CCP = GOD?

First of all, if you aren’t following the Sinica podcasts on Popup Chinese, you are missing some excellent commentary on current issues in China. This one is from two days ago, and it complements this post. It is 100 percent must-hear.

A key contributor to the podcast, Gady Epstein of Forbes, now has an article on a topic that comes up a lot in that podcast, namely the staying power of the CCP and how it has maintained an iron grip on all aspects of life in China that it deems necessary to maintain control. Like the podcast, you simply have to read it.

The piece is based on the soon-to-be-released book The Party by Richard McGregor, which I’ve already pre-ordered. Judging from what Epstein writes, this is one scary book.

“The Party is like God,” a professor from People’s University in Beijing tells McGregor. “He is everywhere. You just can’t see him.”

The Party is not simply an account of how the party succeeds in ruling through its mechanisms of autocracy. The party’s Achilles’ heel–its lack of any independent check on its power–undermines at every turn its efforts to police corruption, vet its members, reform its bureaucracy and respond to crises.

The maneuvering required to conduct a high-level corruption investigation sounds like it is out of a mafia movie. Taking down a Politburo member, former Shanghai Party Secretary Chen Liangyu, required a side deal to keep hands off of the family of former General Secretary Jiang Zemin, whose consent for the takedown was required because he was the reigning kingpin of the Shanghai faction, despite the fact that he no longer held any official leadership posts.

The party’s apparatus of control dominated every stage of decision-making in the disastrous Sanlu milk powder scandal, from covering up melamine contamination that poisoned thousands of babies to censoring media coverage that could have saved lives to blocking legal action that could have given families some measure of justice and deterred future corporate misbehavior. At every stage where some check or balance might exist in a democratic system, the one-party system failed its people.

Well, I suppose it’s not like we didn’t know the party controls the media and everything else it wants to control, and that the big SOEs are simply part of the state apparatus. But reading this, you really have to wonder how real those signs of hope we all like to point to – the increased freedom to criticize the Party, the Glasnost approach we sometimes see in the Global Times and other media, the ability of public opinion to shake the party into action as it did after Sun Zhigang’s murder or in the case of the waitress who stabbed a menacing official – you have to wonder if these aren’t just escape valves that the party cynically uses to create a sense of democracy, a sham. Because no matter how touchy-feely China seems at times, if you really get in the way of the party in a manner it feels could undermine it, you will be crushed like a gnat.

It’s easy to forget that when we see the stories about Han Han standing up to the CCP (this was an especially delightful example and I urge you to check it out, I was laughing out loud). And it’s easy to forget that no matter how earnest those wonderful cadres we know are (and so many of them really are wonderful), their earnest attempts to bring about change can only go so far. As we all know, there are limits. For all the new freedoms and rising GDP, China remains a quasi-police state. Not a Nazi Germany or North Korea-style police state, which rule by sheer terror and fear, but a less visible system of control that’s no less insidious, should you end up in its bad graces. Like the children who drank the San Lu milk, who could easily have been saved if squelching the news hadn’t been in the party’s interest.

I’m ready for the usual comments, “Yes, but it’s just as bad or worse in the US.” And although some comparisons can be drawn between the party in China and the power brokers who rule in the US, the comparison doesn’t work; ours can be brought to heel, they can go to jail, they can be dragged in front of congressional committees. They can’t be party to the poisoning of babies and then block media coverage, ensuring that yet more babies die. They can try, as some drug companies have tried to keep secret their research showing their drugs had lethal side effects. But they’ll usually be exposed and punished, if not as severely as deserved.

As Epstein says at the close of his article, most Chinese are content not to look behind the curtain and ask questions – “times are too good.” But no good times last forever, and after the ball it will be fascinating to see how the party maintains the harmony and relative stability it so cherishes today. Will it work when springtime becomes the winter of discontent?

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 68 Comments

A good post – I’ve also pre ordered the book

May 25, 2010 @ 1:52 pm | Comment

Me three.

May 25, 2010 @ 2:24 pm | Comment

Wow, I should reinstate my Amazon account where I get a commission.

Good to see you, Whiskers.

May 25, 2010 @ 2:25 pm | Comment

@richard

I’m ready for the usual comments, “Yes, but it’s just as bad or worse in the US.”

Despite your disclaimers, let’s have no doubt that merp/ferin will scream at the top of his voice all his tiresome tu quoque talking points in no time.

May 25, 2010 @ 2:56 pm | Comment

Part of me thinks the Party will never change; at least not in our lifetimes.

May 25, 2010 @ 6:23 pm | Comment

I agree, the party will never really change, that’s how things happen in China, when it becomes unbearable, another revoultion will come, another dynasty, CCP only has been in power for a tiny 50 years, most of the dyansties lasted a lot longer than that.

May 26, 2010 @ 12:09 am | Comment

Some thoughts on that excerpt

its lack of any independent check on its power–undermines at every turn its efforts to police corruption, vet its members, reform its bureaucracy

Rather, they need to tolerate well-sourced information in the press. This has nothing to do with democracy- democracy involves the same corruption, just with two parties. Hong Kong and Singapore do not have as many problems.

and respond to crises.

