In my previous post, I mentioned that Khrushchev had established his powerbase but not strong enough to avoid being forced to resign. That powerbase refers to the powerbase that enables him to remain in his position instead of that enables him to carry out the revolutionary reform that harmed strong vested interests.
Emperor Jiaqing of Qing Dynasty had sound powerbase established by his predecessors and supported by prevailing Confucianism. He was able to punish his father Emperor Qianlong’s favorite high official He Shen and confiscate all He’s assets. However, he was unable to overcome powerful official group’s resistance to his efforts to overcome rampant official corruption given rise by He Shen’s corrupt leadership. Nor could the two succeeding emperors Daoguang and Xianfeng
That was more than 150 years ago. What about CCP top leaders in the People’s Republic of China that Deng Xiaoping regarded as cores of CCP collective leadership?
Deng chose Jiang Zemin as his successor. He regarded Jiang as the core of the third generation of CCP collective leadership, but after Deng died in February 1997 Jiang’s position as the core was challenged by Politburo Standing Committee members Li Peng and Qiao Shi in mid 1997 before the 15th CCP National Congress. Jiang’s position as the core was ensured by powerful elder Bo Yibo. Jiang further strengthened his powerbase later with the development of the most powerful Shanghai faction in CCP. As a result, he was able to have written into CCP constitution his Three Represents that justify China’s development of private sector that was fiercely opposed as capitalism by lots of CCP dogmatists.
Jiang’s successor Hu Jintao set up and developed a large and powerful CYL (Communist Youth League) faction in his 10 years in power. Hu had filled CCP Central Committee and its Politburo with lots of his faction members and appointed them high official posts. However, he was unable to conduct the further reform and opening-up for the transformation from export- and investment-geared economic growth to innovation-, creation and consumption-led growth.
In spite of his top position and powerful faction, Hu was challenged by the conservative faction led by Bo Xilai. There was heated debate between reformists’ idea of further reform and conservatives’ Maoism. Hu had found Bo’s crime of corruption and taken Bo in custody to deprive conservatives of their leader but was unable to punish Bo. As a result, in September 2012, two months before the 18th CCP National Congress, Jiang Zemin had to come out from his retired home in Shanghai to Beijing to personally preside over an expanded Politburo meeting to make the decision to punish Bo severely.
Xi inherited a divided China from Hu Jintao. He would certainly be unable fight rampant corruption and rectify CCP to prevent it from collapse if China remained divided. How could Xi unite China and find some strong force to help him attain his goals?
Article by Chan Kai Yee
A grand concert of red songs including Cultural Revolution songs and personality cult songs for Mao was held at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing on May 6 near the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution on May 16.
According to SCMP’s report titled “‘Whole world should unite to defeat the American invaders and their lackeys’: controversy sparked online by ‘red songs’ at concert in Beijing”, the concert featured “red songs” praising the Communist revolution and Mao Zedong, staged in a style reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution.
Prominent at the concert are the grand choruses of the Mao personality cult song “Sailing the Seas Depends on the Helsman” under Mao’s huge portrait and the anti-US song under the Maoist slogan “Whole world should unite to defeat the American invaders and their lackeys”.
In response to criticism of the concert due to its similarity to disgraced former Chongqing Party boss Bo Xilai’s red song campaign, one of the organizers of the event, the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theatre, said it had been deceived by its partner, which claimed to be from the Publicizing and Teaching Socialist Core Value Office under the Central Publicity Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
According to an official of the CCP Publicity Department, there is no such Office under the Department.
However, whether the concert is sponsored by the CCP or not, the mere fact that more than 10,000 people paid 1,280 yuan each to attend the concert proves how popular Maoism and antiyankeeism are in China.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1941686/whole-world-should-unite-defeat-american-invaders-and
BBC says in its news “Giant Mao statue ‘removed’ from Henan village” that a giant statue of Mao Zedong 37 meters high that has cost 3 million yuan, has been removed. That is a major setback for China’s large number of Maoists. It proves what I said in my previous posts that Chinese President used some of Mao’s words to win over the powerful leftist faction, which by no means indicates that he is also a Maoist.
According to Agence France-Presse the statue has been dismantled.
