03/03/2011, 00.00
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Wei Jingsheng: Waiting for China’s Jasmine Revolution

by Wei Jingsheng
The struggle for democracy, be it Chinese or Arabic, must properly evaluate the strength of the dictators and the movement to overturn them. Democracy and human rights in China, are songs sung only by an elite: the need to mobilize the masses without dealing with the tyrants. The analysis of the great Chinese dissident.

Washington (AsiaNews) - In the last a couple of months, the Jasmine Revolution in the Arabic countries has risen to such a height that it already has gone beyond those countries and expanded world-wide.  Chinese youths also learned from it, and called for a Chinese Jasmine Revolution on February 20.  However, the Communist Party was nervous and ready for them.  The party emphasized using high-tech to "maintain stability".  Due to the youth's lack of experience and underestimation of the capacity of the Communists, the event ended without too much activity.  On the contrary, it ended up with many leaders of the movement being detained and arrested.  It seems the gain was not worth the loss.


As a matter of fact, this perception is not true.  Naturally, young people lack experience, that is normal.  However, the young people were full of energy and dared to sacrifice for their ideology.  This sacrifice refutes those who look down on young people and say the newer generations are worse than the older ones.  It shows that every generation has its talented and brave people.  Experience could be learned and accumulated.  A person who falls could learn to get up.  Like the waves in the Yangtze River, the front waves are pushed by the waves behind.  As long as we have successors, there will be success one day.


However, the views of critics are valuable.  If we examine the Jasmine Revolution in the Arab countries, we could gain a lot of experience.  In comparison with the success and failure of this Jasmine Revolution, we will see the gap between the Arabic and the Chinese people.


I think the first issue is the wrong timing.  In Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, resentment had been building for years, reaching a tumultuous level.  This resentment finally resulted in the  momentum of falling dominoes sparked by one incident.  However, the Jasmine Revolution in China only relied on the news of the revolutions in the Arab countries instead of being launched from the mood of Chinese society within.  Thus the movement only floated on the surface without a solid foundation from the masses.


Indeed Chinese society is just like Egypt, with extreme exploitation from bureaucratic capitalists.  It is also suffering from the pain of inflation and massive unemployment.  However, people have not focused their pain on the target of the Communist Party.  Instead, their attentions are spread over various minor issues and related people.  This atmosphere is quite different from that in 1989.  At that time, although people's aim was not very high, being limited only to anti-corruption, it was a goal that people in whole China mostly recognized.  Although there was no organization, then it was a pre-loaded situation.  That uprising was very similar to the recent Arab revolutions.


This time the Jasmine Revolution in China is not in that position.  Although there is the pain of forced demotions, lay-offs, exploitation, and not being allowed to speak out, the reaction is not focused on the unreasonable and dictatorial system of the Chinese Communists.  When the mood of the resistance has not reached an enraged state, imitation of others' activities such as calling for demonstrations naturally would result in what happened on February 20.  Only when the peoples' mood has reached that boiling point, then any one incident could trigger a collapse as happened during the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia.


The above analysis shows that controlling the rhythm and timing of the movement is the essential experience we must learn from all the revolutions that were successful and unsuccessful.  With only the passion, the success of the revolution, or even major achievement in changing a social system, is unlikely.  Every major change of a social system that on the surface may look accidental in reality is not only the result of years of promotion and agitation, but also the fruit of choosing the correct time and right target.  Even when there is mounting public indignation due to years of promotion and agitation, the wrong selection of time and target will also lead to the failure of the revolution.  For more than two decades now the main reason for the Chinese revolution wandering in the low valley is due to the wrong selection of time and target, instead of a lack of social impetus.


Take the recent Chinese Jasmine Revolution as an example.  Its goal was to overthrow the Communist Party to establish a democratic system.  This goal is indeed correct in principle.  However, the impetus for the people to sacrifice their blood for a beautiful future which has not appeared is far less urgent and emotional than to try to relieve the current pain.  Currently, the pain that most Chinese understand is not due to a lack of democracy and human rights, but due to inflation and the wealth gap from the extreme exploitation.  Losing daily necessities such as rice and salt would result in one call being responded to by the thousands immediately.  In comparison, the terms of democracy and human rights are more like songs of the elite now, which lack the direct responses of many.


There has been no single democratic revolution that was mobilized by the slogan of democracy.  Instead, it was only after the revolution that people chose a new democratic system.  For every individual, there is a most important goal in his mind.  Only when these goals are merged into a trend, there comes the burst of the revolution.  Only when the objectives of the revolution are integrated into the objectives of the most people, will that revolution go on in the way of following the cracks in bamboo.  Only when the songs of the elite are wrapped by the daily essentials of the average folks, could we gain the responses of thousands from one call.  We then could reach the highest goal, by starting with the lowest aim.


The first step would be the publicity and promotion of new ideas.  Without the pioneers of democracy such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, there would not be a democratic system in the USA.  Instead, there would have been a revolution like that in Brazil - an overthrow of the rule of the king of Portugal for a Brazilian emperor.  So saying that the pioneers such as Jefferson and Adams were the founding fathers of American democracy is not an exaggeration.  However, the revolution was launched by the grassroots Boston Tea Party and accomplished by that Tea Party and the farmers.  The direct attraction to revolution for the Tea party and farmers was not democracy and freedom.  Instead, it was the British exploitation of its colony in America and the pain the exploitation caused.  It was most people's hope to liberate themselves from the pain that resulted in the success of the revolution.


If at that time the people in the American colony made compromises with the British rulers instead of fighting to the end, would there be democracy in the USA?  Of course not.  Now, if people make compromises with the Communist Party, or Mubarak, or Gaddafi, instead of being determined to overthrow them, will there be Chinese democracy or Arabic democracy?  Of course not.  This is the rule.


People hope to resolve differences and disputes in peaceful, rational, and non-violent ways.  However, this must be done after the rules to define "reasonable" are established.  Peaceful, rational, and non-violent resolution only works with people who are reasonable.  In dealing with tyrannies who are unreasonable, you cannot be rational with them.  Only by destroying them as one deals with an enemy, will a society that respects reasoning be established.  Even after a democratic social system is established, we still have to use force via the military and police against unreasonable bandits and thugs.


The fantasy to eliminate force forever is just like the fantasy of communism, which only brings the opposite results.  That would result in widespread violence making people suffer while the dictators sit on people's heads.

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