Really? I’d say that’s one thing the CCP is good at.

May 26, 2010 @ 12:26 am | Comment

I’m ready for the usual comments, “Yes, but it’s just as bad or worse in the US.” And although some comparisons can be drawn between the party in China and the power brokers who rule in the US, the comparison doesn’t work; ours can be brought to heel, they can go to jail, they can be dragged in front of congressional committees.

They can be, yes. But are they? Is George Bush sitting in jail like Chen Shui-bian?

In China corrupt officials “can be” shot, but that’s not the whole story. Again, you are the one comparing China to the US (and all other democracies) so I ask who is it that is obsessed with comparison?

Why can’t Westerners critique China based on something other than yet another boring “if China was a democracy” diatribe?

If that’s what all of his book is like, it sounds like a steaming heap of shit- but then again Westerners love those.

May 26, 2010 @ 12:29 am | Comment

@merp
They can be, yes. But are they? Is George Bush sitting in jail like Chen Shui-bian?

Thanks for providing evidence to support democracy in Taiwan. Note that Chen Shui-bian is in jail for corruption because he could NOT be president for more than 2 terms and will not have presidential immunity thereafter. On the other hand, Li Peng remains untouchable despite having stepped down years ago. Good one, merp.

May 26, 2010 @ 1:02 am | Comment

@merp

In China corrupt officials “can be” shot, but that’s not the whole story.

Yup. Because those who are shot are the losers in the power struggle. Winners of intra CCP power struggle, who are equally corrupt, then charged the losers for corruption to legitimatize their downfall. Chen Xitong was charged with corruption but that does not made Jiang Zemin any cleaner given the operations of his Shanghai clique. Looks like merp is totally uneducated in Chinese history and politics and that’s because he was a longtime resident of the US of A rather than the PRC.

May 26, 2010 @ 1:07 am | Comment

Really? I’d say that’s one thing the CCP is good at.

Hahaha. ROFL. Like covering up the actual fatalities in the SARS outbreak and then punishing Jiang Yanyong for whistle-blowing?

May 26, 2010 @ 1:12 am | Comment

Hahaha. ROFL. Like covering up the actual fatalities in the SARS outbreak and then punishing Jiang Yanyong for whistle-blowing?

Because only China does coverups- oops America killed millions of Iraqi citizens and continues to try (and fail) to cover it up. SARS was piss in the bucket.

H1N1 is also an American disease. They tried to pin it on Mexico and now are covering up the fact that it originated in North Carolina. OOPS

HAHAHAHA ROFL. Looks like sp is totally uneducated about the real world, because he lives in the US of A rather than the PR of C

May 26, 2010 @ 4:20 am | Comment

Wow Merp, you really do take a lack of creativity to new depths. Even when trying to talk smack, the best you can do is to add an extra “ha”, and to replace a name in someone else’s sentence. Brilliant stuff.

“Rather, they need to tolerate well-sourced information in the press.”
—indeed. So how’s the CCP doing on that front? And if they’re not doing so hot, what can be done to move things along? Hello? What was that? Can you speak louder cuz I couldn’t hear you…

“I’d say that’s one thing the CCP is good at.”
—yes, they are quite good at it. They can mobilize the PLA, or they can ignore a virus and hope it goes away, or they can sandbag a couple of milk company execs without sacrificing too many buddies in the regulatory system. They have many tricks up their sleeve indeed.

“Is George Bush sitting in jail like Chen Shui-bian?”
—hey, did W get caught with public money in his and Laura’s account? W is guilty of being a dolt, and probably deserves to be in jail if only being a dolt was a crime. Too bad it isn’t…and Merp should be happy about that too.

“Because only China does coverups”
—I’m sorry, did someone actually say that? Oh, I see, it’s simply you arguing against something no one has said. Old habits die hard, I suppose.

May 26, 2010 @ 4:54 am | Comment

indeed. So how’s the CCP doing on that front? And if they’re not doing so hot, what can be done to move things along? Hello? What was that? Can you speak louder cuz I couldn’t hear you…

They’re improving. Better than your “VIVA LA REVOLUCION” hippy bullshit I’d imagine?

They can mobilize the PLA, or they can ignore a virus and hope it goes away, or they can sandbag a couple of milk company execs without sacrificing too many buddies in the regulatory system. They have many tricks up their sleeve indeed.

Better than killing 15,000 people around the world with Swine Flu, and then trying to pin the blame on Mexico with an international media blitz.

W is guilty of being a dolt

Ever hear of something called “war crimes”? I guess you think Hitler was only guilty of being “a dolt”. Did Adolf Hitler smuggle money from the German people? I guess laws are only to be used to forward the interests of the West.

I’m sorry, did someone actually say that? Oh, I see, it’s simply you arguing against something no one has said. Old habits die hard, I suppose.

I’m sorry, I forgot you were a lobotomized bean counter with no register for a mocking tone, implication, sarcasm, or irony.

May 26, 2010 @ 5:39 am | Comment

The US has no corruption?

