Jan 04

(Letter) China rattled by Sun King attack

Written by guest on Sunday, January 4th, 2009 at 1:28 pm
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An entry by Steve in late December discussed a petition signed by over 2000 Chinese people calling for democracy and human rights in the PRC. At least some of these prominent citizens were subsequently arrested, like Liu Xiaobo

What is interesting is how another critic of the Chinese government, former high-ranking official Bao Tong, has been treated. The Times reports that the fact he has not had any action taken against him (so far) is a sign that he can still be protected by reformists within the CCP. A translated version of Bao’s essay can be found on the Radio Free Asia website.

Part 5. Is China Out of the Dead End?

Prosperity should be celebrated. It is better to have a few people get rich before everybody else than for everyone to stay dirt poor. It is better for our economy to approach the world ranking that it had during the time of the Northern Warlords than it is for it to lag behind even that benchmark. This is common sense. But it is also normal for people to be worried that per capita GDP is falling; to be aggrieved that our labor is sold so cheaply; and to be full of resentment that officials seem to be getting more and more corrupt.

Some people are using the anniversary of reforms as an excuse to sing songs of praise for their feudal rulers, and for the four principles. Obviously, they have a need and a desire to do this. But reforms have been cut down in their tracks, as the events of Tiananmen Square bear witness. In a political climate that clings so firmly to the four principles, can China truly be said to have got out of its dead end?

What is socialism?

In today’s China, many new things are emerging: We have the market, and yet it is plain to see that is controlled by those in power. Economic resources and interests are being divided up according to Party strategy and Party direction. Political power and wealth rise in direct proportion to each other. The pyramids are being built from the flesh and blood of powerless peasants and migrant workers. Those who get rich are able to consume tens of thousands of times more than China’s rural families. This rising China is showing off its wealth and happiness to the whole world.

Some people are saying that socialism no longer exists in China. Others counter this by saying that the fact that most people see only the pyramids, and not the dark vaults beneath them, is testament to the power of socialism with Chinese characteristics. So what is this socialism anyway? It means that power resides with the Communist Party. I am not qualified to engage in, neither am I interested in, word-games. The problem I have always had with all of this is, and remains: Can socialism with Chinese characteristics get us out of this dead-end street?

Cultural Revolution not dead yet

The Cultural Revolution was supposed to be a thing of the past, but the [1989] Tiananmen crackdown was just a new version of it.

“There is no prosperity without suppression,” rang the new song of praise to the skies [in a parody of “There is no new China without the Communist Party.”]

And its singing ensures that we will see endless repeats of the so-called “Lesser Tiananmen Square incident.” The tools of dictatorship being used to stamp out the legitimate desires of a peaceful population. Violent authoritarianism has become a blatant part of the daily life of our harmonious society, a typical sight on our Chinese landscape.

Old slogans such as “The guiding principles of grain and steel” are long dead now, and shiny new ones such as “the hard reasoning behind development” spring to people’s lips. Even more fashionable is: “Representing the most advanced productivity.” The new slogans are just like the old: They rely on the sheer brute force of the State to push their agenda forward.

How can agricultural land, homes, and village enterprises, hope to be more “advanced” than power stations, airports, and theme parks?

Ecological devastation

Natural principles such as human rights have no chance in the face of “the hard reasoning behind development.”

There has been a sudden and universal deterioration in the quality of our environment and in our natural resources. The air and water have been spoiled. Forests, grasslands, and farmland have been laid waste by the mining industry. If someone were to say to me now that in a brief decade we could surpass the work of the past 1,000 years, I’d believe them!

Looking at it dispassionately, we could say that it didn’t all go wrong with a saying of Mao Zedong’s, or a slogan from [Jiang Zemin’s] Three Represents, or because of something Deng said.

These people are citizens too, and they have the right to speak. I’m sure they have uttered countless pearls of wisdom, even if they were carried away by passion at the time. They are no more eccentric or ridiculous than things other people might say.

Pathological system

It’s not that hard to alter policy, in fact.

