August 1st, 2006
|06:32 pm - Communism in China|
I've been wanting to make a post on this topic for awhile now, but it's such a touchy and controversial issue that I've shied away from it. Today, it's hot (37C outside, 33C inside my house), I'm sweaty, tired, annoyed, and b*tchy, perfect for a political rant.
I find when most people in the west hear the word "Communism" they tend to think it's like...the devil's regime or something, not so. Let me tell you the story of a little place in the far East and how it came to accept its Communist government and you tell me, if you were in the position of those civilians, whether you'd agree that Communism was the best road to go or not. Although I didn't live through these events, my mom did, and she's told me these stories over and over and over again as parents have the tendency to do. Biased? Yep. But do try to use some of your own common sense too ok?
Starting at the end of the Qing Dynasty, when the last emperors ruled this little country called China, they found themselves losing battle after battle to the west (at this time, mainly the European nations) as these nations had developed firepower and weaponery which China lacked. After the last emperor was de-throned, the GuoMinDang took power. As you can imagine, by this time, after all these battles (and remember everytime you lose a battle you have to pay the winning nations millions in money and even land as was the case with HongKong), the majority of the Chinese population was dirt poor. The GuoMinDang, however, continued to favour the rich landlords, leaving the civilians and farmers to starve. This was when groups of people came together and formed the Communist Party (keep in mind I'm doing a very simplified version of what happened here just to give you a background on how the Communist party came into power). They went on the Long March across China to go from the south to reach the northern capital of Beijing, overthrowing the GuoMinDang as they went. They took from the rich and gave to the poor (yes Robin Hood Chinese style). You may think well that's not fair to the rich, what if they actually earned that money?? Well, you know what? When 90% of the nation's in starvation, TOUGH! Cornered, GuoMinDang fled to the island of Taiwan (so for those of you familiar with the conflict between China and Taiwan right now, they may think they're their own little nation down there, but they're simply just China's old government that fled).
This Communist party was made up of people just the same as you and me, civilians, ordinary citizens that had had enough of the government's corruption and ignorance of the people and included later-on leaders MaoZeDong and DengXiaoPing. Their army, the People's Liberation Army (PLA for short these days), were seen as the heroes of the times. They came to villages to help farmers farm the land, helped the people wherever it was needed, and were not even paid. They were given a place to sleep, enough to eat, and their uniforms. If you needed help, the PLA was who you'd look for. Going home on the train and need help carrying luggage? Look for PLAs taking the train and you can be sure they'd carry it for you. As all this was happening, the Japanese invaded China, but for the first time in decades, the Chinese managed to win the battle. Now put yourself in their shoes for a minute. You've seen your nation beaten again and again by foreigners. Again and again your nation's had to fork over it's national treasures and millions in cash because you simply didn't have the power to win battles. Now, finally, a government has managed to kick an invading nation off your nation's soil...would you hate that party? Or celebrate it?
I'm not saying the Communist party is almighty with no wrongs. There's no government like that in this world. The Cultural Revolution for example, was a big mistake on the part of MaoZeDong. It created chaos at a time when China needed peace to develop economically and industrially and many innocent people were killed. But despite these mistakes, to the Chinese people, the Communist party is OUR party, its creators were and still are revered as the greatest leaders of an era. Even in my own family, if not for the Communist party, my grandpa would've been killed by the Japanese during the invasion, do you really think the Chinese would rather suffer at the hands of foreigners rather than forgive some mistakes commited by our own government? Which nation had a Prime Minister like ZhouEnLai who when he died, had no kids of his own, yet adopted dozens of war orphans, and didn't even have a bank account because he literally had no money? Even the United Nations Secretary General at the time lowered the UN's flag to half-mast on the day ZhouEnLai died out of respect, that has not been done for any other Prime Minister of any other nation. MaoZeDong's daughter even today lives on a very low income although her father was the greatest leader of China in recent years. She and her brother refuses to publish books and such about their father to make money because the people of that generation were taught that that kind of thing was simply not done.
