Jiang Zemin, 86, Remained the Core Able to Punish Bo Xilai

China’s Core System (5) (Parts (1), (2), (3) and (4) are “The Conundrum of China’s Collective Leadership” dated January 28, “No 2nd Generation of CCP Collective Leadership in China” on January 29 “Fight for the Position of the Core when There Was No Core” on February 22 and “Jiang Zemin Has Maintained China’s Centralized Core System on February 24)

Sometimes, something obvious becomes unclear as it is something rare.

That is the case of Jiang Zemin remaining the core of the CCP Dynasty.

In my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”, I point out that the political system in China now is the CCP Dynasty. The dynasty is characterized by having a core with the power similar to an emperor.

Deng Xiaoping said Mao was the core of the first generation of collective leadership. As pointed out in Chapter 60 “The Conundrum of China’s Collective Leadership”, Mao typically acted as an emperor with absolute power. There was no collective leadership at all

Deng called himself the core of the second generation of collective leadership, but was regarded as the paramount leader by people outside China.

How paramount is Deng the leader? He alone was able to decide to send troops to suppress democracy fighters at Tiananmen. Though retired, he alone was able to save his reform and opening up by his Southern Tour when conservatives prevailed.

How paramount is Jiang, the core of the third generation? People seem to have no idea about that. They invented the story that Jiang was beaten by Hu Jintao in power struggle when Chen Liangyu fell into disgrace for corruption. Certainly, there were quite a few other stories invented by people who know neither the China at present nor Chinese history.

I point out in my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”, Jiang had a majority through his protégés in the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) when he retired in 2002. In 2007, though Hu Jintao succeeded in promoting his protégé Li Keqiang into the PSC, Jiang promoted his Xi Jinping into the PSC as the successor to Hu Jintao and maintained a majority through his protégés.

That did not seem convincing enough.

Now before the major reshuffle at the 18th Party Congress, Jiang has done something absolutely convincing in the Bo Xilai saga.

Like the time before Deng’s Southern Tour, the conservatives are strong again this time. Bo Xilai as the leader of the conservative faction even dared to set a Maoist Chongqing Model to challenge the reformists in China’s power center.

It was only with the help of powerful elders headed by retired heavyweight, the reformists were able to put Bo under house arrest. However, they were not strong enough to punish Bo harshly to prevent his return to power later.

Through investigation, they found Bo’s and his wife’s crimes of taking huge bribes, abusing power, etc., but they were not strong enough to punish Bo for such crimes.

As a result, Bo’s wife was not accused of taking bribes when she was prosecuted.

In the trial of Bo’s former protégé Wang Lijun, Bo was clearly involved but the prosecutor and court refrained to mention Bo by name. Bo still seemed untouchable.

Soon afterwards, at the weekend of the week from September 16 to 22, Jiang Zemin made a rare public appearance in Beijing before quite a few high officials.

In its report on September 25, SCMP said that Jiang attempted to demonstrate his “lingering” influence.

Surprise! The timing of Jiang’s appearance demonstrated his dominant instead of “lingering” influence in deciding to punish Bo harshly.

SCMP finally realized that in its report later titled “Former China president Jiang Zemin played key role in punishing Bo Xilai, say analysts”.

However, it is hard for people to believe how a leader who has retired for 8 years, can maintain his dominant power.

That is precisely something with special Chinese characteristics.

We have now got used to China’s socialism with Chinese characteristics that in fact is capitalism. Why can’t we understand that a collective leadership with a core means the leadership of a core with the power of an emperor?

Even after the 1911 Revolution that put an end to China’s traditional hereditary dynasties, China has still been ruled by one dynasty after another.

Yuen Shikai ruled China with the power of an emperor. True, there was a democratic parliamentary election, but Yuen assassinated the majority leader soon after the election and maintained his dominance.

When Yuen died, no one succeeded him as the dominant emperor. China was in chaos of wars between various warlords.

Then another dynasty, Chiang Kai-shek Dynasty emerged but failed to be thoroughly dominant and lost to the Communists in the civil war.

