Posts tagged ‘Mao Zedong’

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ma Ying-jeou on War Commemorations: CCP should face History Honestly

Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou said on Tuesday that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) commemorations of the Japanese War were manipulating history in an unacceptable way. Ma spoke on a Special Exhibition on the Truth about the Japanese War (對日抗戰真相特展).

According to Radio Taiwan International ‘s (RTI) Chinese service, Ma Ying-jeou said that remarks by former Chinese leader Hu Jintao during the 60th Japanese War commemorations hadn’t been correct either. According to Ma, Hu had said that the KMT army had fought the frontal battles against the Japanese, while the CCP had fought the Japanese behind enemy lines. In fact, Ma said, KMT troops had fought both kinds of war. However, Hu Jintao’s remarks had been closer to the truth than the way mainland Chinese media were now painting a picture with the CCP as the leading force in the war of resistance.

President Ma said: Mainland reports emphasize again that the war of resistance had been CCP-led. We cannot accept this, in the light of the sacrifices of so many officers and soldiers. One can’t talk to a point where inaccurate situations emerge.


At another venue on Tuesday, a symposium on the Second Sino-Japanese War, Ma said that events marking the victory over the Japanese in WWII were not affecting relations between Taiwan and Japan, RTI’s English section reports.

“I think we should focus on the issues at hand. [We should] have empathy and a clear concept of what is right and wrong. That’s the basis of making friends, and a basis for enabling the Chinese-speaking community and the Japanese people to build a long-standing friendship.”

In Taiwanese CNA newsagency’s quotation:

I have learned that when outsiders address my attitude towards Japan, they often believe that I belong to an anti-Japanese camp, because I frequently attend Japanese-war commemoration events, and because of my support for comfort women, and there are others who, because of my acknowledgement of Yoichi Hatta‘s contributions for Taiwan’s farming population, think of me as belonging to a “pro-Japan camp”. I don’t think that I’m belonging to either. I’m in the Friends-of-Japan camp, because I believe that taking matters on their merits, to feel for others, and clear distinction between kindness and resentment is the way real friends interact with each other, and it is on this principle that the Chinese nation and the Japanese nation can built lasting friendship.


A Beijing-leaning Hong Kong news agency, CRNTT (中國評論通訊社), writes that the exhibition was organized by Taiwan’s ministry of defense. According to the report, Ma said that while the CCP did play a role in the war of resistance against Japan, the war had been led by the government of the Republic of China and Chiang Kai-shek, and this was an irrevocable fact which needed to be honestly faced. The CCP’s involvement had been limited, and this needed to be honestly acknowledged, CRNTT quotes the Taiwanese president.



» China’s press commemorates WW2, May 11, 2015


Friday, April 17, 2015

A Chinese concept of Internet Revolution: a Need for Traditional Industries to be Reborn with New Bones

A CCTV op-ed, republished here by Enorth (Tianjin), picks up the official buzzword of “Internet plus”, or “互联网”+ in Chinese. The author is a frequently published commentator beyond CCTV, Qin Chuan (秦川).

Main Link: “互联网+”不是加工具 而是转观念

On March 5 this year, chief state councillor Li Keqiang, in his work report, spelled out the action plan for the formulaton of “Internet plus”. From there, “Internet plus” has become one of the most popular terms. There are people who welcome the age of “Internet plus”, and there are others who believe that this year is “the first year of the traditional industry’s internetization”, but there are also people who keep asking questions about why it should be “Internet plus” rather than “plus the internet”.


The enthused tractor driver

Riding into the incomparable Tomorrow

Internet plus had become a concept, writes, Qin, which had already “become hot”. It had the potential of making the Chinese economy take off. In the first quarter’s seven percent of economic growth and the first quarter’s smooth beginning for the national economy, the role played by “Internet plus” was not clearly quantifiable, but certainly discernible.

“Internet plus” isn’t “plus the internet” because the subjects are different, and because their effects are also different. “Plus the internet” stays at the concept of “traditional industries plus the internet” and sees the internet as a tool, but what “internet plus” signals is actually “internet plus all kinds of traditional industries”. The internet isn’t just a carrier, it’s the main frame, it doesn’t play a supporting role, but the indispensible and leading role.


In the second industrial revolution, electricity had led to great changes in many industries, writes, Qin, but the internet wouldn’t only help raising productivity and efficiency as electricity had one; the internet in itself was industrialization (互联网本身已经产业化). Internet companies which had attained some industrial attributes and inspired industrial upgrades should not be underestimated.

Qin urges a broader perspective. The internet was about merging, sharing, transformation and improvement. It was “not an addend, but a multiplier”. Traditional industries were facing big changes, and even needed to be “reborn with new bones” (脱胎换骨)*): Just as scholars say, new technologies and abilities can completely change traditional industries’ efficiency and abilities, and form new operations and business models.

That’s why we can say that “Internet Plus” may bring a technological revolution of far-reaching significance, which may permeat all aspects, not only topple traditional industries, but also provide traditional industries with new life. The shame is that when it comes to “Internet Plus”, quite many people just can’t see its value, or remain superficial about its significance. Reports say that the most serious bottleneck in China for “Internet Plus” are anachronistic concepts [or viewpoints]. At present, rather serious inflexible points of view exist in our countries’ traditional industries, as can be seen in the phenomenon of copying what is already there, a lack of essential understanding and use of cloud computing and services in big data infrastructure, and there is no broad change towards a consumer-led business pattern either.


We suffered from aphasia during several technological revolutions in the past. In this new technological revolution, we must not be marginalized again. The good thing is that the central authorities have already recognized the great significance of “internet plus”, and promoted it systematically. According to reports, the state has already established new industry venture capital funds at a value of 40 billion Yuan. More capital must be raised and integrated, to assist in beefing up industrial innovation.