These days, the west has started harping on China for being Communist, and they seem to believe that Communism will fall one day. Not bloody likely, at least not in the near future. Democracy and Capitalism needs money to work. The first election we had in Canada when Chretien stepped down costed tax-payers 256 million bucks. China's got better ways of using their money thanks. And of course, things we enjoy over here such as unions, welfare/social security, unemployment insurance, all these government intervention methods are not part of the ideal Capitalistic society but are instead taken from ideas of a Communistic one. China's government nowadays isn't as so many people tend to like to believe as having a strangle-hold on every nook and cranny of the nation; there's no public healthcare in China anymore, and education needs to be paid for (heck if you look at it that way Canada's more communist than China). China's government isn't like a dictatorship anyway, it's a collective government where an inner-circle of government officials vote on the next President (or Chairman some people translate it as). These government officials aren't like your rich-boy Bush who uses daddy's money to win elections, these officials start at the bottom as civilians. They may get a job at a factory or something, then, once they do well, they get promoted, one level on top of the next until finally they reach Beijing. Every one of them knows very well the levels and how it works because they've been through it themselves. They know how ordinary civilians live because they used to be that way themselves. Certainly if your daddy's a top government official, you might have it easier, but that doesn't mean you automatically get accepted into the inner-circle of the government.
The problem arises, at the level of local governments. For example, take the selling blood thing. Although cities like Beijing and Shanghai have exploded economically, the majority of the Chinese population are still poor farmers, so some of them sell blood to earn a little extra money. Due to sanitary issues, many of them became victims of AIDS (this is why China's the number 1 nation with rising AIDS victims, not because we're sex maniacs). Unfortunately, the local governments want to keep face, so they kept this from the Central Government in Beijing until the people started all showing up at big city hospitals looking for treatment. Central government then decided to reimburse these patients for their treatments. However, the local governments realized this was a money-making opportunity and on the reimbursement sheets, even if you only spent say 50 bucks on medicine, they'd write 100 so they can get more money from Central government.
So before you start harping on the government over there, maybe you should check out WHY we accept them and their mistakes. During the June 4th eveny when students gathered at TianAnMen Square to protest Communism and promote Democracy, my mom was a professor at Beijing University. Of course she and the other profs all supported their students, however, there was one English prof from Wisconsin at the time and she didn't support the students. She told my mom "Democracy's not all that great. Over there [in USA] a legislation has to be debated time and again in the house for years before it might get passed, but over here, once DengXiaoPing decides something, it immediately gets set into place and if the legislation is a good one, the benefits are immediately felt." Luckily, DengXiaoPing was an amazing leader and someone the Chinese will always hold in high regard and respect for.
In the end, no matter how much your text books over here bash MaoZeDong, DengXiaoPing, ZhouEnLai and whomever else you decide to set in your target range, to us, they'll always be the greatest leaders of an era, and in our eyes, the Communist Party not only created the People's Republic of China, but also has managed to bring the world's most populated nation from the brink of starvation back into the playing field against the western powers.
Current Mood: hot
|Date:||August 2nd, 2006 12:28 am (UTC)|| |
You know what? For the most part, I agree whole-heartedly. However, you can't possible be as brash to condone the actions of people who would rather "silence" their own people (however mislead they were)than to establish a principle of equality and freedom of thought. I agree, as someone who has experienced life in socialist and democratic countries, that democracy is flawed and that however high we place it on a pedestal, it will never ensure a fair and balanced society, but I must contest the practicality of "your" leaders' actions. Communism is excellent, in principle, but when it is placed in the hands of a leader(s) who are motivated by self-interest, it is as bad, if not worse, than capitalism (aka "democracy"). The point that prof from Wisconsin is valid; legislations and procedures do pose certain obstacles to getting things done, but those are just the series of "checks and balances" that are put in place that reinforce the strength and legitimacy of (in this case) American democracy. And the point of Deng Xiaoping; I'm not about to make an inflammotary comment about him (mainly because I have nothing against him), but this proves my point about Communism; whatever he says, goes! And as long as "legislation is good", people DO reap the benefits, but if it isn't, than they suffer mercilessly at the decision of one person (as have the people of China, India, Cuba, Russia, Africa, and the people of my homeland of South America). I'm not opposed to what you agree with Mengya, because you have a real point and some perspective (your mom) to support your views;I think that people need to see that though there is flaws in both of these systems, democracy provides the better end of the deal.-James
But you can't have democracy when 90% of the population's starving to death. When people aren't even able to eat, they're not really all that concerned with running to the polls to vote for the next president. Someone needs to take control, and equalize the playing fields between the rich and the poor. Hell I'd majorly appreciate it right now if a government would come in and take half of Bill Gates' billions and spread the wealth to us commoners down here which is precisely what the Communist part did for China. I have yet to see any western politician act on behalf of the people as much as MaoZeDong and DengXiaoPing did. Maybe we just got lucky and those leaders that arose from the era really actually care about the people seeing as they came from the same roots, but the point is, democracy is only appropriate as circumstances dictate and for many countries, at this time, it is not appropriate.