Comments by Chan Kai Yee on BBC’s report, the full text of which is given below:
Giant Mao statue ‘removed’ from Henan village
A 37m-high (120ft) gold-painted statue of Chairman Mao in China’s countryside has been removed, just days after it was erected, state media report.
A village official told the People’s Daily that construction of the Mao Zedong statue had not been approved.
The giant statue of the late communist leader, on farmland in Henan’s Tongxu county, was said to have cost nearly 3 million yuan ($460,000; £313,000).
It generated headlines around the world when it was completed a few days ago.
An official at Zhushigang village, where the statue was located, said it had not been registered and approved, and had now been removed, People’s Daily reported.
Land resource officials at Tongxu county also confirmed the removal of the statue to People’s Daily, but said they were not clear why it was removed.
A photo circulated on social media, which could not be independently verified, appearing to show the Mao statue being dismantled, with the legs removed and a black cloth covering the head.
The statue was reportedly paid for by local businessmen and villagers, and was built as a homage to Chairman Mao.
However, it also generated criticism online, with some arguing that it wasted resources and was located at an inappropriate location.
Henan province was the centre of a famine in the 1950s resulting from Mao’s policies.
Millions of people died in the famine, triggered by a campaign known as the Great Leap Forward.
Despite being responsible for so many deaths, Mao Zedong is revered by many in China, not least by President Xi Jinping, who praises him as a “great figure”.
President Xi has also attempted to centralise power in China’s presidency, and has used Mao’s legacy to build support, while admitting the former leader made “mistakes”.
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”
New York Times (NYT) recent article on China’s Maoist revival reflects Western China watchers’ ignorance of the fierce ideological struggle in China.
It is natural for Western China watchers to hope that China will be Westernized when it is modernized, but fail to see that at the beginning, westernization and modernization are closely linked, but as a country has further modernized, the rate of Westernization declines and the indigenous culture goes through a revival. That was clearly pointed out by talented American political scientist Samuel Huntington in his book Clash of Civilizations.
Before Xi Jiping took over the reigns, the then National People’s Congress (NPC) Chairman, a heavy weight of Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction, denounced Western democracy every year in his annual report to the NPC. Western values of democracy and human rights have never been accepted by CCP though China’s reformists want to conduct a thorough Western-style economic reform.
At that time, some pro-Western intellectuals were allowed to air their views in public but the government did so only to show to the West its tolerance of Western ideas.
Was that not very clear to the West when Liu Xiaobo was jailed for advocating the Western political system of multiparty democracy?
Still, in spite of their diligent analysis of Chinese government documents and media reports, Western China watchers fail to understand that China’s political system is the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty with a core like an emperor. (Please refer to my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements.)
The first priority of the emperor, the core, is to maintain CCP’s monopoly of political power.
It is especially so for Xi Jinping who has been chosen by Jiang Zemin as the successor to Jiang’s status as the core.
When Xi took over the reigns in November 2012, the CCP was on the verge of collapse. In his speech to the press when he had just been elected the general secretary, he pointed out the many severe challenges CCP faced, especially corruption, being divorced from the mass of people, formalism and bureaucratism.
Soon he conducted his mass line education campaign to give the people the right of democratic supervision to overcome official despotism and make preparations for his anti-corruption storm. However, his insight did not stop there. He knew that CCP had to learn lessons from the collapse of the Soviet Communist Party.
In his speech to Guangdong officials in December 2012, he said the reason why the Soviet Communist Party, a party larger than CCP in terms of its proportion to Soviet population, disintegrated overnight was because the party had wavered in its ideal and faith and the party organizations had failed to play their role.
If one knows the core’s priority to maintain CCP’s monopoly of political power and to prevent the CCP from collapse like the Soviet Communist Party, one should naturally understand that when Xi has made satisfactory progress in dealing with the challenges of corruption, etc., he will certainly tighten ideological control so that the CCP may not waver in its ideal and faith.
However that is by no means the revival of Maoism. Maintain China’s economic growth is also Xi’s priority as without that the CCP will also be in danger of collapse. For that Xi is carrying out a further reform of thorough economic liberalization. Maoism has precisely been the major obstacle to Xi’s economic reform.