Mao Zedong came to power and promised to establish democracy for the people and dictatorship against the enemy. He even wrote an article to tell people that they are allowed to disagree, but he turned out to be an absolute emperor who cruelly crushed whatever dissent.

However, he was certainly marvelously great! In spite of the millions of death due to the famine caused by him and in spite of “Great Cultural Revolution” in which he persecuted lots of innocent people and reduced China to a nation without culture and knowledge, he remained worshiped by lots of China’s Maoists and quite a few people outside China including US well-known politician Henry Kissinger.

Therefore, people have got the wrong idea that Mao era had put an end to China’s history of dynasties.

However, the fact remained that Mao era was itself Mao Dynasty with Mao as its dominant Emperor though it was not a hereditary one.

The Chiang Kai-shek Dynasty, though fled to Taiwan, remained a hereditary one. Chiang was succeeded by his son Chiang Ching-kuo, who should be credited for Taiwan’s democratic transformation.

Deng Xiaoping created the CCP Dynasty by his idea of a collective leadership with a core. As described in my book, it is not a hereditary one that belongs to a family but a dynasty that belongs to a party.

It is certainly good for the CCP if there is a core like an emperor to govern the country, but the core shall be wise and competent to maintain his dominance. If so, he will satisfactorily maintain stability.

Jiang has turned CCP a party of the whole people by the second of his Three Represents. Hu Jintao has written into CCP constitution his Scientific Outlook on Development centered on putting the people first. Xi Jinping Thought regards the principal contradiction facing Chinese society as that between the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life and unbalanced and inadequate development and wants the Party to strive to resolve that contradiction. CCP has thus made clear that it is a party that belongs to the people and strives for the people’s interests and benefits.

Therefore the government of CCP is a government of the people and for the people though not by the people yet.

The above nature and goal of the dynasty make the core a very hard job. The core can never really retire. At the age of 86, Jiang as the core has to leave his home in Shanghai for Beijing to deal a crushing blow on the conservatives.

You may still wonder how a core can maintain his dominance all his life.

That is again something with special Chinese characteristics. You perhaps do not believe that, but it is something real for decades.

Mao maintained his dominance until his death. So did Deng Xiaoping and Jiang maintain their dominance even after their retirement.

You may wonder why even Mao was in a coma before his death, no one dare to challenge him. It was not until one month after Mao’s death powerful generals dared to arrest Mao’s protégés the Gang of Four.

That is again something with Chinese characteristics. In order to maintain his dominance all his life, the core has to skillfully apply China’s traditional art for being an emperor.

Mao applied the art taught in China’s classic “Han Fei Tze” to rule China with awe, tricks and intrigues. Jiang, however, has applied the more advanced art for being an emperor developed in the 2,000 years after Han Fei Tze’s art proved unsuccessful when Emperor Qin Shihuang applied it and caused the collapse of his Qin Dynasty.

That is a long topic, but I have given some description of the art in my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”.

Article by Chan Kai Yee

The Conundrum of Xi Jinping’s Power

Some China watcher believes that Chinese President Xi Jinping is nearly as powerful as Mao. In fact, they do not know how powerful Xi is compared with Mao.

How Mao Gradually Lost Most of His Power
Mao has absolute power before he made the mistake of the Great Leap Forward. In fact, if he was not so powerful, he simply could not launch the stupid campaign for unrealistic fast economic growth as most of the officials in charge of economic development in China advocated a moderate balanced economic growth. Before Mao’s Great Leap Forward, they achieved a growth rate of more than 10% p.a., quite fast in the world.

As those officials were led by powerful veterans Zhou Enlai and Chen Yun, Mao denounced Zhou severely as a conservative and scared Chen Yun. He had thus finally obtained consensus in CCP for his Great Leap Forward. Unfortunately, Mao’s Great Leap Forward was a disastrous blunder.

Due to the blunder, he gradually lost power to his chosen successor Liu Shaoqi and had to start the Cultural Revolution to grab power back from Liu. As most communist veterans supported Liu, Mao used first Red Guards and then Rebels to deprive veterans of their power.