The article doesn’t suggest that anything would be certain, however. The author is careful enough to suggest that “Internet Plus” could lead to these or those desirable results, and his article ends with a maybe (或许), not with a certainly (肯定):

By changing outdated ideas, by embracing “Internet Plus”, we may have an extraordinary tomorrow, with deep changes from China’s economy to Chinese life.




*) 脱胎换骨 could also be translated with the more “civil” term of re-inventing themselves, but to be reborn with new bones is a much older saying in China than the business philosophy reflected in self-reinvention. Self-criticism, sometimes necessary for survival when facing accusations of being a bad or weak revolutionary, for example, included the preparedness to be “reborn with new bones”. To be “reborn” that way is also the demand Haiyun, the wife of Cadre Zhang in Wang Meng‘s novel “Butterfly”, is facing after having praised “wrong” novels as an academic lecturer. And the man making these demands on her is Cadre Zhang himself:

All you can do now is to lower your head and to confess your guilt, to start anew, to flay your face and to wash your heart, to be reborn and to change your bones!

That’s to say, the choice of words reflects a blend of politics and economics, and, indeed of fear and survival. But when isolated from history, it probably amounts to this quote (Andy S. Grove):

For now, let me just say that a strategic inflection point is a time in the life of business when its fundamentals are about to change. That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”

And yes, Only the Paranoid Survive is the title of the book.


Further Reading

» The Trickies Part, Slate, Jan 21, 2015
» Address Censorship, SCMP, March 8, 2015
» Deutschland will digital, DW, March 16, 2015
» Work Report, China Daily, Mar 5, 2015
»  Work Report (hours later), Mar 5, 2015
» Angst vor Zusagen, Die Zeit, Aug 19, 2014
» Digital Germany 2015, Nov 10, 2010
» The Digital Germany paper (in German)
» Destruction or Development, Mar 15, 2010


Friday, February 13, 2015

On the Summits of Science: Legal Construction and Recent History

“I want to be damned if I know now what I meant when I wrote that” – that’s how a German author, Arno Schmidt, once quoted an imaginary writer, confronted with his productions of several decades ago.

I’m only translating an article – but I want to be damned if I know now what this is actually about. Anyway – I feel that someone has to do this translation.

Here goes.

A Xinhua commentary earlier thims month looked back to the 18th CCP Central Committee’s plenary session – the one that focused on rule of law under CCP leadership -, and repeats an old leitmotif: the unity of theory and practice. The Xinhua commentator/editor, Ding Feng (丁峰), puts it this way:

Just as a nation must stand on the summits of science, it must never, not even for a moment, be separated from theoretical thought. To succeed in a great cause, it must never, not even for a moment, be separated from the guidance by scientific theory. Theory comes from practice, and on the other hand, it guides practice. In the circles of practice, knowledge, more practice and knowledge again, practice deepens continously, theory improves with each passing day, and the promotion of the cause develops steadily.


As an important part of the great  cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, legal construction is part of the foundations of institution building. The party’s 18th central committee’s fourth plenum issued a comprehensive strategic policy [or decision] on the promotion of government by law (依法治国), the general goal of which is to build a legal system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, to build a socialist country ruled by law. The goal decided that socialism with Chinese characteristics rule of law is Chinese rule of law, and its significant function is to provide a powerful guarantee for the cause of of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The fundamental task of rule by law stipulates that legal theory must closely center around this core of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and ponder and answer to the major theories and practical questions of legal construction, so as to comprehensively provide a compass of thought and theoretical guidance for the comprehensive promotion of rule by law. Secretary-general Xi Jinping emphasized that “the theory of socialism-with-Chinese-characteristics rule by law is essentially the theoretical result of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics”, deeply promulgating the source of Chinese theory of rule by law and political attributes. It specifies the direction in which to promote the development of our country’s theory of rule by law.

作为中国特色社会主义事业的重要组成,法治建设居于制度建设的基础性地位。党的十八届四中全会作出全面推进依法治国战略决策,总目标就是建设中国特色社会 主义法治体系,建设社会主义法治国家。目标决定了中国的法治是中国特色社会主义法治,其全部意义和作用在于为中国特色社会主义事业提供有力法治保障。法治 根本任务规定了法治理论必须紧紧围绕“中国特色社会主义”这个核心来思考回答法治建设的重大理论、实践问题,为全面推进依法治国提供思想指南和理论指导。 习近平总书记强调“我们要发展的中国特色社会主义法治理论,本质上是中国特色社会主义理论体系在法治问题上的理论成果”,深刻揭示出中国法治理论的思想渊 源和政治属性,为推动我国法治理论发展指明了方向。

Problems are the voice of the times, and theory is the answer to the “voice of the times”. The theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics was formed by opening and reform. [This theoretical system] is the theoretical summary made by the party leaders and the people, in the practice of socialist modernization. It is the current CCP members’ theoretical innovation, combining Marxism with our country’s initial stage of socialism. It is the latest theoretical fruit of the sinicization of Marxism. Under the correct guidance of this theoretical system, reform and opening achieved brilliant successes that attracted worldwide attention, highlighting the great power of this theory, and established our high degree of theoretical confidence.

