Communist Party asked to preserve unique melting pot

Hong Kong’s latest pro-democracy group, 2047 HK Monitor, publishes an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal. It asks the Chinese Communist Party to honour its commitments to maintain the city’s autonomy, legal system and freedoms, to allow full democracy, and to ensure a fair and clean business environment. Perhaps the most resonant request is Number 8, asking Beijing to ‘understand Hong Kong’s unique historical background…’

2047HKM2

The division and distrust between the central government and Hong Kong’s population seem rooted in mutual incomprehension. Pro-Beijing 2047HKM1figures often blame pro-democrats, students and other dissenters for ‘not understanding’ modern China. But the onus is surely on the sovereign power to clue itself in on its recently resumed territory. All the signs are that Beijing officials have zero empathy for the communal memory of a city settled by refugees who fled Mao’s terror and famine. They have nothing but hostility towards the population’s attachment to apparently ‘un-Chinese’ concepts of law and liberty. And they totally lack the imagination to earn and inspire loyalty and respect, knowing only how to demand it and demonize anyone who doesn’t comply.

As Gordon ‘collapse of China’ Chang suggests here, this crude and cold obsession with control of the populace is proving to be equally counterproductive in Tibet and Xinjiang. All you have to do is be nice to people – is it really that difficult? But of course the authoritarian Leninist culture, resurgent under Xi Jinping, cannot work that way. The Communist Party is about its own narratives and an alternate reality. It can’t win critics over by saying: “Yeah, we seriously screwed up, starving 40 million people to death in the late 50s.” In the Mainland, the famine (like the party’s passivity in World War II, like the Cultural Revolution, like 6-4-89, etc) officially didn’t happen, or hardly. People who know otherwise are deviant, a threat – enemies who don’t/can’t/won’t love the motherland.

Maybe in a way 2047 HK Monitor is missing the point; Beijing does understand Hong Kong all too well.

Indeed, maybe it is the group of pro-democracy financiers and professionals who don’t entirely get Beijing. Their ad’s 10th and final request asks for universal suffrage in Hong Kong that can be ‘leveraged as a blueprint’ for democratic elections in China…

2047HKM3

Assuming a central government official reads this far, now is the time when he screws the ad up and angrily chucks it away, more convinced than ever that political reform in Hong Kong spells doom. Request number 10 is (if modestly) asking the Chinese Communist Party to give up its monopoly of power, and essentially cease to exist. Obviously another evil ‘unique melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures’ conspiracy.

The 10 requests in full…

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16 Responses to Communist Party asked to preserve unique melting pot

  1. Stephen says:

    You hit the nail on head in the last three paragraphs. It’s No.10. Butt out of mainland politics – two systems – and concentrate on Hong Kong. Of course the CCP would need to reciprocate and concentrate solely on foreign affairs and defence, as far as this city is concerned, and governing the rest of /China as it sees fit – its none of Hong Kong’s fecking business. Anything outside foreign affairs and defense is none of China’s business. If you start there perhaps the CCP and HK could reach rapprochement? Probably not !

  2. Cassowary says:

    The definition of Charlie Sheen Winning from Urban Dictionary.
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Charlie+Sheen+Winning

    “Charlie Sheen Winning (also known as CSW for short) Is a disorder in which one feels that no matter what they do, they are always “winning” at life. CSW is quite similar to insanity except with CSW, you KNOW you’re being crazy. You just don’t give a fuck.”

    Yep. That’s pretty much what we’re looking at, on an institutional scale.

  3. mjrelje says:

    “They have nothing but hostility towards the population’s attachment to apparently ‘un-Chinese’ concepts of law and liberty. And they totally lack the imagination to earn and inspire loyalty and respect, knowing only how to demand it and demonize anyone who doesn’t comply.”

    Perfectly put and the exact reason why everyone hates them.

  4. PCC says:

    CSW. You learn something new every day. Funny, too.

  5. JBinHK says:

    “They have nothing but hostility towards the population’s attachment to apparently ‘un-Chinese’ concepts of law and liberty. And they totally lack the imagination to earn and inspire loyalty and respect, knowing only how to demand it and demonize anyone who doesn’t comply.”

