CR+50

The Western media has been relatively quiet about China except some sabre rattling on South China Sea. There are the usual noises about the collapse of China, hard landing on Chinese economy, and so called human rights violations. Europe has been preoccupied by the Syrian refugees and Greek economic crisis. U.S. has the theater of absurd of quadrennial election and “The Game of Throne” to deal with. But the question of income inequality affects everyone in the world now, more than climate change which probably will not be felt until 50 years from now. The rise of Sanders and Trump is very much a reaction to income stagnation in U.S.. It is a question China has downplayed and trying to avoid, but recent events may yet force it to the forefront. I am talking here about a little known concert in the Hall of People on May 2, which Chinese media ignored, and the reactions to it.
The concert “The Hope in the Meadow” consists 56 young girls in chorus singing various old standard Red Songs, such as “Sailing Seas depends on Helmsman”, and recent ones showing reverence for Xi Jinping such as “How Do We Name You?”. In a open letter written by Ma Xiaoli around May 7, who is a so called second generation Red Princessling to General Office of Chinese Communist Party Central Committee accuse of it being trying to revive CR, blacken Xi, and in general violated the party rule against personality cult. It generated debates from liberals who feel threatened and furious counterattacks from the left who not only defend it from free speech point of view, but broaden it to linking the ongoing corruption investigations and income inequality, to actual attacks on Deng Xiaoping’s family linking them to corruption. I was amazed to read all those commentaries in May 8, but everything was deleted on May 9, except some links from Hong Kong and other overseas sites.
Ma Xiaoli was one of former Red Guards who apologized for their actions during CR. In exchange of letters with Luo Diandian in Jan 2016, they both expanded their views that CR need to be open up exorcised. They used the De-Nazification of Germany and Truth Commission of South Africa as examples. They are both well educated and obviously sincere in their remorse. They acknowledge their parents were not just the victims, but maybe partly responsible for the policies leading to CR. Although they show disdain for the peasant background of Chinese revolutionaries and implied criticism of Mao, I do not condemn them for their petit-bourgeoisie tendencies, of their dismissing their critics as “Fifty-cents Maoists”, but sincerely hope they can read my critique of their views.
I was a college student in U.S. during the CR, in danger of flunking out and losing my scholarship, yearning to join the Red Guards. Instead because of the draft I elected to join the Army Signal Corps to avoid infantry. I watched the unfolding of CR in U.S. and Viet Nam. During the years I read all the horrors happening. I may not have personally experienced them as actual victim, but having read “Lord of the Flies”, I can imagine young idealists became disillusioned with the revolution. Yet I still consider myself a Marxist and have a high opinion of Mao.

In Kurasawa’s film “Rashomon”, there are different telling of actual events that differ wildly. In analyzing CR, there are personal view, historical view, Western view, and Chinese view. Ms. Ma and Luo and a whole generation may have suffered, but what are they compare to the sweep of history? I certainly disagree vehemently with their characterization with events of WW2 or apartheid. Xi Jinping has said that you can’t separate the 30 years of early People’s Republic with the later 30 years, they are inextricably linked, not to mention the history of last 150 years, or 2,000 years. Those second generation Red Princelings may be victims during CR, but they are also the beneficiaries now and part of the 1% or 0.1%. They fear any return of chaos or new CR. I do favor opening up discussions of CR, but to learn lessons for the future, not to assign blames. The war against tigers and flies has been going on since Xi became General secretary. I remember in the 1950s when I borrowed my uncle’s monthly party booklet there were always juicy news about the downfall of various party secretaries for corruption. I think Mao was aware the need to purify the party and initiated various movements which resulted in CR. Mao may be impatient to change human nature and released forces beyond his control. Like the first emperor of Qin, he may be revile by some, but also history will honor him.

Xi Jinping may face pushback on his fight against corruption, as vested interests feel threatened, but the popularity of red songs and reverence for Mao demonstrated that egalitarianism is an ideal finding fertile ground not only in China, but the phenomenon of Sanders and Trump, and the rebellion against income inequality might become unstoppable even in U.S.. After all, the Chinese National Anthem and Internationale are also red songs.

 

 

About N.M.Cheung

Chinese American, semi retired, age 65, Born in Shanghai, reside in NYC, left China in 59, Hong Kong until 61, then to U.S.

14 thoughts on “CR+50

  1. The show was a trap for Xi, sponsored by those who suffered under Xi’s anti-corruption movement.

    Maoism now is a very dangerous trend in China, Maoists are forming a new force within the party, and in the future, maybe a new party that replace CCP.