May 26, 2010 @ 7:32 am | Comment

“They’re improving.”
—I’m glad you think so. But then you’re not there. I wonder what the people who actually live there think? You wouldn’t know anything about that now, would you?

“Ever hear of something called “war crimes”?”
—yes I have, as a matter of fact. And if someone has a case, they should bring it to the Hague, which incidentally is where former Nazis have been tried. You should do so yourself, since you seem ever so hot to trot. Oh, and btw, it seems I have no reason to suspect you of war crimes, as opposed to the other thing that you’re guilty of.

“Better than killing 15,000 people around the world with Swine Flu”
—ummm, where did you get that H1N1 came from the US, and what have they done to obscure such evidence, if present? Not much doubt where SARS came from, or that the Chinese government insisted there was nothing to see there while Chinese travelers were spreading it far and wide. But as you say, the CCP is good at certain things.

“mocking tone, implication, sarcasm, or irony.”
—well, I certainly didn’t think you were capable of any of those things. But whatever you say, pal. I guess middle school is progressing better for you than it would outwardly appear. Well done!

May 26, 2010 @ 7:34 am | Comment

You wouldn’t know anything about that now, would you?

And you’re implying you would?

ummm, where did you get that H1N1 came from the US, and what have they done to obscure such evidence, if present?

The fact that you don’t know is evidence that they are obscuring it. Oh wait nevermind, you don’t know much to begin with.

I guess middle school is progressing better for you than it would outwardly appear. Well done!

It is, I’m learning how to manage your special needs.

May 26, 2010 @ 7:46 am | Comment

Ok Cheungsie-poo since you finished all of your non-choke re-re kibble I will grant you this great gift:

Although initial reports identified the new strain as swine influenza (i.e., a zoonosis originating in swine), its genetic origin was only later revealed to have been mostly a descendant of the triple-reassortment virus which emerged in factory farms in the United States in 1998.

Enjoy!

May 26, 2010 @ 8:03 am | Comment

“And you’re implying you would?”
—oh come now, how slow are you? I have never implied, intimated, suggested, or pretended (do you know what all those words mean, btw? I imagine your teachers should be able to help you out.) that I know what Tibetans are experiencing. Which is why I’m the guy who wants Tibetans to speak for themselves. You don’t have a clue what they’re going through, and yet you don’t want to ask them either. Well, I suppose head-in-sand is a good position for some people.

“The fact that you don’t know is evidence that they are obscuring it.”
—actually there are lots of things I don’t know. But when I don’t know something, I admit it. Some people would rather make stuff up instead of acknowledging such things. To each their own.

Hmmm…genetic descendant you say. Well, in certain instances I suppose the ancestors should be held responsible. And that goes for more than just viruses, especially around here.

May 26, 2010 @ 9:05 am | Comment

I have never implied, intimated, suggested, or pretended

Except when you advocated a violent revolution/regime change for China, oh what, in your last 500000000000000000 posts?

Which is why I’m the guy who wants Tibetans to speak for themselves.

You’re implying they didn’t “speak for themselves” when they 1) lashed out against the land owning class and lamaseries 2) responded to secular/nationalist propaganda tepidly in 1959

Hmmm…genetic descendant you say. Well, in certain instances I suppose the ancestors should be held responsible. And that goes for more than just viruses, especially around here.

That was half cop-out, half pure stupid and just came out wrong. And that doesn’t just go for failed comebacks, especially around here.

May 26, 2010 @ 9:19 am | Comment

Thanks, Richard. The scary thing is that America is becoming China faster than China is becoming America.

At its core, China is a cruel, sad place. It can dress up in glass and steel, but it is still an insecure, paranoid and ultimately misguided country. And the saddest thing is the acquiescence of intellectuals within and without. As a drunk hassidic Rabbi once said about the enslavement of the Jews in Egypt: “The real exile was the fact that they no longer realized they are in exile”.

It’s OK to celebrate China’s relative improvements, but it should not deter us from keeping our eyes on the ball, keeping our eyes on the single most important thing for human prosperity: Freedom.

May 26, 2010 @ 10:04 am | Comment

Dror, thanks for the comment. Do you believe America is becoming less free? I think we became considerably less free under bush, and Obam, unfortunately, has kept things pretty much the same. Unlike Bush, however, Obama has not curtailed any freedoms that I know of.

May 26, 2010 @ 10:20 am | Comment

A bit premature to be recommending a book that hasn’t yet been published, don’t you think? I prefer that, like your other reviews, you wait until you’ve read the book before going on about it. Having said that, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for it.

In the meantime, David Shambaugh’s *China’s Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation* (Woodrow Wilson Ctr & Univ. Calif. Press, 2008) has already been published and is an excellent book by a top scholar on the same subject. As before, I also recommend Prof. David Lampton’s *The Three Faces of Chinese Power: Might, Money, and Minds* (Univ. Calif. Press, 2008). Both books are highly accessible and will deeply influence the way you think about the Party.

May 26, 2010 @ 10:26 am | Comment

While I’m at it, Maurice Meisner’s *Mao’s China and After* (3rd edition) is the single best one-volume survey of P.R.C. history available. If you haven’t read it – or something very similar – you’re deficient. It’s superb.

