To many in the west, China is still a politically rigid and depressive country and nobody dares to challenge the communist authority. Such perception is very much outdated.
Following is an article openly circulating in the Chinese social media. The author is Zi Zhongyun, a lady scholar of 87 years old who served long in the Chinese Foreign Affair Department and state run institutions. She is famous for her sharp criticism of the Chinese communist government.
Is circulation of this article an isolated matter? No, it is not. There are numerous similar articles, despite that some of which are censored, circulating in the Chinese social media such as WeChat everyday. ,
Introduction of this article does not mean to support its arguments, rather it is an attempt to demonstrate how diversified of the Chinese society has become in ideology.
Translator Ren Zegang
The voice of China’s civic power
China will be a very promising country if the reforms will be carrying on and accomplished. However I am not optimistic. Given persistence of an authoritative political system, it is inevitable that reforms will be halted in the future when the interests of those in power are negatively affected.
Serious political showdown will break out due to escalation of tensions among political strongmen for the control of power. As to the anti-corruption campaign, no matter how many “big tigers” can be uncovered, I have no much confident in it as long as it is conducted at the present terms.
Without rule of law the moderate middle power would be destroyed
The most important issue for China is rule of law. Without it the healthy civic power in opposition to the corrupted bureaucratic systems would be suppressed as a by-product in the anti-corruption campaign.
Under the existing authoritative political framework, the anti-corruption campaign is simply an attempt of purifying the existing bureaucratic systems through traditional methods which has repeated time and time again in the Chinese history. It will not work unless a total breakdown of the current political ecosystem.
But as a by-product of the anti-corruption campaign, the moderate civil power that is critical of the government positions at times could be easily smashed. Without a vigorous system of rule of law, those outspoken figures will be defenceless in face of the charges alleged by the government. In my opinion return of the “Cultural Revolution”, which is a hot issue at the present, is unlikely but reappearance of “anti-right” movement is possible.
If the anti-corruption campaign would destroy the moderate middle power which is willing to coordinate with the authority in advancing a peaceful transition of the Chinese society, then what will be leftover?
The remaining will be tyrants at top, corrupted and malicious officials in the middle and foolish mass at the bottom. The situation could become explosive as foolish mass are likely turning into gangsters and mobsters.
As a consequence people who can afford will flee to abroad and the nation will be hollowed from within. I agree with a comment made by professor Sun Liping “ what China faces is not the danger of internal rise up and riot; but the decay from within.”
Such decay is happening. As a proof, deterioration in the social value system has made the things unacceptable in the past becoming normal in these days. For example, an examiner was beaten up for his rightful action of confiscating cheating tools from the students participated in the national examination for college entrance. Those responsible for this brutal behaviour were the parents of the students. Those parents blamed the examiner of depriving their children of the opportunity to study in universities, a way-out to the change of their social statues. To them cheating is a fair thing to do in the context that young people of privileged background will secure their opportunities through connections anyway.
Without rule of law, people could reach a conclusion that benefits could be sought from by doing outrageous things. This will lead to breakdown of all the virtues vital to a harmonious and productive society. A society will be hopeless when people do not believe in hard work and honesty.
Avoidance of a hawkish foreign policy
China’s foreign policy is another area makes me nervures. Primarily the Chinese militarily has a disproportionate level of influence over the Chinese foreign policy.
The ultimate goal of diplomacy is to avoid war and allow issues between nations to be resolved through negotiations. Currently in China, nationalism is often stirred up along with the advocate of military solution to the border disputes.
Border disputes are complicated matters. Ordinary people do not have the access to facts but are likely to be misled by nationalistic media.
Diplomacy is complex, sensitive and delicate. I hope China can be rational and allow professional diplomats to handle the foreign affairs. Nowadays professional diplomats are often afraid of speaking the truth. Having worked in this area for long I know the problem is quite serious.
Major crisis in international affairs can be triggered by an accidental and insignificant event. It could become dangerous if China and its opponents are both being hijacked with strong nationalistic sentiment.
I hope China should not regard itself as a superpower capable of replacing the US and adopt an adventurist foreign policy. This is at least an important expectation on the Chinese top leadership.
Rise of civic power
I have no much hope in the Chinese authority to have meaningful breakthroughs in social development. Instead I feel confident in the rise of civic power in China. The Chinese society has become highly diversified in ideology with the emergence of ultra right and ultra left. Some very positive concepts and theories have been spreading across the nation swiftly.
For example, the articles I wrote a few years ago was often considered to be outrageous and deviant. But nowadays my opinion is increasingly being accepted by the people of all backgrounds even government officials.
If there is a change in China similar to the fall of Soviet Union, I believe there will not be tens of millions of party members standing out to defend the corrupted regime.