10/26/2010, 00.00
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Party plenum does not solve China’s problems

by Wei Jingsheng
The great dissident looks at the recent plenum of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, which has not achieved any result, except for the succession. No solutions are offered to the country’s political and economic problems, which threaten both China and the world.
Washington (AsiaNews) – The just-concluded Fifth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party received broad attention by both Chinese and foreign media. This attention is because in this session, in addition to traditional topics of the upcoming five-year plan, three very difficult topics of greater interest to us were discussed.

One of these topics was the successor issue. In an authoritarian system, this topic grabs more people's attention than does the election in the US. In a democratic country like the United States, the basic state policy does not change much when there is a new president. The most effective policies will not change. That is because all policies draw their legal basis from the US Congress. The president and the president's administration traditionally only carry out the law, instead of make the law. Thus, the change and development of the country follows a smooth orbit, instead of a non-stopping turmoil of ups and downs.

But China's situation is different. Even the common people are very concerned about politics. Why? Because historical experience tells us that, a small number of people make policy and law. A new official always light three big piles of fires to make his name. These fires often end up burning people's interests. The ideals of individual poor people differ only a little bit, yet the policy changes so much that is hard to be recognized. Nowadays, more and more Westerners are dealing with the Chinese so they too are concerned about changes of the top leaders in the Chinese Communist regime.

The second unusual issue is the rumour of political reform. During the previous two months, Premier Wen Jiabao and a number of media made a hubbub about political reform on a large scale, and made it sound real. Indeed, it did make a number of myopic folks dance for joy, becoming excited like fools. They thought the time was ripe to interact with the Communist Party with "kind hearts", and that wolves with criminal intent would finally turn themselves into vegetarians.

The third unusual topic was even more difficult. That is that the huge U.S. trade deficit with China has affected the global economic recovery. The United States and Europe are not going to be delayed any longer in their demand for currency reform. China's economic development strategy is facing a crossroads. Yet, the communist leaders have their disputes and no clear conclusion has emerged. This issue is what the international community is more concerned about.

The succession issue was solved smoothly to people's surprise. Initially, this issue was very difficult to solve as the two factions refused to give up. According to common practice, it should have been resolved last year. However, then the result was almost a fight, so it was expected it would be hard to solve smoothly this year. Yet, it became the only real solution among all the problems this time.

The reason behind this solution is that both the cliques of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are faced with the two other more serious problems, the political reform and economic problem. On these two issues, they both are minorities within the Communist Party. They both need allies and do not want to head into a fierce struggle within the Communist Party. So Xi Jinping could smoothly gain the qualification of successor. This result is that what we often see in politics—when the sandpiper and clam fight against each other, the fisherman gets them both—the third party benefits from the fight of the two. Yet, the two other issues did not go smoothly.

Political reform is a big problem. The communist regime is in a precarious position. This is a fact that most people can see. But, the responses to face this fact are not all the same. I remember a few years ago there was a group of scholars who hyped the "mob politics" on a large scale and denounced the people as their resistance got stronger and stronger. These scholars were attempting to lead public opinion by suppressing the mood of resistance. However, they were not very successful.

Essentially their opinion was "peace, rationality, non-violence", in an effort to make "positive interaction" with the Communist regime. But, the people who are forced into a corner without choice will not accept that theory. When the very survival of people is even an issue, with the Communist Party's position very clear throughout, how can one deceive the people in broad daylight? So, the persons with a breadth of vision within the ruling class came to a conclusion: without following the will of the people to reform into a Western-style democratic system, it is impossible to solve all existing problems in China. In chaos, the people in the ruling class would be the victims of squaring accounts.

Instead of being victims after a revolution, it is better to walk on the road of reform following law via a means of peaceful evolution. This road would save the lives and net worth of these people. This thinking has caused a number of economic, political, and culturally successful people to form a political group that is now called the reformer faction within the Chinese Communist Party. Their motivation is clear: in order to protect smoothly their property and reputation from deadly violation, only political reform can solve the current chaos.

However, these people are not the mainstream in the bureaucratic class. The present high-rank officials and their relatives who have not made enough money, or do not believe that the common people will let the leaders of the Communist Party go free without revenge. They are the mainstream with absolute advantage both in numbers and actual strength of power. Hu Jintao is their chief representative, and the successor Xi Jinping is trying his best to play the chief representative. So, while political reformers have the support of the people and public opinion, they cannot change the situation. Their own weak will also means they will never become the majority.

Then there is the other most important issue, the reform of the economic system. Should the Party continue to harm the Chinese people, as well as endanger the world economy, by the so-called "Chinese model"? Or should China walk towards a true and fair market economy? This discussion results from the Western countries attempting to force revaluation of the Chinese currency RenMinBi. On this issue, political reformers and conservatives are on the same side, because they both have vested interest in the existing system.

In other words, the existing unfair system is the basic condition for them to gain economic interest. Together with the Western capitalists, they strongly resist the appreciation of the RenMinBi, firmly resist fair international trade, resolutely resist the reform of the so-called "China model," and firmly wish to prevent a normal growth of the consumer market for the ordinary Chinese people. Only the "China model" and the political tyranny could guarantee them to earn continuously excess profits. Throughout the United States, the whole country wants sanctions against China's unfair trade; only the United States Chamber of Commerce is the staunch ally of the Chinese government. They are protecting their opportunity to share the excess profits.

However, within the Chinese Communist Party there is still a very powerful force promoting reform of the economic system. Some are concerned about the living conditions of ordinary people, some are concerned about sustainable economic development, and some are wondering if the Chinese Communist regime could be maintained. After all, being against the world and also against their own people violates a taboo of military strategists since ancient times. Violating this taboo will for sure bring a doomed fate.

No matter from what point of view, it ultimately comes down to the reform of the irrational economic system. This is where the Chinese people's interests are, but also are the needs of the global economic recovery. Global trends are hard to stop. The alliance of Chinese and foreign capitalists alone, after all, ultimately will not work in the current world.

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