However, Maoism remains very popular among conservatives. That was why Bo Xilai used Maoism to rally all the conservatives around him and established his powerful conservative faction. The fierce power struggle between the reformists and the conservatives led by Bo Xilai is described in details in my book. (Refer to Chapter 13 “Fierce Battle for Succession to the Core–Xi Jinping’s Position as Hu Jintao’s Heir Precarious” of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition).
Therefore, Xi’s efforts to restore Marxist values by no means aim at a revival of Maoism that advocates class struggle, monolithic public ownership and planned economy.
Such Maoism has been refuted by the Three Represents, the first of which justifies the pursuit of capitalism while the third turns CCP into a party of the whole people. (Refer to the section titled “The Three Represents Signifies Scholars’ Conclusive Victory in Chapter 13 of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition).
Ignorance of what the Three Represents really means and the difference between China’s new Marxism and Maoism are characteristics of NYT’s and also C.I.A’s ignorance of Xi Jinping.
The danger for the US is if Xi revives Maoism, he will never succeed in his economic reform. As a result, the US can rest at ease that Chinese economy will lose steam and never be able to surpass the US. As a result the US will not be prepared to face a China that is not Westernized but stronger than the US a decade later.
The following is the full text of New York Times article:
China’s Maoist revival seeks to eliminate all western thought
They pounce on bloggers who dare mock their beloved Chairman Mao. They scour the nation’s classrooms and newspapers for strains of Western-inspired liberal heresies. And they have taken down professors, journalists and others deemed disloyal to Communist Party orthodoxy.
China’s Maoist ideologues are resurgent after languishing in the political desert, buoyed by President Xi Jinping’s traditionalist tilt and emboldened by internal party decrees that have declared open season on Chinese academics, artists and party cadres seen as insufficiently red.
Ideological vigilantes have played a pivotal role in the downfall of Wang Congsheng, a law professor in Beijing who was detained and then suspended from teaching after posting online criticisms of the party. Another target was Wang Yaofeng, a newspaper columnist who voiced support for the recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and then found himself without a job.
Since Xi came to power, the pressure and control over freethinkers has become really tight,” said Qiao Mu, a Beijing journalism professor who was demoted this fall, in part for publicly espousing multiparty elections and free speech. “More and more of my friends and colleagues are experiencing fear and harassment.”
Two years into a sweeping offensive against dissent, Mr. Xi has been intensifying his focus on perceived ideological opponents, sending ripples through universities, publishing houses and the news media and emboldening hard-liners who have hailed him as a worthy successor to Mao Zedong.
In instructions published last week, Mr. Xi urged universities to “enhance guidance over thinking and keep a tight grip on leading ideological work in higher education,” Xinhua, the 2 official news agency, reported.
In internal decrees, he has been blunter, attacking liberal thinking as a pernicious threat that has contaminated the Communist Party’s ranks, and calling on officials to purge the nation of ideas that run counter to modern China’s Marxist-Leninist foundations.
“Never allow singing to a tune contrary to the party centre,” he wrote in comments that began to appear on party and university websites in October. “Never allow eating the Communist Party’s food and then smashing the Communist Party’s cooking pots.”
The latter-day Maoists, whose influence had faltered before Mr. Xi came to power, have also been encouraged by another internal document, Document No. 30, which reinforces warnings that Western-inspired notions of media independence, “universal values” and criticism of Mao threaten the party’s survival.
“It’s a golden period to be a leftist in China,” Zhang Hongliang, a prominent neo-Maoist, said in an interview. “Xi Jinping has ushered in a fundamental change to the status quo, shattering the sky.”
China’s old guard leftists are a loose network of officials and former officials, sons and daughters of party veterans, and ardently anti-Western academics and journalists. They look back to the precepts of Marx, Lenin and especially Mao to try to reverse the effects of China’s free-market policies and the spread of values anathema to party tradition. And while their direct influence on the party leadership has been circumscribed, they have served as the party’s eager ideological inquisitors.
Their favourite enemies are almost always members of China’s beleaguered liberal circles: academics, journalists and rights activists who believe that liberal democracy, with its accompanying ideas of civil society and rule of law, offers the country the best way forward.
Mr. Xi’s recent orders and the accompanying surge of pressure on political foes further dispelled initial suspicions that his ideological hardening was a feint to establish his credibility with traditionalists as he settled into power. Instead, his continuing campaign against Western-inspired ideas has emboldened traditional party leftists.
