02/23/2011, 00.00
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Egypt and the fears of Beijing: a revolution in China is inevitable

by Wei Jingsheng
One of the major Chinese dissidents analyzes the behaviour of the Chinese Communist Party - which censors and minimizes reports of the wave of democracy in Arab countries - and draws a comparison between those peoples and the Chinese. By now, he says, "only those who speak for the people are heard. And in China the stage is set for a new popular uprising. "

Washington (AsiaNews) - As everyone is paying attention to the democratic wave in the Arabic countries, a common topic is the impact this democratic wave may have on China.  Not only are the Chinese people discussing it; the foreign commentators have the same concern.  While trying hard to block the news, the Chinese Communist regime is releasing antagonistic propaganda as well.  Titles are often "China is not Egypt", etc.  The Communist Party talks loud about the differences between China and Egypt, hoping to prove that the democratic tide in Egypt would not happen in China.  If so, why does the regime block the Egyptian news in both the traditional media and the Internet?  Why doesn't it allow the Netizens to talk about the democratic revolution in Egypt?  It is really a clumsy denial resulting in self-exposure.

When various factors accumulate to a critical state, a revolution will occur in variety of ways for a variety of reasons.  Revolution should not have to be defined in any specific way for any specific reason after all.  Saying that China is not Egypt is pure rubbish, just like claiming that bread is not the same as rice.  However, when there is the need for food, both bread and rice will serve the purpose.  For revolution, various ways and reasons have their own possibilities.  All these people want to achieve is their purpose and freedom, instead of academic study of history.  After all, history is composed of various purposes, some that have been achieved and some that have not.  That history cannot say that one purpose will or will not work today.

Egypt and the Arab countries are societies controlled by social groups which are very religious.  There, religion has always been an important factor for social movement, and plays a central role in attracting the masses.  Under the shell of religion, it contains various political goals.  This is the complexity of Arab society.

Chinese society is no different.  All sorts of emerging political goals wrapped with traditional ideologies are propagated in the masses, resulting in reform or revolution at a proper time.  This model of putting new wine in old bottles has been around since ancient times, and it is the most effective way with minimal investment for propagating the idea of revolution.  This approach is quietly rising in China now, which is an important signal that China is approaching its revolution.

In China, the democratic concepts spread from the West have already received popular support.  Even in internal fights within the Communist Party, each faction uses the concept of democracy to win a commanding point.  However, this hope of all the people is not yet as strong as the essentials of living, such as salt and rice.  Historically, a new social system could only become an unshakable idea after many years of success.  Before that success, it will be wrapped in an old ideology to be propagated and fermented, until it gradually breaks the ideological foundations of the old system, and builds legitimacy for an emerging new society.

In China today, the most obvious form of this phenomenon is the so-called "New Mao Left".  Their latest development a few days ago was a recommendation letter to the Chinese Communist Party by "the Association of Yan'An Children".  The language used in that letter is in the stereotypical Communist Party style which nowadays people are not so familiar with and surely will make many people uncomfortable.  As soon as one reads the letter, it is obvious that the suggestions are also insignificant and impossible to implement.  Almost all the comments I have read were laughing at it, as if the letter was written by a bunch of daydreaming fools.  To the least the writers seem outdated.

 However, if you look at the contents of the letter carefully rather than its format, or if you treat it as publicity and a public opinion, then it is really worth reading.  It comes straight to the point that the focus of contemporary social conflict is exactly due to social injustice and the disparity between the rich and poor.  It also specifically points out without uncertainty the responsibility of the Communist Party for these problems.  It further analyzes that the reason for this result is undemocratic and the solution is to promote democracy.  The reason for promoting democracy is the so-called traditional "mass line" that was promoted by the early Communist Party, rather than "elites ruling the country" that has been advocated for many years now.

Although it did not say that openly, this letter implies dictated elitism or democracy by the elites are failed models, and are the culprits causing the situation in China today.  This expression is exactly the mainstream theory of the modern Chinese democracy movement, as well as the inspiration the Chinese people have taken from the Arabic democratic wave.  After the democratic waves of the 1970's and 1980's in China, various authoritarian regimes have learned to buy out the elite by sharing the interests of the dictatorship.  The most typical is Jiang Zemin's inclusion of the elite in the "three representatives".  The Chinese Communist Party bought a large number of elite, a tiny minority of the population, to share the interests of despotism and to channel them into the vested interests group.  This successfully approach of paying little price with high efficiency, has long been proved as effective by China's traditional authoritarian system.

In the wave of Arabic democratic movements, the democratic elite touted by Westerners almost did not play any positive role.  This revelation itself proves that the "China model" of buying out the elite is indeed very successful.  Rather, it is little known young people and religious forces that dominate this revolution.  A simple truth by the ancient Chinese is "Before the ashes in the pits turned cold, there came the chaos in Shandong.  After all, both Liu and Xiang were not intellectuals".  In these two lines of the poem of the Tang Dynasty, "the ashes in the pits" refers to the "Burning of the Books" by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China; while "Liu and Xiang" refer specifically to the most well known uprising leaders who ended the Qin Dynasty, as well as uprising leaders in general. 

Under the premise of intense social contradictions, the whole society has the need to resolve the conflict back to normal.  This need is the driving force of revolution.  We must find a way to release that dynamic force.  Of course, the best would be for the intellectual elite to lead the revolution, but this is only the best in theory.  When the intellectuals are bought out and unable to function, the dynamic force will seek other ways to release itself, and will not give up until it reaches its goal.  This is the pattern exhibited in Egypt and the other Arabic countries.

In China, it is also the reason that the "mass line" comes to the stage again, after years of incompetence by elite opposition.  Since international society is already bought out by the money of the tyranny, the importance of the mass line becomes even more apparent.  When peaceful demonstrations have already been proven ineffective, violent revolution and a coup become the leftover choices.  In recent years, a lot of political groups holding the banner of "Mao's Leftists" pleading for the people have emerged in China.  They are the new and developing opposition groups.

This type of opposition, new wine put in old bottles, is a bit like that of the religious groups in the Muslim countries.  These groups are the real opposition, the new wine put in old bottles type of revolutionaries.   Just like the Protestant opposition in the democratic waves in Europe, they are promoters of democracy.  In the situation when the old wine put in new bottles kind of elite democrats failed, these new and developing oppositions will bring the new breakthroughs for a people's revolution.

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