Chinese police fight running battles with villagers in restive Wukan - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14717923
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/ ... es-protest

According to this Guardian compilation, the Chinese authorities seem to have bid time for revenge for the village's open defiance to the Party's domination and aggressive land-grabbing policies 10 years ago. Villagers are stormed house-to-house, some are even rumoured to be shot to death.

Seriously, can we still say Xi is acting on the will of the people now?
#14718173
Restrictive as China is, I don't think an actual massacre will escape the social media. No, I don't think this story is real.
The Chinese government did however, arrested the democratically elected leader of said village for corruption charges, and does not allow him to hire his own lawyer, despite the entire village's protest.
The whole event had been handled well by the previous government, but Xi the great leader will of cause never tolerate such insolence :knife:

And as I said in previous posts, Xi is definitely acting on the will of the people. The least intelligent but numerous ones.
#14718914
benpenguin wrote:And as I said in previous posts, Xi is definitely acting on the will of the people. The least intelligent but numerous ones.



Ah yes. The Tyranny of the Majority. Stupid me.

Maybe I should have asked it's who's fault for his opponents' not being able to win the support of this majority of people, and / or enhancing the intelligence of them.
#14719308
The more I speak with mainlanders (and I mean the intelligent ones), the more I realize how different they are with us (I am from Hong Kong). They are almost from a different planet.
To even suggest a workable democracy in China, you will first need to enter the Chinese state of mind (Which is very, very difficult to begin with). Most of them don't even have a basic concept of what liberalism is, let alone democratic governance. And to be frank, if my own understanding of democracy is correct, it's either going to be very disasterous, or roll right back to authoritarian rightism within 2 elections.
I don't currently see any viable alternative to the communists - there are plenty of opposition, sure - but none has formed a workable / half complete theory of how China should run.
Chinese liberals do exist (and in large numbers!) But as I speak with them I realize democracy is but a silver bullet solution to them. They project their frustration on social issues and glorify an imagined "Western utopia", but I have yet to see any of them with an actual down-to-earth understanding of Chinese politics and social issues.
On the very fundamentals, China is running Monarchy 2.0. The communist revolution gave it a stronger tint of ideology and scientific economic planning, but "monarchy lite" nontheless. We never had the tradition of a working senate like the Romans and Greeks, always had been imperial dynasties, so for better of worse... 5000 years of history is not a easy thing to wash away.
#14719328
We never had the tradition of a working senate like the Romans and Greeks, always had been imperial dynasties, so for better of worse... 5000 years of history is not a easy thing to wash away.

I think that's the root of the problem - lack of ideological alternatives to imperial autocracy. Even the sceptical proto-anarchism of the Daoist thinkers of the 3rd century BC could not offer workable political alternatives other than just withdrawing from public life. And even when huge peasant uprisings toppled the imperial system, as happened repeatedly throughout Chinese history, the victorious peasant rebels would just found their own imperial dynasty and within a couple of generations it was business as usual. It was only from the 19th century onwards that viable ideological alternatives began to appear, and they came from outside China, from the Western imperialists. The two most important external ideological influences, of course, have been Christianity and Marxism. The Christian ideology led to the massive Taiping Rebellion, which killed about 20 million people and fatally weakened the Qing Dynasty (and, more positively, arguably inspired Sun Yat-Sen's successful attempt to overthrow the Qing in 1911). The Marxist ideology led to the Communist Revolution and Maoist rule in the late 20th century, but at least brought China finally and decisively into the modern world. Yet even those ideologies, as historically manifested in China, could offer no viable political or institutional alternatives to imperial autocracy. The Taiping rebels back in the 19th century were trying to found their own autocratic dynasty, and it could be argued that Chairman Mao was, in effect, a 'Red Emperor'.

This lack of viable historical alternatives to autocracy is the root of the problem. The American and French revolutionaries in the late 18th century had the example of the Roman Republic to inspire them and to provide a model for republican governance. The liberal democrats of the West in the 19th and 20th centuries had the historical example of ancient Athenian democracy to draw upon. What did the Chinese have?
#14719331
Anybody trying to draw broad china-wide themes from this little village is crazy. It would be like trying to determine the status of the EU based on a protest and some arrests in a Spanish hamlet. I guarantee 99.999% of Chinese people don't give a shit what these villagers are on about. In fact you, as a foreigners with no link to Chinese culture or lifestyles, care more because the guardian rag is sensationalizing it for its feeble audience of indoctrinates.