问题是时代的声音,理论则是对“时代之声”的思考回应。中国特色社会主义理论体系形成于改革开放,是党领导人民进行社会主义现代化实践的理论总结,是当代 中国共产党人把马克思主义原理同社会主义初级阶段基本国情相结合的理论创新,是马克思主义中国化的最新理论成果。在这一理论体系的正确指导下,改革开放取 得举世瞩目的辉煌成就,凸显出这个理论的强大威力,树立起我们高度的理论自信。

Ever since [the policies of] reform and opening, from the third plenum of the 11th central committee‘s promulgation of building comprehensive socialist democracy and the strengthening of a socialist legal system, to the 15th national party congress‘ establishment of a basic plan for a country ruled by law, and the 16th national party congress‘ proposal for socialist-democracy politics most fundamental organic unity of maintaining the leadership of the party, the people’s self-determination (当家作主), the 17th national party congress‘ proposal to accelerate the strategic plan of a socialist country ruled by law, the 18th national party congress‘ clearly pointing out that rule by law is the fundamental way of governing the country, the 18th central committee’s fourth plenum issuing the decision and plan for the comprehensive promotion of government by law, our party has continuously deepened humankind’s knowledge of theoretical thought on government by law, practical exploration and the major successes achieved, reflecting, from an important aspect, the milestone to which socialism with Chinese characteristics theory has developed so far, marking the continuous deepening of our party’s knowledge about the party’s pattern of holding power, about the pattern of building socialism, and about the pattern of human development. […]

改革开放以来,从党的十一届三中全会提出健全社会主义民主和加强社会主义法制的目标,到党的十五大确立依法治国基本方略,十六大提出发展社会主义民主政治 最根本的是要把坚持党的领导、人民当家作主和依法治国有机统一起来,十七大作出加快建设社会主义法治国家新的战略部署,十八大明确提出法治是治国理政的基 本方式,十八届四中全会作出全面推进依法治国决策部署,我们党对依法治国的理论思考、实践探索以及所取得的重大成就,从一个重要方面反映出中国特色社会主 义理论从形成到发展的历程,标志着我们党对党的执政规律、社会主义建设规律、人类社会发展规律的认识不断深化。[…..]


China Copyright and Media, on January 24, provided background to the CCP’s current endeavors to rectify higher education. The Copyright and Media post also summarizes a speech by Xi Jinping on a study session of the politburo, in the afternoon of January 23. An academic, Professor Sun Zhengyu (孙正聿) from the Center for Fundamentals of Philosophy at Jilin University, reportedly also spoke at the study session.

Meantime, the English-language “Global Times” quotes a report by Liaoning Daily from November last year: it

said that many college teachers mocked Marxism, praised Western values and questioned the central government’s major policies. The report said that 80 percent of college students have encountered such teachers. The report which asked teachers to “treat China in a nicer way” has become a hit on the Internet.



» Re-ideologizing, ChinaChange, Feb 10, 2015
» Neither law nor order, Apr 24, 2011

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Obituary: Liang Guoju, 1947 – 2014

The website of the Communist Party of China reports the death of Liang Guoju (梁国聚): an outstanding member of the CCP, a long-tested and loyal warrior for Communism, former secretary of the [Guangdong] provincial party committee, and one of the deputy chairpersons of the 9th and 10th provincial political consultative conferences. The central CCP website takes the information from Nanfang Daily (南方日报), the official Guangdong Communist Party newspaper. A database at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University provides some more details about Liang. Information is based on this database if not otherwise stated.

Liang was born October 1947, with Boye County, Hebei Province as his ancestral home. Education (not necessarily re-education) through labor in November 1968 (參加工作).

Liang apparently started his career in 1968, in Panyu, now a district within Guangzhou, at what was the Lianhuashan People’s Commune (莲花山公社) at the time. He worked there as an announcer at the commune’s propaganda station. He became a cadre at Foshan Area Bureau of Public Security (PSB) in 1970, a post he held until 1976. He joined the CCP in August 1973 and became pre-trial and technical investigation department deputy section chief at the same area bureau of public security in 1976. It was during that time that he also studied sociology and law at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, from September 1982 to July 1984, in what can probably be best described as specialized courses for active cadres (Chinese: 幹部專修科學習). After heading a PSB branch office in 1984/85, he became deputy director of the Foshan PSB, plus the unit’s deputy secretary of the party committee. He became the unit’s director and secretary of the party committee in 1991. In July 1998, he became deputy director of the CCP Guangdong department of public security, and deputy chairman of the political consultative conference of Guangdong Province. He had apparently become Guangdong’s police chief by summer 2000.

Liang apparently rose in the wake of Chen Shaoji (陈绍基), a Guangdong native in the public security service. Chen’s career came to a sudden end in 2009, amidst allegations of severely violating party discipline, while Liang remained Guangdong political consultative conference deputy chairman until January 2011, when he stepped down, having reached the age limit, according to Baike Baidu.

Liang Guoju died in Guangzhou, on June 7, aged 67.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Chairman Xi, Braving the Wind and the Rain in Shenyang Military Region

The following is a translation of the top news of CCTV’s main newscast, Xinwen Lianbo, aired on August 30. Links within the translation added during translation.

Main Link: Xi Jinping visits Shenyang Military Region (习近平视察沈阳战区部队)

CCTV online news (Xinwen Lianbo): On the eve of the National Games of the People’s Republic of China‘s opening ceremony, CCP Secretary General, State Chairman, and Central Military Commission Chairman Xi Jinping paid a special inspection visit to the Shenyang combat zone troops. He emphasized that the implementation of the party’s goal of a strong army under new circumstances needed to be deepened, that the building of the troops needed to be comprehensively strengthened, that the ability to perform missions and responsibilities needed to be improved, to make yet bigger new contributions.