To ensure success in his power struggle against Liu and Liu’s supporters, Mao needed the support of the troops so that he replaced Liu with the then Defense Minister Marshal Lin Biao as his successor and gave Lin the control of Chinese troops. When he found that Lin had grown as powerful as him, he brought down Lin. Then he had doubt about the loyalty of his powerbase Chinese troops in the face of Soviet attack.

Mao was wise to ally with the US to counter the Soviet Union. However, in fighting CCP civilian and military officials, he had used up his political capital and became unable to control the rebels. As a result, he was no able to put an end to the chaos caused by his Cultural Revolution.

Mao said that Cultural Revolution had to be carried out about every 8 years. He started his Cultural revolution in 1966 but by 1976 when he died, he was still unable to finish his Cultural Revolution. Disruption of production continued in most areas of China. As a result, there were nothing to shop except aluminum pots and enamel ware even in Hangzhou, a prosperous city before the Cultural Revolution well-known in the saying “There is paradise above in heaven while there are Suzhou and Hangzhou below”.

By that time, Mao’s power was quite limited. Xi would have been unable to achieve anything if he had had as limited power as Mao. As powerful as Mao? Nonsense.

Deng Xiaoping was powerful to order conservatives to obey him, but he did not have conservatives’ support for his reform and opening-up.

Jiang Zemin had established very strong powerbase to be the core of CCP’s third generation of leadership, but like Deng he could only silence conservatives’ opposition to his reform but had not won over their support.

In his reign for a decade, Hu Jintao had promoted lots of the members of his CYL (Communist Youth League, Hu’s powerbase) to high official posts, but he was challenged by Bo Xilai, head of the powerful conservative faction. Hu lacked the power to punish Bo when Bo’s crime of serious corruption was discovered. It was Jiang Zemin, the core of the third generation of CCP leadership, who was able to make the decision to punish Bo severely.

In spite of the decade of his rule, Hu had not become the core of CCP leadership, but Xi obtained the position as the core of CCP leadership in five years.

How has Xi succeeded in obtaining the power?

First, as soon as Xi took over the reign, he had gained the support of both reformists and conservatives by his China dream.

A couple of weeks after he took office as CCP General Secretary, Xi gained popularity by his surprise closure of all the black jails local officials set up in Beijing to imprison petitioners.. By so doing he dealt a heavy blow on powerful local officials.

He then announced that he would scrap the unpopular reeducation through labor system. Though the system was officially abolished about one and half years later, it had ceased operation soon after his announcement on abolishing it. Due to the system, police had the excessive power to imprison people in reeducation labor camp for as long as four years without any legal procedures. Before Xi’s surprise attacks at local officials and removal of the excessive power of the police, the police used the excessive power to protect corrupt officials and persecute those who dare to expose officials’ crimes of corruption. By abolishing the system and removal of police’s excessive power, Xi had dealt a heavy blow on Chinese police and laid foundation for his fight against corruption.

You may ask why Xi was able to deal heavy blows on the powerful vested interests of local officials and the police when he had just taken over the reign and had not yet set up his powerbase.

In September 2012 before Xi succeeded Hu Jintao, Xi disappeared mysteriously for two weeks. In that period, he visited all the powerful elders to gain their support for his fight against corruption and tightening of party discipline. In spite of their differences, all the elders supported Xi as they had the consensus that the rampant corruption would cause CCP to collapse. They had the experience that in spite of its larger military and US support the KMT lost the civil war to CCP due to its serious corruption.

Due to powerful elders’ support, Xi had real power as soon as he took over to enable him to deal heavy blows on local officials and the police. However, his sound powerbase was built in the five years since he took office through his successful fight against corruption, enforcement of party discipline and reorganization of Chinese military.

As a result, Xi has now become the most powerful leader in CCP history, much more powerful than Mao when Mao launched the Cultural Revolution but perhaps as powerful as the Mao before Mao made the mistake of the Great Leap Forward.

The most important battle Xi has won in obtaining absolute power is his fight against rampant corruption. As corruption has been an evil in China for centuries, it is too long a topic to discuss here.

You may wonder what about China’s collective leadership. It will be discussed in my next post “The Conundrum of China’s Collective Leadership”.

