Yesterday morning, the Shekou Community Welfare Fund received word that Yuan Geng, former CEO of China Merchants Shekou had passed. They immediately set to organizing a memorial, which was held on January 31, 2016 at 8 pm. The official memorial was held earlier in the afternoon at the Shekou China Merchants Museum, which is the official mourning hall for the departed leader. “The difference,” one participant commented, “between the two memorials was obvious. At the official memorial, people were waiting for Shenzhen Party Secretary Ma Xingrui and Mayor Xu Xin to arrive and pay their respects. In contrast, at the Shekou Community memorial, Old Shekou people came to mourn the end of an era.”
Yuan Geng continues to inspire hope for social reform in Shekou. Yesterday, the recently established Shekou Community Welfare Fund mounted the exhibition “Me and Yuan Geng” to celebrate the 98th birthday of China Merchants-Shekou’s first CEO. The Shekou Community Welfare Fund is the 14th such fund registered in Shenzhen, but it is the only one started by community members through donations, rather than through a government bureau. This matters because Shenzhen Municipality has called for the establishment of 100 funds, and we hope for more and more community–rather than government sponsored community–funds to emerge over the next year or two. Continue reading
.. and it’s official! Xi Jinping’s road to recovery is the neoliberal policies of Shenzhen and Guangdong.Yes, the first signal of whither Xi Jinping is pointing to Shekou, by way of the second of Shenzhen’s top ten concepts.
If CCTV is to believed everyone is enthusiastically studying the spirit of the 18th national people’s congress. Xi Jinping and friends have charted a road to recovery that sounds exactly like Yuan Geng, 1992, except of course in English, where the translations have missed the historical citation.
Xi Jinping, 2012: 空谈误国，实干兴邦 (Empty talk is useless, only hard work can achieve the revival of a nation).
Yuan Geng, 1992: 空谈误国，实干兴邦 (Empty talk endangers the nation, practical work brings prosperity).
Not surprisingly, Xi Jinping’s “it’s the economy” moment parallels Yuan Geng’s. Yuan Geng first decried empty talk in response to Beijing educators who claimed that Shekou youth were gold diggers (Shekou Storm 1988). First time round, empty talk actually supported alternative voices. However, Yuan Geng made empty talk an official Shekou slogan response as part of Deng Xiaoping’s 1992 Southern Tour in an effort to silence critics about the June 4th Incident, returning the focus of reform to economic growth. Second time round, empty talk seemed to mean “suck it up and get back to work”.
So here we are. Again. And inquiring minds want to know: is Xi JInping talking the talk of 1988 or the talk of 1992?
Personally, I’m thinking we’re still caught in the post 6.4 quagmire. Xi Jinping’s less talk, more action comes in the aftermath of the Bo Xilai incident and the demise of the Chongqing Model, which included the call for a return to collectivist economic policies a la Mao Zedong. Speculation du jour: Xi Jinping’s road to recovery is probably the continued silencing of progressive voices for social liberalization in favor of rising GDP, or the “steady at 7 (经济保7)” policy, a reference to China’s decision to continue to grow the GDP at 7% annually.