央视网消息(新闻联播):中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平在出席十二届全运会开幕式 前夕,专门视察了沈阳战区部队。他强调,要深入贯彻落实党在新形势下的强军目标,加强部队全面建设,不断提高履行使命任务能力,为维护国家主权、安全、发 展利益作出新的更大贡献。

Xi Jinping has always shown great interest in the construction and crew training of China’s first aircraft carrier. In the morning of August 28, after getting off the plane, he braved the wind and the rain and came to the Naval Aircraft Integrated Testing and Training Base, watched the carrier-based aircrafts taking off from ski-jump ramps, landing-blocking training, and inspected relevant equipment on the ground. On seeing the pilots completing all kinds of trainings very efficiently, Xi Jinping was most happy and applauded them enthusiastically. Xi Jinping cordially received the first batch of officers on board, the test pilots, and the pilots of the carrier-based aircraft, and strongly appreciated the excellent skills and virtuosity shown by the pilots under complex weather conditions. Xi Jinping also listened closely to an introduction of the carrier-based aircrafts’ design and functions, required the technicians in charge to conscientiously analyse the aircraft test flight data, and to climb to the top of science and technology. On leaving, he encouraged everyone to make persistent efforts, to deepen their studies, to learn diligently and to train proficiency, tp become excellent carrier-based aircraft pilots soon.

习近平一直十分关心我国第一艘航空母舰建设和部队训练。28日上午,他一下飞机就冒着风雨来到海军某舰载机综合 试验训练基地,观看舰载机滑跃起飞、阻拦着陆训练,实地察看有关设备。看到飞行员们干净利落完成了各项训练科目,习近平十分高兴,为他们热情鼓掌。习近平 亲切接见了首批上舰指挥员、试飞员和舰载机飞行员,高度赞赏飞行员在复杂气象条件下表现出的过硬本领和精湛技艺。习近平还仔细听取了舰载机设计和性能介 绍,要求有关科技人员认真分析战机试飞数据,不断攀登科技高峰。临别时,他勉励大家再接再厉、深入钻研、勤学精练,早日成为优秀的航母舰载机飞行员。

On that day in the afternoon, again through wind and rain, Xi Jinping went to Dalian, to board the “Liaoning” naval vessel there. The military flag fluttered in the wind, the sailors stood in good order and the “Liaoning” greeted a moment of glory. Xi Jinping inspected the guard of honor, then climbed up a ladder, then to the hangar, the battle stations, he inspected the equipment and facilities, enquired about the technical and tactical performance, and about the officers’ and men training situation. Xi Jinping showed great concern for logistical support, accomodation [of the crew], food, medical care, and asked detailed questions. He accepted the ship emblem and ship cap, carefully prepared by the sailors, and solemnly signed his name in the logbook. At parting time, Xi entered the gangway, affectionately waved to the sailors, told the ship captain and political commissar to be mindful of their duties, not to dishonor their mission, to shape combat effectiveness and security effectiveness soon, and to make their contributions to a powerful People’s Navy.

当天下午,习近平又风雨兼程赶往大连,登上停泊 在大连港的辽宁舰。军旗迎风飘扬,水兵整齐列队,辽宁舰迎来了一个庄严光荣的时刻。习近平检阅了水兵仪仗队,随后攀舷梯、下机库,深入舱室战位,察看舰上 装备设施,询问技战术性能,了解官兵工作训练情况。习近平十分关心舰上官兵后勤保障情况,住宿、饮食、看病等,他问得很详细。习近平接受了水兵们精心准备 的舰徽、舰帽,郑重在航泊日志上签名。离别时,习近平登上舷梯,向水兵们深情挥手,他叮嘱辽宁舰舰长和政委,你们要牢记职责,不辱使命,早日形成战斗力和 保障力,为建设强大的人民海军做贡献。

On the afternoon of August 29th, Xi Jinping visited the Shenyang Military Region authorities, received officers from the divisional level upwards, and heard the Shenyang Military Region work report. Xi Jinping fully affirmed the achievements made in the building of Shenyang Military Region troops during recent years. He emphasized that the implementation of the party’s goal of a strong army under new circumstances was related to national defense and the overall situation of troop building, and the army’s performance of their missions and responsibilities.  We need to persist in the deep implementation of the goal of a strong army in the building of the troops, vigorously promote the learning and education of the goal of a strong army, uphold the connection between theory and practice, make good use of transformation, to make it a strong driving force for strengthen the comprehensive building of the troops, deepening the reform and innovation of the troops, and for promoting military preparedness. Always hold on to and listen to this spirit of a strong army under the party’s command, by active work on your own initiative, to occupy the troops ideological, cultural, and public-opinion position. Make sure about the troops’ loyalty, absolute purity [or honesty], absolute reliability, so that they always, under all circumstances, firmly obey the party’s central committee and the central military commission. The party committees on all levels must play a leading role at the core in the realization of the goal of a strong army. They must lend efforts to improving the standards of scientific decision-making, democratic decision-making, and of decision-making in accordance with the law. The implementation of the goal of a strong army must be expanded to the grassroots and the most outlying points, the enthusiasm, self-initiative, and creativity of officers and soldiers for the realization of the goal of a strong army be brought into play, to firmly build the solid foundatoin for the goal of a strong army.