Article by Chan Kai Yee

On front page of China’s flagship paper, Xi gets Mao-like prominence

The front page of the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper the People’s Daily (C) and other newspapers are seen one day after the unveiling of the new Politburo Standing Committee in Beijing, China, in this photo illustration taken October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Illustration

Philip Wen October 26, 2017

BEIJING (Reuters) – The ruling Communist Party’s flagship newspaper on Thursday provided more evidence that President Xi Jinping should be regarded as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong after this week’s party congress.

Xi’s official portrait dominated the People’s Daily’s front page report on the unveiling of the party’s new top leadership. Below that was a smaller group photograph of the new top leadership – the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee including Xi.

It is a stark departure from recent precedent, with Mao Zedong the last leader to be granted such status on the front page after the party conclave – which is held once every five years.

The People’s Daily did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Since Deng Xiaoping introduced collective leadership three decades ago to ward off the rise of another Mao-like cult of personality, the official portraits of all newly-selected Politburo Standing Committee members have been presented together on the front page in a grid.

The portrait of the party’s top leader, the general secretary, is usually only slightly more prominent; reflecting his position as the first among equals.

Xi is the party’s general secretary, chairman of the Central Military Commission, and president of the country.

In Thursday’s People’s Daily, the portraits and biographical information of the six other standing committee members – Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng – were relegated to the inside pages.

“That’s definitely the first time since Mao,” said Ryan Manuel, a China expert at the University of Hong Kong, referring to Xi’s oversized portrait on the front of the paper.

The People’s Daily is closely parsed by party cadres and others, and sets the tone for media coverage in state-run newspapers at the provincial level.

Manuel said the paper closely followed regimented rules and norms and would have done so especially meticulously for its “most important front page in five years”.

“It’s a strict system,” he said. “The rules of placement and the rules of what type of photos you put on there are incredibly tightly argued and defined.”

Xi’s status as China’s most powerful leader since Mao was underlined on Wednesday when the party, in another break with precedent, revealed a new leadership line-up without naming an obvious successor to him.

There has been persistent speculation Xi could seek to stay on in some capacity beyond the end of the customary second five-year term in power, which ends in 2022.

During the congress, Xi became the first leader since Mao to have a political ideology bearing his name enshrined in the party’s constitution while in office.

Reporting by Philip Wen; Editing by Martin Howell

Source: Reuters “On front page of China’s flagship paper, Xi gets Mao-like prominence”

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 marks Mao anniversary, but President Xi makes no mention

People line up to visit the mausoleum of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong on the 40th anniversary of his death in Beijing, China, September 9, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

People line up to visit the mausoleum of China’s late Chairman Mao Zedong on the 40th anniversary of his death in Beijing, China, September 9, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Chinese state media on Friday marked the 40th anniversary of the death of the founder of modern China, Mao Zedong, with articles praising him, but President Xi Jinping visited a school and did not mention the day.

Mao, who died in 1976, remains a divisive figure.

His image adorns banknotes and his embalmed body attracts hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors a day to Beijing.

While the ruling Communist Party has acknowledged Mao made mistakes, there has yet to be an official accounting for the chaos of the Cultural Revolution when Mao declared class war, or the millions of deaths from starvation during the 1958-61 Great Leap Forward, a failed attempt at rapid industrialization.

The Hunan Daily, the main party paper in Mao’s home province in the south of China, carried a small article on its front page proclaiming “Chairman Mao, the people cherish your memory”, but banished to its fifth page a longer article about him.

The party’s official People’s Daily carried several pictures of him on its Weibo microblog along with a collection of some of his most well-known quotes and asked people to name their favorite.

However it disabled the comments section.

Xi, who doubles as party and military chief, made no mention of Mao in his main activity for the day as reported by state media, going to a Beijing school ahead of China’s Teachers Day, which falls on Saturday.

While there he “underscored the importance of better basic education”, according to Xinhua news agency, and watched students playing football, Xi’s favorite sport.

Xi suffered personally during the Cultural Revolution when his father was imprisoned. Xi was sent to the countryside to live with peasants, like millions of other urban Chinese youth.

