Recent Protest(s) in China is(are) not the Same as Arab Spring Protests and Should Be Left to the Central Chinese Government to Handle.
As much as the West has been taught to think of Communist governments as a form of dictatorship which does not represent the people of the country and whose governance of the people is not pursuant to the will of the people, this is not true as a rule and is not true in China today or when after the Communists defeated the Nationalists (just as Fidel Castro came to power with the will of the people).
The source of our fear and criticism was due to the rule of Joseph Stalin, in particular, and of Chairman Mao, his protégé, who each ruled the two most powerful communist countries. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge helped drive the point home. It was the fear of Stalin and Mao which caused American intervention in Vietnam, when the Vietnamese wanted, primarily, was freedom from foreign colonial rule (just as America did) and sovereignty. Stalin and Mao ran their countries as dictators, and ignored the basic rule of communist law of their own communist governments.
They each caused great economic distress and suffering to their own people. In fact, in both countries, many of the loyal and true believers in Communism, people who helped liberate China from both foreign colonial interference (including the British imposed trade in Opium), and subsequently from the corrupt and dictatorial reigns of the emperors and of Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist Party, suffered the most. These Communist heroes who fought and risked their lives for the Chinese people were the ones who suffered the most during the misapplication of Communist authority and usurping of law by, in the case of China, Chairman Mao and the Gang of Four.
When China was liberated by the Communist Party, it was with the overwhelming wishes of the populace as a whole, and the Party gave extensive rights and freedoms to people who previously enjoyed no such rights (as a matter of law under the emperors, and de facto under the corrupt Nationalist governments.)
But both countries, under Stalin and Mao, had purges in which many of the true heroes of each country’s liberations, the dedicated Communists who fought and brought Communism and much more freedom and opportunity then previously enjoyed to the people, were in fact purged, persecuted, and suffered with loss of property, imprisonment, and/or death. In China, the list is quite long of dedicated, honest, intellectual communists who spent their entire lives working for the good of the people of China, under the communist rule, most of whom also risked their lives in the civil wars which brought Communism to China. The list includes people such as Liu Shaoqi who was the second most powerful communist leader in China at the time of the Cultural Revolution and Deng Xiaoping, also one of the most powerful leaders in China and a dedicated communist. The entire chaos and suffering of the cultural revolution were in fact an attempt by Chairman Mao and his protégé, Lin Biao, people who sought to advance their own power and positions, to seize the legitimately earned positions of power and authority (and the love of the people of China) from Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping and many of their supporters, as well as that of the rivals in the Chinese military (the PLA) to Lin Biao.
The only reasons that Deng Xiaoping survived the cultural revolution was that so many of the popularly supported, competent, honest people who had previously run the Chinese government had died or been destroyed by the Cultural Revolution such that Chairman Mao had to “Rehabilitate” Deng Xiaoping to help Premier Zhou Enlai (truly one of the great world leaders of the last century) who risked his life to help liberate China and then devoted his life to serving China and enjoyed tremendous support, love, respect, and admiration by the people of China and many intelligent fair minded people throughout the world.
The list of decent, brave, caring communist revolutionaries/leaders who were purged, suffered, and in some cases murdered also includes Peng Zhen, Peng Dehuai, and Tan Zhenlin, Chen Yi (the later or whom were two respected vice-premiers of China) and PLA Marshall He Long.
But unlike a dictatorship which continues, after the death of Chairman Mao, laws were enacted in China to prevent the abuse of power by the government over people. People responsible for the atrocities during the Cultural Revolution, such as Jiang Qing (Chairman Mao’s wife and a leader of the Cultural Revolution) were imprisoned. Wrongfully disgraced Communist leaders had their cases reopened and were Rehabilitated (which is the Chinese equivalent to having their convictions overturned).
More importantly, China began a speedy evolution towards granting freedom and prosperity, both economic and social/political, to her people. The Cultural Revolution did not end until the early 1970’s, and the political situation did not stabilize in China until the 1980’s. In just a few short decades, China has made tremendous strides in all directions of reform, liberalization, economic prosperity, and granting civil rights which include the application of the rule of law (our right to due process). We consider all these steps critical in eliminating oppression, and they were indeed taken by the Communist leaders in China.
America, on the other hand, had full blown slavery for about a century after she got her independence, and did not enact comprehensive civil rights legislation until the Johnson administration. Enforcement lagged even further, while women and other oppressed groups fought (and are still fighting) for basic civil rights in America until very recently. For example, Gays were only allowed the right to serve openly in the military under the present administration of President Obama (whose election was also seen, in many respects, as major evidence of our progress in the elimination of the immoral and unconstitutional discrimination and oppression of African (Black) Americans, or People of Color. I am not trying to be “politically correct” but this Blog is read throughout the world, and I seek to avoid misunderstanding at the risk and cost of repetition and being non politically correct.