“China watchers all need to stop saying this is all for show or that he’s turning left to turn right,” said Christopher K. Johnson, an expert on China at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, who formerly worked as a senior China analyst at the C.I.A. “This is a core part of the guy’s personality. The leftists certainly feel he’s their guy.”
In November, after Mr. Wang, the newspaper columnist, was dismissed from his job, the nationalist tabloid Global Times celebrated his downfall in a commentary. “In the future, the system will take a harder line towards the ‘pot-smashing party’,” it said, referring obliquely to Mr. Xi’s remarks about those who live off the party and then criticise it. “They will have a choice: change their ways or get out of the system.”
The latest directive, Document No. 30, demands cleansing Western-inspired liberal ideas from universities and other cultural institutions, according to Song Fangmin, a retired major-general, who discussed it with dozens of veteran party officials and hard-left activists at a meeting in Beijing in November. The directive formed a sequel to Document No. 9, which Mr. Xi authorised in April 2013, launching an offensive against ideas such as “civil society,” General Song said.
“These two documents are extremely important, and both summarise speeches by the general secretary,” he said, referring to Mr. Xi by his party title. “They identify targets so we can train our eyes on the targets of struggle.”
Unlike Document No. 9, which was widely circulated online, to the consternation of party leaders, No. 30 has not been openly published. But some of Mr. Xi’s comments have appeared in party publications, and references to it have surfaced on the websites of universities, party organisations and leftist groups, illuminating how the directive has coursed through the government to amplify pressure on dissent.
One political scientist from a prestigious Beijing university said that senior leaders had tried to keep the document confidential by transmitting it orally through the ranks. “This time it’s being kept top secret,” he said, “because last time things were far too public.”
But its effects have been apparent. Newspapers have accused universities of serving as incubators for antiparty thought, and campus party committees have been ordered to sharpen ideological controls. In June, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences revealed that a party investigator had accused the academy of harbouring ideological deviants. The investigator, Zhang Yingwei, said in a speech that the academy had been infiltrated by foreign subversion, and researchers were “wearing their scholarship as a disguise to create a smokescreen.”
The campaign has alarmed liberal academics, who fear that Mr. Xi is reviving the kind of incendiary denunciations of internal foes that have been rare since Chairman Mao convulsed the nation with his jeremiads against bourgeois thinking. Some, like Wu Si, a well-regarded liberal historian, take a longer view, and argue that realpolitik will eventually force Mr. Xi to adopt a more moderate position.
“It’s a self-defensive strategy against those who might try to call him a neoliberal,” Mr. Wu said in an interview.
Before Mr. Xi came to power in late 2012, few foresaw such a sharp and extended ideological turn. China’s leaders were then consumed with purging Bo Xilai, the ambitious politician who had courted party traditionalists by evoking Mao and the rhetoric of the revolutionary past. When Mr. Bo fell, his leftist followers came under official suspicion and some of their websites and publications were shut down.
Now, however, leftist voices are back in vogue. Analysts say it is unlikely Mr. Xi wants to take China back to Mao’s puritanical era, but doctrinaire Communists see him as a useful ally, and his directives as a license to attack liberal critics of the party.
“The leftists were under pressure for a while but now they are very active again,” said Chongyi Feng, an associate professor at the University of Technology, Sydney, who follows China’s intellectual and political developments. “Xi Jinping has used these people to attack.”
At a meeting in October, party secretaries of universities and colleges were summoned to discuss Mr. Xi’s instructions and urged to “enhance their sense of dangers and resolutely safeguard political security and ideological security.”
In November, The Liaoning Daily, a party newspaper in northeast China, drew nationwide attention with a report that said universities were troubled by ideological laxity. Chinese academics, it complained, were comparing Mao Zedong to an emperor, praising Western notions such as a separation of powers, and “believing that China should take the path of the West,” it said.
“It has become fashionable in university lecture halls to talk down China and malign this society,” said the report.
The ideological policing has sent a chill through China’s liberal intelligentsia. Several academics declined to be interviewed, saying they were lying low for the time being. Others said they had already experienced what they liken to an ideological purge.