29日下午, 习近平来到沈阳军区机关,接见驻沈阳部队师以上干部,听取沈阳军区工作汇报。习近平对近年来沈阳军区部队建设取得的成绩给予充分肯定。他强调,贯彻落实党 在新形势下的强军目标,关系国防和军队建设全局,关系我军有效履行使命任务。要坚持在部队建设中深入贯彻落实强军目标,大力推进强军目标学习教育,坚持理 论联系实际,搞好转化运用,使之成为加强部队全面建设、深化部队改革创新、推进军事斗争准备的强劲动力。要始终扭住听党指挥这个强军之魂,以积极主动的工 作占领部队思想阵地、文化阵地、舆论阵地,确保部队绝对忠诚、绝对纯洁、绝对可靠,任何时候任何情况下都坚决听从党中央、中央军委指挥。各级党委要发挥在 实现强军目标中的核心领导作用,着力提高科学决策、民主决策、依法决策水平。要推动贯彻落实强军目标向基层拓展、向末端延伸,发挥广大官兵为实现强军目标 而奋斗的积极性、主动性、创造性,切实打牢实现强军目标的坚实基础。

Xi Jinping emphasized that there is the need to continue the in-depth construction of the army style in accordance with rising standards, to achieve a fundamental improvement in the building of the army style. In accordance with the general requirements of “looking in the mirror, tidying our attire, taking a bath and curing our diseases”, concentrate on the continuous solution of the four working-style problems of formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance, aim at the problems, we must do a good job in rectification, and make sure that special rectification achieves real effects. We must keep the doors open and engage in activities, work and pull together to solve problems, and, achieve solid education. From top to bottom, we must maintain our grasp, one level on the other, and one level leading the other in [the process of] change. We must establish a scientific and reasonable set of rules and regulations, and promote the working-style normalization and durability. Other tasks must be accomplished at the same time with strengthening the work style, with scientific coordination, organic combination [the term might come close to synergy effects], grasping two links at the same time and being mindful of advancing both of them.

习近平强调,要坚持按照标准更高、走在前列的要求不断把部队作风建设引向深入,努力实现 作风建设根本性好转。要按照“照镜子、正衣冠、洗洗澡、治治病”的总要求,集中精力持续解决“四风”问题,针对问题抓好整改,确保专项整治取得实实在在的 成效。要坚持开门搞活动,群策群力把问题解决好、把教育实践活动搞扎实。要坚持自上而下抓,一级抓一级,一级带着一级改。要建立一整套科学合理的法规制 度,推动作风建设常态化长效化。要把加强作风建设同完成其他各项工作任务结合起来,科学统筹、有机融合,做到两手抓、两促进。

Xi Jinping pointed out that support for local economic construction needed to be made an important task, that a good job at supporting the poor and the hardship-stricken, assistance for students and education, medical support, the building of a new [rural] countryside etc. needed to be done. The fields and scopes of integration of the military and civilians needed to be expanded, the defense economy and society’s economy be promoted, military-use and civilian-use technology, army talents and local talents be developed in mutually compatible ways. Support and participation in the construction of local ecological civilization, combined military-civilian efforts in good protection and development of the fertile white mountains and the black water [characteristics of northeastern China, which Liaoning province with its capital Shenyang is part of] was needed.

习 近平指出,要把支援地方经济建设作为一项重要任务,深入做好扶贫帮困、助学兴教、医疗扶持、支援新农村建设等工作。要拓展军民融合的领域和范围,积极推进 国防经济和社会经济、军用技术和民用技术、部队人才和地方人才兼容发展。要支持和参加地方生态文明建设,军民合力把美丽、富饶的白山黑水保护好、发展好。

Finally, Xi Jinping emphasized that right now, the Shenyang Military Region troops needed to play a role as the main force and a shock brigade in flood-relief efforts, protect the safety of the people’s possessions and the fruits of its economic construction. Security and supporting tasks for the 12th National Games needed to be fulfilled meticulously, to make an active contribution to “safe and peaceful National Games”.  Fan Changlong, Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu and Wu Shengli, Liu Xiaojiang, Wang Jiaocheng and Chu Yimin took part in the relevant activities [of Xi Jinping’s visit].




» Military Pop, August 1, 2013
» Quietly like the Rain, July 25, 2013
» Braving the Tide and Sky, Oct 6, 2012
» The Soldiers’ Haircuts, March 10, 2012

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Tianjin Cultural Front, unconstrained by Minor Matters

1. Military Pop

Update [20130803]: the show in full on youtube ——–>


Tianjin Satellite Television is going to broadcast a tribute show to celebrate the founding anniversary of the “People’s Liberation Army”. Han Hong (韩红), a singer and songwriter of Han Chinese and Tibetan origin and host of the show, explains in an Enorth (Tianjin) article of August 1 that

through the army songs, we want to communicate to young people how the two words “military people” are sacred. […] Some people have doubts how a theme like ‘Resonant Army Songs’ can be close to young people. I’m particularly looking forward to kids born after 1980 and 1990 singing army songs together. This will bring about a completely new feeling.

我们就是要通过军歌告诉年轻人,‘军人’两字是怎么样的神圣。 […] 有人会疑惑‘军歌嘹亮’这样一个主题会不会离现在的年轻人有点远,我特别期待80后、90后的孩子们一起来唱军歌,一定会带来一个全新的感觉。

According to Baike Baidu, Han Hong is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Her father’s nationality is Han, and he had been among the young people who were sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, to learn from the rural population. In 2009, Han Hong joined the political department of the Air Force Art Troupe (or song and dance ensemble) and has since served as the department’s deputy director. Her fans believe that her voice comes across as naturally as Sarah Brightman‘s, but those who (strongly) dislike her find her style artificial.

Han Hong is joined by four commenters (not quite a jury, as competition isn’t meant to be at the center of the show): Zhou Xiao’ou (周晓欧), Man Wenjun (满文军), Li Danyang (李丹阳), and Cai Guoqing (蔡国庆).

2. Miltary Movie

In June, Xiao Huaiyuan (肖怀远), Tianjin Municipal Standing Committee of the CCP and the Committee’s propaganda department director, described his impressions from a visit to the production of a television series “Way-finding” (“寻路”), a film about the history of the CCP   which enthusiastically sings the praises of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De and other members of the old revolutionary generation who sought the correct path for China’s revolution in bloody struggles, their strong will and foresight […] (热情赞颂了毛泽东、周恩来、朱德等老一辈革命家为了探寻中国革命正确之路而浴血奋斗的坚强意志和远见卓识 […..]).

