joint venture, but Chinese investment is able to take a 65% share in a joint venture department store opened in Pyongyang on January 5, 2012 (it was scheduled to open on December 22, 2011, but the opening was delayed due to Kim Jong-il’s death).
There are all kinds of goods in the store including food, articles of daily use, electronic products, electric appliances, etc. almost all imported from China except most of the garments, headwear and footwear. When the markets are shrinking in developed countries, North Korea provides an additional outlet for Chinese goods. But it has to have Renminbi to pay for the imports. It is now setting up Sino-North Korean joint ventures to produce cheep goods for China where labor cost (monthly wage exceeds 1,000 yuan in many areas in China compared with 300 yuan or less in North Korea) is much higher and will rise further due to Chinese government’s efforts to narrow the yawning rich-poor gap.
The joint ventures may also provide forest and mineral resources for China, but it takes time for the joint ventures to earn enough Renminbi to feed North Korean people.
As “the food problem is a burning issue” now, North Korea has to learn from China’s reform. When people’s communes were dissolved and individual farming resumed, food shortage disappeared soon afterwards in China. However, decollectization is a reform capitalist in nature strongly opposed by conservatives in party organizations and the army. That is why party organizations are urged to “resolve that problem to prove their loyalty” and “the whole party, the entire army and all the people” are urged to “possess a firm conviction that they will become human bulwarks and human shields in defending Kim Jong-un,” who is being opposed by the conservatives.
Obviously, there is fierce power struggle in North Korea now. If the conservatives win, the Kim Dynasty will collapse, but if Kim Jong-un wins with Chinese support, North Korea will become China’s dependency.
Chan Kai Yee is the author of “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements: The Silent Peaceful Coup D’état In China…”
China knows well that its weapons are inferior now; therefore, its leaders, political scientists, well-known journalists, academics, etc. have the consensus that China needs two decades of peace. They believe that by 2030, its economy will be much bigger and its weapons will be superior to put an end to its century-long history of being bullied by other countries.
When border tension with the Philippines intensified last June and America began to be involved by planning a joint military exercise, under the threat of a possible military confrontation involving America, China conducted the first test of its aircraft carrier in a hurry when the boat had not yet been able to sail by its own engine.
Obama’s unprecedented participation in ASEAN summit meeting on November 11, 2011 and announcement of America’s return to Asia encouraged China’s neighbors to confront China in their South China Sea disputes with China. China was greatly worried and forced to step up its military buildup. It conducted the second and third tests of its aircraft carrier last November and December, put its own satellite GPS system into trial operation at the end of last month and declared its plan to launch 6 more satellites in 2012 to improve the system. According to a Taiwan military expert, missiles and bombs guided by that system will be much more accurate and Taiwan needs US help to destroy those satellites if it is attacked.
Unexpectedly, Obama gave China a generous New Year gift by his announcement of America’s new strategy. First, he will greatly reduce America’s military spending, which of course will affect the progress of America’s development of sophisticated weapons. China’s weaponry will catch up and surpass America’s within a shorter period of time. What good news for China!
Second, the priority Obama gives to containing China has raised Chinese people’s nationalist fever, which has always been high due to China’s history of being bullied by foreign powers for a century. It is now even easier for China to increase its military spending and its weapon development personnel have even greater incentive in their work.
Third, according to Obama’s new strategy, America has two priorities: China and Iran. Then, if America gives advanced weapons to China’s neighbors to counter China, China will give its best weapons to Iran. As American weapons are expensive, it has to give financial aids for the purchase but lacks the funds. However, Chinese weapons are cheap and affordable for Iran. China can give its best weapons to Iran as its weapons are being developed and what it has sold is not what it ultimately wants. On the other hand, as those neighbors of China lack political stability, have corrupt officials or may become China’s allies, America cannot sell its best weapons to them, but less advanced weapons are not attractive enough for them.
If luckily for China, there is indeed a war between America and Iran, China will have the opportunity to test its weapons and improve them in real battles while making money by the sales. It is hard to tell whether the war will really take place, but you can be sure that Obama’s new strategy has reduced to zero China’s willingness to cooperate with America in dealing with Iran.
The last but not the least, America will no longer strive to have the ability to successfully fight two major regional wars, which is a major deterrence to war because with such ability, America will not hesitate to fight a war to stop aggression. Without such deterrence, there will be greater risk of war for America as countries like Iran will be bolder to test America’s patience especially when America has already been fighting a war.
For China, it means that the time when America is already in a war is the best timing for China to fight a war to resolve border disputes as according to the new strategy, America will not be able to fight two major regional wars. This is especially attractive to China when America has given some of its most sophisticated war equipment to a border contender. China can make a quick maneuver like what it did in its war against India in the 1960s to defeat its enemy, occupy the islands under dispute and capture the sophisticated equipment. It will return the equipment later as it did in the 1960s, but it will have learnt all the secrets in the equipment.
As Obama’s strategic switch is widely regarded as “an attempt to counter China’s rising power”, China certainly cannot respond by expressing its thanks for such a generous gift. However China’s official Xinhua News Agency’s response entitled “Constructive US role in Asia-Pacific welcome” shows that it is hard for China not to betray its joy at the news.
Chinese leaders are wise in avoiding confrontation with America as such confrontation may have disastrous consequence not only for the two countries but also for the world. My greatest worry is that under current Chinese political system and with worship of Mao Zedong remaining hot in China, a despot like Mao may emerge when China grows into a superpower stronger than America. That despot’s ambition to force his ways on the world will bring catastrophes to the world.
President Gorge Bush Jr. fought a war in Iraq that America should not fight, wasted $800 billion and caused America’s financial difficulties now. President Obama has proved incompetent in dealing with America’s economic difficulties. I hope the next president will have the talents to make America prosperous so as to prove to Chinese people that democracy is the best political system in the world so that China will learn from America’s example and have democracy. Only when there is democracy in China can we be sure that there will be no confrontation between China and America.