Sun, Jan 07, 2001 - Page 9 News List

Identifying the enemies of the Chinese people

Judged solely on the regime's results rather than its intentions, it appears that the worst enemy of the citizens of China is none other than the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party

By Christopher Lingle

China's interactions with the rest of the world have always been problematic. During its past days of glory, the Middle Kingdom expected the rest of the world to offer tribute in recognition of its undeniably superior cultural, political and technological achievements. Unfortunately, China -- like France -- has never really come to grips with its waning influence and inability to be a true global player. For the past several centuries, China has suffered from a succession of leaders who have failed to provide a combination of sustained peace and prosperity.

As before, China's current leaders seek to blame their own failures on outsiders. And so it is when they are faced with opposition to its WTO application and the furor over Chinese espionage involving America's nuclear secrets. In characteristic response, officials in Beijing insist that certain enemies are victimizing the Chinese people.

One claim to this effect is the statement issued by the Chinese parliament claiming that events leading up to the Tiananmen Square massacre were incited and funded by the US. When this accusation was made, Li Peng (李鵬) was the head of the Chinese parliament. He was also prime minister in 1989 when martial law was imposed and the military actions were taken against the demonstrators. Doubtless, he had ulterior motives in trying to divert attention from his role in this sad affair.

Such assertions by China's leadership provide an opportunity to examine the source of the greatest threats to the long-term well being of the Chinese people. Judged by results rather than intentions or propaganda, it appears that the worst enemy of China's masses is the leadership structure of the Chinese Communist Party.

A less-than-heavenly mandate

With the recent passing of yet another anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, the world is reminded that Beijing knows no limits when seeking to preserve its less-than-heavenly mandate. Its use of the People's Liberation Army to suppress legitimate grievances of its own people on Tiananmen Square constituted a de facto coup d'etat. There is no longer any illusion that the principle motivation of the Communist Party is to maintain power. Mao's adage, "power comes from the barrel of a gun," took on new meaning when those guns were pointed at the heart of the Chinese people and the triggers were pulled.

While the actions of June 4, 1989 were brought into sharp relief through a TV lens, greater tragedies were recorded under the watch of the Communist Party. Ill-conceived agricultural and industrial policies during the Great Leap Forward led to the death of tens of millions by starvation. Although the Cultural Revolution did not cause so many fatalities, it certainly ruined the lives of many millions of Chinese citizens. By any calculus, this is a terrible and unbalanced price to pay for an experiment that now relies on slogans like "socialism with Chinese characteristics." Outrages against the Chinese people continue. Corruption and mismanagement by party cadres are sapping the life out of China's deeply-conflicted "socialist market" economy. Those parts of the modernization process that delivered remedy from suffering are now at risk of being undone.

It was the reversal of the irrational economic policies that allowed the Chinese people to direct their boundless energies and impressive skills toward enriching themselves. Yet now, in a cruel twist of fate, those who trusted their hard-earned savings to the state-managed banks are in for a most unpleasant surprise. Somewhere between 25 and 40 percent of their assets were squandered on supporting lifelines to failed state-run enterprises.

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