Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A314-W168



Release Date: November 25, 2007



Topic: Two Major Conflicts in Current Chinese Society that Only Democracy Could Resolve (Wei Jingsheng's Commentary on Radio Free Asia)



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



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Two Major Conflicts in Current Chinese Society that Only Democracy Could Resolve

-- Wei Jingsheng



Although the Communist Party's 17th Party Congress was disappointing for everyone, there was still some content that was different from previous Party Congresses.  This time, everyone's disappointment was not because this year was a total replay of the same old story. Rather, it is because the content everyone hoped to see about democratization was not included. Not only were there nothing new about democratization and the next step of reforms, instead there was disappointment of returning to the ways of old times.


This only makes everyone even more disappointed.  Although Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin's half-hearted reforms were unsatisfying for people, and brought about many difficult political and social problems to resolve, but at least they were on the path of stepping out of Mao Zedong-style autocratic dictatorship. At present it is clear that Hu Jintao is backtracking, everyone has felt this move to a greater or lesser degree. The only difference is that in recent years the United Front Department of the Chinese government has been buying up the overseas media to help them to put a spin on things. The "exported products being sold in the domestic market" kind of news that everyone trusted in the past has become more and more untrustworthy. This has led many ignorant Chinese to be deceived and mistakenly think Hu Jintao and his clique are still moving forward on the path of openness and reforms.


During the first ten years of reform, which was the 1980s, the partial reforms that affected only the economy and not the political system were already showing signs of fundamental drawbacks. And that is that they created two basic conflicts, from those two conflicts produced full-scale social and political problems, and further obstructed the reforms from continuing on. These two basic conflicts are:  conflict between the demand for a free-market economy and the one-party dictatorship's opposition to freedom; and the conflict between concentration of wealth against the poverty of the masses, something inevitable in an autocratic regime. The eruption of these two conflicts during the 1980s gave rise to the trend in libertarian thinking. Furthermore, the poverty-stricken people's bitter hate of corruption was in play to launch the 1989 June 4th Democracy Movement.  The reason the ruling clique could use suppression to keep the conflicts from expanding at that time is because then the gap between the rich and the poor had not yet reached the point that it was completely unbearable. It was only the intelligentsia with libertarian thinking that were unsatisfied; it was still not enough to shake the rule of the military dictatorship.  Suppression achieved the effect of safeguarding the bureaucratic capitalist class, it protected them as they used their authority to pursue personal gain and swallow up public property.


Since the 1990s the two fundamental conflicts brought about by the partial reforms have not only not been alleviated, they have developed to the point of being even more acute. Although a portion of the intelligentsia who believe in liberty have been bought out, or placated, yet the working people who are resisting have grown by ten times.  The form of resistance is growing more and more intense, and the minds of those who are revolting are also clearer and clearer.  The leaders of the protesters are also less easily misled. The theories and preaching of the moderate elites who have been bought out by the bureaucrats are more and more out of touch with the reality of people's lives, which has led the people to spurn them. The two methods of suppression and deception are already incapable of producing a sufficient effect. The reality of society demands that the political system make corresponding changes, so as to attempt to resolve the explosive pressure brought about by the autocracy and the gap between the rich and the poor. We can see that even from within the Communist party there are continuous cries for this sort of reform.


Yet, within the Communist party there is obviously another sort of explanation. The bureaucratic capitalist class is unwilling to give up its enormous interests, so its hired scholars help them find excuses that are different from normal reasoning. To counter the protests of the people they say that the government has been too benevolent and has spoiled the mob, leading the mob and the unruly people to hold unrealistic fantasies. To counter the issue of the gap between the rich and the poor they say that the Chinese commoners do not know that the money does not belong to them, and that the property rights of the rich should be made explicit to prevent the mobs from getting unrealistic ideas.


The pitiful thing is that this excuse is by no means a new invention; it is the same overused theory spoken by rulers for thousands of years. It is not easily accepted by the poverty-stricken masses, and it is difficult to link up with Marxism as well.  When there is absolutely no theoretical foundation for this type of unreasonable thinking, it is very much needed an authoritative covering in order to hoodwink the people. This is the reason Hu Jintao and his clique has been using the new term "the perspective of scientific development." The impression "scientific" word gives people is mysterious and authoritative; furthermore, it is not something that everyone can understand so people have no choice but to accept it. Yet, the word of "development" includes the model of the bureaucratic capitalist class. Since in the past they already proved they are developing, they just ought to continue developing. Yet, that of course does not include the price people of impoverishment have to pay for that development.  That is the actual meaning of this "perspective of scientific development" in the real China.


