Skip to comments.Collapse of communist rule seen in China
Posted on 12/03/2001 1:48:46 PM PST by Enemy Of The State
Collapse of communist rule seen in China
By Tim Shorrock
WASHINGTON - Ian Buruma, a former fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Institute for the Humanities in Washington, and whose writings on Japanese politics and culture and the European fascination with Asia have captivated readers around the world, has now taken on the vast and complicated subject of China and what he sees as the impending collapse of a half-century of communist rule.
In his new book, Bad Elements: Among the Rebels, Dissidents and Democrats of Greater China, the London-based Buruma describes the world of the Chinese dissident and political prisoner, from the perspective of political activists based in mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore as well as the United States. Based on interviews conducted over five years, he argues that the Chinese regime in Beijing will inevitably fall because of corruption and the erosion of communism as its ruling ideology.
"Strange things happen from Chinese dynasties near their end," Buruma writes in the opening paragraph of his book. "Dams break, earthquakes hit, clouds appear in the shape of weird beasts, rain falls in odd colors and insects infect the countryside."
It is an ominous picture indeed.
Ominous, but justified, Buruma said. "Nobody believes in the dogma any more," he told a Washington forum organized by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. "Communism is simply not enough to give the government any legitimacy."
Without an ideological glue to bind its rule to the people, Buruma said the Chinese government has resorted to traditional calls to preserve order and national interests and blatant appeals to materialism - namely, that its market-oriented economic policies can help "everyone get richer".
But that approach could, in the long run, present serious problems, because the free flow of goods and open capital markets often produce economic crises, such as the one that gripped most of East Asia just a few short years ago.
"A government without legitimacy is not well placed to cope with a crisis," he said. "Things could get very ugly indeed." The likelihood of unrest is strongest in rural China and among the urban unemployed, said Buruma, who has spent many years in Asia and studied in Japan.
In analyzing the ruling circles in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, Buruma sees striking parallels in the intersection between politics and culture. Throughout greater China, he says, there is an assumption by the ruling parties that their special brand of politics - whether Marxist-Leninist in Beijing or free-market authoritarianism in Singapore - means that government is the guardian of Chinese institutions and tradition.
"The idea that strong authoritarian government is a barrier against chaos" runs strong in both China and Singapore, he said. And in Taiwan, the Kuomintang, the longtime ruling party made up of Chinese exiles who fled the mainland in 1949, "saw themselves as the true guardians of the Chinese traditions smashed by Mao [Zedong]".
"It's a kind of cosmic idea of politics that goes back centuries," Buruma said. Traditional Chinese rulers view themselves as "people who mediate between heaven and Earth" and protect Chinese ethics, culture and politics from outside forces. That makes it easy for them to criticize "dissidents as anti-Chinese".
Such thinking has profound implications for dissidents. "To be a rebel means not just being a political rebel but [being] a savior of Chinese civilization," he added.
In the long run, Buruma said, "the only guarantee of stability in China" is a "democratic, representative system".
Minxin Pei, a political scientist and a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the "real challenge" for Chinese dissidents is to "find practical ways to institutionalize democratic traditions". Pei argued that while democratic pluralism is the preferred route to stability, there are dangers ahead as China approaches the transition from authoritarian to democratic rule. "The transition itself is fraught with upheaval," he said. "The current regime is poorly equipped to deal with a democratic transition. It hasn't really faced up to its misdeeds and atrocities over the past 50 years." As a result, Chinese-style glasnost "is likely to unleash a flood of recrimination and anger" that would be "destabilizing rather than enhancing stability", said Pei.
Part of the problem, he suggested, is that the Communist Party is in complete control of the Chinese state. "If the party were to collapse, there is a failed state, or there is no state."
Pei cast doubt on whether overseas Chinese dissidents have the political capability to become a force in a post-communist China. Because dissidents are uprooted from their mother country, he said, their "voices are muted" and their ability to sustain themselves as a political force are limited. At the same time, within the United States dissidents are divided into factions that rarely compromise, further limiting their political effectiveness.
"When a regime changes, they'd have to compete with other groups for power," he said of the overseas groups. When that happened in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, he noted, the "Soviet exiles returned but quickly disappeared".
Dimon Liu, a US-based author who is one of those overseas dissidents, argued that a rapid transition to democracy is possible in China. "Anyone who argues for a slow transition is not a true democrat," she said. "If you're going to make a transition, make it quickly."
I had been going to post a couple reviews of it, one by John Derbyshire in Washington Times.
I've seen the book at the store and hope to read it.
From what I've read of Baruma in the past, he is a good writer.
There could be a number of scenarios; a big old collapse is possible, but also so is a purge of the extreme elements of the party that resist change. After that a moderate government who has no guile for Taiwan can make peace and implement changes.
Within 10 yrs something is going to happen.
There is a myth though that the China is 'one' or that the CCP is all of one mind.
Considering the oversupply of males due to selective abortion of females, I'd say that war is very likely. Hopefully it will be one that stays within China's borders.