It is undeniable that in China the Communist Government could only start granting civil rights to her people when the Communists took power after World War II. She has had a only a brief time to go from an ancient system of dictatorial oppression devoid of any rights for her people, and was stymied in the process by the actions of Chairman Mao, Jing Jiang Qing, and others who acted with them and under their control to exercise dictatorial powers of oppression until very recently.
Unlike the dictatorships which find themselves besieged recently by protests seeking democracy and social and political reform, the Communist Rule in China began at and with the will of the people and liberated the people from thousands of years of internal dictatorships and oppression and foreign colonialization and exploitation. In fact, few countries have had their general population suffer so much, and at the hands of so many (including the so called “free modern western” countries, many of whom were and all of whom now are “democracies.”)
Only the Communist takeover stopped this. For example, foreign domination was ended, the trade in opium eradicated, and the great strides in the status of women were made almost overnight, taking woman from the position of being treated as “property” of makes to the placing of quotas guaranteeing women positions of authority in the government and outlawing the egregious treatment of women which had existed for thousands of years.
Furthermore, unlike the governments who find themselves besieged by people who want change, the Communists in China have been changing and reforming very rapidly, far more rapidly than reform and change in America since her revolution and independence more than 200 years ago. In fact, America seems to be headed backwards as economic civil rights being discarded and a small and very wealthy and powerful minority of people and institutions are oppressing a large section of our population to enrich the already wealthy pockets of a select minority. This oppression, for the financial greed of a very rich and very small minority are the evidentiary hallmark of any dictatorship, the opposition of which is evidenced by the Occupy America movements.
Similarly, while corruption (which is the reason behind many of the recent protests) is a problem in China, it is recognized and being dealt with in China at the highest levels. Furthermore, this problem is hardly unique either to China or communism, but is a problem throughout the world, including in America (i.e. Enron, Bernie Madoff, WorldCom, Governor Corazine, and the list is recent and endless).
The problem in China, however, is at the local level, and the central Chinese government is aware of it and attempting to address it. Like our war on drugs, it will take time. American opinion of China, however, is inexplicably frozen in time as though the Gang of Four were still running the Cultural Revolution in China (the mid 1960’s). We ignore the both the progress that China has made and the rate of change she is continues to reform. We also ignore our own severe problems with civil rights, which are increasing. The talk of certain candidates for office in the Republican Party proves how tenuous our retention of civil rights in America is. Personally, when I am in China, I am extremely free, and for example, have sat with Chinese people (both party and non-party Chinese) in public places such as restaurants and we have talked openly and freely about all manner of politics and other subjects. The internet and cell phones make international communication, and this the free dissemination of information, very easy [unlike the situation a few decades ago.]
I should note that it is presumptuous of us to assume that China needs to reform towards American democracy, since the way China should be ruled is for the Chinese to decide. We learned that some countries will decide for themselves how and to what extent they want democracy when we invaded Iraq to deliver the gift of democracy to the oppressed people of Sadam Hussein, and our gift was returned and we are considered “invaders.”
Furthermore, China has been victimized by foreign intervention for centuries and has earned her sovereign right to be left alone. China has good reason for wanting to be left alone to deal with the social unrest represented by the protests we hear about in the news. Such protests were, in fact, created and/or exploited in the Cultural Revolution not to be benign movements to further legitimate claims, but instead were chaotic and cruel grabs for power by the Gang of Four seeking to take away the rights of the Chinese people, to destabilize the country and force out of power legitimate rulers in favor of dictator like criminals such as the “Gang of Four.”
Such social instability and protests, in China, were used to oppress the Chinese people and strip them of the rights the Communists had fought to deliver to the people of China. Through such protests, rebellions, and “struggles,” the Gang of Four obtained dictatorial powers while the entire country, including especially legitimate communist leaders, suffered horribly.
The fear of history repeating itself being felt by people who actually suffered from that prior oppression [Deng Xiaoping, for example, who was the de facto leader of China at the time of the Tiananmen Square massacre suffered horribly, along with his entire family, at the hands of the Gang of Four during the Cultural Revolution] was one factor being the mistaken decision to use violence to quell the protests. Other factors were a lack of accurate information as to who the protestors were and what they wanted, and the participation of a few Maoists left over from the era of Chairman Mao who did in fact want to exploit the chaos to return to a Maoist regime, led to the decisions which led to the Tiananmen Square massacre, which decisions were hotly contested before being made and later regretted. In fact, Zhao Zhiyang, the leader of China, was against the use of force, and the decision was made when he was out of the country, by some leaders of China who misunderstood the protests (which like the Occupy America movements were not led by a single group or had a single message) and feared anarchy and a power grab which those leaders had suffered under as a result of the Cultural Revolution.
Furthermore, in our abstract discussion of communism and capitalism, it is a disingenuous discussion as neither country is or ever has been 100% truly capitalist or communist. China does grant capitalist incentives for individual initiatives and effort, while America has always had socialistic programs such as Social Security and Welfare.