Mao has become a potent symbol for leftists within and without the party who feel three decades of market-based reform have gone too far, creating social inequalities like poverty and graft.

In lauding Mao, they sometimes seek to put pressure on the current leadership and its market-oriented policies.

A day earlier, a small group of Mao fans attended the opening of a calligraphy and art exhibition about him in Beijing.

“Chinese people, the broad masses of the Chinese people, in their hearts, have never forgotten Mao Zedong. They will remember him forever. And they still promote his principles,” artist Yao Weidong told Reuters.

“So if there are corrupt officials, we use Mao Zedong Thought to defeat them. We all remember very clearly. Most of us have not forgotten Chairman Mao.”

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: Reuters “China marks Mao anniversary, but President Xi makes no mention”

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

Build Wall High, Store Much Food, Delay Pursuing Kingship

“Build wall high, store much food grains and delay pursuing kingship.” That was the key advice Zhu Yuanzhang received from his advisor that enabled him to grow very powerful from a small force and finally establish his Ming Dynasty.

He strengthened the defensive walls around the cities occupied by him and stored lots of food grains in them but refrained from claiming himself as a king. As he delayed to claim himself as a king, he was not regarded by his rivals as ambitious. As a result, his growth in strength was not regarded as a threat by his powerful rivals until he had grown strong enough to defeat them.

Mao learnt from Zhu’s success and adopted the policy of “digging tunnel deep, store much food grains and refrain from pursuing hegemony” when his pursuit of leadership in the Socialist Camp failed and was under the threat of imminent Soviet attack. However, he owed his success in removing the threat by his wise improvement of China’s ties with the US instead of that policy.

We can see that China is now carrying out a policy similar to Zhu Yuanzhang’s of “build up active defense capabilities, seek economic growth and refrain from pursuing hegemony”.

Therefore, it wants to build a new type of major power relationship with the US instead of contending for world leadership with the US.

It adopts the policy of Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road to go west instead of contending with the US in the Asian-Pacific region when the US is pursuing rebalance in Asia.

It has only protested strongly in words without taking any serious action against US provocation in sending warship within 12 nautical miles of its artificial islands

However, in spite of China’s practices of lying low, some US media still exaggerate Chinese threat. That is typically reflected in US media The Daily Beast’s article “Now China Wants Okinawa, Site of U.S. Bases in Japan” with the headline “Beijing is pushing out in all directions, from the South China Sea to several Japanese islands, with an eye on the eastern Pacific that laps American shores.”

The Japanese islands the article refers to are the Diaoyus (known as Senkakus in Japan) and the group of islands of Okinawa that were formerly the territories of Ryukyu Kingdom, a subordinate to China that China has the obligations to protect.

Japan invaded and conquered Ryukyu Kingdom when China was weak and unable to protect it. What China must be upset is the fact that the Japanese invaders massacred most Ryukyu people killing hundreds of thousands of them.

China has never claimed sovereignty to Ryukyu and will never try to take Ryukyu, but if Ryukyu people want independence, China has the obligations to support them due to their miserable past. That is what the articles in Chinese media means.

The article tries to confuse China’s claim of sovereignty to the Diaoyus with Ryukyu. Unlike Ryukyu, the tiny Diaoyu Islands are parts of Taiwan that were annexed by Japan along with Taiwan Island when China was defeated by Japan in the first Sino-Japanese war in 1895. They must have been returned to China along with Taiwan after Japan was defeated in World War Two; therefore, not only the People’s Republic of China on Chinese mainland but also the Republic of China in Taiwan claims sovereignty to those tiny islands. Does that mean that Taiwan has the ambition to take Ryukyu?


In fact, even the US has made clear that it has returned the administration of the Diaoyus to Japan as previously it took the administration from Japan. In doing so it has not given the sovereignty to the islands to Japan. The article just disregards that fact.

It is even more absurd that the article claims that China has ambition with respect to eastern Pacific that laps American shores.

That precisely proves the needs for China to refrain from pursuing hegemony. China needs a peaceful environment for its economic growth while quite a few US politicians want to contain it. As world hegemony is so important to them, their fear of China’s rise is natural. However, China shall never pursue world hegemony. That is why Chinese elite scholars, writers and historians all believe that the reason why of all ancient cultures, Chinese culture has been able to survive for four thousands of years is because China has never tried to conquer the world.