What\’s terrifying is the momentum that is self-perpetuating within the system itself. It’s the lack of checks and balances. Something that starts out as a fairly small error that should be easy to correct, as soon as it is let loose, becomes very hard to put right, and frequently turns into a huge mistake. This is an almighty juggernaut of a system that has remained fundamentally unchanged for decades.

The upholding of the four principles enshrined Mao Zedong’s, Deng Xiaoping’s, and [Jiang Zemin’s] Three Represents in the Constitution, which surprisingly no one found disturbing at the time.

It was done in a big hurry, and not only did they manage to get them enshrined in law, but they also set them up as an altar at which bureaucrats must worship, and as a religion ordinary citizens are forced to follow.

What civilized country would allow such a thing to happen? This could happen only in China. China, resolutely upholding the four principles, has embalmed its former, unelected leaders, one after another, in law. What is this? This is pathological, the pathology that comes of enforcing a single line of ideology. It is pathological because it’s so weak that it has to go begging cap in hand to the State for support.

We shouldn’t underestimate this pathology. It is just one part of a whole syndrome of sickness that comes along with the four principles, with their coercive nature, their ability to numb people’s minds and bind them hand and foot until they are left unable to cling to their own lives.

Next, if you will permit me, I want to look at the differences between Deng’s four principles [also expressed as the “Four Upholds”] and the “Six Criteria” of Mao Zedong.

It is certainly a hard-hitting piece. The question that comes to my mind is how the “reformers” can shape future politics within China. Will they be able to form a consensus within the CCP, or will they have to break with keeping discussion behind closed doors and take it into the wider community to put pressure on the conservatives to stop stonewalling? Or, God forbid, will it take widespread public unrest to persuade enough senior leaders that political change has to start in the near-future rather than be put off to the next generation of leaders (as each President seems happy to do).

Certainly I am not reassured that if there is sincere debate within the Chinese ruling party it is kept behind closed doors. Perhaps it is time for the reformists to take greater risks in pushing for change, though no one can easily say what their specific objectives are.

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30 Responses to “(Letter) China rattled by Sun King attack”

  1. wuming Says:

    I am afraid Bao Tong is another guy got freeze-dried the moment is out of the power (fashion). He is basically re-telling the old inside information on the political infightings of CCP when he actually had access to them. Not only the ideas was not calibrated to 19 some years of reality, it hasn’t even benefited from 19 years of hindsight. The fact that a person who sees no difference between Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping is till taken seriously shows the bankruptcy of ideas among the opposition movement in and out of China.

    If you are hoping for a more enlightened China, however you want to define it, don’t pin your hopes on people like Liu Xiaobo or Bao Tong

  2. jack Says:

    What’s the meaning of “Sun King”?

  3. Raj Says:

    If you are hoping for a more enlightened China, however you want to define it, don’t pin your hopes on people like Liu Xiaobo or Bao Tong

    Wuming, I wasn’t commenting on their published essays. It was to do with why according to the Times Bao has escaped punishment and what the role of so-called “reformists” in the CCP could/should be in changing China politically.

    What’s the meaning of “Sun King”?

    jack, it’s a popular name for King Louis XIV of France. Bao was apparently comparing Deng Xiaoping to Louis, though possibly in another piece he published – I can’t see it in the one I found and posted here.

  4. Jana Says:

    Please do not have any hope or trust in the Ccp. It only has one aim to destroy humanity and keep its power at all costs. If you support it in anyway then you have lost your future.

    Read how 45 + million Chinese have already resigned from the Ccp becasue they have recognised how evil and illegimate the Ccp is. The Ccp has murdered 80 milion of its own people in the last year.

  5. Out of the thin air Says:

    Wow Jana!

    45 + million that’s a freakishly large number. Sounds like something that is pulled right out the thin air.

    Given that CCP membership never even came close to 100 million, 45+ million is a huge turnover.

    Plus, have you ever check how big 80 million is? That’s ~ 8% of the Chinese population. At this rate there ain’t going be any Chinese people left for people to bash.

    I guess, you are going be out of a job soon because either way the CCP is going to run out members quick.

    When the goners tell you to make stuff up, don’t get too carried away. It takes credibility away from other things you made up.