“Way-finding” strictly respected historical truth (严格尊重历史真实) and followed the principle of not falsifying the major events, but being unconstrained by minor matters (大事不虚、小事不拘), Xiao Huaiyuan wrote in an article for People’s Daily (人民日报), republished by Enorth on June 20.



» Regulating the Talent Shows, Channel News Asia, July 26, 2013
» Perfect Revolutionaries leave nothing to chance, Dec 2, 2010


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Xi Jinping’s New Work Style in Action

There were no formalities and extravaganzas when Xi Jinping revisited Zhengding Town in Hebei Province on July 11, Hebei Daily (via Enorth, Tianjin) reported. No police motorcades, only two small or medium-sized buses, quietly like the rain (雨悄没声). And Xi even recognized the party branch secretary in the village from his first visit, in 2008.

Later, the party and state leader “spontaneously” visited a family:

“The General Secretary has come to our home”, 18-year-old Jie Jinkai wrote on QQ. The General Secretary had randomly chosen Jin’s family to visit there. “Village cadres knocked on the door, and the General Secretary just came in. I was on the internet, my younger sister was watching television, and Grandma, Mum and Dad were busy with other things – I couldn’t believe my eyes.”


The kids airing their heels, and Granny working her ass off: this was extremely realistically choreographed moderate-prosperity stuff, and the message was clear: The party’s new work style is in full swing, with modesty, cloeseness to the masses, small meals, and small people.

Xi Jinping listens closely and conscientiously takes notes - CCTV evening news (Wednesday) on a conference with provincial leaders in Wuhan, Hunan Province. Click picture for video.

Xi Jinping listens closely and conscientiously takes notes – CCTV evening news (Wednesday) on a conference with provincial leaders in Wuhan, Hunan Hubei Province.
Click picture for video.

Xi speaking, cadres taking notes - CCTV evening news on Wednesday.

Xi speaking, cadres taking notes – CCTV evening news on Wednesday.

Will President Xi Jinping turn out to be a reformer in the vein of Taiwan’s Chiang Ching-kuo, the South China Morning Post (SCMP, Hong Kong) asked on July 18. Or will he walk a more conservative path, becoming a leader in the mould of Communist Party helmsman Mao Zedong?

Conventional wisdom has it that a new leader needs to consolidate power before making decisive political moves (if he has any on his mind). But the SCMP quoted members of liberal circles in China who believe the opposite: that Xi could only move before his successor (who would only succeed him in about nine or ten years, if you go by the experience of Jiang Zemin or Hu Jintao) becomes known. That’s to say, Xi’s window of opportunity would be during his first five-year term.

But rather, the SCMP quoted another liberal, Xi had moved to the “left”, i. e. Maoist tradition.

On July 19, People’s Daily (online) reported on Xi’s activities as chairman of the Central Military Commission. The CMC is both an organ of the party and the state, and formally, they are therefore two different bodies. However, membership of both of them is identical, and only during the transition between Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping, when Xi had become the CCP’s general secretary, and Hu remained head of state (and therefore the “state CMC”), their functions could count as slightly different from each other.

With Xi’s approval, People’s Daily wrote, the Central Military Commission has recently published the “Army implementation of the Party’s regulations on building the system of incorrupt government”.  (经中央军委主席习近平批准,中央军委日前印发《军队实行党风廉政建设责任制的规定》。)

The “Regulations” thoroughly implement the spirit of the 18th National Congress of the CCP, and under the guidance of the Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thoughts of the “Three Representatives” [Jiang Zemin] and of scientific development [Hu Jintao] resolutely implement Chairman Xi’s important series of instructions, closely centered around the party’s goal, in the new situation, of a strong military, in accordance with the Central Committee’s and the CMC’s relevant rules concerning
the Party’s regulations on building incorrupt government. [The “Regulations”] combine the troops’ reality, clearly stipulated the concrete responsibilities of all levels within the party committees, of the commissions for discipline inspection of the CCP, and of leading cadres, as well as measures for inspection, supervision, responsibility and investigation.

《规 定》深入贯彻落实党的十八大精神,以邓小平理论、“三个代表”重要思想、科学发展观为指导,坚决贯彻习主席一系列重要指示,紧紧围绕党在新形势下 的强军目标,依据党中央、中央军委关于党风廉政建设的有关规定,结合军队实际,明确规定了各级党委、纪委和领导干部在党风廉政建设中的具体责任,以及检查 监督和责任追究的制度措施。

The CMC requires all levels to thoroughly study the spirit of the 18th National Congress of the CCP, to conscientiously implement the Central Committee’s, the CMC’s and Chairman Xi’s important instructions on incorrupt government and anti-corruption work, conscientiously implement the Politburo’s eight rules of the CPC Central Committee on improving work style and maintaining close contact with the people, and the spirit of the CMC’s ten regulations  for strengthening the work style, centered around the goal of a strong military, to do good work by strictly implementing the Party’s regulations on building incorrupt government. Measures of different forms must be taken for propaganda and education to create a good atmosphere for the implementation of the “Regulations”. The responsibility of the party work style of incorrupt government must be carried out earnestly, and concerted efforts must truly take shape.

