Thursday, October 21, 2010

China’s next president: Xi Jinping

China’s next president: Xi Jinping
Xi is China's heir-apparent, in line to succeed Hu Jintao in 2012 as China's top leader. This 56-year-old "princeling"—his father was former Vice-Premier Xi Zhongxun—earned a doctorate in Marxist theory from Tsinghua University but now has a reputation as a supporter of rapid economic reform. Bloomberg - Businessweek

In Chinese politics, loyalty and administrative competence are valued high above personality and principles. The Communist Party stresses its collective leadership, which encourages the rise of leaders like Mr. Xi who are careful consensus builders. A unifying figure at the top is seen as vital to balance a dizzying array of interest groups.
Wall Street Journal
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The Chinese Communist Party fascinates me. I am impressed by how they have managed to avoid the fate of the Communist Party of the USSR or the CPs of  the Soviet's European colonies, whose "revolutions" were the product of a military invasion similar to America's installing "democracy" in Iraq.

The Chinese, who were the last major communist regime standing at the end of the Cold War were left alone facing the lone superpower, the USA at "the end of history"; and not only has the Chinese Communist Party not collapsed: in a sensational exercise of political and economic judo, they have  managed to use the very system of the west in order to increase their power over China and the power of China in the world a hundred fold.

Unlike the corrupt nomenklatura of the Soviet Union, the CCP seems to be a self-renewing meritocracy made up of politically savvy technocrats, people who are well informed about China's "street" and are sensitive to any indication of popular dissatisfaction or unrest.

What I find rather amazing is how little importance is being given to the fact that Xi Jinping has earned a doctorate in Marxist theory and I find a little more amazing still that so many people in positions of responsibility in the west seem to think that the Chinese Communist Party still defining itself as Marxist-Leninist and still revering the figure and the thought of Mao Tse Tung is just a quaint and harmless example of chinoiserie such as calling a stir-fry of chicken, pork, shrimp and veggies a "happy family".

The only excuse I can think of for such frivolity is supine ignorance of all three: Marx, Lenin and Mao.

There have probably never been two more lucid, if unsympathetic, analysts of the capitalistic system than Marx and Lenin and few political strategists in history as insightful and clever as Mao Tse Tung. Anyone who has studied them as living thought and not as simple articles of faith, is armed with very formidable tools of analysis and strategic principals forged in action. And all of this without mentioning the traditional Chinese strategic thinking of the exquisitely subtle, Sun Tzu, who Mao often took as his model.

If more western observers had ever read Lenin's definition of Communism as "Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country", they might note, that with a little tweaking, that phrase combined with Deng Xiaoping's "black cat, white cat, as long as it catches mice it is a good cat", could be a very workmanlike description of what the Chinese Communist Party is doing right now. And if they gave a few moments to studying Lenin's "New Economic Policy" (NEP), they might find themselves staring at a rough, primitive and tiny model of the survival strategy the Chinese Communist Party is applying today.

And if they read just a little more and studied Mao Tse Tung's essay "On Contradiction" and even more specifically his definitive, "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People", they might get some idea of what they are looking at.

To get some taste of the subtlety of Mao's strategic thinking, the following paragraph from the latter text might suffice.
In our country, the contradiction between the working class and the national bourgeoisie comes under the category of contradictions among the people. By and large, the class struggle between the two is a class struggle within the ranks of the people, because the Chinese national bourgeoisie has a dual character. In the period of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, it had both a revolutionary and a conciliationist side to its character. In the period of the socialist revolution, exploitation of the working class for profit constitutes one side of the character of the national bourgeoisie, while its support of the Constitution and its willingness to accept socialist transformation constitute the other. The national bourgeoisie differs from the imperialists, the landlords and the bureaucrat-capitalists. The contradiction between the national bourgeoisie and the working class is one between exploiter and exploited, and is by nature antagonistic. But in the concrete conditions of China, this antagonistic contradiction between the two classes, if properly handled, can be transformed into a non-antagonistic one and be resolved by peaceful methods. However, the contradiction between the working class and the national bourgeoisie will change into a contradiction between ourselves and the enemy if we do not handle it properly and do not follow the policy of uniting with, criticizing and educating the national bourgeoisie, or if the national bourgeoisie does not accept this policy of ours.
Careful reading would allow observers to understand that the Communist Party's "embrace" of capitalism is pragmatic and strategic and not some sort of Reaganesque epiphany. That the best path between two points is not necessarily a straight line

And they would be wise to understand that if some sort of crisis in the capitalist system provoked sufficient tensions and "contradictions among the people", China's new millionaires could soon find themselves milking cows and shoveling manure in "reeducation camps",  that is unless their kidneys, livers and corneas weren't already being sold on the world market for organ transplants. DS

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