Solution to Mainland Dilemma is Political Reform
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
February 25, 2011
A butterfly fluttering its wings in Beijing, could touch off a storm in New York, This is the famous "Butterfly Effect" outlined in Chaos Theory. On the other hand, could a butterfly fluttering its wings from afar, touch off a storm on Mainland China?
Tunisia has undergone a "Jasmine Revolution." It has driven out Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the strongman who ruled the country for 23 years. This was followed by a similar revolution in Egypt. Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for 30 years, was forced to step down. The butcher who ruled Sudan for 30 years, has also announced that he will not seek another term. Muammar al-Gaddafi, who ruled Libya for 40 years, has imposed a bloody crackdown on democratic protesters. Sparks from these flames in North Africa and the Middle East are now drifting toward Mainland China.
A second wave of "Jasmine Revolution" protests may occur on Sunday. Pro government media outlets dismissed the previous wave of protests as a "walk in the park," as "nothing more than a few people engaged in performance art." But if this was "performance art," then the endless stream of petitioners in Beijing are also enaged in "performance art." Those protesting the illegal demolition of their homes, those who hanged themselves in the ruins of their homes, are also practioners of "performance art." Urban squatters who cannot afford even a tiny room, are also "ants" engaged in "performance art." Those who gather and block streets, creating "mass incidents" are also enaged in "performance art." These people may indeed be a "minority." But the Jasmin Revolution in Tunisia was touched off by an unemployed college graduate who immolated himself. Who could have predicted that collective anger suppressed for decades would find an outlet in his act of "performance art?"
In fact, the Beijing authorities are acutely aware of the people's dissatisfaction. Even the People's Daily has acknowledged that Mainland China "faces more and more painful problems." Jasmine blossoms have yet to appear in the streets. Nevertheless the CCP leadership gathered last week at the CCP Central Party School to discuss appropriate responses. Hu Jintao stressed the need for three "maximizations." Maximize those factors inspiring social vitality. Maximize those factors encouraging social harmony. Maximize those factors preventing social disharmony. Alas, these three "maximizations" contradict each other. If one wishes to "maximize those factors inspiring social vitality," how can one possibly "maximize those factors preventing social disharmony?" Hu Jintao's answer was, "Further strengthen and improve information network management. Improve the management of virtual society," In short, "under the unified leadership of party committees, the government will strictly regulate the Internet."
The word "Jasmine" has been blocked, Even the word "tomorrow" has been blocked. Beijing is keeping close tabs on the Internet. But its approach harks back to the thousand year old Great Wall. Back then the Great Wall created a closed regime. It closed off the people. It closed off the nation. In the end the enemy arrived wave upon wave from the sea. China, under attack from advanced warships and their powerful guns, was nearly partitioned and wiped out. Today, the Great Wall lies in ruins. Officials are doing everything possible to erect a Great Wall on the Internet. But their efforts will be futile. Instead, they will merely encourage the people to undermine the wall out of spite. If the government blocks the word "Jasmine," Internet users will simply use "Rose" or "Peony." Is the CCP really prepared to block the words for every flower known to man?
In fact, the Beijing authorities and the people sporting jasmine blossoms, are all thinking the same thing. They are all yearning for freedom and democracy. Beijing considers them a scourge. But evading problems instead of facing them merely intensifies one's fears. For example, the Tiananmen Indicent occurred 22 years ago. Yet the CCP is still unable to confront the pain.
The science of economics tells us that "whatever is unsustainable, will be sustained for long." Mainland China has long faced "growing pains." Even Premier Wen Jiabao has warned that without political reform, the fruits of economic reform cannot be sustained. Zhongnanhai is deeply anxious. It senses the urgency. It realizes the importance. Otherwise, why would Premier Wen Jiabao say such a thing?
The CCP authorities ought to have more confidence in themselves. The CCP's achievements in economic reform over the past 30 years are clear for the world to see. But now it must reform itself politically as well. Otherwise it will be building a tower on quicksand. Spontaneous change is called reform. Forced change is called revolution. Look at the fate of collapsed authoritarian regimes. Reform or revolution. The CCP must take the initiative. The reason why should be clear.
Mainland China is not the Middle East, The current wave of "pollen" may make the Beijing authorities cough and wheeze. A few anti-histamines and it will pass. But the CCP authorities will be the only ones experiencing hay fever. The public on the Mainland loves flowers. None of them are about to chop down trees to eliminate the cause of hay fever.
A turbulent Chinese Mainland will make world peace impossible. Taiwan will also remain vulnerable. The Chinese Mainland endured the bloody Cultural Revolution. Those in the know on Mainland China have issued a "farewell to revolution" declaration. They have done so out of bitter experience. But some social contradictions can only be alleviated by a democratic revolution. This is a classic dilemma. How can Mainland China implement democracy with "Chinese characteristics?" This is not merely a problem for the Chinese people. It is a problem for mankind as a whole.
2011.02.25 03:29 am