May 26, 2010 @ 10:33 am | Comment

A bit premature to be recommending a book that hasn’t yet been published, don’t you think?

Gan Lu, the Wall Street Journal printed a lengthy excerpt from the book a couple of weeks ago, and what I read was absolutely outstanding. Based on that and the opinions of people I know and trust who have read advance copies, like Gady Epstein, I definitely recommend this book to my readers.

May 26, 2010 @ 10:35 am | Comment

“The scary thing is that America is becoming China faster than China is becoming America.”

I agree with Dror. Nothing explains the dominance of the West better than it’s ever growing, though admittedly problematic, commitment to freedom during the last 1,000 years. It would indeed be a shame if China’s “rise” were to contribute to undermining that committment and result in a net loss of global freedom.

May 26, 2010 @ 10:43 am | Comment

@merp
oops America killed millions of Iraqi citizens and continues to try (and fail) to cover it up.

Thanks for pointing out the role of the free press and human rights activist groups means that any coverups are bound to fail. Too bad, the CCP has none of those other than its own mouthpieces and cowardly silenced whistleblowers like Jiang Yanyong whenever possible. Wait a minute, how many of us actually know how many civilians and PLA troops were killed during the 1979 invasion of Vietnam? I rest my case.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3672298.stm

http://www.iraqbodycount.org/

May 26, 2010 @ 10:49 am | Comment

America didn’t kill millions of Iraqis. I am a big critic of the war, a disaster in every way. But don’t make things up, Merp. A

May 26, 2010 @ 10:55 am | Comment

@Dror Poleg
It can dress up in glass and steel, but it is still an insecure, paranoid and ultimately misguided country.

That’s hilarious coming from an Israeli.

@Richard
America didn’t kill millions of Iraqis. I am a big critic of the war, a disaster in every way. But don’t make things up, Merp. A

It depends on how you measure it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War

Opinion Research Business survey 1,033,000 violent deaths as a result of the conflict. August 2007
Lancet survey 601,027 violent deaths out of 654,965 excess deaths. June 2006

Sorry Richard, you clearly have not done the research- then again you have been busy with work I’m sure.

If you want to diminish and deny the suffering of Iraqis, you have to cut down the death tolls for Sudan as well.

@Gan Lu
Nothing explains the dominance of the West better than it’s ever growing, though admittedly problematic, commitment to freedom during the last 1,000 years.

Oh, a comedian!

@spz
tooth-gnashing, hyperventilating, getting hot and bothered, terrible writing, caterwauling

Uh-huh, yeah, okay, sure, right.

May 26, 2010 @ 11:15 am | Comment

@Merp

Ever hear of something called “war crimes”?

We do. Throw in that something called “crimes against humanity” as well. That’s why it makes one wonder why Mao, Deng, Jiang remains scot-free.

May 26, 2010 @ 11:31 am | Comment

@Richard: Several things happened under Obama that detrimentally affect the freedom of individuals:

1. The Bailouts: the largest transfer of wealth in human history, specifically from the middle class to the upper classes

2. The Healthcare Bill: Whether or not you think the cost is justified, it dramatically decreases individual ability to make their own decision about what type of healthcare service they would like to acquire and from who. You might think that this is a necessary evil and that it serves lofty values, but it is still an encroachment on personal freedom. You might also claim that it makes the “poor” more free by equalizing their “right” to healthcare, but I am sure you understand that in the long run, it is not sustainable for the simple reason that America has no money to pay for it. In addition, striving for equality is an interesting idea, but you must be aware of the trade-offs. As Will Durant famously concluded, “Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias.
For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and
when one prevails the other dies.”

3. The Stimulus Package and unprecedented increase in the money supply (Quantitative Easing). As you know, such an increase in the supply of money ultimately wipes out the savings of the middle class while it enriches the upper class, thus resulting in a country dominated by an Oligarchy of Big Business and Big Government.

4. The latest financial “reform” bill gives even more powers to the Federal Reserve, a secretive and dangerous organization, controlled by its member banks, that already has way too much power.

Just a few examples. God bless America.

May 26, 2010 @ 11:31 am | Comment

Guess Israel is gonna need to start looking for a new sugar daddy.

May 26, 2010 @ 11:42 am | Comment

“Except when you advocated a violent revolution/regime change for China”
—ummm, when exactly have I advocated for that? The extent of what I advocate for is to allow Chinese people to determine what type of political system they want, and who they might want to administer/lead it. In case it wasn’t already abundantly clear, that means that if Chinese people actually want to remain under CCP rule in an authoritarian system, then that’s fantastic. It’s a basic principle: let people choose for themselves. Apparently a very elusive concept for some middle-schoolers.

“You’re implying they didn’t “speak for themselves…in 1959″
—oh brother. Well, for starters, China invaded them; they didn’t invite China to run them over. But even if you look beyond that minor detail, that was 51 years ago. Any chance that they could do it again? Do you restrict yourself to exercising choices once every 51 years?…didn’t think so.