I mean look at Africa, only 2 nations out of the entire continent are not democratic over there, are they wealthy? are they happy? are the civilians reaping in the benefits? We all know the obvious answer to that. In Asia, the only nation that immediately switched to democracy is the Philipines, and right now, that nation has the worst economic standing in all of East Asia. For these nations, they chose democracy when the time wasn't right for them. They opened their borders to capitalism without ensuring that the western nations won't come in and rape their population of any financial backing and that's precisely what the west has done to them. China didn't just one day open up their borders and that's how the government has managed to maintain control.
Should civilians have a say in what happens in the government, definitely, but can you tell me that's what is happening now? We don't want our troops in Afghanistan, is Harper listening? Do you really think Harper sympathizes with us commoners? Do you think Bush does? Why not? Because none of them came from a civilian background and none of them knows exactly just how hard it is to live from day to day. I used to think it's not so bad here in the west, but after living here in this small town and working in the factory I've realized something. The majority of Canadian citizens aren't as rich as we thought in high school James, there's plenty of them with a couple of kids trying to make ends meet on 10/hr jobs. We go to university, we see the people with the high aspirations, we're surrounded by those making tens of thousands a year and we think, "oh, we live in a rich nation"...not so.
And the Chinese government doesn't "silence" anyone these days. Certainly there's not Chinese version of the Air Farce over there, but expressing you discontent with certain government policies isn't gonna get your head chopped off or fired from your job. The Chinese government may have killed many during the Cultural Revolution, but even during that, they believed they were doing what was right to push China into a wealthier state. You can't say the same for the invading Japanese forces, you can't say the same for the 8 European nations that joined forces to rape our gorgeous historical relics leaving behind burnt palaces and empty vaults not to mention dead bodies of MY people. Then they have the nerve to write in their text books that they invaded to HELP the Chinese people at the INVITATION of the government. Sorry, the Chinese government would NEVER invite a foreign nation onto the land to kill their own people, no matter how rebellious it gets, we have a bit more honour than that.
|Date:||August 2nd, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)|| |
Wow, I really didn't feel you would meet my remarks with such hostility. If it helps, my comments were not meant to be inflammatory or offensive, but I understand your reaction. I'm just saying that democracy may not be the best thing since sliced bread (even that's not so great), but it's pretty close. I mean, the pseudo-communist elements of our society (social safety net, education regulations, state-owned media to name a few) could be improved if we were to make a shift into the socialist period as Marx predicted that would lead us into the purest form of communism, but this process is inherently flawed in that the leaders of these movements are as self-interested as those who seek change. "People" like Bush & Co. are out of touch with our needs because of their pursuit of self-interest. I agree with our views completely. My point is that regardless of these leaders interests, we as civilians, are still free to pursue our own, to rise to these levels for whatever intentions we have. In states where a rigourous form of communism exists (not so much China these days, let's say N. Korea and Cuba as examples) the people are unable to advance themselves, not even in the basic ways that we as Canadians can through the use of free will and social institutions (ie. OSAP). Communist Cuba would be one of the best and most desirable places to live if Communism was instituted to the levels Marx intended it to be. Doctors and strippers and housemaids are paid equally, but poorly, thus, reinforcing a cycle of poverty and injustice. Why? Because of the policies of Castro. If you ask me my views on communism, I believe its a great political ideal. If you ask me my views on communism in practice, I believe it is unjust and unable to fulfill the ideals that it represents.True, China is revolutionized, a whole 360 from those many years ago. And true, the work of Mao & Co. has aided in this process. And true, China has played her cards right and allowed foreign investment in at the right time and on its own terms. However, as the Chinese people are becoming exposed to the ideals of democracy, they are enhancing their lives for the better. This isn't to say the Chinese aren't able to do this themselves (because after what I have researched and studied, the Chinese have been on the leading edge of advancement for 3 millenia before the West could conjure influence); democracy, in principle, will allow for the true advancement of the people.-James (btw, I appreciate the time you take to respond, you challenge me just like old times!)