    Perfectly put and the exact reason why everyone hates them.

    ———–
    Seconded

  6. David says:

    Law and liberty are not concepts and values unique to Hong Kong. They are universal, except to the CCP.

  7. Monkey Reborn says:

    Oh oh … looks like some serious (and strategic) HKers are starting to question CCP legitimacy in the mainland in a public forum…

    Is this slap in the face going to wake them up? Or enrage them and induce a greater sense of insecurity and paranoia? Hmmm….

    Complex, adaptive, autonomous networks formed around a shared value, idea or vision *always* trump command-and-control hierarchies that are based on manipulation, violence and fear. Now when are all those young uns from OC going to start leveraging their branding, design and consumer psychology know-how to really go after the CCP, and expose the deceit that enjoying the priveleges and responsibilities of state power in mainland China is very different from an “all under heaven” divine right authority over all “Chinese” everywhere (including disputed regions).

    The CCP has no defense against humour and ridicule, especially if it it’s based on its true and unfettered history.

  8. Joe Blow says:

    Waiter, I’ll have a Number 10, with rice !

    Hemlock, don’t dismiss No 10. It does make sense.

    You are still stuck in the mindset -like so many others- that the CCP is a big, fat monolith. It isn’t: it consists of a thousand power clusters, some big, some small, and they are all competing with each other. And you are mistaken in the belief that they are still grounded in Marxism-Leninism. They don’t give a f”ck about Marx anymore. M + L are just luggage from the past.

    “Request number 10 is (if modestly) asking the Chinese Communist Party to give up its monopoly of power, and essentially cease to exist.”

    Is it so far fetched to believe that some major power clusters and/or their leaders are considering, behind closed doors, that an eventual switch to a multi-party system is desirable and possible ?

    If nothing else, Zhou Yangkang and Bo Xilai wouldn’t mind at all if the party traded absolute power for the rule of law and democracy right now.

  9. Scotty Dotty says:

    “They have nothing but hostility towards the population’s attachment to apparently ‘un-Chinese’ concepts of law and liberty. And they totally lack the imagination to earn and inspire loyalty and respect, knowing only how to demand it and demonize anyone who doesn’t comply.”

    Perfectly put and the exact reason why everyone hates them.

    ———–
    Thirded

  10. FOARP says:

    You are still stuck in the mindset -like so many others- that the CCP is a big, fat monolith. It isn’t: it consists of a thousand power clusters, some big, some small, and they are all competing with each other.

    Every political party that ever existed had factions. Pointing out that factions exist in the CCP is not insight of any kind (however much apologists for the CCP may think it is), especially when you are referring to the likely response of CCP members to something that threatens the organisation as a whole.

    “And you are mistaken in the belief that they are still grounded in Marxism-Leninism. They don’t give a f”ck about Marx anymore. M + L are just luggage from the past.”

    I sincerely doubt that Hemlock believes that the CCP is dedicated to Marxist economics. Instead he is likely, entirely accurately, referring to the existing political structure of the modern-day PRC, which is explicitly, and constitutionally, Leninist (i.e., a “vanguard party” governing through “democratic centralism” – a single-party state in other words).

  11. Monkey Reborn says:

    @JB

    Totally agree on several of your points, especially about the diffuse and competing power structures within the CCP. I disagree though that M-L thought no longer plays a role – M-L analysis is what all cadres “grow up on” and I believe it remains influential in the collective psyche of the party as well as the individual psyches of party members, even if only in terms of an subconscious thought paradigm. I do however very much agree that the promotion of classic Maoist and, more recently, “Chinese nationalism + socialism” ideologies in the CCP is purely a matter of pragmatism and image/brand management, and lacks any semblance of true ideological cohesion and loyalty.

    My personal sense is that the political hardlining since the new cabinet is a Hu Jintao (well-known for his political hardline and Marxist beliefs) behind-the-scenes play for “stability”, i.e. control, via frontman Xi Jinping’s cabinet. Classic technocrat move, combining ostensible (and to a limited extent, actual) cleaning up of the CCP’s practices and public image with renewed repression of anti-system dissent.