Pursue no world hegemony! That is my advice for China. I am happy China is doing precisely that now.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on The Daily Beast’s article, which can be viewed at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/31/now-china-wants-okinawa-site-of-u-s-bases-in-japan.html?via=newsletter&source=DDAfternoon

Well-known Chinese TV Host Forced to Apologize for ‘Insulting’ Mao

Hong Kong’s Singtao Daily reports today that China’s official TV media CCTV’s anchor Bi Fujian, well-known for his humor, has been denounced by Maoists across the Chinese nation for mentioning the misery Mao brought to Chinese people when he sang a tune of Peking Opera at a private dinner party on April 6.

CCTV suspended Bi’s hosting of its “Starlight Avenue” program. The Red Army Primary Schools all over the nation canceled Bi’s honor as their “image ambassador”. Some Maoists in Mianyang City, Sichuan Province even held an assembly to denounce him, calling him “traitor”.

After three days of silence, Bi issued a statement on April 9, expressing his “great self-accusation and regret’ and “sincere and deep apology to the general public”.

This blogger’s note: For a tyrant like Mao, Chinese people are really wonderful! In spite of the death of starvation of tens of millions of people caused by Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the serious disaster of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Chinese people still love him so deeply that whoever mentions that tyrant’s crime will be in trouble.

With such people, there will be a good chance for another tyrant like Mao to emerge in China and bring disasters not only to Chinese people but also to the people all over the world.

Why will world people suffer? Mao fought with the Soviet Union for leadership of the socialist camp, resulting in a military clash that may well lead a large-scale war. In addition, Mao wanted to trigger a nuclear war even at the cost of the death of half of Chinese populaton.

As China is much more stronger when another Mao emerges, that Mao will certainly fight a war with the US for world leadership.

That was why I wrote my book Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The U.S. to warn American and world people in the hope that knowing that American people will carry out a reform to enable their country to remain strong as a balance to a rising China so that if another Mao has emerged, he will not be able to dominate the world.

CNN’s website also carries a report on the event titled “Chinese TV star Bi Fujian caught insulting Mao”. I give the full text of CNN report below, but readers had better visit CNN website to view the report at http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/08/asia/china-tv-star-curse/ as there is a footage of Bi singing the tune in that report:

Chinese TV star Bi Fujian caught insulting Mao
By Kevin Wang and Katie Hunt, CNN
Updated 1510 GMT (2210 HKT) April 9, 2015

(CNN)—A popular Chinese television host known for impromptu satire is now the subject of controversy after being caught on camera cursing the late Chairman Mao Zedong.

Bi Fujian, who works for state-run China Central Television, was filmed at a dinner party singing a revolutionary song that eulogizes the Communist Party’s early years when he started going off script.

“The Communist Party, Chairman Mao. Don’t mention that old son of a b***h. He made us suffer so bad,” went Bi’s improvised lyrics.

The other dinner guests burst into laughter.

Bi later apologized. “My personal speech has led to grave social consequences, and I feel remorseful for that. I hereby sincerely apologize to the public. As a public figure, I shall learn the lesson from this incident, adhering to strict self-discipline,” he posted on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.

Making disrespectful references to China’s leaders in public is considered a taboo in China, even today.

And Bi’s comment was directed at the man regarded by many as the country’s founding father — despite his controversial reputation.

The 75-second video clip, seemingly filmed on the cellphone of another dinner guest, was uploaded on Monday.

Since then, it has been removed from video-sharing sites inside China, although it was still accessible on Weibo.

It’s unclear when the incident occurred, or what the relationsip was between the camera person and Bi.

CCTV said it would investigate.

“As a CCTV presenter, Bi Fujian’s speech in the online video has led to grave social consequences,” the network said in a statement posted on its Weibo account.

CCTV did not respond to a CNN request for comment.

READ: Star anchor detained just before going on air

Mao divides opinion

Fondly known as “Grandpa Bi,” the 56-year-old TV personality was born and grew up in the Mao era.

