China’s president has staked everything on controlling the media and the military. If he succeeds, he can control the situation in the short term. However, this is unlikely. In the last three years, nothing has gone smoothly for him, including his latest steps. This is because Xi Jinping’s basic ideas are wrong. The analysis of a great dissident follows.
Washington (AsiaNews) – From the expulsion of the French reporter Ursula Gauthier, we can perceive Xi Jinping's plan to control public opinion. Since Xi Jinping came to power, nothing seems going smoothly for him, economically, politically, and diplomatically. Previously he pinned his hope on an anti-corruption campaign, thus defrauding the support of some people. But soon people realized that the campaign was false -- in fact it was his way to remove his dissidents through a selective way of anti-corruption, and therefore the people's support he received started to drop.
What followed was the counterattack of the corrupt officials, including a panic mood by everyone of the bureaucratic class. In the recent Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping did not realize the dictatorship he wanted, but was made disappointed and depressed. Thus, he has to put his hopes on controlling military power and controlling the media. If he were successful on both, it would be possible for him to control the situation in the short term.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, these are unlikely. Just like everything in the past three years has not been going smoothly for him, these actions will not be smooth. That is because his basic ideas are wrong, so even though the fine details are done delicately and accurately, the result would still be wrong to a degree that is irreparable.
For example, Xi relies on punishing foreign correspondents to control public opinion. We can recall the era of Mao Zedong, to see if he won a favorable public opinion through punishing foreign correspondents. What Mao Zedong relied on was to make the Western public opinion more Marxist, or left-oriented, in addition with fully control the domestic media and surround the foreign reporters completely. This approach made the international public opinion of that time unable to see any of the domestic situation in China; yet to produce reports, they had to cite largely from the Communist Party's newspaper.
Now the situation is completely different. The public opinion of the world has reversed from sympathy to the Communist Party to disgust with the Communist Party. Even the people on the left do not like the Communist Party anymore. They tried to draw a line to avoid being implicated by the authoritarian systems of the communist countries. Even the people of the communist countries have long abandoned the lies of the communism. Xi Jinping has the delusion to revive the Communist Party by the propaganda tune of the 1950's. This effort will only meet the Chinese ancient fables such as: "to drill the wood hoping to catch the fish"; and "to mark the boat in search of the sword that fell into the river". It looks just like a joke.
Now the Internet and social media are so advanced, with updates every passing day. Without being stationed in Beijing or leaving home, one can still know events of the whole world. Public opinion domestically and internationally has formed as a whole, and is maintaining a strong trend that is unstoppable. The Internet police of Xi Jinping have also met one ancient fable in China, which is "the mantis raises its arm in an effort to stop the carriage". No matter how much money Xi Jinping funds his mantis' arm in an effort to maintain stability, a mantis' arm is only a mantis' arm that cannot stop the carriage. Even with the arms of many mantis one still can not stop the wheel of history, which can not be changed by one person's will.
Another example is the current "military reform" in China. "Military reform" has become the most popular term in the media recently. A minimum of thought will realize such reform is just for the purpose of controlling military power through ways of playing magic. Things were changed from this to that, guards were moved from here to there, all are just excuses to clear the house of dissidents in a large scale while cultivating cronies. This rearrangement will inevitably lead to military instability, even uprising. To the least, it will result a sharp decline of military fighting power. There are numerous precedents in history already.
Does the Chinese military need reform? Of course it is indeed needed. But first and foremost, the military needs a stable morale. What is the primary condition to have a stable morale in the military? That is to know whom they are and what they are suppose to do. In the era of the Communist Party when it was still popular, the Schutzstaffel nature of the Communist army was recognized and agreed to by its military officials and soldiers. As the illusion of the Communist Party has disappeared, especially with a very strong recognition of the state and national identity, could Xi Jinping's desire to restore the military back to the nature of the Schutzstaffel be agreed to with the recognition of the vast majority of officers and soldiers? The results can only be demoralization, with rebellious moods becoming popular.
In the past when Chinese were poorly educated, Yuan Shikai could gather support from the military by advocating enough food to eat if one joins the army, thus creating a private army. During the eras of Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, private armies were still very popular. The SS system that the Chinese learned from the Soviet Union was more suitable to meet soldiers' qualities of that time. It replaced the outdated private army, and was able to deal with the Japanese army that was more like an army of the country, for as long as eight years.
After a lapse of more than half a century, the quality of modern people and military personnel has greatly improved, with rising national consciousness in people's hearts. The continuing SS system has been departing from the self-identity of the people and the military personnel. This is the main reason that the morale in the military has been falling apart in the past decades. The corruption of military officials is also a consequence from decline of identity, rather than the cause. The civil officials love money, and so do the military officials.
Can patriotism be educated out? No. First the system of this country must be recognized by its people, and thus be able to improve the sense of recognition through education, leading the effect of consistent ideology. There is no political commissar and no political officers in the US military, yet its soldiers remain with a clear and unified political goal - fighting for their country and their people is not something they need to think about and to doubt.
Regardless how Xi Jinping tries to change in his "military reform", he is still strengthening his SS system. Now the people do not recognize the corruptive one-party authoritarian system of the Communist Party anymore, how the slogan of "fighting for the Communist Party" will still be able to gather people's hearts? I am afraid that goal will be less consistent than the mercenaries who fight for money. Xi's military reform, inevitably will degenerate the SS army into private armies. This is the real chaos-creating action of usurping the military, that also makes a foundation for others to usurp the military and to create chaos.
As the economy in China declines further, the social conflicts in China will deteriorate further as well. With the selective anti-corruption campaign becoming more and more cruel, internal fighting within the Communist officialdom will intensify. With the diminishing effect of money spread abroad, money diplomacy will be less and less effective, while international conflict becomes increasingly acute. This is the new situation in the New Year for Xi Jinping.
The countermeasure policies of Xi Jinping could only focus on domestic affairs. He should set further back externally: giving up the sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, while repairing the relationship with the United States in order to get the cooperation of the United States and Europe in his economic adjustment, or at least not enter economic confrontation with them.
This direction requires at the same time gradually establishing a democratic system and restoring the rule of law. Otherwise he will remain the opposition against the Western democracies, with both politics and the economy remaining in mismatch states to the Western countries. As the Western countries lose their need to fight against the Soviet Union, their tolerance toward China will gradually disappear. If he does not want to take this path but continues his path of one-party dictatorship, he will only run into a dead end.