policy by number

In anticipation of the 18th National People’s Congress (and possible trial and sentencing of Bo Xilai and concomitant rise of Wang Yang), I am offering a bit of policy by number — one country, two systems, for example. Chinese policies (at all levels of government) tend to come in easy to remember chunks, which in turn are parsed and memorized in politics class. Of course, in addition to politics classes taught in actual schools, all government organizations also unpack the latest phrase because as the ill-fated reception of Jiang Zemin’s “three represents” demonstrates, its possible to disseminate a catchy catchphrase without the larger public actually figuring out is being said.

A few examples, the author, and a few dates of Chinese policy by number:

One Country, Two Systems (一国两制; Deng Xiaoping, 1984) refers to the decision that Hong Kong would remain administratively separate from the PRC and was used again for the return of Macau, allowing both Special Administrative Regions to continue business operations as they had under colonialism, even as political authority shifted to Beijing. The phras also anticipates the return of Taiwan.

Three Represents (三个代表; Jiang Zemin, 2000) refers to which Chinese interests the Party represents, namely 1. the demand for progressive production capacity; 2. the cutting edge of progressive cultural production, and 3. the basic interests of the vast majority of the People. Unfortunately, even in Chinese the three represents are counter intuitive (1. 始终代表中国先进社会生产力的发展要求;2. 始终代表中国先进文化的前进方向;始终代表中国最广大人民的根本利益) and many thought that the phrase referred to three representatives of Marxism: Marx, Lenin, and Mao. But again, if we were talking about the people’s representatives in the post Mao era, where was Deng Xiaoping’s place in all this?

Four Modernizations (四个现代化;1st plenary session of the 3rd National People’s Congress, December, 1964) refers to the imperatives to modernize industry, agriculture, national defense, and science and technology research (工业现代化、农业现代化、国防现代化、科学技术现代化). The four modernizations where to be accomplished in two, 15 year steps (两步走), or to modernize over the course of 6 five-year plans. Step 1 was to establish a modern industrial base and economic system by 1979; step 2 was to bring China’s industry and economy to the world by 1995. In the 3rd plenary session of the 11th National People’s Congress, Deng Xiaoping memorably reestablished the four modernizations as the guiding policies.

After these first three, Chinese policy by number quickly deteriorates into farce because every level of government and many work units promote their goals through this system. Of note, however, is that Chongqing and Guangdong policy by number soundbites have entered into public discourse, not to mention Hu Jintao’s love of the genre. A few of the more prominent examples:

Three attacks, two establishments (三打两建; Wang Yang, 2011) are the current Guangdong Provincial government’s commitment to attack monopolistic markets, to attack piracy, and to attack corruption and establish systems of social trust and marketplace oversight (打击欺行霸市、打击制假售假、打击商业贿赂;建设社会信用体系、建设市场监管体系).

Five Chongqings (五个重庆; Bo Xilai, 2008) marked the beginning of the Chongqing Model of development, and referred to inhabitable Chongqing, smooth traffic Chongqing, forested Chongqing, safe Chongqing, and healthy Chongqing (宜居重庆、畅通重庆、“森林重庆、平安重庆和健康重庆).

Six Efforts, Six Actualizations (六个着力六个切实; Hu Jintao, 2009) are more ongoing efforts to fight corruption by changing the hearts and minds of Party members by striving to strengthen guiding principles and to actualize the Party for the public good and administering government for the people; striving to improve praxis and to actualize the Party’s praxis of scientific guidance; striving to strengthen responsibility and to actualize the responsibility to follow the Party and the People to be generous; striving to establish correct political positions and to establish objective development [which then has its own numbered list of how tos]; striving to establish a correct view of benefits and to actualize the People’s benefit as being primary, and; striving to strengthen  the Party’s discipline and to actualize Party unity [in four areas] (着力增强宗旨观念,切实做到立党为公,执政为民;着力提高实践能力,切实用党的科学理论指导工作实践;着力强化责任意识,切实履行党和人民赋予的责任;着力树立正确的政绩观,切实按照客观规律谋划发展,要察实情,讲实话,鼓实劲,出实招,办实事,求实效;着力树立正确的利益观,切实把人民利益放在首位;着力增强党的纪律观念,切实维护党的统一,在思想上,行动上,政治上与党中央保持一致,维护党的统一。)