  6. Jana Says:

    How surprised were the worlds people when the Berlin Wall fell in the 80″s? Most people did not know that for decades people had been working behind the wall trying to bring peace unity and democracy to the eastern bloc.

    The 9 Commentaries and the 45 + million withdrawals are Not of thin air but are solid progressive peaceful withdrawals from the Ccp. This is the very thing the Ccp have been scared of and the reason they have to crush all opposition to them.This is A waking up of the Chinese people who still have good moral characters and when given the chance can see there is no way out for them except by turning their backs peacefully and with dignity on the Ccp.. The conscience is the only thing the Ccp cannot take away from people with out each person giving their consent. Isnt this the most powerful tool a person has? I think you know why the Ccp has tried to murder and surpress all religions and genuine cultivation methods.
    Will you be surprised when the ccp falls? No I think you already know whats really happening. The world knows whats happening…That choice is always yours.
    Who will offer you protection and salavation when the Ccp disintergrates?

    No one believes you or the Ccp now. The only people that are supporting the Ccp are those who have no morality left as they are so decieved by the Ccp, no idea of the difference between right and wrong and those who put money before humanity.
    You are just their pawn and their stooge.Hurry up and quit while you can, for a good future.

  7. BMY Says:

    Please ,Jana. You are a nice lady. Can’t you let people talk about other things rather than your endless FLG vs CCP.

  8. Jana Says:

    BMY, i think clarifying the facts to the misguided and misinformed precious Chinese will be understood in the future. Besides one or two comments every few months is not considered endless.You are showing yourselves quite clearly.This is an open forum.. and thank you for your compliment if thats what that was,,,,

    do yourselves a favour and actually read the link i sent to you. We dont have 80,000 people writing propoganda for Falun Dafa the way the Ccp has with the United front work propoganda department.

    If you are any doubt about the truthfulness and validity of Quit the Ccp then Also read how The Divine Performing Arts is bringing back the true Chinese culture to 88 cities this year all around the world. Read the statements and comments from VIP’s all around the world who watched this show and believe in what we are saying.

    And if you think we made this up then you are making bigger fools of yourselves as the blog name indicates.

  9. Wukailong Says:

    Jana vs. facts could be an enjoyable read, if nothing else… 😀

  10. kui Says:


    “You are just their pawn and their stooge.Hurry up and quit while you can, for a good future.”

    You are sure? Epoch Time claimed those communist party members and their family members will suffer undignified death. Quiting will give them a good future? Do they get away too easily if they had murdered 80 million Chinese last year?

    I think I am becoming a CCP supporter ( I used to hate them but that was the past). What will I end up with? My father in law is a communist party member and his son, my husband is against CCP. Both the father and the son are against FLG. What a hopeless situation. Will this affect me in anyway?

  11. Leo Says:

    If anyone was in guardian.co.uk forum, they should know this Ms Jana well. 李洪痔SB!

  12. Wukailong Says:

    Sorry kui, I thought you were a man! The mistakes I do at times just because I assume the unknown is masculine… Anyway.

    I’ve read the two main FLG books and a lot of political books in China (party material), and I can’t say I hate any organization. FLG is silly, but not evil (I mean, it’s kind of cute that LHZ says he sends out gamma rays and _atoms_). CCP is silly too at times. In general, not having too much to do with either is probably the best advice.

  13. jack Says:

    OMG, another thread degraded into a mess.

  14. zhihua Says:

    Dear Ms. Jana, I have a 驼背 condition that needs some serious help! I watched a video of your master LHZ where he claims he can fix 驼背 by simply touching the patient’s back. Can you hook me up with him, pleeeeezzz?

    Keep up the good work bad mouthing the Chinese!!!

  15. Netizen K Says:

    Once FLGers got involved, everything degrades to irrationality and lie without red face.

  16. zhihua Says:

    Happy 牛 year, by the way!!!

  17. FOARP Says:

    The 45 million withdrawals claim has to be the most stupid. I lived almost five years in China, and have followed Chinese news/issues for much longer, 45 million people would be about 1/25th of the Chinese population, but I have neither heard of, met , seen, talked to or whatever even one former CCP member who left the party due to the FLG issue. To be frank, I have met very few Chinese people who would care enough about FLG members to do such a thing.