“Hmmm…genetic descendant you say. Well, in certain instances I suppose the ancestors should be held responsible. And that goes for more than just viruses, especially around here…—That was half cop-out, half pure stupid and just came out wrong”
—as a matter of fact, every word in my statement precisely reflects what I meant. If it sailed right over your head, (a) I’m not surprised; and (b) maybe it’s just as well. Perhaps your teachers can decipher it for you.

May 26, 2010 @ 11:51 am | Comment

The extent of what I advocate for is to allow Chinese people to determine what type of political system they want

How about rivers of chocolate and streets of gold and rainbows every day and puppies that don’t poop while you’re at it?

China invaded them

Oh yeah… in the 1700s. Whoops- take that up with the Manchus. Unless you mean the TAR, which is not all of Tibet.

as a matter of fact, every word in my statement precisely reflects what I meant. If it sailed right over your head

Yes, lets blame the Chinese guy who discovered gunpowder for JFK’s assassination while we’re at it. Only you would say this Cheungsie-poo, only you. We all think you’re wonderful.

May 26, 2010 @ 11:59 am | Comment

-Review copies of “The Party” were in the mail this week. Looks promising, but I don’t think it will stack up to Lampton and Meisner in terms of scholarly depth or weight.

-I love Dror Poleg’s blog and his comments.

-I still can’t for the life of me see why TPD allows the likes of merp to defile this space. Even SKC must tire of having a soft, easy punching bag.

May 26, 2010 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

Dror, those are your typical Ron Paul talking points. The stimulus package is absolutely necessary, and the only problem with it is that it wasn’t large enough. The decline in freedoms you list are abstractions. In China, the individual’s restricted freedoms manifest themselves in their everyday life; no reasonable comparison can be made with America. None of us can say that we feel less free in Obama’s America than we did in Bush’s (unless we’re nuts). That is fear speaking. People are afraid, for bizarre reasons, often grounded in racism and paranoia, that we are being led into some dark and dastardly future with reduced freedom and marxofacism, just as they are afraid their beloved guns will be taken away and Arabic will become our national language. Of course, these beliefs are insane, but there seems to be a cottage industry here in America that churns out these paranoid fantasies on an hourly basis.

May 27, 2010 @ 1:16 am | Comment

“How about rivers of chocolate and streets of gold and rainbows every day and puppies that don’t poop while you’re at it?”
—well, isn’t it nice that you have such respect for the capacities of Chinese people. I happen to think Chinese people are competent; except you, of course. BTW, do you consider what you just described there to be a “political system”? Kids these days…whatareyagonnado?!?

“Oh yeah… in the 1700s.”
—and in 1959. Unless of course you prefer a revisionist version of history…and that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

“as a matter of fact, every word in my statement precisely reflects what I meant. If it sailed right over your head…—Yes, lets blame the Chinese guy who discovered gunpowder…”
—like I said, it sailed way over your head. Let it go, pal, cuz I’m not gonna explain it to you. You should go ask your teachers…I’m sure they’re quite accustomed to helping you out.

May 27, 2010 @ 4:27 am | Comment

well, isn’t it nice that you have such respect for the capacities of Chinese people. I happen to think Chinese people are competent; except you, of course. BTW, do you consider what you just described there to be a “political system”? Kids these days…whatareyagonnado?!?

I believe Chinese people are competent, which is why they can prove themselves and run things with a meritocratic system. Why go from authoritarianism to an equally shitty system like democracy?

and in 1959. Unless of course you prefer a revisionist version of history…and that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

Oh yeah because according to you, Amdo and Kham aren’t historically Tibetan? Or did they not teach that to you in Special ED History?

like I said, it sailed way over your head. Let it go, pal, cuz I’m not gonna explain it to you. You should go ask your teachers…I’m sure they’re quite accustomed to helping you out.

Only thing doing any sailing here are the ants in your drool cup, Cheungsie.

May 27, 2010 @ 6:07 am | Comment

China today gives me a feeling that a major quake shift has been building and something big is going to happen within next 10 years. The current political system and structure are outdated and can’t keep up with growing complexity of the social, and economic dynamics. Average ppl has a lot more self awareness about constitutional rights, and they demand for justice when their rights are violated, but the one party system so far failed to reinvent itself to warrant such demand, but still keeps oppressive ruling habits. And the worst is, with the rampage of corruption, this system has been on a vicious cycle of recreating more injustice, by making the richer become richer, the poorer become poorer. Today China has a lot less upward mobile opportunities for average than 20 years ago. The irony of china today is, the CCP is creating a new class segregated society, and the new band of proletarians wishes for the downfall of communist ruling.

It’s kind of funny how gleefully, the wall st. cheers at the growing wealth of the capitalism china, but forget about the great political risk China is carrying, exactly because China still is a communistic nation. I have serious doubt about the intellectual, and control ability of the prince to be next presidency: Mr. Xi.

Heaven blesses China

May 27, 2010 @ 6:43 am | Comment

@Richard: I am sorry you are unable to respond to the substance of my argument and start, once again, with name calling.

If you cannot see how massive inflation, decreasing ability to choose, for example, a doctor and insurance provider, and an unprecedented and arbitrary expropriation of personal savings for political giveaways “manifest themselves in the everyday life” of US citizens… there’s is not much I can do to help. Only time can help make the influence of these changes clear to you.