Since October, Qiao Mu, the journalism professor and director of the Centre for International Communications Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University, has been relegated to clerical drudgery, summarising English-language books in the school library, as retribution, he says, for his advocacy of Western-style journalism and a long affiliation with liberal civil society groups in China. In addition to barring him from the classroom, administrators slashed his salary by a third, he said, removed his name from the department’s website and forced his students to find other thesis advisers. “It’s meant to be a kind of humiliation,” he said, adding that he was told his demotion could last for years.
Officially, he is being punished for defying superiors who had withheld permission for him to travel abroad for conferences and other academic pursuits. But privately, school officials acknowledge growing pressure from above.
As he whiles away his days in the library, Mr. Qiao, 44, has become despondent. Some friends have suggested that he leave China, or at least compromise his values and do as he is told.
“I want to stay in my motherland,” he said, adding, “As I like to say, I have everything I need here in China, except freedom.”
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Source: New York Times – Maoists in China, Given New Life, Attack Dissent
In Reuters report “China’s Xi: China economic growth to be sustainable, balanced – Xinhua” on November 15, it says, “Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday China’s economy will maintain strong, sustainable and balanced growth, state media reported.
“Xi also said China will provide more demand and investment opportunities for the global economy as it undergoes structural reforms that foster opportunities for growth, according to the official Xinhua news agency.”
However, how can Xi be satisfied when China’s growth rate remained at the lower than it was for decades?
On the surface, China’s economic slowdown must have worried Xi Jinping as it may give rise to unemployment that may cause instability. However, I point out in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition “Economic Slowdown Is Precisely What Xi Jinping Wants”:
In order to deal with the financial tsunami, in 2008, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao injected 4 trillion yuan to provide credit-powered stimulus to China’s economy. They successfully stopped the economic downturn by the injection, but left over lots of serious problems: excessive production capacity, surplus of products without sufficient market, rocketing property prices, etc. It has proved that their old tricks of seeking export-driven and credit-fueled growth do not work. If China kept on adopting such old tricks, it would have to face dire consequences, but for quite a long time since it refused to adopt the old tricks, China’s economic growth rate has kept on dropping.
When Xi took over, China was a seriously split nation. Jiang Zemin had used his power as the core of the third generation of Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s leadership to make the decision to punish Bo harshly, but he had not put an end to the fierce power struggle between conservatives and reformists.
The conservatives advocate encouraging the development of state-owned enterprises and uphold the Maoist views on restricting private economy and intensifying government control of economy, using the term “macroeconomic control”.
A leader of the conservative faction Li Peng, the notorious Tiananmen butcher, published a book advocating government control of economy shortly before CCP 18th Congress.
The reformists wanted further economic liberalization for further economic growth. They were going to carry out further economic reform to introduce competition between the state-owned and private sectors by removing the SOE’s monopoly and privileges. But the conservatives’ had strived to block the further reform. As a result, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao had made efforts in vain for years in furthering the reform.
Bo Xilai practiced the conservatism by persecuting private business owners and encouraging state owned enterprises. In order to block the reform, he tried hard to resurrect Maoism. During the Chinese Lunar New Year before his downfall, he sent quotations from Mao to all Chongqing mobile phone users.
Bo Xilai, the charismatic leader of the conservative faction, practiced Maoist lawless despotism. He persecuted criminal defense lawyers, used cruel torture to frame up lots of rich businessmen and confiscate their wealth.
The reformists regard the rule of law as the priority of their political reform. To counter conservatives’ lawlessness, the leader of the powerful legal and democracy reformist faction Qiao Shi published a book advocating democracy and the rule of law shortly before the CCP 18th Congress.
The reformists want China’s peaceful rise but due to Maoist arrogant Sinocentric cosmology, they cherish the Chinese dream of China’s military rise. My book gives a description of that as follows:
In 2009, under the influence of Maoist sinocentric cosmology, PLA senior colonel Liu Mingfu published his leftist book “China Dream: Great Power Thinking and Strategic Posture in the Post American Era” to reject reformists’ idea of China’s peaceful rise and advocate instead China’s “military rise”. Liu believes that China’s goal shall be to surpass the United States and become world number one militarily. The book was an instant success and soon sold out. However, the reformists under Hu Jintao banned reprinting of the book due to its leftist theory that pursues military hegemony.
