Du Guang is a good party member, a retired professor from the Central Party School, an 83-year-old man with a serious heart condition. And his book on the CCP and how it has deviated from its original charter has so frightened the party that they called its Hong Kong publisher and warned him not to publish it. Bao Pu, the founder of the publishing house, New Century Press, which also published Zhao Ziyang’s memoirs, saw the call as consistent with the CCP’s obsession with “internal security.”
[T]here is no telling what will stir anger these days in a country that is increasingly prosperous and powerful but also curiously insecure — so much so that China spends more on internal security than on defense and views as a threat an octogenarian authority on Marxism and believer in democracy….
“This is what happens if you give unlimited power to the security apparatus,” Bao said, echoing a widespread view that the party, though the architect of China’s spectacular economic renaissance, is in thrall to retrograde security organs that see flickerings of subversion in every corner.
Du is not your average thorn in the CCP’s side. He is a life-long communist who now accuses the National People’s Congress of being “nothing more than a democratic signboard for a one-party dictatorship.”
Unlike student protesters who enraged the party by erecting a statue modeled on New York’s Statue of Liberty in Tiananmen Square in 1989 or the jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo who championed Western liberties and mocked party dogma, Du is a party member who takes Chinese communism seriously. In some ways, though, that makes him especially troublesome.
His book, an advance copy of which has been reviewed by The Washington Post, doesn’t ridicule the party or call for its overthrow but dissects its theoretical gobbledygook and traces how far it has drifted from its early ideals. The book’s title: “Getting Back to Democracy.”
It’s funny (bizarre) to see the government of the world’s up and coming superpower get twisted into knots over the writings of a sick octogenarian. As China appears to be reforming in so many ways, as Chinese people find new methods to speak out and demand change, as China solidifies its position as a force to be reckoned with, how can they let an old man with a heart condition scare the crap out of them? This is a rhetorical question, as I think we all know the answer. The CCP for all its bluster is as insecure as a frightened child.
Needless to say, the censors have been going into overdrive to delete his writings on the Internet, causing him to post on his blog, “The strangling of free speech is not possible. It only . . . makes you lose face before the whole world.” The post, of course, was deleted, but has been re-posted on other sites by angry Netizens.
Update: Looking at this post a few days later, I found it a bit too self-righteous and outspoken, and edited it accordingly.
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.