But my point is, that without understanding the historical background of why the Chinese people don't despise the Communist Party western nations with America in the lead again and again use any means possible to try and make people over here fear the East. Every time I read something on China in the news or hear something on the tv regarding China, it's always in a negative light. That pisses me off. China doesn't need these western nations on its tail telling it what to do and what not to do as America has a tendency to do to every single freaking nation. We're not little Iraq that's gonna let America come stomping in and spread their so-called Democracy so they need to just give it up already.
I still think the way a country's run depends on the circumstances of that era. Democracy's been able to flourish in the west due to their wealth, but also due to these recent decades of technological advancement. Go back a thousand year or so when there wasn't computers, internet, tv, radio and how would politicians let the people know their political platforms? Back then there wasn't even that many people that could read or write much less give a rat's a** about political policies. And how would they go vote? By the time the votes were all in, counted and sent to the Capital, it'd be like, 3 generations down the road already. Various nations around the world have had their own golden ages throughout history. For China, it was during the Tang Dynasty when the Middle Kingdom was the richest and wealthiest nation. They're able to have these Golden Ages not because they achieved Democracy, but because their political rule was appropriate and most fitting for that time period in tune with both their financial needs at the time, and the technology available.
nice layout... :D
*cough* excuse me..
I remember all this *studied Chinese history last year, particulary the revolution*
True, often our definition of Communism is clouded by our Western influence. And wars have been fought over that. ie. Vietnam and Korean war.
However in this view, its understandable why the Chinese embraced it. and yes when Cixi died..in 1911 China was in turmoil due to foreign influences and corrupt people.
To them Mao, gave them back thier pride and dignity but most importantly he gave them hope. This was similar to Germany's situation with Hitler however it doesn't excuse his shameless killings of the Jews T_______T
*will be back...*
|Date:||August 2nd, 2006 12:53 pm (UTC)|| |
The difference though is that Mao didn't discriminate against a different race to give hope to his own people. He didn't just up one day and say "let's kill all the Caucasians around here". The Cultural revolution was mainly to forget the "Four Old"; old customs, old artifacts, old thinking, and....something else, can't remember. The Red Army merely took it way too far, which was not Mao's intention in the first place, he just wanted the Chinese people to start a new way of thinking and to open up after years of believing we're the "Middle Kingdom" and acknowledge the need now to catch up technologically and industrially to the western nations to avoid being defeated again.
|Date:||August 2nd, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)|| |
that was me -__-;; stupid lj logged me out
what the...come on lj cooperate a little
ehh? that was you before koneko desu?
yeah that was me, sorry, lj kept logging me out for some reason x__X
Hmm, about that.
True the Cultural Revolution..was to get rid of the four olds..however at the same Mao also used it in order to renew the Chinese people's faith in him. As both plans of his failed and thus had bad results. I think the plans were Great Leap Forward and the other I can't remember. Yeah, anyways, it was processes which were meant to sped China's economy along with other factors. It didn't go as planned and people often lied to Mao thus making him beleive that his plan was working.
yeah the Great Leap Forward was definitely one of them. He basically wanted factories to spring up over-night, and change all the farmers into factory workers. But when the nation's been agriculturally based for thousands of years that's definitely easier said than done. Still, his intentions for the GLF was to jump start the Chinese economy and help the people. Although his plan failed and mass starvations resulted, after all these years, the Chinese aren't gonna look back and forget all he's done for us because of his mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes, and Mao wasn't exactly well-educated in how to run a nation with a billion population. During his childhood years, China was in turmoil as you said, so it's not exactly like he went to a university to learn how to set policies and such. To have been able to do what he did given what he knew, it's already amazing. I mean even after my university education, if you just stuck me in charge of even Canada much less a country as heavily populated as China I'd be quaking in my boots and going "how the hell does this work???? someone get me outta here!"
about the education side of it. It doesn't matter if you went to the best schools and had everything in life to offer. As being a leader of a country, you have to have some charism, be passionate about what you beleive it and know what your doing. Something that Bush seems to lack at the moment. ^^;;
But yeah, like you said the Chinese won't change thier perception of him even with the mistakes. We aren't perfect...we all make mistakes.
I mean that could be one of the reasons why China is still a Communitist country till now as opposed to Russia.