The reformists are certainly very strong as they include the three powerful factions: Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction that has a majority in CCP Politburo Standing Committee and controls Chinese military, Qiao Shi’s democracy and legal faction that controls secret police and Hu Jintao’s CYL (Communist Youth League) faction consisting of nearly 10 Politburo members and provincial CCP secretaries.
However, as described in my book the conservatives are by no means weak:
Worship of Mao Hot at Present
Mao has now been deified among quite a few workers and peasants. Over the past few years, sacrificial alters for worship of Mao become conspicuous in quite a few families. According to a survey in 2008, in 40 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan, families who had Mao’s statutes or portraits for worship accounted for 11.5% of the total number of families there, exceeding by far those who worshiped Buddha, God of Wealth or local god of the land. For those who are indignant against the rich-poor gap and the uncertainty caused by the reform and opening-up in their lives, Mao comes back as a symbol in their minds that embodies justice, fairness, and equality between the rich and the poor. When corruption is rampant, people are especially indignant that rich people get much of their wealth by foul instead of fair means.
Current Situation in China: Five Times More Conservatives than Liberals
Zhang Mingshu of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences published in early May, 2013 his research results that have surprised him.
Zhang surveyed 1,750 random samples in four different areas in China, in which each participant has to complete a questionnaire of 40 questions.
Compared with an almost identical survey he carried out in the 1980s, the questions asked are mostly the same. What differs is a new focus, especially in the classification of people being regarded as leftist, rightist or centralist. The survey results indicate that the percentage of rightists has decreased while that of leftists has increased. Most people seem to tend to go along with mainstream media. The percentages found are entirely contrary to what Zhang expected. Obviously, the pro-Western percentage was much higher in the findings of the 1988 survey. That was a survey in the initial period of the reform when people accepted everything Western.
Just as well-known American political scientist Samuel Huntington points out in his The Clash of Civilizations and the remaking of world order, “initially, Westernization and modernization are closely linked, …however, the rate of Westernization declines and the indigenous culture goes through a revival.” “In the early phase of change, Westernization thus promotes modernization. In the later phases, modernization promotes de-Westernization and the resurgence of indigenous culture in two ways.”
The survey found that 38.1% leaned towards the left. They held conservative values and were more critical of overall individualism and more patriotic. Only 8 per cent leaned to the right, supporting more individual freedoms and a smaller government, and were more critical towards the Communist Party’s legacy. The rest of those polled were categorized as centrists, neither left nor right.
Zhang told the Guangzhou-based liberal newspaper Southern Weekly that he was surprised, but if one calmly looked around oneself, not only among intellectuals, but also in one’s hometown or the streets, one would find that the ratio of leftists, rightists and centrists found in the survey was fundamentally accurate.
Xi Jinping put an end to the power struggle between reformists and conservatives:
China Dream Rallies Both Reformists and Conservatives around Xi Jinping
As elaborated above, Bo Xilai used his sing-red campaign and resurrection of Maoism to rally all conservative around him to form a conservative faction strong enough to counter the reformists. The reformist faction defeated the conservatives not by its overwhelming strength but by depriving them of their leader through finding his crimes. However, the conservatives remain large in number and powerful in strength and Maoism remains popular among quite a few people.
In carrying out his further thorough economic reform, Xi Jinping will encounter not only the resistance from vested interests, but also fierce opposition from the powerful conservative faction.
Xi found that he could utilize Liu Mingfu’s China dream to put an end to the power struggle as reformists and conservatives’ interests overlap in China dream after he has expanded the China dream to the dream for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Reformists want China to be strong through economic reform while conservatives also want China to become strong but by means of military buildup. Therefore:
Quite a lot of people at home and abroad worry that the falling growth rate may give rise to serious problems. However, it is precisely what Xi Jinping wants because it will greatly reduce the resistance to further economic reform. While the reformists are thus provided with evidence of facts that further economic liberalization is indispensable; the conservatives ambitious for China to become a military superpower have also been gradually convinced of the necessity of further reform because without economic growth there will be no financial resources for China to become a military superpower.
Xi is confident that through his further economic reform, China’s growth rate will pick up. That is why he is so optimistic in his speech.