By the way, you touched on an important point: “None of us can say that we FEEL less free in Obama’s America”. I am sure you, personally, do not FEEL less free, but it has much more to do with your “religious” beliefs than with real, measurable, changes.

May 27, 2010 @ 7:31 am | Comment

@Merp: “Guess Israel is gonna need to start looking for a new sugar daddy.

:)

Despite all of America’s problems, it is still in a better position to remain a global superpower over the next 50 years than any other country on earth. The question in the global economy today is not who will fall – since it is quite clear that all will fall together – but who has the capacity to get up again quickly. America (and Japan, too, believe it or not) has many things going for it in terms of its ability to (1) absorb extremely painful crises and (2) change and start anew.

As for Israel specifically – we happen to be the country with the youngest population in the developed world, one of the 3 fastest growing countries in the developed world, we have the capacity to grow our own food, source our own gas. We also have a strong army and a relatively sober understanding of where the world is heading, and what type of sacrifices will be necessary in order to survive the storm. And, we happen to have plenty of oil next door, and can “borrow” some of it quite easily.

So, long term, I see a lot of pain, but after it a great future awaits for the US, if she wants it.

May 27, 2010 @ 7:37 am | Comment

“they can prove themselves and run things with a meritocratic system.”
—like I have said over and over, if that’s what they want, fantastic. But is that what they want? And how, dare I ask, would you know? Heck, how would Hu Jintao know?

“Amdo and Kham aren’t historically Tibetan?”
—listen, ultimately the PLA marched in in 1959, and they weren’t invited. Not quite sure how you plan to spin that.

Well, genetics can be a real drag, and you only get one kick at the can. For some, already far too late.

May 27, 2010 @ 7:59 am | Comment

‘—listen, ultimately the PLA marched in in 1959, and they weren’t invited. Not quite sure how you plan to spin that.’

PLA marched into Peking city in 1949, and they weren’t invited neither, was Peking an independent nation before that? :)

listen, I am all for self-determination of Tibetans, but there are too much spin on either sides of propaganda battles.

May 27, 2010 @ 8:08 am | Comment

@spotless mind
The current political system and structure are outdated and can’t keep up with growing complexity of the social, and economic dynamics.

Outdated, perhaps, but they are indeed capable of keeping up.

@Dror Poleg
since it is quite clear that all will fall together

Not quite. The West, if it falls, will fall alone. To say that America will drag the rest of the world down with them is a wet dream of neocons.

America (and Japan, too, believe it or not) has many things going for it in terms of its ability to (1) absorb extremely painful crises and

How about several crises? Japan, I buy. America? The economy is only the first thing on the list. They remain incredibly rich in natural resources, though, especially for a country with such a tiny population.

And, we happen to have plenty of oil next door, and can “borrow” some of it quite easily.

It’s refreshing to hear the truth for once on this issue. Cheers!

So, long term, I see a lot of pain, but after it a great future awaits for the US, if she wants it.

The US has a great future as a declining banana republic that will have Haiti or Brazil levels of coherence, unless they radically change every single institution from the ground up.

May 27, 2010 @ 9:14 am | Comment

To Spotless,
good point. The distinction lies in more than just “the invitation”. More people in China in 1949 wanted the CCP than the KMT, so they had every justification for becoming the governing party. I’m not sure the majority of Tibetans welcomed the arrival of the PLA in 1959.

But ultimately, that’s more than 50 years ago, and is water under the bridge. And none of that has any bearing on what Tibetans may or may not want today.

May 27, 2010 @ 9:22 am | Comment

I’m not sure the majority of Tibetans welcomed the arrival of the PLA in 1959.

What’s not to be sure about? The vast majority of Tibetans supported the CCP, especially in the early days.

May 27, 2010 @ 9:34 am | Comment

Nearly all the minorities supported Mao in the early days. And then he broke all his promises to them.

May 27, 2010 @ 9:42 am | Comment

Nearly all the minorities supported Mao in the early days.

Still do, not that you’d know more than 1 or 2 minorities off the top of your head.

And then he broke all his promises to them.

No, he just kept them too well.

May 27, 2010 @ 9:53 am | Comment

@Cheung,

‘More people in China in 1949 wanted the CCP than the KMT’

well, that’s probably the case in the some parts of China, but certainly not true to the east coast China, especially in Shanghai, PLA was not welcomed – according to my grandfather:)…and there were many armed struggles against PLA control in the central mountain ranges even after the declaration of new China by Mao on TianAnMen

May 27, 2010 @ 10:31 am | Comment

@merp

and run things with a meritocratic system.

Only a fart will think corruption and having princelings ruling the politics can coexist with meritocracy.

May 27, 2010 @ 10:56 am | Comment

@Cheung

CCP didn’t have the justification to become a governing party. They won a civil war, but they were not elected to represent to majority. And majority Chinese was passively silent regarding regime change, because they didn’t know what to expect. Mao won some support from left leaning intellectuals because he promised China with democracy, but of course that was a lie.

