Saturday, December 29, 2012

Water can carry the boat, but also capsize the boat

Xun Zi
A long report about the Chinese society on the website Chinascope quotes Xun Zi (313 BC–238 BC), the famous philosopher from the Warring States period; he would have said: “The Emperor is the boat and the people are the water. Water can carry the boat, but also capsize the boat.” 
The report concludes: "If the Chinese people continue to distrust their government and actions against the government intensify, it may be inevitable for the CCP boat to capsize."
Will the boat capsize?
During his first speech as CCP General Secretary, Xi Jinping quoted an ancient Chinese proverb which stated "things must have gone rotten before insects can grow".
He asked his partymen to stay clean and self-disciplined, cautioning about the likelihood of party loosing its hold over China due to corruption.
A former Peking University professor, Zhang Weiying has an interesting theory on the subject. 
He recently told a public forum in China that corruption poses a serious threat to the Communist Party and not the nation.
Zhang admitted that corruption in the Chinese Communist Party has been worsening; he even said that few officials would be found free of corrupt behavior if they were all put under investigation. 

The question is therefore, will China or the Party alone collapse if corruption is not reined. 
It is difficult to answer, though drastic measures have already be taken.
Xinhua reported that the CCP disciplinary watchdogs (the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the Ministry of Supervision) have called for efforts to halt extravagance during the upcoming holiday season.
The notification says:

The use of public funds to purchase cigarettes, liquor and gifts for government officials should be strictly prohibited.
Public spending on extravagant banquets, travel, entertainment or sporting activities will also be prohibited during the New Year holiday, as well as February's Spring Festival.
Officials are prohibited from receiving any gifts in the form of cash, negotiable securities or convertible coupons during official occasions; officials are banned from illegally collecting funds from enterprises or individuals in the form of sponsorships for such occasions. Authorities are also requiring strict regulation over the use of government cars for private purposes.
Government departments have been told to refrain from diverting public funds to pamper officials and workers. Officials are also banned from using their holidays to lobby or bribe people for promotions, as well as buy votes for official selection procedures.
And no malpractice or holiday gambling.
The PLA has been issued similar rules. 
Will it be enough? Will it dispel the mistrust?
The issue is not an easy one.
Bloomberg recently published an article "Heirs of Mao’s Comrades Rise as New Capitalist Nobility".
The Middle Kingdom is run by sons, daughters and relatives of the Party bosses.
Bloomberg quotes General Wang Zhen, one of the CCP Eight Elders, lying in a Beijing military hospital in 1990; the old general told a visitor he felt betrayed: "Decades after he risked his life fighting for an egalitarian utopia, the ideals he held as one of Communist China’s founding fathers were being undermined by the capitalist ways of his children - business leaders in finance, aviation and computers."
Wang Zhen called the new generation 'Turtle eggs', a slang term for bastards: “I don’t acknowledge them as my sons.”
According to Bloomberg, two of his sons "are planning to turn a valley in northwestern China where their father once saved Mao Zedong’s army from starvation into a $1.6 billion tourist attraction. The resort in Nanniwan would have a revolution-era theme and tourist-friendly versions of the cave homes in which cadres once sheltered from the cold."
The rise of the Red Comrades is Xi Jinping's biggest headache, considering his own personal Red background.
Will the Boat collapse or will the new Emperor manage to change the direction is main issue facing China today.
And what about India? 
Here the leaders do not even admit that there is a problem and a possibility of sinking. 

China Is Submerged in Distrust
Chinascope
[Extracts]
September 10, 2012
...Despite the year over year economic growth in China, the Chinese people themselves have already begun to look beyond the government’s self proclaimed eulogies and its international fa├žade of success. Many of them have lost trust in the government. In April 2011, Chinascope published a report titled, “The Credibility of China’s Government Is Dangerously Low.” One year later, that credibility has sunk even lower.
One prominent example is the death of Zhou Kehua, which was a hot topic on the Chinese Internet in August. Zhou was China’s most-wanted serial-killer. He was said to have killed ten people in ten crimes in three provinces (Jiangsu, Hunan, and Sichuan) over the past eight years. On August 14, 2012, the Chongqing police released a photo of him and claimed that they had killed Zhou.
However, many people questioned the account that the police gave: Did the police actually kill Zhou, did he kill himself, or was he even killed at all?
As the pressure grew, the Chongqing police had to publish a microblog to reassure people that Zhou Kehua was indeed dead.

...Because of the growing distrust in the government, people no longer rely on the government. Instead, they stand up to the government to demand their rights. In December 2011, “Wukan villagers staged anti-corruption protests that quickly developed a national and supportive online constituency. The Party responded with elections for new local leaders.”
Two recent events at Shifang, Sichuan Province and Qidong, Jiangsu Province provide further examples.
The people of Shifang learned that the government approved the Hongda smelting plant project, which would bring dangerous amounts of pollution to the city. On July 1, 2012, tens of thousands of citizens protested against the project. The government sent police, armed police, and anti-riot police to the site. The protesters and the police clashed; there were some injuries; but in the end, the Shifang government agreed to stop the smelting project.
On July 28, 2012, the citizens of Qidong protested against a project for the Nippon Paper Group’s plant to build a system to discharge waste water into the sea. People were concerned that this would result in substantial pollution. During the protest, thousands of people entered the municipal government building and searched the officials’ offices. They found luxury goods and exposed them publicly. A thousand police arrived but didn’t take action against the protesters. The government gave in to the people’s demand and announced that they would forever cancel this waste water discharge project.
During the event, the protesters held Qidong Party Secretary Sun Jianhua and Major Xu Feng captive and beat them. They focused mainly on Sun Jianhua because he signed for the government on the waste water discharge project. They took his T-shirt and one protester handed him a T-shirt with “Resist Nippon Paper” written on it. Sun chose to remain shirtless.
Asian Times observed that “a most interesting and important element of the Shifang and Qidong actions is the prominence of a confrontational vanguard of young people - high school students and twenty-somethings (collectively known as ‘after 80s’ and ‘after 90s’ for their birth years) who appear quite happy to mix it up violently with the cops and cadres.”
Again, people had reason to express anger toward the government. Qidong citizens found a lot of interesting things in the official’s offices: ginseng, Zhonghua cigarettes (the best national cigarette brand in China), Wuliangye white spirits (one of the two best wines in China), and top-brand red wines. People also found a “Price List for Business Trips to Taiwan.” The list showed that it would cost the government 13,000 yuan (US$2,000) to pay for a public servant’s trip to Taiwan; the official would stay at a five-star hotel, and would receive a per diem of 450 yuan (US$71).
The T-shirt that Sun Jianhua wore was a Lozio, an expensive Italian fashion brand. A Lozio T-shirt costs over 2,000 yuan (US$320) in China. As a reference, many Chinese earn less than 2,000 yuan per month and migrant workers earn only 800 to 1,000 yuan per month.
People also found a lot of condoms in the officials’ offices. An article explained why there were so many condoms.
... Regarding the Shifang and Qidong cases, even the state media Huanqiu couldn’t help commenting:
“Some people go to the street because they don’t trust the local government. They don’t trust that they can resolve their issues through normal channels. The quick shutdown of the two projects at Shifang and Qidong suggests that the people are right in their distrust.”
Tang Taizong, the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty, liked to quote Xun Zi (313 B.C. – 238 B.C.), a philosopher from the Warring States period, “The Emperor is the boat and the people are the water. Water can carry the boat, and also capsize the boat.” If the Chinese people continue to distrust their government and actions against the government intensify, it may be inevitable for the CCP boat to capsize.

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