The following is the full text of Reuters report:
China’s Xi: China economic growth to be sustainable, balanced – Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday China’s economy will maintain strong, sustainable and balanced growth, state media reported.
Xi also said China will provide more demand and investment opportunities for the global economy as it undergoes structural reforms that foster opportunities for growth, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
China’s economy grew in the third quarter at its slowest pace since the global financial crisis, sparking concern that the world’s second largest economy is faltering as the government tries to make it more driven by domestic consumption and less by exports and investment.
Xi made the comments while at a two-day meeting of the G20 in Brisbane, Australia.
Using his latest catchphrase, Xi said China’s economy has entered a “new normal”, there is plenty of growth momentum and development prospects are bright, Xinhua reported.
China will also adopt the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Special Data Dissemination Standards, Xi announced.
These standards are applied to the release of economic and financial data, aimed at increasing transparency and openness in order to guide countries “that have, or that might seek, access to international capital markets in the provision of their economic and financial data to the public,” according to the IMF website.
China’s provinces and regions frequently report economic growth much larger than national levels, causing doubts about the way data is compiled in China.
China’s government has vowed to tackle false reporting of economic data at the local level, but the sheer size of the country and the large number of local authorities makes this a daunting task.
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Source: Reuters “China’s Xi: China economic growth to be sustainable, balanced – Xinhua”
Ideology is always important in Chinese politics, especially in power struggle. Now, Xi Jinping has offended lots of powerful officials with his anti-corruption and mass-line campaigns and his mentor Jiang Zeming is 88 years old. Conservatives believe that they now have the golden opportunity to disrupt once for all Xi’s thorough economic reform.
Like their predecessors, they started their campaign to bring down Xi with ideological debates on Mao’s theory of class struggle.
In 1966, Mao used his theory of class struggle and constant revolution to grab back power from his selected successor Chinese President and CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Vice Chairman Liu Shaoqi.
Later in the era of reform, conservatives used the ideological struggle against Western spiritual pollution to successfully force the then CCP reformist General Secretary Hu Yaobang to resign.
Carried away by their success in bringing down Hu, under powerful conservative elders’ leadership, Deng Liqun nicknamed Leftist King and other conservative writers launched fierce attack at the reform capitalist in nature in order to put an end to the reform. Zhao Ziyang, another top reformist who had replaced Hu as the general secretary, silenced leftist writers by closing leftist writers’ headquarters the Research Office of CCP Secretariat and leftists’ mouthpiece the Red Flag magazine.
Zhao’s bold acts infuriated powerful conservative elders. They went to Deng Xiaoping to complain and asked Deng to remove Zhao from the post as CCP general secretary. However, Zhao won Deng’s firm support and was for a time able to carry on the reform.
Tiananmen Protests caused the downfall of Zhao who sympathize with the protestors. Reform suffered great setback until Deng used his Southern Tour to reinvigorate the reform.
The above is known to most people not only China watchers.
The power struggle between conservatives and reformists later has not been so clear to them. That is a long story described in details in the expanded 2nd edition of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements. Here I will give a short summary of it.
Jiang Zeming exploited the fear throughout the CCP given rise by Tiananmen protesters who almost overthrew the CCP, to conduct a silent peaceful coup d’état to substitute intellectuals’ dominance of the CCP and state for uneducated workers and peasants’. As a result, he was able to use his Three Represents to justify China’s pursuit of capitalism and recruitment of capitalists into the CCP. Failure to understand the first of his Three Represent makes most China watcher unable to see that.
Jiang’s successor Hu Jintao knew that conservatives might use Mao Zedong Thought to attack the reform again and disrupt the tremendous achievements of reform. He began his efforts to remove Mao Zedong Thought by omitting the Thought in his major speeches and major CCP documents. He has thus given Bo Xilai the opportunity to rally all the conservatives around Bo. With the strong support from conservatives, Bo used his charisma and charm to become a rising political star and was able to challenge the reformists by his Maoist Chongqing model.
The democracy and legal faction together with Wu Bangguo, a heavyweight of the Shanghai faction used trick to bring down Bo Xilai but no one is powerful enough to punish Bo. Finally, Jiang Zeming used his prerogative as the core of CCP leadership to punish Bo harshly.
