10/08/2020, 16.10
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Like under Mao, 'purges' are coming under Xi Jinping

by Wei Jingsheng

The Chinese president has placed under investigation the right-hand man of Wang Qishan, his close ally in the fight against corruption. He first went after Ren Zhiqiang, a leader in his power base. Xi is using “his butcher knife” to destroy “his own political base”. The fates of Liu Shaoqi and Lin Biao during the Maoist era are cases in point. Power can only be controlled by a democratic system. The "father of democracy" in China, now in exile in the United States, gives his thoughts.

Washington (AsiaNews) – Although President Trump's infection with Wuhan pneumonia is hot news in major newspapers around the world, most media have also noticed the strange chess game in Beijing recently: Xi Jinping not only severely sentenced Ren Zhiqiang, which was interpreted as turning his face against his base in the "Red second generation;" in the past few days, he has also seized Wang Qishan's right-hand man, which was interpreted as having turned his face against the liberal faction.  Does he think that he can be a dictator relying on flatterers?

Wang Qishan made great contributions to Xi Jinping's fight against his political enemies.  Now that Xi Jinping has turned his back on his own people, the media in Hong Kong and Taiwan cannot help but cry foul.  But this is standard practice for the Chinese Communist regime.  In order to establish Mao Zedong's absolute authority, Liu Shaoqi made warhorse contributions yet died in Mao's prison; Lin Biao made irreplaceable contributions to the Communist Party's conquest of a nation, yet his plane crashed on the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.  Has Wang Qishan been wronged?  It's just in line with standard practice.

I know many national leaders in this world and have found a pattern of behavior: they are not exactly the same person before and after taking office.  They have different degrees of ego-inflation, but alienation from all their social relationships, and their words losing credibility is also quite common.  It's like the monkey's coat becoming a different color after becoming the monkey king. 

It happens even in democratic countries.  But by contrast, with the tyrants of past dynasties, the animal brutality hidden in their genes began to emerge and various cruel and obscene things gradually appeared.

Therefore, the developed societies of the East and the West have gradually added restrictions and constraints on monarchs to prevent excessive power from leading to brutality and outrages.  These restrictions on power have developed in modern times to a democratic system.  Only under a democratic system can power be controlled most effectively, and no unreasonable disasters be brought to the individuals.  Brutal expansion also will run into obstacles on all sides, and power is no longer a threat to society.

Why have Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping both been cruel and ruthless towards their best friends and most important supporters?  Because the rulers' ego-expansion makes them unable to tolerate opposition, and even a little disrespect will be infinitely magnified and seen as a threat to the dictatorship.  The already swollen heart cannot stand it, thus does rage start from the heart, evil grows outward and must eliminate these past friends and supporters for their own good.

When ordinary people have these emotions, which cannot be realized because of environmental factors; individual unwise people will be punished by society.  The environment in which dictators are not punished is precisely the reason for their brutality and misconduct.  Liu Shaoqi thought that Mao Zedong would forgive him on account of his past achievements.  He lingered in front of Mao's gate for a long time, but he was not permitted to get in.  Therefore, Lin Biao knew that there was no friendship, warmth or appreciation among tyrants; nor could he argue rationally with Mao.  He could only resist by force.

This is the fundamental reason why authoritarian regimes are often overthrown by violence.  A democratic regime treats the overthrow of a government as the implementation of the constitution, regularly renewing the government.  It avoids indefinite rule creating a dictatorship, and does not trust the so-called enlightened leader to win the hearts of the people.  The choice of leaders and major policies by the people has fundamentally avoided the social unrest and the loss of property and population caused by violent revolutions.

But authoritarian regimes and dictators are not fools. They have a set of policies to maintain their rule.  In addition to ruses and repression, they use a reverse elimination system of human resources management to ensure that no resistance is generated.  The Deng Xiaoping era already wiped out the power of political reform within the Communist Party.  Xi Jinping has done even worse, and with his butcher knife is already destroying his own political base.

No matter whether the Red Second Generation or ordinary people, big capital or small staff, and including the nearly half of China's population that is poor, all have realized the advantages of democracy and the rule of law.  They demand not only a prosperous life, but also freedom and dignity, as well as the right to personal protection.  If the dictatorship cannot be overthrown peacefully, they can only exercise their right to overthrow tyranny by violence.  From the Lin Biao-style coup to the Hua Guofeng-style coup, even to the Chen Sheng and Wu Guang type of rebellion (a Qin Dynasty soldier uprising), all are in line with our Chinese political and cultural traditions.

What is ridiculous is that a small group of so-called elites who survive around bureaucrats such as Wang Qishan have always mocked the people's right to overthrow tyranny by violence.  But what choice does Wang Qishan have now?  A Communist Party's Central Committee plenary meeting held by a group of cowards who dare to be angry but dare not speak?  It appears to be hopeless.

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