Ahh..yes..the age old Chicom bag of tricks. When all else fails, lets try the ol' nationalism rally. Well, fortunately times are changing and China is not the closed society that it once was and more & more people have access to information and education from the outside world and as this continues the Chicom methods of taking focus off of their internal failures by rallying nationalism will not continue to work forever. Its amazing how many Chinese nationals that I associate with at school who came here with the Idea that Capitalism was evil and that the American hedonists were the greatest threat to China and her people. After living here for some time and being able to educate themselves with the truth about the outside world (especially the west) they no longer the contempt for America that they once held before they came here.
Im curious as to why you feel the imbalance between men and women in the Chinese culture could somehow lead to war? Please explain if you dont mind..
This is kind of a reverse Boxer rebellion, with the western ized and baptized, revolting against the nativist know nothings.
Another Sun Yat Sen, perhaps, is in the wings?
The Bible and Nostradamus
| The things said most confidently by advanced persons to crowded audiences are generally those quite opposite to the fact; it is actually our truisms that are untrue. Here is a case. There is a phrase of facile liberality uttered again and again at ethical societies and parliaments of religion:
but they are the same in what they teach."
It is false; it is the opposite of the fact. The religions of the earth do not greatly differ in rites and forms; they do greatly differ in what they teach.
It is as if a man were to say, "Do not be misled by the fact that the Church Times and the Freethinker look utterly different, that one is painted on vellum and the other carved on marble, that one is triangular and the other hectagonal; read them and you will see that they say the same thing." The truth is, of course, that they are alike in everything except in the fact that they don't say the same thing. An atheist stockbroker in Surbiton looks exactly like a Swedenborgian stockbroker in Wimbledon. You may walk round and round them and subject them to the most personal and offensive study without seeing anything Swedenborgian in the hat or anything particularly godless in the umbrella. It is exactly in their souls that they are divided.
So the truth is that the difficulty of all the creeds of the earth is not as alleged in this cheap maxim: that they agree in meaning, but differ in machinery. It is exactly the opposite. They agree in machinery; almost every great religion on earth works with the same external methods, with priests, scriptures, altars, sworn brotherhoods, special feasts. They agree in the mode of teaching; what they differ about is the thing to be taught. Pagan optimists and Eastern pessimists would both have temples, just as Liberals and Tories would both have newspapers. Creeds that exist to destroy each other both have scriptures, just as armies that exist to destroy each other both have guns.
The great example of this alleged identity of all human religions is the alleged spiritual identity of Buddhism and Christianity. Those who adopt this theory generally avoid the ethics of most other creeds, except, indeed, Confucianism which they like because it is not a creed.
The Western Energy that Dethrones Tyrants
(Strangely enough, no mention of the "saving graces of Western Materialism" all the rage among the New Physics, New Age, New Order sorts these days.)
How is the government in China any more "without legitimacy" today than it was under Mao? Or Deng? Or any of the other gangsters who have run it in the last 50 years?
Whenever there is any serious civilian revolt, both the leading power factions unite to squash them unmericifully. The tianemen revolt, then the falung gong movement show that.
Just the falun gong have (estimated) 150 million adherents and they are completely buffaloed, almost helpless to do anything but meet in secret now.
It would take a leading general to completely seize power in some province, and to be prepared to use full military force to stay in power in that region to even get it established-as to any "freedom" movement. That takes almost his entire officer corps to be in on it, and that's not likely to happen. The people themselves really can't do much, we've seen reports of mass riots involving thousands, they always get massacred, as soldiers follow orders, the orders they get are "waste 'em".
Nope, I think it's unlikely at this time.
As to "communism collapsing" in the soviet union, it's a scam, it was planned as a scam. They never really had communism, all they really ever had was fascism, and mostly it's the same old bozos still in charge. they claim poverty and are rolling out the road mobile topol m's as fast as possible. they claimed to adhere to the anti-biowarfare treaty and secretly had entire factory complexes turning out thousands of gallons. they still continue to dig in underground cities in the urals and elsewhere, and stockpile them for years underground. They still are arming all the regimes they used to arm. Putin recently took SLAVES from kim il dungeater in north korea as a payment for some jazz they bought.
I'ver seen all kinza folks say "look, they have their own islamic problems", double phooie, if they were having a "problem" to the extent that they claim and some believe, they wouldn't be selling advanced MISSILES and the tooling to make them to the islamics, would they? Or nuke tech to them either, but they are.
