Book Idiot Zhou

A lengthy excerpt from John Pomfret’s new book, Chinese Lessons.

My full review of Pomfret’s book is here.

The Discussion: 10 Comments

“Did Mao represent economic forces stronger than capitalism? No. Did he represent anything progressive? No. He represented the most backward forces in China. He didn’t even represent the working class. He represented thugs. It wasn’t a communist revolution. It was a thug’s revolution. That’s our real history.”

Yet the images of this thug adorn virtually every piece of paper currency, he is described as having been 70% good and 30% bad. What nightmare/dream world do the Chinese live in? This egotistical idiot did so many things wrong, one wonders if he actually had a hatred for his country and people. Despite the decades long repurcussions of his folly, Mao’s legacy continues to haunt the Chinese people. Zhou’s assessment that the CCP will do anything to stay in power is right on the “money.” And we in the West are helping them do it.

In the past I have called for cutting off China. What I meant was cut off the CCP from the rest of the world. Let’s not continue to legitimize them by including them in political summits or “respecting” their laws. Their laws have no foundation and should be completely disregarded. Let’s incite a new revolution, in China and abroad, revolution that values knowledge, discourse and exploration rather than secrecy and superstition. Instead of trying to sell Prada and Coke and Microsoft, let’s figure out a way of marketing an open society, freedom of speech, social and personal obligations and laws founded on principles not on personal whims and expediency.

July 17, 2006 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

Dream on: China’s good for business. Period, full stop, end of story.

July 17, 2006 @ 7:58 pm | Comment

Well, I’m very passionate about an improving China. Not nly am I furious about the great leap forward, the cultural revo thingie, and other atrocities in the past, but I’m just as passionate about the crap they’re still pulling with media and religion restrictions. Absolutely furious!! But I eventually came to realize, they’re nothing I can do directly to change anything to affect the political system there. But I can do a lot economically.

China is a political wasteland. But should we cut off china ecnomically because of politics? Sounds nice on the surface, but what would it accomplish? Just the further isolation and poverty of 1.3 billion people. Look at how succesful embargos have been in changing other countries. Is Cuba any better off because of embargoes? Iraq? In fact, can you name me any country that was better off because of embargoes? I don’t think people doing business in China are hurting the push for change, they’re just utilizing the fact that China is still very poor and wages are low. For every american dollar that goes into the pockets of the CCP because of investment, there are 19 dollars going into the pockets of chinese workers, who are only trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. For every dollar we deny the CCP by refusing to do business, we’d be denying a far greater amount that would go to average citizens. And I believe CHina’s economic development will be a much MUCH bigger factor in democratizing it than any political efforts by wellmeaning expats. Maybe I’m totally wrong on this, but this is what I think.

July 18, 2006 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

Richard: Correct your thoughts! As we all know, China is a rising power, undergoing an astonishing economic miracle! As we all know, this cannot be denied. (The Emperor’s new clothes are SO COOL!)
As we all know, China’s economic miracle is truly amazing, and nobody can deny it.

Look at all the glass skyscrapers and shopping malls in Shanghai? Can you deny that THAT was a good enough reason for Pomfret’s friend and his classmates to throw feces down a woman’s throat and to destroy every beautiful thing they could get their hands on?

No, you can’t deny it. It is all justified by China’s economic miracle! The skyscrapers and shopping malls in Shanghai! And as we all know, China’s rise is a fact! Nobody can deny it.
And the Emperor’s New Clothes are just as beautiful as Shanghai today.

July 18, 2006 @ 9:35 pm | Comment

Chip, I am NOT in favor of cutting off China. I know where Ahmet is coming from but I don’t endorse his idea (and as I tried to convey, it’ll never happen – it would be bad forbusiness).

Ivan, very funny. On the other hand, unlike you, I do believe there is something to the economic miracle, despite all the window dressing and BS. It’s easy to poke holes in it – so much of the glitter is state-subsidized, so many of the fancy buildings will look run-down and shoddy soon because they’re poorly made, statistics about skyrocketing growth aren’t always reliable, it take more than the manufacture of toys and socks to be a superpower, etc., etc., etc., etc. But I also do see enough substance to it to justify a lot of the pride Chinese people feel when they look at China today. The true test will come when China sees its first economic crisis, which is simply a matter of time, as it is with every economy throughout history. China’s 1997 will arrive, and then we’ll all see exactly how much clothing the emperor is really wearing.

July 18, 2006 @ 9:48 pm | Comment

And yet, even if China’s economic recovery (“growth” is not an accurate word for rising out of a pile of shit) is sustainable in the long term (as I believe it will be, to a limited extent), none of it will justify how those savages poured shit down that woman’s throat during the Cultural Revolution. And yet, all of the CCP apologists will continue to point to glass skyscrapers and cell-phones to justify all of their evils, of which they will never repent.

And that is why, regardless of any economic “growth”, real or not, and sustainable or not, China will remain a barbarian country for a long time. It will remain a barbarian country unless and until it faces the truth of its history. And pigs will fly before that day comes.

July 18, 2006 @ 10:30 pm | Comment

none of it will justify how those savages poured shit down that woman’s throat during the Cultural Revolution.

No argument there.

I will, however, argue about branding all of China as “a barbarian country.” That just seems over the top because it’s too general and too simple, and China isn’t a simple place. I agree that it needs to come to terms with its past, but let’s face it – as you yourself say, that’s not happening anytime soon. Does that make its recovery (again to use your term) any less real or impressive? It’s failure to look at its true history is disappointing, certainly, and it’s ultimately self-defeating as it leaves the government open to endless criticism and suspicion. But there’s much more to China than barbarianism. I am so uncomfortable with sweeping generalities, perhaps because I’ve been the victim of them myself (as you know, this is “a hate site”).

July 18, 2006 @ 10:47 pm | Comment

And you know, whenever you say “China” in quotes and sweeping terms…well…there are plenty of Chinese people who lived through the CR and know damn well what the consequences of it were. I daresay there are even plenty of CCP members who get it as well. There’s official “history” and then there’s real history, subterranean at times, but not so far beneath the surface.

China law blog has an interesting post up about what country is poised to be “the next China” – the conclusion? Basically, China – the “second tier” cities like Chengdu, etc.

July 19, 2006 @ 12:16 am | Comment

I think the emperor’s new clothes analogy is right on the dollar. But I have to admit I didn’t like the first thought that came to my mind: A naked Chairman Mao.. ugh….another analogy please!

July 19, 2006 @ 12:26 am | Comment

Excellent article. Tnx for the link.

July 21, 2006 @ 12:28 am | Comment

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