    As for ‘murdering’ 80 million people in the last year, this would exceed the number of natural deaths in China, where are these deaths?

  18. Raj Says:

    Would it be too much to ask that this FLG matter be put aside and the post itself (the last two paragraphs in particular) be discussed? 🙂

  19. Jane Says:

    This forum may need moderation. Otherwise, more sensible and reasoned readers will soon stop visiting this site. Thanks for the post Raj.

  20. Jana Says:

    Just in response Falun Dafa is not irrational at all. It doesn’t say that humans evolved from plants, and that we cut our stomachs open, that is just one of the outrageous lies spread by the State controlled media in China.

    Another lie is the so-called Self-immolation on Tiananmen square when Falun Gong practitioners apparently set themselves on fire, but in reality it was set-up by Jiang Zemin and the CCP to incite hatred towards Falun Gong practitioners, just go to http://www.Falsefire.com, it was obviously a total set-up.

    It worth noting that the CCP faked alot of writings and attributed them to Teacher Li, and altered the recordings of his lectures around China, so as to warrant the label of an Evil Cult, heretical organisation, etc. to justify their persecution.

    Actually alot of Falun Gong Practitioners are highly educated and hold masters degrees. I can submit alot of concrete evidence as to the benefits of Falun Gong on peoples health and wellbeing. Master Li doesn’t live in luxury in New York, thats just another lie spread by CCP. His books were sold for a little more than the cost of printing them, they are now offered for free on the internet. A lie is just a lie.

    research for “falun gong” on google image:
    and now the chinese version:
    why is it censored??? where is the freedom of information in China? or indeed on this blog if you will censor edit or delete peoples comments?

  21. kui Says:


    I forgot to ask a question I have always wanted to ask. What happened to those cancer patients whom FLG took off chemotherapy?

    Are you not interested answering my questions? Ok. Bye.

  22. Steve Says:

    Raj wrote this post about Bao Tong, and I thought he brought up an interesting point. I followed his links and read the Times report and and the original translated essay on RFA. I was more than surprised that he was able to say what he said.

    Raj, jack and Jane are correct. This is a thread about Bao Tong’s essay and not about FLG. There have been and will be posts about FLG. Jana, if you feel it is important to discuss this now, you can always post a new thread in the “Letters” section. That’s why it’s there.

    Let’s give Raj some respect and stick to his subject, ok? Jana, if you don’t respect the effort of others, why would you believe anyone would grant your ideas respect? You only hurt your cause when you disparage others by ignoring the topic. Can’t you see by everyone’s replies that your “off topic” comments are not appreciated? To be honest, you are doing a disservice to FLG by hurting their image on this blog, and I’m sure that was not your intention.

  23. Netizen K Says:


    Maybe that was Jana’s intention. Maybe she is a 50-center paid by the “Chinese government” to make FLG look bad. I haven’t seen a 50-center and she could be the first one.

  24. Steve Says:

    Raj~ Regarding your last two paragraphs, I have the feeling that as long as the economic good times last, things will remain as they are and reform will be put on the back burner. But when economic times take a hit, as they seem to be doing now, then the reformers will have their day in closed party session to push their ideas. Based on what I’ve seen, I don’t expect the debate to move into the public domain at this time.

    For me, the real question is who actually succeeds Hu Jintao. If the economy continues to perform well and China can escape the economic meltdown, then I would suspect Hu would have that control. However, if China’s economy craters, then I think his influence in choosing his successor would be greatly diminished. Could that be the opening the reformers have been looking for to implement their ideas? Do they have someone high enough in the Politburo to carry out their agenda?

    I believe political reform can only be carried out as it pertains to economic reform, at least as the initial agent of change.

  25. Steve Says:

    @ Netizen K: Good one!! I hadn’t heard that term before. 😛

  26. Jana Says:

    re Steve, The only one here doing a disservice to Falun Dafa is the Ccp and their lies that all of you listen to and parrot.. At the end of the day am i the only one talking about Ccp and Falun Dafa? – No.

    No disrespect to Raj at all but clearly it seems that there is not one person on this blog who can look at this issue rationally. And that is what i am most concerned about. But i wont waste any more time on it, as it seems you have all chosen which side to be on and its not humanities side.

