Friday, May 24, 2013

The Chinese Dream and the Cosmic Truth

From the Economist's cover
The People's Daily recently provided  more details on China's Dream, so dear to President Xi Jinping.
The Daily first explained why a Dream:
The concept of Chinese dream has been widely spread for some time. In the context of weak economic recovery, complicated security situation and accelerated adjustment of international order, the world needs dreams indeed. The reason Chinese dream has caught close attention is that it complies with the history trend and echoes the world expectation.
But who is this Dream for? 
The mouthpiece of the Communist Party answers that it is for peace, for the world. It says:
The Chinese dream is a dream for peace. Adhering to the peaceful development is China’s choice of the times. China stands for peace settlement for global disputes and issues and the new security concept of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equal and cooperation. The country strives for development under peaceful global circumstance and promotes world peace by self-development. China has actively participated in the dialogue and cooperation for international security. It has contributed to world peace.
But there is more in the Chinese Dream. It is for the people and their well-being: Read this:
The Chinese dream is a dream for development. Chinese people focus on development and have made brilliant progress since the Reform and Opening-up. China has become the stabilizer and new engine, especially since the breakout of the international financial crisis. Data from the IMF show China has contributed one fourth of global economy growth with a one tenth global economic aggregate. Chinese people promote the world economic recovery by their hard work, which is the best interpretation of human being’s common dream - development.  
Let all the countries of the world could work together, prophetically asserts the Dream:
The Chinese dream is a dream for cooperation. The interrelation and interdependency of countries have deepened largely, and cooperation and mutual benefits have become a common view. China pushes forward pragmatic cooperation with other countries and adheres to providing help to developing countries. The country has always taken dialogue and negotiation as the best means to resolve differences, committing to create a new way to coexistence. China’s road of cooperation is getting more and more reorganization in the world.
Let us all live in Harmony: China and the rest of the world, dreams the new President:
The Chinese dream is a dream for harmony. Unfair and unreasonable old international order which has not been fundamentally changed is the most important cause of world chaos and dilemma. China advocates equality, mutual trust, tolerance and mutual learning cooperation and win-win spirit in the international relations, respects diversity and development of human civilization, actively involves in promoting the establishment of a just and reasonable new international political and economic order. It has committed to building a harmonious world with lasting peace and common prosperity. Chinese dream reflects the inevitable requirement for sustainable development of human society, opportunities for more countries. Under the background of globalization, the Chinese dream belongs to the world. During the close cooperation with the other countries, the Chinese dream will surely step forward with the world dream.
If you now believe in the Chinese Dream, I will advise you, not to read the following article, you may end up confused.

Post-script: The People's Liberation Daily, the PLA publication has gone a step further in praising the Dream. 
The Daily said that the Chinese Dream "is like seeing a ship's mast in the sea, like seeing the radiant sun rise in the east". 
The Editor added: "It is the dogma of my belief, the cosmic truth. ...The dream is more important than anything." 
The Chinese Army is told: "Belief is like water that carries the ship; belief is like wind that sustains the wings."
It is rare for the Chinese Army to have glimpses of the 'cosmic truth'. 
The 'cosmic' experience must have occurred in the Depsang Plains, near Daulat Beg Oldi in the altitude of Ladakh. The Indian jawans did not see the 'cosmic truth', it was too cold for them.

Beijing's increasingly heavy-handed response to maintain stability
May 22, 2013
South China Morning Post
Chang Ping says two recent heavy-handed displays of power to quell relatively minor protests show the authorities are ramping up efforts to maintain stability, and would not hesitate to quash any sign of dissent
Before the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, the most serious public incident in Chengdu was the protest against the setting up of a petrochemical plant in the suburbs of Pengzhou city. People answered blog calls and gathered "for a peaceful stroll" on May 4. That followed a number of anti-pollution protests in Xiamen.
A large number of police officers were on hand at the protest site, dispersing any passers-by who looked likely to linger for an assembly. City authorities and businesses also called meetings with employees, warning them that they would be sacked and punished if they were absent from work that day. As a result, the protest was quashed.
The Wenchuan quake happened just eight days later, killing more than 88,000 people. Despite the sadness, the people were glad that the site for the planned Pengzhou petrochemical facility had been badly damaged and the project would most likely be scrapped. Certainly, they did not expect the project to return five years later. Another "peaceful stroll" seemed to be on the cards on May 4 this year.
The difference today, from five years ago, was marked. This time, the authorities took much stronger measures. Chengdu authorities organised a drill for some 170,000 people to promote social stability. All the streets and alleys around the planned protest were packed with uniformed and plainclothes police officers as well as all manner of people ready to defend "order".
It was a weekend but schools stayed open and all private and public offices were open for overtime. Meanwhile, people buying surgical masks had to register their names first; shopkeepers were asked to report purchases. Rights activists either went "missing" or were kept in custody. I phoned a female acquaintance who had taken part in the "tofu schools" investigation after the Wenchuan quake and found that she was being watched and monitored by four policemen. This protest was over even faster than the one five years ago.
On May 3, Yuan Liya, a young woman from Anhui, plunged to her death from the multi-storey Jingwen wholesale clothing market in the Fengtai district of Beijing. Police said it was suicide.
Her family asked for surveillance videos to be checked, but police refused. Blog rumours began to circulate claiming she had jumped to her death as she tried to resist being gang raped by security guards. On May 8, protesters gathered outside the market and demanded a thorough police investigation. The response they got was the arrival of a shockingly large contingent of anti-riot police, armed officers, military vehicles and helicopters. Some people even claimed to have seen heavy artillery being delivered. It was almost like a war zone in the southern section of the capital.
A friend with a non-governmental organisation in Beijing told me she suggested they should pay attention to this gathering of civilian protesters. But before they could even decide what to do next, police had arrived at their office. The fact is that this proactive NGO is under constant surveillance and monitoring.
My conversations with some people involved in the two cases have led me to doubt several ideas currently in vogue about the authorities.
First, it is generally thought that the government authorities are plagued by internal chaos, with corruption and bureaucracy rife in their ranks, which is adversely affecting their efficiency.
This certainly seems to be the case whenever they are called on to deal with livelihood problems. But, when it comes to ensuring the safety of the ruling class, miraculously, the system works like clockwork.
For years, the public at large and academics believed that strongman politics had ended with the death of Deng Xiaoping, and that there would be no one bold enough to give the order to "fire" on protesters in the event of another June 4 incident occurring. But we must question that belief when artillery and helicopters are immediately deployed in a minor case involving the death of a young woman.
Should another June 4 occur, it seems that today there would be no intra-party struggle or moral conflict to be resolved; the gunfire might just begin sooner, and the violence be more forceful. In addition, since it became known that the Communist Party has for years been spending billions of yuan annually on efforts to maintain social stability, the media, both at home and abroad, has questioned the ability of the state to sustain this, simply in financial terms.
The fact is that with repeated crackdowns by the authorities eroding people's courage to resist, the party may not need to raise its budget that drastically to maintain stability. And when law-enforcement officers seek to maintain stability at all costs, shirking their other duties such as maintaining law and order and helping the people, what is the cost? With only this to gauge their performance, there is no proper mechanism to hold them responsible. Added to this, without scrutiny and monitoring in the court of public opinion, authorities find it all too easy to impose taxes, both directly and in other ways.
Chang Ping is a current affairs commentator writing on politics, society and culture. This commentary is translated from Chinese

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