May 27, 2010 @ 11:01 am | Comment

@merp
To say that America will drag the rest of the world down with them is a wet dream of neocons.

If America does default on its debt, what will happen 772billion dollars worth of Treasury bills held by China?

The CCP will have a terrible nightmare rather than a wet dream.

May 27, 2010 @ 11:07 am | Comment

“The vast majority of Tibetans supported the CCP, especially in the early days.”
—listen, if that’s how you like to see it, be my guest. But are we still in “the early days” these days?

To Spotless,
I guess you’re more of a purist than I am. They won the war, and to the victor go the spoils. I don’t begrudge the CCP having the chance to govern the country in 1949. But they haven’t won anything in the ensuing 61 years to justify their continued iron grip on power, least of all an election.

May 27, 2010 @ 3:20 pm | Comment

@Merp: Do you have any doubt that if America goes down, it will take China with it?
Apart from the highly probable occurrence of war, China is presently half an economy. The other half of it, the one that does that buying and provides liquidity, is mostly American.

In that sense, by the way, Japan is one of the world’s most balanced economies – an empire of both production and consumption, indeed with large debts, but owed mostly (~95%) to its own citizens.

So when are you moving to Israel?

May 27, 2010 @ 3:24 pm | Comment

@merp

No, he just kept them too well.

Yup. That crackpot kept his promises so “well” that his Red Guards damaged so many Tibetan monasteries and force so many monks to return to laity.

May 27, 2010 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

@spz
If America does default on its debt, what will happen 772billion dollars worth of Treasury bills held by China?

America owns hundreds of billions in licensed IP, assets, cash, etc in China. They can be nationalized in the case of a default.

Yup. That crackpot kept his promises so “well” that his Red Guards damaged so many Tibetan monasteries and force so many monks to return to laity.

Yep, Tibetan Red Guards were a bit too enthusiastic, even for Red Guards.

@Dror
Do you have any doubt that if America goes down, it will take China with it?
Apart from the highly probable occurrence of war, China is presently half an economy. The other half of it, the one that does that buying and provides liquidity, is mostly American.

Only in Republican wet dreams, Dror. China would hardly even be touched- America is just one customer out of many. China’s profit margin for exports to America are next to non-existent (around 3%)- the vast majority of revenue is owed to foreign designers and foreign companies.

America provides nothing except a sort of system where exporters are forced to deal in the dollar- China has no choice but to do what it does, as do many Middle Eastern countries (many of which have learned the hard way). If America goes down, someone else will just have to play banker and consumer- not a hard job to fill once the the world’s policeman is out of the way.

In that sense, by the way, Japan is one of the world’s most balanced economies – an empire of both production and consumption, indeed with large debts, but owed mostly (~95%) to its own citizens.

Indeed, but to do better they will need to be more pragmatic in their dealings with America, and resist pressure to allow greater immigration/”immigrant rights”. Japan is on the path of destruction if it allows foreigner suffrage.

May 28, 2010 @ 4:48 am | Comment

@Merp: Last time I checked, China’s private consumption as share of GDP has been trending a decline over the last two decades. And last time consumer spending in the US fell significantly (Q4/08), China was trembling and seething. And that was only the beginning.

Looking at the profit margin is erroneous, since most of China’s investments and businesses (both public and private sector) are in fact losing money. China does not mind losing money as long as it can keep people employed. Optimizing its productive capacity (and making it profitable) is not exactly a national priority at this point.

My wet dreams are definitely not “Republicans” and feature more attractive visions than the ones we are discussing here :) , but I, and history, would advise you not to discount the US of A, especially not in comparison to China.

And as for Japan: their social cohesion and homogeneity is one of their main sources of strength. The last thing they need is “greater immigration”. When developed countries finally realize it is time to tighten their belts and take the pain of Austerity, the Japanese are in the best position to do so peacefully, exactly because they do not have any immigrants and have a relatively large and solid middle class that shares the same culture and values.

May 28, 2010 @ 8:53 am | Comment

Last time I checked, China’s private consumption as share of GDP has been trending a decline over the last two decades.

It depends on whether or not you consider investment “private consumption”. China was only export led in the first few years following “reform and opening up”, it no longer is.

And last time consumer spending in the US fell significantly (Q4/08), China was trembling and seething.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster#Pirates_and_global_warming

China’s GDP dropped because of their own real estate slowdown. It had nothing to do with the U.S. Japan, SK and Taiwan suffered a huge drop in GDP because many of their exports through China did not sell, but this did not impact Chinese GDP growth significantly.

Looking at the profit margin is erroneous, since most of China’s investments and businesses (both public and private sector) are in fact losing money.

That’s a pretty bold statement. Do you mean overseas investments? Many of them are losing money, but China’s investments overseas are small- not to mention that they’re losing money because European/American assets are bleeding to death.

but I, and history, would advise you not to discount the US of A, especially not in comparison to China.

History? America’s history barely even registers as a blip. Their preeminence has only been decades old.

