Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A184-W89



Release Date: February 11, 2006



Topic: In Review of Year 2005 in China -- by Wei Jingsheng

标题:2005年中国形势回顾 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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In Review of Year 2005 in China

-- By Wei Jingsheng



Another new year has arrived, and everyone holds new hopes.  High officials hope to maintain their power and status; low-ranking officials hope to climb up a rung on the ladder; big-time magnates hope to avoid losing money or being kidnapped for ransom; small-time magnates hope for opportunities to dredge up some more cash and to squeeze into the ranks of big-time magnates; workers hope to avoid being furloughed; farmers hope to enter the city and find work; those who do business in China hope to have fewer foreign competitors; those who do business in exports hope that foreign governments place fewer restrictions on them; the common people hope that the rule of law can protect their rights and interests and prevent them from being taken advantage of by the powerful; angry youth hope that restrictions on their smashing embassies can be loosened so that they can give vent to the grudges they hold in their hearts ....


People hope for this and that, and everyone has hopes.  Moreover, these hopes are linked together with the development trends of society and the nation as a whole.  To put it another way, the movement of society and the nation will directly or indirectly affect the fate of every individual.  Only when we become clear on these major trends can we know how what needs to be done for our own hopes to become reality.  Due to the Chinese Communist Party's opaque political traditions, becoming clear on the trends isn't that easy.  I'll just try to help everyone to analyze the situation; perhaps this will be of assistance to everyone.  Before analyzing the trends of the coming year, I would like to briefly revisit last year's trends.  The special characteristic of trends in China last year was that the economy maintained its high-speed growth, but development inequalities were further enlarged.  Since the unfair wealth allocation situation hasn't changed, the three-fourths of the population that have low incomes did not experience a rise in incomes; only the middle-to-high income classes unreasonably had a rise in incomes.  Thus, the scope of growth of the Chinese consumer market hasn't grown much and is also deformed, as the increased production came mainly in goods dumped on the international markets.  This has brought about three types of consequences:


1.  Major western markets have gradually set up trade barriers, so the stability and capacity of the export market has lowered, and export costs have risen.  The feedback has caused the China market to become more unstable.


2.  The increase in the capacity of the economy has not impacted China's consumer market and has instead transformed into savings in bank accounts and foreign-exchange reserves.  Moreover, great amounts of property have been left abroad, becoming increases in the capacities of other nations' economies, lessening reinvestment sums in China, as well as the vitality of development.


3.  The scope of investment projects in China is smaller than the growth of the labor force.  The actual incomes of workers and peasants have lowered, and the pressures of unemployment have increased, bringing about the further intensification of social conflicts. 


In the past two year, the manifestation of the intensification of social conflicts has truly left people shocked.  The bloody incident in Shantou of Guangdong Province is relatively representative.  Since issues of compensation for land requisitioned for construction were resolved in an unreasonable manner, a bloody large-scale clash ensued between farmers and armed police.  The fundamental reason behind is was the clash of interests between the bureaucratic capitalist class and the farmers that hadn't benefited enough from development.  This is a new type of clash.  It has both similarities and differences with the large-scale clashes that occurred in undeveloped areas in the past few years.  The similarities are that the land privatization issue hasn't been resolved and that the bureaucratic capitalist class both utilizes its property rights to achieve extremely high profits and has also deprived the common people of their proper interests.  This is a typical instance of human rights infringements that lead to infringements of interests bringing about clashes.  The differences are that the turmoil caused by these infringements has developed from the most impoverished class of the most impoverished regions all the way to the general masses, proceeding to relatively well-off classes in more developed regions.  The social conflicts brought about by the inadequacy of property safeguards have rapidly expanded and extended to include all different social classes and the majority of the population.  Since the rule of law has been corrupted, the clashes continue to escalate, and follow a trend of going from conflicts to clashes to turmoil.  These are the primary reasons why class conflicts have deepened and why the scale and scope of turmoil continues to expand. 


The deepening of class polarization and the intensification of class conflicts has been caused by the reduced Chinese consumer market and a distorted social allocation system.  This manifests not only in land-requisition disputes, but also in various aspects of society.  The most prominent manifestations are the worsening of social order and the rapid rise of the criminal underworld.  This trend has gradually developed over the last twenty-plus years, and has accelerated recently.  By last year, it had already become a crisis that whole society has found hard to tolerate.  Long-term unemployment and extreme poverty has forced a portion of the populace to break the law and take desperate risks; these people have gradually come together and formed large or small organizations.  In the areas that the government doesn't care about to disrupt social order, these organizations maintain another form of social order -- unite the semi-lawful power of the people, they have formed criminal underworld alliances, and have now advanced to the point that they collude with government forces, allowing criminal underworld forces to penetrate into the management system of whole society, to the point that they partially influence government operations.  China's criminal underworld has already far surpassed the level it was at in the previous century.  With the absence of wars or separatist regimes, the scale of these groups has developed to the point that they clearly weaken official authority, to the point they independently exercise authority in managing social classes.  In many large- or mid-sized cities, people can no longer tell clearly who are police officers and who are gang members.  To members of all social classes, their sense of security has fallen to wartime levels, and the legal system is no longer one that people can rely on for protection.  Such phenomena indicate that China's social conflicts have already approached their limits.  Not only poor people but also the power holding wealthy class feels that this environment has already developed to an intolerable extent.  Thinking of change is not only something guided by idealism but a need of every member of society.  These are the basic trends we have seen in Chinese society over the past year.