The song Bi riffed on was part of a “red” Peking opera that was first performed in the late 1950s. It was popularized during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s — which was launched by Mao — when China was torn apart by violence and social unrest.

The video quickly divided China’s online community.

Critics said Bi, as an influential public figure, deserved a harsh punishment. But others rushed to his defense, arguing that Bi was simply enjoying himself in a private setting and was set up by whoever uploaded the clip.

The video also emerged just a day before the new head of CCTV started his job, leading some to wonder if it were a case of “a new broom sweeps clean.”

Mao still divides opinion in China. His giant portrait hangs on Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate, and thousands flock to see his embalmed body at his mausoleum in Tiananmen Square in the heart of the Chinese capital.

But despite this reverence, Mao’s is a deeply flawed legacy.

Many remember him as a brutal dictator who inspired fear, paranoia and famine, and whose actions resulted in tens of millions of deaths.

READ: The shadow of Mao still lingers over China

READ: China’s ‘lost generation’ recall hardships

CNN’s Shen Lu contributed to this report.

Source: Singtao Daily “Denounced by Sichuan leftists, Bi Fujian issues a statement of apology” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese”

Source: CNN “Chinese TV star Bi Fujian caught insulting Mao”

China: Mass Suicide of 30 Petitioners in busy Beijing Street

Beijing police rushed the unconscious taxi drivers to hospital, where they are now said to be out of danger. Photos: weibo/SCMP

Beijing police rushed the unconscious taxi drivers to hospital, where they are now said to be out of danger. Photos: weibo/SCMP

“Tyranny is fiercer than a tiger.” Chinese despot’s tyranny made Chinese sage Confucius make that well-known comment more than 2,000 years ago.

As most Chinese emperors studied Confucian classics since their early childhood, tyrants like Mao Zedong and Shihuangdi of the Qin Dynasty are few in Chinese heriditary dynasties. However, local officials’ despotism has been quite common in China for thousands of years in spite of Confucius’ teachings.

Such despotism is especially serious in China during and after the Cultural Revolution when local despots followed Mao’ example of defying all laws whether human or divine.

Local despots’ tyranny and corruption were so serious that Chinese President Xi Jinping had to take drastic measures to overcome local despotism by his mass line and anti-corruption campaigns and improvement of China’s rule of law. He was granted the power to do so by all the powerful elders as the problems were threatening the very survival of the Chinese Communist Party.

Xi’s closing of local despots’ black jails in Beijing and abolition of the labor camp (education through labor) system that enabled local despots to imprison people at will, are great achievements in that respect to be praised in Chinese history.

However, as such despotism is too widespread and deep rooted, it perhaps has to take decades to overcome. I have described the despotism and its root in Chinese families in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition. That is a very long topic. Readers interested have to read that book.

Hong Kong’s Singtoa Daily and SCMP both carry a report on petitioning taxi drivers conducting mass suicide in a busy street in Beijing in protest of local despotism in their hometown Suifenhe City, Heilongjiang Province.

Those cabbies are all self-employed taxi operators who own their own taxis and have been issued necessary licenses.

However, the local government there is forcing a taxi reform on them. It is forcing them to join some taxi companies there so that they have to pay the companies for their operation. They, in addition, have to replace their vehicles with expensive brand that will cost each of them more than $20,000. They cannot earn back such a huge investment even with all their income for 8 years.

Desperate, all the more than 2,000 taxi drivers in the city have held a strike for two weeks in protest but failed to make the government change its mind.

They have to send their representatives to Beijing to complain. The 30 representatives complained to both the State Bureau for Letters and Calls and the Ministry of Transport but so far to no avail. As a last resort, they committed mass suicide by drinking poison in Wangfujing Street, the busy shopping area in Beijing.

They proved Confucius’ well-known saying by their sad deeds. Tyranny is indeed fiercer than a tiger!

Source: SCMP “Chinese taxi drivers attempt mass suicide in Beijing during vehicle leasing protest”

Source: Singtao Daily “30 petitioning taxi drivers committed suicide at Wanfujing Street” summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)