May 28, 2010 @ 11:44 am | Comment

Merp,

1. Private Consumption: Government investment does not grow on trees. It uses money taken from the private sector. If investment is done by the government, it is, by definition, not private consumption. The other large chunk of investment in China comes from foreign sources, which, again, are by definition not private consumption.

2. Slowdown: You mean that all the closed factories, unemployed factory workers, and decline in exports were due to a slowdown in the RE market? That’s an interesting theory. Don’t let reality stand in your way.

3. Investment: I was talking about investment within China, not about China’s investment overseas (which is generally more efficient than its local investments).

4. History: Last time I checked, the US of A is about 4 times older that the People’s Republic of China. And no, what another incarnation of China did 500 years ago does not count in this discussion (and in any case, as you know, the history of the people and civilization that spawned America did not begin in 1776 ).

May 28, 2010 @ 2:49 pm | Comment

Private Consumption: Government investment does not grow on trees. It uses money taken from the private sector. If investment is done by the government, it is, by definition, not private consumption. The other large chunk of investment in China comes from foreign sources, which, again, are by definition not private consumption.

Then I don’t see what your point was- China is not reliant on the US, as you were insinuating.

2. Slowdown: You mean that all the closed factories, unemployed factory workers, and decline in exports were due to a slowdown in the RE market? That’s an interesting theory. Don’t let reality stand in your way.

If you call closing down factories who couldn’t make the cut and the lowest wage earners losing their jobs “trembling and seething” then I wonder what you call Europe and America’s mess? Again, this has nothing to do with the fact that China isn’t reliant on America for GDP growth.

3. Investment: I was talking about investment within China, not about China’s investment overseas (which is generally more efficient than its local investments).

Are you implying that Chinese people don’t need houses or roads? This is nothing like Japan’s over-investment in the 80s.

Last time I checked, the US of A is about 4 times older that the People’s Republic of China. And no, what another incarnation of China did 500 years ago does not count in this discussion

Last time I checked, America wasn’t a world power until after World War 2. Also, the last time I checked China isn’t the only country with political change in the last 40 years. Nice try though.

May 29, 2010 @ 9:41 am | Comment

False as always, Merp. America became a world power after WWI. It became THE world power after WWII.

And China is definitely reliant on the US, and in more ways than one. There is nowhere else on earth for China to put all of its trillions from foreign investment, and no matter how much you deny it, US trade is still essential for China to continue its growth.

May 29, 2010 @ 9:57 am | Comment

Let’s just say China hadn’t been a world power since the US became one, though she’s definitely in the conversation now as opposed to years past.

China’s had political change in the last 40 years? Hmmm, guess I missed the memo on that one. Economic change in the last 30, absolutely.

May 29, 2010 @ 12:58 pm | Comment

SK, I think there’s definitely been political change, though not the political overhaul (a reversal of the one-party dictatorship) that a lot of people would like to see. Politically China is not what it was in 1970, nor what it was in 1990. There’s a lot of aspects from back then that linger, but there have certainly been a lot of changes, mostly but not entirely for the better.

May 30, 2010 @ 12:30 am | Comment

You are too young, what a naive student, Richard!

CCP is indeed God!

It was God since founding, is still God, and will be God forever!

May 30, 2010 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

In Christianity, power is divided between God and the Devil.

However, there is the slight embarrassment that the Devil was also the creation by God.

What went wrong with the 6 Sigma QC systems?

Therefore, the powerful one is not necessarily God.

Christians have the characteristic traits of worship or fear for power.

Buddhists are trained not to worship or fear of power, not even the supernatural powers. It is an obsession.

We all have equal chance to be Buddha – masses are Buddha before enlightenment; Buddha are masses after enlightenment.

Worship or fear for CCP because of its power?

Chilly Han, history teacher Yuen, awakening young ones spit on CCP power.

They are the ones to make that change.

May 31, 2010 @ 7:43 am | Comment

And China is definitely reliant on the US, and in more ways than one.

Far from it.

There is nowhere else on earth for China to put all of its trillions from foreign investment

This is because that’s how the Fed sets it up. If it came down to it, there are a lot of ways China could use the reserves politically.

and no matter how much you deny it, US trade is still essential for China to continue its growth.

Nope. Exports to the US are insignificant. The US however licenses and sells IP, invests in China, and exports raw materials to China in addition to being roughly 2% of China’s GDP growth.

Still far from “reliant”.

May 31, 2010 @ 9:51 am | Comment

Dream on Ferin. You always cite your statistic from the CIA World Fact Book (interesting how your nemesis becomes your savior when it says stuff you want to hear) but that is misleading. If you don’t believe that the US is a crucial trade partner for China then we won’t get anywhere. The two countries are highly reliant on one another and no one with any economic credentials would ever dispute that. The Chinese do not dispute this, only you. But we’ve debated this before, and you’re simply deranged on the subject, so I’m not going to let the thread be derailed again with your denials.

GUL, thanks for the Haiku/koanesque appraisal of the CCP.

May 31, 2010 @ 10:49 am | Comment

USA today is very sick half dead tiger, dwarted by a China paper tiger made up with T-bills.

A parasite symdrome: eat your host to death.

May 31, 2010 @ 11:52 am | Comment

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