Fri, Mar 12, 2010 - Page 8 News List

China shows signs of neo-fascism

By J. Michael Cole 寇謐將

Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology … [and] cruelly implies contempt for the weak.

“The members of the party are the best among the citizens [and] every citizen can [or ought to] become a member of the party,” Eco writes. However, “knowing that his power was not delegated to him democratically, but was conquered by force, [the leadership] also knows that his force is based upon the weakness of the masses; they are so weak as to need and deserve a ruler.”

The CCP’s claims that Chinese are “not ready” for democracy also derive from this aspect of fascism.

Ur-Fascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism.

“For Ur-Fascism ... individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter,” Eco writes.

Not only do Chinese citizens have no “common will,” but the “interpreter” — the CCP — endeavors to ensure that no large group can achieve common will, which would threaten its hold on power. Religious groups like the Falun Gong and the Roman Catholic Church, opposition parties, ethnic groups and protesters — all are closely monitored, forced underground or dispersed when the “threat” of organized opposition to central rule begins to form.

This fear is also inspired by memories of warlordism, which for decades compelled the CPP to impose restrictions on each region’s control over the armed forces, even at the cost of loss of effectiveness.

“There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People,” Eco writes.

China’s control of information, its use of Internet Police to monitor Web and SMS activity, and a strong emphasis on Chinese symbolism and culture that is prevalent in the film industry are Eco’s future, and it has arrived.

Ur-Fascism speaks newspeak.

“Elements of Ur-Fascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning,” Eco writes.

The CCP’s imposition of simplified Chinese, which deprives Chinese citizens access to ancient texts and, in many ways, created an intellectual Year Zero in 1949, is such an instrument, as is censorship of the media and control of the material allowed to enter the country.

“Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes … [It] can come back under the most innocent of disguises,” Eco writes.

It is rising next door.

J. Michael Cole is a journalist at the ‘Taipei Times.’

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