中 央军委要求,各级要深入学习贯彻党的十八大精神,认真贯彻党中央、中央军委和习主席关于加强党风廉政建设和反腐败工作的重要指示,认真落实中央政治 局关于改进工作作风、密切联系群众八项规定和中央军委加强自身作风建设十项规定精神,紧紧围绕强军目标,把严格执行党风廉政建设责任制作为一项重要政治任 务切实抓紧抓好。要采取多种形式搞好宣传教育,营造学习贯彻《规定》的良好氛围。要切实履行抓党风廉政建设的责任,真正形成齐抓共管的合力。

Still within the third paragraph, but in bold characters, i. e. emphasized, the People’s Daily article says that

Right from the sources, corruption must be fought, in accordance with the “Regulations”, concrete measures and methods must be improved, systems to control and supervise with complete power must be built, and the power be impounded in a systematic cage. The edcuational activities for the development of the party’s mass line [or ampaign on mass line education and practice] must be deepened, we must concentrate on solving the four working-style problems of formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance. Searching our way step by step, 抓铁有痕的劲头, clutching the building of the work style, we must achieve. We must adhere to the principle that where there’s where there is a [criminal? corruption?] case, there needs to be an investigation, where there’s corruption, there needs to be punishment, we must adhere to the principle of striking both at tigers and flies, and conscientiously rectify and deal with our [respective] units’ problems at party work style building, and corruption problems. By strict and impartial discipline, we guarantee the Party’s regulations on building the system of incorrupt government.

要 从源头上有效防治腐败,依据《规定》制定完善具体措施办法,健全权力运行制约和监督体系,把权力关进制度的笼子里。要深入开展党的群众路线教育实践活动, 集中解决形式主义、官僚主义、享乐主义和奢靡之风这“四风”问题,以踏石留印、抓铁有痕的劲头,把作风建设一抓到底、抓出成效。要坚持有案必查、有腐必 惩,坚持“老虎”“苍蝇”一起打,认真纠正并严肃处理本单位在党风廉政建设和反腐败工作中存在的问题,以严明的纪律保证党风廉政建设责任制的贯彻落实。

Not only the liberals quoted by the South China Morning Post on July 18 are pessimistic. Willy Wo-Lap Lam, once himself an SCMP editor, interprets Xi’s language as reminiscent of the Great Helmsman’s masterly blend of the vernacular and the metaphysical. And rather than establishing institutions such as universal-style checks and balances, […] Xi is resorting to Cultural Revolution-era ideological and propaganda campaigns to change of mindset of cadres, observes Lam.

This doesn’t necessarily amount to an allegation that Xi would be a Maoist himself. Rather, independent commissions against corruption might target the alleged wealth of China’s “first families”, not least Xi Jinping’s own family.

Institution-building could pose personal risks. But then, maybe the Xi’s aren’t that rich after all. Or maybe the new work style will truly take shape.

Until then, authority needs to be inherited.



Ban on new Government Buidlings, Herald Sun / AAP, July 23, 2013



Charges against Bo Xilai, BBC, July 25, 2013


Monday, June 3, 2013

June 4, 1989: the Unsinkable Boat of Stone

Tiananmen Square has a meaning to China – not just Beijing – as deep as the Place de la Bastille‘s for Paris, or that of the Alexanderplatz for Berlin. On 400,000 square meters, Tiananmen Square – according to relevant tourist information – provides space for one million people. That’s how the square has been used – for gatherings ordered by the Chinese Communist Party, when Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic, for Hua Guofeng‘s eulogy on Mao Zedong in 1976, and for military parades celebrating the People’s Republic’s 35th, 50th, and 60th birthday.

In 1997, on Tiananmen Square, a limited number of people celebrated the return of Hong Kong. The limitation had conjecturable reasons – eight years and four weeks earlier, Chinese army and police troops had quashed a student movement – that movement, too, had its public center in Tiananmen Square.

Ever since 1911, Tiananmen Square had been a place for gatherings outside the scripts of the powers that be. The first, probably, was the May-Fourth movement, sparked by the transfer of formerly German possessions in Shandong Province to Japan, rather than to China, in 1919, after World War One. Chinese intellectuals had begun to perceive their country not just as a civilization, but as a nation, interacting with other nations and falling behind internationally. In 1919, there were no celebrations. There were protests.

The May-Fourth movement has since been canonized. CCP historians see the movement as the beginning of progressive processes during the first half of the 20th century, leading to the CCP’s rise to power. But even Hua Guofeng’s eulogy on Mao, in September 1976, had been preceded by expressions of grief months earlier, in April, for the late chief state councillor Zhou Enlai. The more radical followers of Mao Zedong considered that an affront.

Personal impressions from the 1976 “Tian An Men incident” apparently made Wu Renhua, later a dissident, honor Hu Yaobang with a wreath on Tiananmen Square, in April 1989. Hu Yaobang had just passed away, and some points seem to be noteworthy:

When Hu died, he had been removed as the CCP secretary general for more than two years. Apparently, the party leadership had considered him to be too reform-minded. Expressions of grief from the population might be considered an affront by the party leaders, too, and they probably did, even if it took more than six weeks for the party to put an end to the movement of intellectuals and students in  which Wu Renhua had been taking part.

By then, the movement had long gone beyond their original motivation of honoring Hu Yaobang. Through anti-corruption protest, it had turned into a movement for democracy.

Also, Wu Renhua, then an about thirty-three years old lecturer from the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, was part of the movement, but – according to his own account – rather going along with it, than driving it. His actual confrontational attitude towards the CCP  only built after the massacre – an outrage that he had never seemed to expect from his country’s leaders.

And even if the University of Political Science and Law played an important role in the 1989 movement, the Beijing University, the Beida, had the traditional, leading role.

Rivalries among the 1989 dissidents are nothing unusual today. Frequently, they are personal rather than political, accompanied by allegations that X is self-important, that Y is a CCP collaborator, or that Z is remote-controlled by Falun Gong – somehow unpredictable or dangerous.