This seems to be a very specific situation. I can from personal experience grant you some insight into the mindset of village bumbkin in rural china-they're super, hyper conservative (to the point that they will tell you in all seriousness that China is the center of the world and Japan, korea, vietnam etc are its provinces-they deem anything Chinese culture has touched as theirs); and would throw you under the bus if you said something to insult their little microcosm. They share NO practical ideals with you, urbanized fools.

Mao used this rabble as cannon fodder and for manual labor, nothing more. He and his leaders were from a different world.
#14719375
Potemkin wrote:I think that's the root of the problem - lack of ideological alternatives to imperial autocracy. Even the sceptical proto-anarchism of the Daoist thinkers of the 3rd century BC could not offer workable political alternatives other than just withdrawing from public life. And even when huge peasant uprisings toppled the imperial system, as happened repeatedly throughout Chinese history, the victorious peasant rebels would just found their own imperial dynasty and within a couple of generations it was business as usual. It was only from the 19th century onwards that viable ideological alternatives began to appear, and they came from outside China, from the Western imperialists. The two most important external ideological influences, of course, have been Christianity and Marxism. The Christian ideology led to the massive Taiping Rebellion, which killed about 20 million people and fatally weakened the Qing Dynasty (and, more positively, arguably inspired Sun Yat-Sen's successful attempt to overthrow the Qing in 1911). The Marxist ideology led to the Communist Revolution and Maoist rule in the late 20th century, but at least brought China finally and decisively into the modern world. Yet even those ideologies, as historically manifested in China, could offer no viable political or institutional alternatives to imperial autocracy. The Taiping rebels back in the 19th century were trying to found their own autocratic dynasty, and it could be argued that Chairman Mao was, in effect, a 'Red Emperor'.

This lack of viable historical alternatives to autocracy is the root of the problem. The American and French revolutionaries in the late 18th century had the example of the Roman Republic to inspire them and to provide a model for republican governance. The liberal democrats of the West in the 19th and 20th centuries had the historical example of ancient Athenian democracy to draw upon. What did the Chinese have?


But what about other states nearby for example Japan or India, they also never had much political alternative in history. Well in case of India a part of it was for a time period under some sort of republicanism but it didn't stand much longer neither anyone gave a damn about it.

And for all its faults and problems at least the democracy survived and is not in any mortal danger anytime soon and that without existence of any viable historical alternatives.
#14719394
fuser wrote:
But what about other states nearby for example Japan or India, they also never had much political alternative in history. Well in case of India a part of it was for a time period under some sort of republicanism but it didn't stand much longer neither anyone gave a damn about it.

And for all its faults and problems at least the democracy survived and is not in any mortal danger anytime soon and that without existence of any viable historical alternatives.


1. The central power of Japan was never as strong as China.
2. India was effectively unified by Great Britain. I think that says a lot of things.
#14719410
The point is there never was any viable alternative in these cultures too historically but they did managed to have democracy that despite many problems is still functioning and it doesn't looks like that it will collapse in near future. It isn't about power of central authority or unification of the country but political alternatives.

And another point that needs to be stated is that Indian polity is more complex than simple Britain united it. but regardless India can safely be compared with Europe rather than one European nation and hence as different European nations took inspiration from histories of countries not necessarily their own different Indian states could have also done that.

So I think that it isn't exactly China's peculiar history that is defining the character of current government but something else.
#14719478
Potemkin wrote:I think that's the root of the problem - lack of ideological alternatives to imperial autocracy.


Wouldn't this be contradictory to historical materialism? Since the late 19th century and certainly in the second half of the 20th century, China - either in its state socialist or state capitalist form - has brought about a transformation of social classes, with the demise of land-owning gentry class, the growth of an enormous working class, and the emergence of a middle class and capitalist class that are both so far more dependent on the state than vice versa. In other words, there is a rather archaic state structure trying to manage a capitalist class structure, leading to a lot of state-society tensions and instabilities. Whether people have some alternatives in their mind or not are important but secondary to the material conflicts.
#14719501
Wouldn't this be contradictory to historical materialism?