    Are all of the CCP power-holding families aligned with this approach to political transformation (who send their kids to Stanford and Harvard for post-docs)? And what are the end-goals in the medium and long term of the policy approach? Interesting questions, difficult to answer at the moment IMHO. On the bright-side, clear psychopathic and sociopathic crazy-nasties (Bo, Zhou, et al) are getting put away and eliminated from the power structure, and that can only be a positive thing for China and for the world.

    Here is one of my favourite photos, of Mr. Integrity a.k.a. teletubby standing behind Yangzhou Fried Rice during 4689:

    https://diogenesii.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/that-dazed-looking-aide-behind-zhao-ziyang-is-wen-jiabao-more-recently-china_s-prime-minister.jpg

  12. Cassowary says:

    Even if there were a liberal faction of any significance within the CCP, it wouldn’t lead to change unless they somehow managed to win over the military. Every autocracy lives or dies by the army’s loyalty. If you don’t control the guys with the guns, the guys with the guns will control you.

    On a side note, if a Western education were any guarantee of liberal reform, Swiss boarding school-educated Kim Jong UN wouldn’t be behaving like a medieval despot right now.

  13. Monkey Reborn says:

    @FOARP

    Are you referring to the Chinese state constitution or the constitution of the CCP? The constitution of the state now is quite similar to the constitution of the state during the KMT’s reign (which was never implemented), if you ignore the chest beating in the preamble. It was developed during a reform effort close to the end of the Qing dynasty (I believe constitutionalism in France and in the USA were the main sources of inspiration). It explicitly enshrines the political rights and liberties of Chinese citizens. Although it has yet to be effectively implemented (cf. the Charter 08 effort) by the CCP, it is about as far from a Leninist document as you can imagine.

    http://www.npc.gov.cn/englishnpc/Law/2007-12/05/content_1381903.htm (articles 33 to 56 govern citizen’s rights – and are quite similar to citizen’s rights in “Western” democratic nations).

    It is no secret that – assuming there is one – any pro political liberalisation faction in the CCP is focussed on the narrow aim of retaining and cultivating long-term, sustainable political authority for the party (as opposed to promoting “universal values” for its own sake). However, it doesn’t take a genius to recognize the social transformations that are occurring in China (explosion of the middle-class and middle-class values, incredible rate of urbanization, etc etc), as well as the huge distortions of the state-led investment model and the concomitant slowdown in economic growth, pose a systemic challenge to one of the only 2 remaining legs of legitimacy the CCP has left – continually rising prosperity (the other is nationalism).

    Many bloggers and commentators, as well as Hemmers, recognize this trend clearly. It is naive to imagine that some bright sparks in the CCP have failed to recognize these dynamics as well, and that it is in their self-interest to lead transition and transformation to an open society where legitimacy is granted through some form of democractic election, rather than to be deposed and eradicated by some cataclysmic political event.

    I would take a Gorbachev over a violent revolution and a power vacuum anyday. And if I was a perspicacious CCP member, I would take *being* a Gorbachev over being a Ceausescu any day of the week. Wouldn’t you?

  14. Chinese Netizen says:

    Hard to believe in and adhere to a Western concept (“Communism”) while remaining intractably Chinese (money worshipping and constantly thinking of ways to make a buck and brown nose those you need to use).

  15. Cassowary says:

    I don’t think you’ll get anywhere with any CCP faction by holding Gorbachev up as a model. China is assiduously trying to avoid becoming Russia. Wholesale looting of state assets alongside a massive economic collapse, loss of satellite states, and a fall in life expectancy. No way. Instead, they are attempting to pull off the wholesale looting of state assets WITHOUT putting the whole nation in poor house and losing control of the border regions. It isn’t even like democracy worked out so well for Russia, what with Putin throwing opponents in jail, molesting gays, and generating propaganda that puts Beijing’s paranoid fantasies to shame.

  16. inspired says:

    Can’t even get much traction with the CCP from the obvious other nextdoor case of transition from authoritarianism carried out by Chiang Ching-kuo in the ’80s

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