    Raj please accept my apologies and everyone please refer to Raj’s request to discuss his last 2 paragraphs.
    If anyone mentions Falun Dafa again in a derogative way I will always protect the dignity of Falun Dafa, otherwise Falun Dafa Hao!!

  27. Raj Says:

    Steve, thanks for moving the discussion back on topic.


    I have the feeling that as long as the economic good times last, things will remain as they are and reform will be put on the back burner. But when economic times take a hit, as they seem to be doing now, then the reformers will have their day in closed party session to push their ideas.

    That’s an interesting view, because I have read an argument that the focus will be on saving the economy and the government will not allow change when the economy is bad. But I think that when things are good conservative leaders will block reform because it will “rock the boat”, so the only time to put pressure on them is when unrest increases (regardless of the cause).

    Could that be the opening the reformers have been looking for to implement their ideas? Do they have someone high enough in the Politburo to carry out their agenda?

    I think that there is enough general influence, but up until now they’ve been cautious and seeking consensus. If as you say the economy performs as badly as some people predict and Hu can’t do much about it, it would be a good time to aim to put someone in who is at least open-minded and not a Hu clone.

    I think Hu has been a lot like Tony Blair in the UK. Not in terms of style, but that he had an unprecedented opportunity to change the country (Blair big majority and initial public goodwill; Hu massive economic growth and the sidelining of his political opposition) but failed to do more than tweak it. Another “Hu” would be a disaster for China in my mind because he seems unable to counternance big changes even when they’re necessary. His attitude seems to me to just argue “they’re not necessary”.

  28. Wahaha Says:

    30 years ago, most chinese were satisfied with the way they were living, as they were brainwashed to believe that people in captalist west were living in miserable condition. Do you know what my friend asked me when I called him before Christmas ? “Houses in USA are so cheap now, like $1,000 a piece.” He suggested me to buy several houses to sell them later for easy money.

    There isnt much materials that dissidents in or outside China can use to motivate chinese people to change the political system, as the other system doesnt deliver, and maybe even worse. Please remember that freedom is not the reason that chinese students started the 1989 democratic movement in China, the reason we wanted democracy then was that we deep believed that democracy in China = prosperity in China.

    The other thing we must pay attention is that the reason1989 democratic movement became so widespread is that students got help from media. Without media, students wouldnt have had so much influence; without media, every incident is an isolated incident, which is not a big problem for an authoritarian government. Like Wen’an incident, it wouldve been like Greece if it had been covered by media everywhere in China.

    In conclusion, it is almost impossible that China will get into chaotic and uncontrolable situation, even GDP growth is near 0%. Please remember Chinese people dont ask for what dont belong to them, lot of current unrests in China are due to unpaid salaries.

  29. chinayouren Says:

    Interesting post Raj. I just read the 3 articles by Bao Tong tonight as I was trying to catch up with China on my return from holidays.

    I’m afraid I tend to agree with Comment #1 regarding Bao Tong. It is obvious this guy has little to say, and there is not much content in his three articles that rings really new. Besides, it is hardly an unbiased vision since he was on the side that was ousted by Deng. It just looks like he is taking advantage of the Charter 08 initiative to get back into the limelight.

    In the same time, I agree with your idea: he looks like the kind of man that would make sure that his back is well covered before signing a document like Charter 08. Whether this is meaningful or not in the light of the present balance of powers at the top of the ccp, who knows: that is deep-water tea leaf reading.

    I am afraid that for an initiative like Charter 08 to move forward and have any serious success it needs to address its main weaknesses, such as a lack of a charismatic leadership that can inspire the Chinese people, and that is not suspected of working for the “West”. I wrote a bit about these weaknesses last week on my blog here: http://chinayouren.com/eng/2008/12/charter-08-and-political-change-in-china/

  30. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Chinayouren:
    thanks for that link. ULN seems a very thoughtful individual, based on this one post. And his reflections #3 and #4 seem to directly describe some of the people on this blog.
    As the two of you suggest, it’ll be interesting to see whether leaders can be found to help realize some of the ideas on offer from this Charter.

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