So, in conclusion, the reasons for the Arab Spring protests, and our support therefor, are absent from the protests in China, and any resemblance is mistaken. The Arab Spring countries were true malignant dictatorships which gave no civil rights to the people and did not rule by the will of the people, nor had they come to power by the will of the people. These countries were/are led by dictators who unapologetically and as policy, indiscriminately and continually used force and violence and tortured and massacred the protesters.
To be frank, people are simply not being tortured and/or massacred during the protests in China. While prison conditions in China may not be great, they are not particularly appealing in America. And while the police may use force in arresting people in China, the Rodney King Riots and the attitude of Black America to the racism exposed in the OJ Simpson trial show that the police in America don’t exactly follow the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. All it takes is a high school knowledge of the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution, and one need only watch the TV show Cops, and every episode is replete with violations of people’s civil rights by police who are presumably on their best behavior.
Even more compelling are the continued, flagrant, willful, and unapologetic violations of the US Constitution by Sheriff Arpaio in Arizona, as was verified yesterday by the US Justice Department. See CBS News or CNNs coverage [those are links, but for those who can’t click the hypertext link, you can go to ttp://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2011/12/15/ac-arizona-arpaio-investigated.cnn#/video/bestoftv/2011/12/15/ac-arizona-arpaio-investigated.cnn .] As I have said repeatedly, [repeating what I heard somewhere else], when a criminal breaks the law, there is some lawlessness. But when those charged with enforcing the law deliberately break the law, there is no law.
The Chinese Communists came to rule by the will of the people, overthrew true oppressive dictatorships and gave substantial rights and opportunity to the Chinese people, especially when you exclude the time and damage of and from the Cultural Revolution and the Anti-Rightist movement (Mao’s other purge).
The Arab Spring countries refused to reform at all, while China has, on its own, been rapidly reforming herself, and is a relatively young country who is entitled to be left alone to do so. The “Western Style Democracies,” especially Japan and Great Britain, are hugely responsible for the suffering and oppression of the Chinese people. The Communist Government in China, is unfairly criticized, and the protests in China are wrongly compared to the Arab Spring protests, because these comparisons and criticisms ignore: (i) China’s reforms and rate of reform; (ii) the length of time America and other “Democracies” took to reform and become free democracies; (iii) the fact that America and other countries have their own civil rights oppression, including the new form of economic oppression and those evidenced by the Rodney King riots and the Sheriff Arpaio investigation; (iv) the inherent sovereign right of China to solve her own problems; and, (v) the fact that the Communist Party did, when it came to power, and still does, reflect the will of the people to rule In fact, the people who work for the party work very hard to improve the status of the Chinese people, whose quality of life has greatly improved in a very short time.
It was ironic that the protest which grabbed international headlines was in the Guangdong province which was the area of China which received the most reforms at the earliest. That province contains the first “Special Economic Zone” and its proximity to Hong Kong gave it a level of freedom and access to information which, even under Chairman Mao, was not shared by the rest of the country. The same goes for her economic prosperity, which this province enjoyed disproportionately to the rest of the country, yet, the protests yesterday were economic protests. The cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou (both in that province) have become big, modern, safe, and prosperous in a very short period of time.
Indeed, American fear and criticism of China is no longer based upon the actions of evil dictators like Stalin, or the mistakes of his protégés such as Chairman Mao, but by the benign economic success of China and the threat she poses, through lawful actions, to surpass America in economic strength. Unlike America, which has ½ a million troops scattered throughout the world and an extensive offensive military capability which includes military bases throughout the world including at China’s doorsteps on many sides [South Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, etc.], which was at one time necessary, or at least though necessary, to counter the Soviet Union’s professed hegemony under Stalin and his successors, China has no foreign bases, no troops based on foreign soil, and nowhere near the offensive strike capabilities of America.
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春季阿拉伯国家拒绝在所有的改革，而中国自身，得到了迅速改革自己，谁有权单独留在家中，这样做是一个相对年轻的国家。 “西式民主”，尤其是日本和英国，是巨大的痛苦和压迫中国人民的负责。 “在中国共产党政府，是不公平的批评，在中国的抗议是错误相比的阿拉伯春季抗议，因为这些比较和批评忽略：（一）中国的改革和改革的速度;（二）的时间美国的长度和其他的“民主”了改革，并成为自由民主;（三）事实上，美国和其他国家有自己的公民权利的压迫，包括新的经济压迫和罗德尼金暴动和警长Arpaio调查证明形式; （四）固有的主权权利，中国解决自己的问题;，（V）的事实，共产党，当它上台，并仍，反映人民的意志来统治事实上，为党的工作的人工作很努力，以改善中国人民的地位，其生活质量的过程中，在很短的时间大大改善。
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