So the distorted development of Chinese economy has brought about three kinds of consequences: export prospects for this year are dim, investments in China have lowered, and the pressure of unemployment has increased.  The social conflicts triggered by these consequences are prominent in that the clashes brought about by countless property rights issues have become more serious, and the criminal underworld has grown.  Apart from these social conflicts intensifying, various sorts of political conflicts are also becoming more acute to different extents, bringing about a vicious cycle.   


Media both inside and outside China have reported relatively more on an issue, namely, that the Chinese democracy movement has become a human rights defending movement and has united the personal interests of the broad masses; the media has done relatively less purely idealistic media speculation.  As a result, the movement has spread from just campuses in 1989 to all levels of society today. The various forms of human rights activities in the media have been activities that are not politicized or meant for the purpose of forming a political party.  Many officials, civil organizations, and media organizations have participated in human rights activities to varying extents, allowing human rights activities at the lower rungs of society to obtain political and legal support and to improve in terms of proficiency.  It has allowed a portion of those in the intellectual class to leave the path of heading towards corruption and to once again undertake their role as society's bearers of conscience.  The sign for the rapid expansion of this contingent of conscience-supporters is that the success rate of human rights activities in various social classes is continually improving.  In addition to the fact that overseas media outlets have reported on certain major incidents, the fact that everyday people in their daily lives, periodical publications, and lawyers have all joined in the movement has created unprecedented obstacles for those who rely on power-holders to illegally infringe upon others' rights and interests.  The number of cases of rights infringements with tacit government support that have been rectified or partially rectified is rapidly increasing, and the reputation of the media and lawyers in the eyes of the people has raised somewhat.  The intellectual class has, in an unprecedented manner, become a factor in stabilizing society and mitigating conflicts.  Compared with the situation in the past, in which they mainly relied on government authority, its improvement suppressed the past.  For example: government authority continues to decline, and independent civil forces and criminal underworld forces continue to expand; the trend is moving towards a small government and large society.  It's not beneficial to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but relatively beneficial to civil society.


However, in this trend of small government and large society, there is no guarantee as to the political system.  The CCP-guided politics are still developing along the pattern set in the Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin Eras.  This pattern is that the political regime and politics strategy making body, including that of the judicial system, and that control remains in the hands of those in the upper classes of society.  What it represents is not the interests of the various classes of Chinese society, much less the lower classes that make up three-fourths of the population, but the interests of the bureaucratic capitalist class, which makes up a small portion of the population but which controls the majority of the wealth.  People can see from legislation, the judiciary, and policy-making how the wealthy class has gained more and more obvious consideration, while the poor get less and less.  It has gotten to the point that when officials in Guangdong Province talk about the bloody Shanwei incident, they can publicly talk about how not giving compensation to and suppressing the "mob" were reasonable and legal actions.  Scholars who stand close to the government have also strongly called on the government not to attack the wealthy class, saying that it instead should forcefully put down unruly people and mobs.  These phenomena all show that the Chinese communist regime is completing its process of going from a one-party dictatorship that represents the entire public to a class dictatorship that represents the bureaucratic capitalist class.  At the same time, it has gone from the Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping Eras, which the majority of people supported, to a post-Communist era that only the bureaucratic capitalist class supports.  The "post-Communist Era" is an era of a capitalist-class dictatorship with a weakening power base.  During this era, class conflicts have already become the primary conflicts in society, relegating social strata-based conflicts regarding education levels or living environments to a secondary position.  


What the media paid less attention to be the situation last year in which military officers that were sent home or transferred to civilian work demonstrated in the streets and made noise.  In the past, every springtime when the military sent people home or to civilian work, there would always be widespread but small-scale incidents.  Yet what transpired last year were large-scale incidents, and because of this, a law was passed prohibiting servicemen from demonstrating.  This is a sign of the transformation and intensification of social conflicts, as well as how they have penetrated into every corner of society.  Military management hasn't been able to adapt to the changes in social realities; thus, veterans haven't been able to find the employment help they seek and have no choice but to take desperate risks.  Servicemen are the most conservative and stable group in society.  If this group is unable to endure the pressures of injustice in society, it shows that these injustices have reached their limit and are close to causing an eruption.


The 28 years before the CCP established its regime was the Mao Zedong Era.  The social system established in this era is financially one of ownership by all the people and collective ownership but politically a one-party dictatorship.  It is stable in terms of the political and economic systems adapting to one another.  But in actuality it is unstable, because traditionally the Chinese people are used to a market economy, not a serf system, especially with the relative poverty brought about by the backwardness of the Chinese economy.  These are two fundamental reasons that ended in the Mao Zedong Era.  The 28 years afterward were the Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin Eras.  Their characteristics were to gradually establish a semi-market economic system and maintain the one-party autocratic political system.  The economic and social system's clashes with Chinese traditional culture lessened, but the conflicts between the economic and social systems and marketization increased. The political system and the realities of the judicial system conflicted more with the market economy as well. This is the reality we face today.  



(Written on January 20, 2006.  Partially broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.  The Wei Jingsheng Foundation is responsible for the accuracy of this version of the English translation.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A184-W89



Release Date: February 11, 2006



Topic: In Review of Year 2005 in China -- by Wei Jingsheng

标题:2005年中国形势回顾 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









-- 魏京生







1. 西方主要市场渐渐地筑起贸易壁垒,出口市场的容量和稳定性下降,出口成本增加。反过来影响到国内市场不稳定。


2. 经济增量没有反映在国内消费市场,而是转化为存款和外汇储备。并有大量财产滞留在国外,变成其他国家的经济增量,减缓了国内再投资额,减少了发展的后劲。


3. 由于国内投资实业的幅度小于劳动力增长的幅度。工人农民的实际收入下降,失业压力增大,引发各种社会矛盾的进一步激化。

























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