  2. The best of times and the worst of times? I see my mum photo during that period, in Malaysia though.

    写中文吧,感觉那是一个风风火火的年代,那么的激情,那么的英姿颯爽,真是个充满理想的时代! 回顾过去,不知那一代人是失落, 还是依然感恩。希望是后者。

  3. @Wahaha
    Why do you think Maoism is dangerous? Anti-corruption has been going on since the forming of PRC. The intensification of corruption and income inequality is more related to recent market forces than to CR. The party need to change and reform in the direction Mao envisaged though without the violence to survive.

  4. @Rhan
    Both exist today, some feels lost and wants to imitate West, some hopeful for change. I suggest web site www. zgsddh.com. which is a leftist web site in Chinese from China. They have good articles on events in China. Although they were censored around May 9, returned May 10, now censored on May 16 again, probably due to the anniversary date. One article was reprinted in dwnews.com, link here, http://history.dwnews.com/news/2016-05-16/59739351.html

  5. @N.M.Cheung
    Any extremism will bring the downfall or disaster to a society.

    Human beings are too complicated to be ruled by science, hence everything about human society has its positive side and negative side, or YIN vs YANG. Extremism means ignoring the negative side, or worse, ignorant of negative side.

    100% socialism is such an example, because first it gives government absolute power; two, it destroys the motivation of producing wealth, the reason for poverty under old socialism.

    Democracy and human right, after they were indoctrinated by media, it paralyzed government and West is downward spiral now, which would have started 25 years ago if not technology breakthrough which was built on moon-landing project.

    Rule by law, sounds absolutely great, but it reality, there are so many variables in human society that it needs huge wealth and time to enforce the laws, which makes it very impractical.

    Maoism is dangerous because Maoists don’t even accept the problems under Mao, to promote Mao, they even promote North Korea and disaster in Cambodia during 1970s. We all know 100% Maoism doesn’t work economically, so once Maoists take over China, the collapse of economy is inevitable and country will fall apart.

    West could succeed before 1970s because people didn’t get involved in making decision though they vote, their so-called democracy was never carried out as they believed; China have been successful because of partial socialism and partial capitalism.

    West can’t stop crime because of human right fundamentalists; China can stop crimes because police don’t follow the law word by word.

    Simply speaking, human society is about balance between YIN and YANG. If you bring in something that can remove the YIN under your nose, You better know what new YIN you are bring in. Like I said before, you don’t like the soap of the restaurant, and try to go to another restaurant, you better make sure the food in new restaurant is at least as good.

  6. @N.M.Cheung
    BTW, maybe you say that is not how you promote Maoism. It doesn’t matter, like MLK’s “I have a dream”, his believe is directly related social problems in USA, because he has no control how his believe is used by others.

    I believe that Mao had absolutely no intention to bring in the chaos in China when he started CR, but he had no control of how red guards thought of what he said.

    Once Maoists take over the power, you have no control of how they will use the power. Remember, they are grassroots, they have nothing to lose, and they hate the rich. Most likely, what you will see if they take over is like anti-Chinese riot in Indonesia.

  7. Wahaha

    “Mao had absolutely no intention to bring in the chaos in China”

    Just curious, WWhy Mao started CR? Maoist in your writes is Gang of four or/and the red guards?

  8. He started CR for power. On this issue, I believe west report, due to , one, what happened to PengDehuai; two, Mao hated Khrushchev; three, he played no role in economy since failure of great leaps.

    In my writing, Maoists are those who NOW want back to Mao’s time, even culture revolution. You can visit those red forums to see how crazy they are.

    I personally think Mao 90% good, 10% bad, because you look at the situation in India now, you can imagine what China would have been like without him. His biggest contributions are, in my opinions :

    1. Chinese finally stood up.
    2. Socialism, took the lands from the landlords and capital from capitalists (the most important reason for the economic miracle in last 35 years)
    3. Destroyed class system
    4. Liberated women.(a necessity for ‘made in China’)
    5. Built the foundation of modern industry.
    6. seat in United Nations and nuclear bomb.
    7. Solidify China’s territory during cultural revolution by sending urban youth to Tibet, XinJiang and inner Mongolia. Those territory would have been like Kashmir without Down to the Countryside Movement.

    Of course, lot of Chinese sacrificed a lot for all above, but I don’t see there was any other way. BTW, I don’t see why he would had bad intention in launching the great leaps, nobody at the time knew it would turn out so bad.

  9. Wahaha,

    Politician is of course have everything to do with power, however what puzzling is why start something like CR? There are many ways for Mao to achieve the objective you mentioned, I suspect CR was the wish of many Chinese of that generation.

  10. I was banned from anti cnn, because I disagree with extreme left and back to CR time.

    Go figure.

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