Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A537-W311

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A537-W311


Release Date: April 10, 2010



Topic: The Way Out for China (Part V) -- Wei Jingsheng

标题: 《中国的出路》之五 -- 魏京生


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



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The Way Out for China, Part V

-- Wei Jingsheng



We know that the modern day democratic system is the most reasonable system.  It has been much better in protecting people's rights and interests than the autocratic system.  Chinese people have been striving for democracy for more than a century already.  Why has China always ended up with a so-called "democratic system" which was not democracy in the end?  It does not take a few years to find out that an intended democratic system had become an autocracy.  The more recent, the more autocratic.  Mao Zedong was more autocratic than Chiang Kai-shek, Chiang Kai-Shek was more autocratic than Yuan Shikai.  Why so?


There is a traditional concept that must be overthrown:  that concept is one should not be against a government.  This concept states that when one is against a government, that means damaging the country, producing instability, engaging in treason and heresy, which are crimes deserving capital punishment.  In a climate where this concept is the mainstream, it is impossible to have powerful opposition parties and opposition forces.  Even when there is a small and weak opposition party, it would be destroyed under this concept of "treason and heresy", and left to be an opposition party in its dress yet for the purpose of decorating the rulers.


During the Yuan Shikai era, there were at least opposition parties in the parliament.  During the Chiang Kai-shek time, there was only an "opposition party" which maintained its army and defied orders.  A few opposition parties maintained for decorative purposes could only survive by the protection of this armed party.  By the Mao Zedong times, the opposition party was in name only, a true party for a decorative purpose.  Chinese democracy was indeed one generation worse than the previous generations.  The reason is that the mainstream of social public opinion in China has been supporting the rulers without any condition and readily uses the accusation of "being against the government is treason and heresy" against any opposition parties.  When an opposition party cannot survive, the autocrat becomes widely adopted and democracy loses its true meaning.


Should the government be overturned?  Many Chinese would turn pale with fright when they heard these words.  But if you look at the democratic countries, you know the government of course should be overturned.  It is not even a "should be", but a "must".  Every a few years, the government is turned over for a new government, so the old government must forget the thought of governing forever.  A democratic system does not trust any particular individual or party.  Even an excellent individual might be reluctant to give up his post after he holds power for a long time, and thus would try different ways to change the rules to be able to hold the power.  Thus the rule is that he must be overturned.


The designers who built the democratic system in the USA included their precaution in the US Constitution.  In an effort to prevent any power holders from playing tricks by quietly and gradually taking away the limitation that the government must be overturned, the US constitution even stated in its second amendment that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed" as important for one's rights to deter an undemocratic government with arms.  This also means that should the basic principle of democracy be changed, even a "legitimate change" could be viewed as tyranny.  When people could not legally and peacefully overthrow the government, they could still use their arms to do so.  When there is no opposition party to solve the problems legally and reasonably, people still have their last rights to resolve these problems via their arms.  To overturn the government is the most basic right and principle that are non-negotiable.


It was with this kind of prerequisite of thoroughly insisting on the basic principle of democracy, that the US democracy reached its success, instead of following the path of a restoration of an autocratic monarch as in France.  This success is a success of a social concept, instead of simply a success of military rebellion.  The traditional concept in China is exactly the most important reason that impedes China from becoming democratic.  One difference in concept enables Americans to build and defend their democracy, while the Chinese move in circles to return to the old road of autocracy.


If we just look at the two most recent "it is right to rebel" movements China, we will know our Chinese people's problem.  One example was the Cultural Revolution time, when people rushed headlong into mass action during the Chinese Communist Party's internal struggle.  The people eradicated the bureaucratic officials who were reluctant to give up their powers, but they still felt that overturning the government was "treason and heresy".  They wanted to find an emperor to follow, to listen to the government.  They limited themselves to being against the corrupted officials.  Everyone tried to prove that even though they were against these officials, they were still loyal to the government.  This was the reason why the Mao Zedong clique took "loyalty" as the most important value of the time then.  The result of being "loyal" to the government was that a possible revolution was easily turned over to be a movement of strengthening the autocracy by the dictators.


A similar concept error also happened during the democracy movement in 1989.  Although most of people strongly felt that they could not tolerate this corrupt and dictatorial government further, the main slogans of that movement still maintained "rid the emperor of his close courtiers who are bad" and "advise the Communist Party".  Most people approved of these slogans and even sacrificed for them with their own blood and lives.  Yet, they still did not dare to "take down the Communist government"; instead, they only dared to take down this Communist government for another Communist government and take down one category of corruption for another category of corruption.  With this thought of not willing to resist the government, people became the lambs waiting to be slaughtered which ultimately resulted in the massacre by the Chinese government on June 4, 1989.


Both possible revolutions were miscarried because people were afraid to overthrow the government.  Yet, how could you call it a revolution if one does not dare to overturn the government?  If one thinks that overturning the government is illegitimate, then why does he bother to talk about revolution?  Only when the whole society is convinced that overturning the government is both reasonable and legitimate, then a revolution will happen and democracy could be built.  Further, democracy is a system that institutionalizes overturning the government.  If one does not dare to overturn the government or thinks overturning it is illegitimate, then it is impossible to build a democratic system.  This one moment of slipping resulted in serious consequences, which is exactly the main reason as why we the Chinese failed for more than one hundred years.


Within the Chinese intellectual circles, there are still people entrusting their hopes for democracy on the idea of a "wise monarch" or "ridding the emperor's close couriers".  This illustrates the Chinese thinkers' circle still does not know what democracy is and still indulges themselves in the traditional "faithful to the monarch" ideology.  This kind of ideology could only result the failure of the next revolution.  It will bring even more chaos to China and bring the Chinese people into the blind alley of autocracy.  To correct this wrong concept is the most important prerequisite for China to get out that vicious circle of autocracy.



To hear Mr. Wei Jingsheng's commentary, please visit:



(Written and recorded on March 26, 2010.  Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A537-W311

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A537-W311


Release Date: April 10, 2010



Topic: The Way Out for China (Part V) -- Wei Jingsheng

标题: 《中国的出路》之五 -- 魏京生


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









-- 魏京生











建立美国民主的设计者们为了防止掌权者玩花样,偷偷地、渐渐地取消了推翻政府的限制,还特意在宪法里规定了人民有使用武力推翻暴政的权利,为此规定了人民有拥有武器的权利。也就是说,一旦民主的基本原则被改变,即使是合法的改变,也被视为暴政。一旦不能合法地、和平地推翻政府,人民有权拿起武器推翻政府。 如果没有反对党合法地、合理地解决问题,人民还保留了最后武力解决的权利。推翻政府是不可商量的最基本的权利和原则。










在中国的知识界,到现在还有人把民主的希望寄托在清君侧或者出一个明君身上。这说明中国的思想界仍然不懂什么叫民主,仍然沉迷于传统的忠君思想意识形态里。 这种思想状态只会造成下一场革命的失败,给中国带来更大的混乱。并且把人民继续带进专制的死胡同。纠正这个错误的观念,是中国走出专制怪圈的最主要的前提。













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