June 4 has become an unsolved complex in Chinese history. Whoever studied in a major Chinese city in 1989 will know that complex. “Sure”, a Shanghainese told me in the early 1990s, “we were all protesting.” To her, however, the matter was closed with the end of the movement – ostensibly, anyway. Many Chinese people born after 1989 hardly know about the existence of the movement, and among those who do remember it, at least some consider the crackdown a rather lucky outcome: be it because they don’t think that the students were able to handle politics in 1989, be it because they see a foreign conspiracy against China’s stability and China’s rise behind the former movement.

By 2008, a trend had changed. Many Chinese people who used to feel respect for (Western) democracies had changed their mind. Frequently negative coverage by Western media on the Beijing Olympics certainly played a role here – the negative foreign echo was spread selectively, but broadly by Chinese media. Some overseas Chinese in Germany even organized a silent protest against the biased German media who had failed to spread their patriotic message and who had therefore muzzled them. Add how the mighty had fallen in the financial crisis – China’s period of growth still continued, thanks to state stimulus programs that tried to compensate for falling imports by Western economies. Criticism from abroad – that’s how the Chinese public was informed (frequently correctly) – was an expression of foreign envy. The ideas so vigorously discussed in 1989 have given way to the truculent nationalism of new generations, Isabel Hilton noted in 2009.

In 1990, Yang Lian (楊煉), a Chinese poet in exile, published this:

The darker the sky, you say that the boat is old,
the storms it bore are long gone,
it is for us to erase the Self, let the boat of stone rot away.1)

That, of course, is the last thing a boat of stone will do.

What is the role of the 1989 dissidents today? According to C. A. Yeung, an Australian blogger and human rights activist, hardly any role. Dissidents abroad, above all, appear to be out of touch with many activists inside China. This may also be true for Wei Jingsheng, an exiled Chinese who lives in Washington D.C..

Wei wasn’t part of the 1989 movement. At the time, he had been a political prisoner for some ten years. He was only released in 1993, and soon, he was re-arrested. Since 1997, he has been in America.

It requires a strong – and at times probably dogmatic – personality to resist the pressures Wei faced. No confessions, no concessions to the Chinese authorities through all the years of imprisonment. To people like Wei, “foreign interference” in China’s “internal affairs” is no sacrilege, but necessity. Such “interference” may not create space to live for open dissidents in totalitarian countries, but it does, at times, enable dissidents to survive. In that light, it was only logical that Wei attended a hearing of the German federal parliament’s culture and media committee on December 2008, about the alleged proximity of Germany’s foreign broadcaster’s Chinese department (Deutsche Welle, DW)  to the CCP. DW Staff and program should defend human rights and democracy as a matter of principle, Wei demanded.

It turned out that Wei didn’t actually know the DW programs, jeered Xinhua newsagency.  Wei didn’t disagree: “As a matter of fact, I have said from earlier on that I would not listen to the broadcast of the Deutsche Welle’s Chinese service that has been speaking on the CCP’s behalf.”

Such appearances in foreign parliaments may appear fussy, and near-irrelevant. But in 2002, Dutch author and exile observer Ian Buruma had still believed that Chinese dissidents abroad could play a big role:

Let’s say there are suddenly serious splits in the Chinese government. Things start to move rather quickly. All kinds of things are going to happen. And then, it can be that you suddenly need people who know how to operate in Washington, who know which buttons to press and [who] have contacts in Congress, and so on. And this has happened in the case of Taiwan, for example, where you had dissidents in the 60s and 70s who hung around, languished, were considered to be irrelevant until things began to change in Taiwan politically and suddenly, they were important.2)

But maybe, by now, that role has diminuished further – if Buruma’s original observations were correct. Maybe Wei Jingsheng and other dissidents, among them those who had to leave China after June 4, 1989, will play a role similar to the one Wolf Biermann, an East German exile in West Germany, anticipated for himself long before the Berlin Wall came down: at times cheering from the sidelines, providing advice once in a while, but hardly authoritatively. Only on his return to East Germany, Biermann mused, his actual exile would begin, as hardly anyone would recognize him: Dann beginnt erst mein Exil.

The actual historical events of spring 1989 are a different story, however. These days, the CCP neither condemns the events, nor does it condone them. The topic is entirely shunned.

In Hong Kong, people haven’t forgotten. After all, the June-4 crackdown came as a shock for a society that was to return to the motherland eight years and a month later. June 4 is part of tradition there. For many Hong Kong activists who demand more democratic rights for Hong Kongers themselves, solidarity with mainland activists or dissidents is part of their self-image.

The only official evaluation so far: Deng Xiaoping defends his reform policies of economic openness and political repression, June 9, 1989

The only official evaluation so far: Deng Xiaoping defends his reform policies of economic openness and political repression, June 9, 1989 (click picture for video)

In 1995, Deng Xiaoping‘s daughter Deng Rong suggested in an interview with the New York Times  that only later generations could judge the 1989 events. She didn’t know how people thought about it – but my father at least, in his heart, believed that he had no other way.

It may take years before a re-evaluation of the 1989 movements may begin. Or it may only take months. The CCP could initiate one if it feels strong enough, or the citizenry could initiate one if the party gets weaker.

Nobody inside or outside China knows what is being thought about the movement. And many Chinese may only find out what they think once it becomes a topic – when it gets unearthed, gradually or rapidly, in a controlled or spontaneous process.



1) Yang Lian: Alte Geschichten (I-IV), Der einzige Hafen des Sommers, aus: Masken und Krokodile, Berlin, Weimar 1994, quoted by Joachim Sartorius (Hrsg): Atlas der Neuen Poesie, Reinbek, 1996, S. 67.
天空更加阴暗  你说  这船老了
该卸下自己了  让石头船舷去腐烂
夏季  是惟一的港口

2) Jatinder Verma: Asian Diasporas, BBC (World Service), Sept 2, 2002



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