To summarize, the two major conflicts in China is the conflict between a free market economy and a liberty-lacking one-party dictatorship; and the conflict between the extremely poor and the extremely rich brought on by extreme autocracy, which is more prominent right now. As China has the number one rich-poor gap in the world, that has brought about widespread hatred and created a dangerous and restless society.


When subsistence becomes a problem for the poor there will be people who take extreme measures to make a living, and they would not necessarily take into account the security of other people's life and property. Individual illegal operations together form organized illegal professions, which is the social foundation for organized crimes. Common throughout China, the number one organized crime organization in the world was actually a secondary product of poverty. Another part of society in charming contrast with the organized crime is the corrupt economy that permeates China from city to village. The income made from the first class of eating, drinking, prostitution, and gambling, has become the theoretical foundation for the economists explain the division of wealth in society.  This illustrates that an enormous wealthy group of the bureaucratic capitalist class has already formed. In the words of the average Chinese:  in China there are three kinds of different worlds.


The first world is of the major bureaucratic capitalist class and elite of the CCP offspring.  They live their lives in the paradise capitalism provide. According to government statistics there are somewhere around four thousand billionaires. If we calculate in their enormous undeclared income as well and then add their mistresses in too, the people of this class are probably about one out of ten-thousandth of the country's total population. Besides the corruptive economy produced from "the secondary distribution", they own about half of "the first distribution" of directly production.


And making up less than five percent of the total population is the middle class, whose income has reached a point that they have pretty good standard of living. Yet, the average income of the middle class is only one percent of those in the bureaucratic capitalist class. This is the so-called second world.


The situation in China to be different from the rest of the world is because China's third world makes up more than ninety percent of the total population. Not only in the countryside, but also in all cities the poor people who belong to the third world make up more than ninety percent of the population. The poor of the third world and the bureaucratic capitalist class do not only have different living and different educational environments; it has even reached the point that they do not share a common language. The barrier between them has already reached the point that they cannot speak to one another. For people who are estranged living on the same land, within the same city, it is nearly impossible for them not to develop hatred and spite toward each other.


In democratic societies, class antagonism only rarely develops to the point of such hatred. There are three main reasons:


The first is the most important reason and that is that free market economies are matched up with a free social system. Democratic political systems guarantee people's liberty and human rights to the greatest extent. In this environment people have nearly equal opportunities. Complaints about unequal social realities are greatly reduced, reduced to the point that they are bearable.


The second reason is that democratic politics guarantee majority rule, and a majority of the government's policies tend to favor the poor majority. In plain language, taking from the rich to give to the poor is no longer the job of the Robin Hood figure; rather it is the conduct of the government. Thus it is larger in scope and more effective, and there is no need to kill anyone. You can carry it out peacefully, rationally and without violence.


The third reason is that in an environment with equal opportunity and redistribution of wealth, majority of ordinary people can, through hard work, also enter the ranks of the so-called middle class.  Making up the majority of the population, the middle class determines the way of life in this country. This shrinks the class difference enormously, and the rich and poor do not have to regard one another as enemies.


In the majority of situations that I have encountered in the U.S., the rich and poor greet one another with a smile and converse chattily. In the presence of the rich, the poor still proudly carry their head high and speak openly, not like in China where poor people are accustomed to being submissive and meek. This bit of dignity is just one of the benefits brought by a democratic political system. Without the democratic political system to safeguard rights it is not likely these three main conditions would exist. When poor people do not have self-respect or opportunity, and they do not have the environment to be taken care of, then they are in a hopeless situation and of course they rise up and revolt, especially Chinese culture and tradition is one of the richest cultures with rebel spirit.



(Written in November 2007. Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A314-W168



Release Date: November 25, 2007



Topic: Two Major Conflicts in Current Chinese Society that Only Democracy Could Resolve (Wei Jingsheng's Commentary on Radio Free Asia)



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









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