Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A690-W429

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A690-W429


Release Date: Feb. 11, 2012



Topic: The Way Out for China (Part LIII): The Moderate Reformists of Modern China is a Camp with Unrealistic Fantasies -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:《中国的出路》之五十三:现代中国的温和改良派是不现实的幻想派 -- 魏京生


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



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The Way Out for China (Part LIII): The Moderate Reformists of Modern China is a Camp with Unrealistic Fantasies

-- Wei Jingsheng



The way out for China lies in the reform or revolution of its economic and political system.  We have been talking about this for a while.  Recently, during my speech at Georgetown University in Washington DC, some student asked an old question: is a reform that costs less the best, or a revolution that comes fast the best?  The reason that this question has always perplexed people is because people always have the misunderstanding that they have an opportunity to choose.  As a matter of fact, under most circumstances, we have neither the qualification to choose, nor the opportunity to choose.


Do we really not have an opportunity to choose?  Choice does exist.  But that opportunity does not belong to us the average people, but to a handful of people in power.  An important feature of democracy is that it allows most people to have the opportunity to choose.  However, the reason that an authoritarian regime becomes an autocratic regime is because the opportunity to choose is monopolized by a handful of people.  These people have not just monopolized the economic and political power, but also monopolized almost all other rights to choose.  This is the reality in current China.


Assume that the average people have a right to choose.  I think most people, or almost all the people, will choose a path of reform with relatively small cost.  So why is there so much revolution?  Are the people of Libya being silly and do not realize that the cost of reform will be relatively less?  Do they think it is kind of fun to have tens of thousands of people killed or wounded?  We do not need to be very smart to know that revolution was only because the clique of the autocratic regime did not allow reform.  When there was no room for reconciliation between Gaddafi's refusal to reform and the people's desire to reform, then the people's revolution became the only way.  Regardless whether one calls it a reform or a revolution, there was a revolt against the autocratic rule and the interest groups of the upper class.


If the interests changed from a reform are not too big, thus acceptable to both sides, then a moderate reform can proceed.  Such reform would have been feasible in the late nineteen seventies and early nineteen eighties of China.  As that time, the economic interests of all sectors were not very different; there was not much conflict of interest.  At that time, the main difference between the Communist cadres and people was in political rights and degrees of freedom, i.e. it was conflict between the commanders and the commanded, rather than a class conflict.


At that time, if the people were allowed to have their democratic rights and economic freedom then the privileges the cadres lost would not have been too much.  Plus, the equal rights these cadres gained would in part compensate for the privileges they lost.  It would have been similar to the revolution in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.  There, despite that people were full of complaints, it did not reach a degree impossible to accept.  For changing an authoritarian regime, the East European model is the gentlest revolution.  Yet, the privileges lost to the ruling class still brought a huge shortfall, rather than the moderate way fantasized by the Chinese elite.


Thirty years after the "reform" designed by Deng Xiaoping, China has already created a huge gap between rich and poor.  After three decades of ferment, the class differences are very obvious.  The interests of all classes are in serious confrontation or conflict, and there is a huge difference between the judgments of various issues and affairs between these classes, to a degree that is very difficult to bridge.


When officials are unreasonable, so the people also become accustomed to being unreasonable.  As long as there are clashes on the streets, people come up to beat the officials indiscriminately without knowing a reason.  This action is the evidence that the class antagonism has moved toward the extreme.  Under such circumstances, relying on reasoning to resolve class contradictions is unlikely to be accepted by both sides.  The road for moderate improvement does not receive any support from the current social reality in China.


Moderate reform is a revolution by reason.  To reason requires both sides to accept the outcome.  Actually, average people want to be reasonable.  They are in a weak position, so reasoning is most favorable to them.  The problem is that the people in power do not want to reason.  One hand cannot clap without the cooperation of the other hand.  Who are you going to reason with?  Now the bureaucratic capitalist class has huge interests.  If you expect them to give up their own interests and listen to your reasoning, then it is just like negotiating with a tiger to give up its skin.  So the moderate reformists of current China are just people with unrealistic fantasies.  Yet because the international capitalists prefer moderate reform over revolutions, they will allow resources to support these moderate reformists.  Thus, we have a breed in China that would use a mirage of castles in exchange for the assistance of the international capitalists.


Besides the 1 percent population that is the bureaucrat-capitalist class and the 90 percent that is the poor class, there is the middle class in between.  This middle class does not do as well as the bureaucrat-capitalist class, yet is much better off than the poor class.  Some of them are falling into the poor class during economic crisis, yet ideologically they still retain the features of a class in the middle.  In comparison to the upper class, they are full of complaints and strongly criticize the unfair social system; in comparison to the poor, they are very satisfied with the reality that they have enough food and clothing.  So their characteristic is that they want change but do not want to pay a big price; they want a revolution but a gentle one.  These people are the social base of the moderate reformists.  Unfortunately, they have neither the power nor the majority, and can only represent a fantasy.


Is a revolution really as scary as described by the moderates?  This is a good question.  If the ruling clique is internally stable and has solidarity, like Gaddafi's regime, then there shall be bloodshed during the revolution.  If the ruling clique splits and some of the more sensible people come forward to have a coup, as in the former Soviet Union and Egypt, then it will not be as bloody as Libya.  However, such a coup needs a long term of adjustment.  It will go back and forward, so the total price may not be less.  The total price Russia is paying for Putin's government may not be less than a revolution with bloodshed.


Regardless of the form of the revolution, it is impossible to have one without paying for it, just as bread will not fall off sky.  Interestingly, there are a lot of advocators for moderate reform are Americans and Chinese who are living in the United States.  They seem to have forgotten the history of the United States itself.  The United States was the first democratic country in the modern era, which the people established it through a violent revolution.  In the process of improving its democratic system, it was also full of violence.  While it maintains the current democratic society, it also relies on organized force of the police and military.


The rule of the game with peace, reason, and non-violence needs to be established and maintained by reasonable force.  When a fair and reasonable rule of the game cannot or has not been established, force becomes the only viable rule.  Without carpenter's square and compass, one could not draw circle and squares.  When there are not reasonable rules, there will be rules that are unreasonable.



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



(Written and recorded on November 13, 2011.  Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A690-W429

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A690-W429


Release Date: Feb. 11, 2012



Topic: The Way Out for China (Part LIII): The Moderate Reformists of Modern China is a Camp with Unrealistic Fantasies -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:《中国的出路》之五十三:现代中国的温和改良派是不现实的幻想派 -- 魏京生


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









-- 魏京生






































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