However, conservatives, though had lost their leader, remained strong and Jiang had not put an end to the power struggle between conservatives and reformists by punishing Bo harshly. It was Xi Jinping who finally used Chinese dream to rally both conservatives and reformists around him and put an end to the power struggle.
For nearly two years, Xi has held Mao in high esteem and used Mao’s jargons to please conservatives but acted entirely as a reformist. Diehard conservatives have now realized that Xi is by no means a conservative. They have to use Maoism to bring down Xi and put an end to Xi’s further reform. They believe the timing is the best now to do so as Xi has offended lots of powerful officials and generals and Jiang is too old to support Xi.
Jiang Zemin has to come out to support Xi when Maoists attack reformists again
China’s National Day celebration was an important political show that China watchers have to watch closely. As China is now at a critical moment of its mass line and anti-corruption campaigns and radical economic reform, we shall be especially careful to find clues to the political situation and possible political struggle and changes.
I have made it very clear in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements that in China Xi’s top post does not give him the top power that the person holding the post shall have. Zhao Ziyang pointed out in his memoir that he and the Politburo Standing Committee led by him had no power. They were referred to by Deng Xiaoping as daughters-in-law while Deng was the mother-in-law in charge of them. Deng knew that the other two elders Chen Yun and Li Xiannian were also powerful enough to be their mothers-in-law. Deng told Bo Yibo to ask Chen and Li’s consent that they had to allow Deng to be the only mother-in-law.
From that we know that even when Deng died, Zhao if still had been the general secretary, would not have had the supreme power that he should have had due to his post. He would still be the daughter-in-law of a mother-in-law other than Deng. Only when he had built the powerbase a top leader must have could he really have been the top leader. By that time, he would have been not only the general secretary but also the core of the Chinese Communist Party with the power of an emperor.
In 1992 long after Deng has retired from all his posts including the post of the chairman of the Central Military Commission, he was still able to reinvigorate the reform across the nation with his Southern Tour, during which he said those who failed to carry out the reform should be dismissed. What power did he have to dismiss officials? He had the absolute power as the core of the CCP Dynasty.
Jiang Zemin has the personal experience of the hard efforts he was to make in building his powerbase for years and the challenge he encountered from conservative and other pretenders for his post. He knows very clearly that as Xi’s mentor, he has to display not only his firm support but more importantly his supreme power and good health.
That is especially important because since May, there have been rumors about his death or serious sickness.
He showed that he was in charge by walking abreast of Xi Jinping instead of behind Xi in many previous occasions when he and Xi enter the hall to attend National Day concert. His message is very clear: I am still in charge and I am supporting Xi.
He showed on TV screen at both the concert and the National Day reception his healthy gait and ability to attend the concert and National Day reception for quite a long time without the assistance of his bodyguard.
I do not know how he managed to do so at the age of 88. However according to what I saw on TV screen, he sat by the side of Xi with satisfaction in giving the lie to the rumors of his death or poor health.
From what we saw on TV screen at the reception, we know that Xi wanted to use the occasion to show his gratitude to all the powerful elders for their support in his mass line and anti-corruption campaigns.
All the powerful elders were sitting at the head table with Xi and other Politburo Standing Committee members while the Politburo members who appear before the elders in official media reports had to sit at a nearby table.
Among the powerful elders sitting on the head table, there are three conservatives, Li Peng, Song Ping and Luo Gan. Among them, Li must be the most powerful as he was the premier and national people’s congress (NPC) chairman for many years and must have groomed quite a few followers. His opposition to Xi’s reform is obvious as shortly before 18th CCP National Congress, he published a book stressing state’s leading role in economy to oppose reformists’ reform to give market the leading role. However, his son Li Xiaopeng got the least votes in being elected an alternate CCP Central Committee member showed his unpopularity within the CCP.
However, his ability to have his book published and promoted by CCP’s mouthpiece the People’s Daily proved that he remained influential. It is most likely that he is behind conservatives’ attack at reformists with Mao’s theory of class struggle.
Anyway, we must be aware that until Xi has built a sound powerbase a few years later, Jiang Zemin’s good health is indispensable for China’s stability and prosperity.
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2md Edition
Sources: CCTV “65th National Day concert ‘Beatutiful China: Glorious Dream’ was held in Beijing” and “State Council held National Day reception to solemnly celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)