Not really. The point is that no ideological alternatives could gain any traction in Chinese society for more than two millennia precisely because of the economic basis of ancient Chinese society. If the economic basis of society is rapidly changing on a time scale of years rather than centuries, then people will be more prepared to think radical thoughts or to come up with new ideas - as Lenin put it, "one must be as radical as reality itself". Britain in the 19th century is a good example of this. And modern China is, in fact, a good example of the point which Engels emphasised - that the base-superstructure relationship is not mechanistic but dialectical - that is, it is a reciprocal relationship in which, in the first instance, the base determines the superstructure, but (as a second-order effect) the superstructure also determines the base. If there is a distinct lack of ideological alternatives to the existing system, if the political rulers of society actively suppress any and all dissenting voices, then this will make changes to the base difficult or even impossible and may delay economic or social progress for decades or even centuries. Tsarist Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries, or late imperial China, are good examples of this.

Since the late 19th century and certainly in the second half of the 20th century, China - either in its state socialist or state capitalist form - has brought about a transformation of social classes, with the demise of land-owning gentry class, the growth of an enormous working class, and the emergence of a middle class and capitalist class that are both so far more dependent on the state than vice versa. In other words, there is a rather archaic state structure trying to manage a capitalist class structure, leading to a lot of state-society tensions and instabilities. Whether people have some alternatives in their mind or not are important but secondary to the material conflicts.

But people having alternatives in their mind is an important component of achieving a successful revolutionising of the material base. China suffered a century of humiliation precisely because nobody in China had the slightest idea of how to counter the new threat from the West, nor did they even conceive that China would have to revolutionise its material base and its political system, which had lasted for more than two millennia and was firmly believed to be part of the natural order of things. No ideas, no revolution. After all, why did Marx bother to write Das Kapital or the Communist Manifesto if he didn't believe that it matters what ideas people have in their heads?
#14719531
How do Hong Kong and Taiwan fit into this analysis? Taiwan demonstrates that the Chinese are capable of implementing a stable multi-party democracy. Is it a viable model for the mainland to emulate?
#14719534
How do Hong Kong and Taiwan fit into this analysis? Taiwan demonstrates that the Chinese are capable of implementing a stable multi-party democracy. Is it a viable model for the mainland to emulate?

Taiwan was seized from its native inhabitants by the KMT when they fled from mainland China following their defeat in the Civil War. For most of its history post-1949, Taiwan was a one-party state, a dictatorship. Taiwan's multi-party democracy is a recent development, which was instituted as a way of differentiating themselves from Communist China and in imitation of Western political models. Is it a viable model for the mainland to emulate? Probably not. I fail to see any advantage to adopting the Taiwanese system rather than, say, simply cherry-picking ideas on democratic (or at least pseudo-democratic) governance from the West, which is, after all, where Taiwan got its ideas from.
#14719697
Potemkin wrote:But people having alternatives in their mind is an important component of achieving a successful revolutionising of the material base. China suffered a century of humiliation precisely because nobody in China had the slightest idea of how to counter the new threat from the West, nor did they even conceive that China would have to revolutionise its material base and its political system, which had lasted for more than two millennia and was firmly believed to be part of the natural order of things. No ideas, no revolution. After all, why did Marx bother to write Das Kapital or the Communist Manifesto if he didn't believe that it matters what ideas people have in their heads?


The alternatives in people's mind, if they are to have any chance of succeeding in laying the ideological foundation of a mass movement, are necessarily ideational expression of the class relations and class interests. When class relations and class interests change, people adapt old ideas and find new alternatives. That's what happened in China from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, when faced with internal decay and external threat, intellectuals advocated a wide range of alternatives to imperial autocracy, from some version of conservative neo-Confucianism to Western liberalism, European social democracy, Russian anarchism and Marxism, all of the latter had not existed in people's mind up until then. Of course, right now when the state depends on repression to fragment organised attempts to experiment with alternatives, it begins to alienate its people, as is happening in China. Some ideas will disappear, but others with basis on class interests will try to assert itself as the common sense.
#14719707
^I think it would be overly simplistic to credit the whole she-bang to "government brainwashing" - there is a huge myriad of reasons why state-capitalism-monarchy-lite was the system of choice, many of them organic/economical. It takes two to tangle...
HoniSoit wrote:Intellectuals advocated a wide range of alternatives to imperial autocracy, from some version of conservative neo-Confucianism to Western liberalism, European social democracy, Russian anarchism and Marxism

The communists did took in many elements from said period and evolved their own ideology, as we can notice they are no longer communists anyway. But at the heart of it, 5000 years of centralized monarchy leaves its mark...

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