Sometime in the future (this decade probably) china and russia will zap the west. China wants to go west, scratch that NEEDS to go west for more oil and fresh water and arable land, russia wants europe, and they want the US neutralised at some point. Maybe not totally destroyed, just so neutralised as to never be a threat to them ever again. They will temporarily combine forces to pull this off, and then sort out their differences later. A temporary alliance of convenience. Both of them are sucking the west for all they can get right now. all these western businessmen investing into china are going to wake up with their assets nationalised, and with half the money they invested turned into a military advantage, assymetrically. China and russia both are creating the younger generation into ruthless predators. russia is using chechnya to build a blooded officer corps. they cut the size of their standing army two years ago, and at the same time they institutited total miliotia training for 15 year olds. they cut their land army budget to one third, and now have a land army potential 5 times bigger. China promotes aggression constantly, all their pronouncements and propoganda are telling their people they deserve more, and it's the wests fault they don't have it, and that they should get strong and go long to defeat the west. The latest most popular video in china, the wtc attacks, serious clueski there. Like- rhetorically speaking- what about this is hard to understand? It's not all domestic consumption, they are ruthless dictators, they fully intend to not only stay in power but expand. They will give japan one choice, 'with us, you'll be the big trading partner now and maybe we'll give you some oil" or be nuked into oblivion". They will tell india to stay neutral or the same thing. Russia and china both will tell india and japan that simultaneously, after the first salvos hit, and the first secreted backpacks go off. I just will not swallow what the chinese leadership or russian leadership say publically in english for the western press consumtion or what our "leaders" say publically, when the actions say otherwise, and all the actions are pointing toweards a war of agression sometime soon. The technique is age old, it's called "feign weakness" and also "feign friendship", then WHAMMO, cold cock, or as the cold warriors used to say a "a devastating first strike".
Sounds like Buruma believes the communists have lost the Mandate of Heaven.
well, simply put...Its not! How is it that the Taliban Can take over Afghanistan and the UN refuses to see them as the ruling body of the Afghan people but the Communists took over China (similar situation, different culture) but the UN and the rest of the world refuses to recognise the nationalist party as the Official Government of the Chinese people? Im not sure if I got my thought worded clearly and correctly but I hope you get idea of my question...
To be honest, your title put me more in mind of this pithy little post: The Specifics of Perestroika in China
Reading you loud and clear, myself.
All true in the UN's universe.
well, simply put...Its not!
Right. And going back to the original idea, we see how they act in a crisis. They massacre civilians like in 1989 or they jail and torture like with the Falun Gong in the past couple years.
People are starting to realize that they were never legit in the first place...
But the shift toward a market economy and the collapse of European communism have exposed the ideology as bankrupt. China today is simply an authoritarian government with no ideological basis other than it sort of works.
China has no democratic tradition. Historically, China was governed by an Imperial system with Confucian regional and local administrators. When the Empire disintegrated, regional warlords and mandarins took over. Unless a bold reformer is given power in Beijing, I fear the transition from the present government could involve another warlord era.
The danger for the US is that the present regime may resort to nationalism and war to try to confer legitimacy and hold onto power. That's bad news for Taiwan, S.E. Asia and Japan.
I believe I just read recently that he plans to organize and establish a "national security council" similar to that of ours here in the United States and then he plans to be the Chairman of that council in order to maintain his grip within the party.
Now, if only we can have that same disbelief in Leftism take place in America!
This, if true, is wonderful news. Absolutely wonderful. I believe that the truest way to achieve maximum worldwide peace is the dissolvement of Marxism in all of its vestiges (socialism, communism, "third-way," etc.).
"At the same time, within the United States dissidents are divided into factions that rarely compromise, further limiting their political effectiveness.
Not to start a war, but, I find this statement to be the very definition of Libertarians here in the U.S. Stomp, complain, yell, or whatever, but as long as you are not in power, your message is virutally moot. Libertarianize the GOP has the right idea by his username. If only there were a way for the GOP and Libertarians to find common ground and work to achieve that common ground!
If this news about China becomes more mainstream, you can rest assured that our pointy headed intelligensia will say that the Chinese didn't perform communism the right way, just as they say whenever the failure of communism in the U.S.S.R. is brought up.
Taiwan is a matter of national dignity. It has nothing to do with what political party or system rules China. When the US sold China to USSR by allowing Mongolia to split from China in Yalta in WWII, Chiang Kai-Shek even thought about negotiating with Japan to end the Sino-Japanese war so that the Red Army would have no reason to enter Manchuria.
Not likely. Its against the Chinese constitution and Jiang won't be able to do so. The CCP's doctine is "the party commanding the gun".
The person Jiang has tried to place in the leadership belongs to "gang of princelines", but Hu Jintao was from the "faction of youth league".
>>It is likely that Jiang will trey to keep his post as commander of the PLA, as Deng did, but uncertain whether he will be able to do it. Deng was a soldier, Jiang is a politician. The complaint against him here is that he is too soft.
If Jiang gives up the post as CCP's head, he can't keep the post as PLA commander. The complaint against him is not only his weakness but his failure in dealing with the Sino-US relaitions, especially after the embassy bombing and EP3 inccident.
The UN and the western nations refused to recognize PRC for over 20 years. The US recognized ROC in Taiwan with merely 20 million people as the sole and legitmate government representing China (with 1 billion people) for 30 years.
the issue is not if communism crumbles in china, the issue is whether or not the current leadership can invoke free market change as fast as those on the east coast desire. as an aside, if communism crumbles, i see some provences becoming autonomous.