Eight Honors, Eight Shames (八榮八恥; Hu Jintao, 2006) were promoted to cultivate the moral conscious of Party members; patriotism is an honor, while harming the country is a shame; serving the people is an honor, while turning one’s back on the people is a shame; respecting science is an honor, while stupidity is a shame; hard work is an honor, while sloth is a shame; solidarity is an honor, while the pursuit of self benefits is a shame; being trustworthy is an honor, while being opportunistic is a shame; upholding the law is an honor, while breaking the law is a shame; struggle is an honor, while arrogant greed is a shame (坚持以热爱祖国为荣、以危害祖国为耻,以服务人民为荣、以背离人民为耻,以崇尚科学为荣、以愚昧无知为耻,以辛勤劳动为荣、以好逸恶劳为耻,以团结互助为荣、以损人利己为耻,以诚实守信为荣、以见利忘义为耻,以遵纪守法为荣、以违法乱纪为耻,以艰苦奋斗为荣、以骄奢淫逸为耻).

 

gu kailai: he made me do it!

As Chongqing Turns takes no prisoners, literally.

According to Mirror News (明镜新闻网), Gu Kailai claims she had nothing to do with the alleged murder of Neil Heywood. Instead, she says that Bo Xilai’s secretary acted on the former Mayor of Chongqing’s orders to kill the British businessman. Her role in all of this was simply to invite Heywood to Chongqing. Moreover, she couldn’t refuse to help Bo Xilai because he frequently beat and sexually abused her.

It seems that Hu Jintao may have successfully arranged for Chongqing’s former power couple to receive the death sentence for their role in Heywood’s death. Or at least that’s cliff-hanger du jour, not to be confused with anything like verifiable news.

Meanwhile, there are reports (here, here, and here) that two days ago several thousand took to the streets of Chongqing to protest the government by singing red, a direct challenge to Bo Xilai’s administration and a call for change a la Mao. They also sang the national anthem: “Ten thousand hearts as one, braving the enemies canons — forward march!” In response, the government ordered the police disperse the protestors using teargas yesterday.

Online, extreme left websites such as “乌有之乡”, “毛泽东旗帜网”, “民声网” and “红色中国” have been closed down, although it is still possible to find their site addresses in Baidu’s cache and the British speculate about how Heywood’s Chinese wife is “suffering“, quote unquote.

六四 can be baidu’ed!

Ironies of the great firewall continue: We can now access information about Tian’anmen, but still can not directly get onto wordpress. Does this mean that whatever else he has done with or without Jiang Zemin’s blessing, Wen Jiabao looks good in Tian’anmen press? Or perhaps Tibet and Hu Jintao’s role in the March 5 Lhasa crackdown (also in 1989) remains more sensitive than Jiang Zemin’s role in the June 4 crackdown because so many leaders and members of the Han public continue to refuse to discuss 1959?

That said, nevertheless, today I’m feeling hopeful: we can baidu 六四!

the tale of hotpot waters…

For a brief moment, the following bit of satire circulated on the Chinese web:

Rumor has it that after Hotpot was swept away by the Direct Line to Heaven, Noodle Master Kang of the Mother Company was openly fighting with Tire and Heaven Direct. The morning fireworks on the 20th were also part of this fight, with the result that the Noodle Master Kang took a serious hit. Even though these past nine years Heaven Direct has charged his way into the silver screen, nevertheless he’s well intentioned. After all, twenty years ago just outside the preserved ham shop, he was the man who stood behind Yangzhou Fried Rice. If y’all sing and eat hotpot again, his nine years of blood and sweat will be as nothing. Thus, it’s a good thing that Tire has the camouflage firmly in hand and soundly thrashed those instant noodles. [original: 听说火锅被天线端掉之后,母公司康师傅正面死掐轮胎和天线,20日凌晨炮竹声也是此事,结果是康师傅惨败。天线这九年虽进军影视,但人心向善,毕竟20年前腊肉馆外他是站在扬州炒饭背后的男人,你们再唱歌吃火锅,人家九年心血全没了,所以幸亏轮胎紧握迷彩涂装不放,才狠摔方便面。]

Traces of the passage remain in google cache but can no longer be accessed on Baidu (image below).

Why was the spoof so quickly removed from Baidu? Continue reading

The US and PRC are actually the same country. Except when they’re not.

Seriously?

At (more or less) the same time that Hu Jintao announced that Wang Lijun was a traitor and Bo Xilai continued to advocate the Chongqing Model for the rest of China to follow, NASA was debunking claims that aliens had invaded earth, arriving inside trojan horses meteors.

I’ve often joked that the US and China are actually the same country, just with different protagonists, costumes, and stages. But today, I’m sure it’s true. How else to understand the convergence of recent events? Alien life has clearly taken over the two conferences (两会: the National People’s Congress and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference) and the US is covering for the Party through a sustained disinformation campaign.