27개의 게시물을 찾았습니다.
Neo-fascism/nazism in Mongolia? For insiders(incl. some "antifa"activists) it's not really new but its continuity and increasing influence is - nonetheless - shocking... Just check out the following unpleasant report, published in yesterday's Guardian!
Mongolian neo-Nazis: Anti-Chinese sentiment
fuels rise of ultra-nationalism
Alarm sounds over rise of extreme groups such as Tsagaan Khass who respect Hitler and reject foreign influence
Their right hands rise to black-clad chests and flash out in salute to their nation: "Sieg heil!" They praise Hitler's devotion to ethnic purity.
Mongolian neo-Nazi group the Tsagaan Khas ('White Swastika') salute
on the streets of the capital Ulan Bator
But with their high cheekbones, dark eyes and brown skin, they are hardly the Third Reich's Aryan ideal. A new strain of Nazism has found an unlikely home: Mongolia.
Once again, ultra-nationalists have emerged from an impoverished economy and turned upon outsiders. This time the main targets come from China, the rising power to the south.
Groups such as Tsagaan Khass, or White Swastika, portray themselves as patriots standing up for ordinary citizens in the face of foreign crime, rampant inequality, political indifference and corruption.
But critics say they scapegoat and attack the innocent. The US state department has warned travellers of increased assaults on inter-racial couples in recent years – including organised violence by ultra-nationalist groups.
Dayar Mongol threatened to shave the heads of women who sleep with Chinese men. Three years ago, the leader of Blue Mongol was convicted of murdering his daughter's boyfriend, reportedly because the young man had studied in China.
Though Tsagaan Khass leaders say they do not support violence, they are self-proclaimed Nazis. "Adolf Hitler was someone we respect. He taught us how to preserve national identity," said the 41-year-old co-founder, who calls himself Big Brother.
"We don't agree with his extremism and starting the second world war. We are against all those killings, but we support his ideology. We support nationalism rather than fascism."
It is, by any standards, an extraordinary choice. Under Hitler, Soviet prisoners of war who appeared Mongolian were singled out for execution. More recently, far-right groups in Europe have attacked Mongolian migrants.
Not all ultra-nationalists use this iconography; and widespread ignorance about the Holocaust and other atrocities may help to explain why some do.
Tsagaan Khass points out that the swastika is an ancient Asian symbol – which is true, but does not explain the group's use of Nazi colours, the Nazi eagle and the Nazi salute; or the large picture of the Führer on Big Brother's cigarette case.
Nor does it seem greatly relevant, given their unabashed admiration for Hitler's racial beliefs.
"We have to make sure that as a nation our blood is pure. That's about our independence," said 23-year-old Battur, pointing out that the population is under three million.
"If we start mixing with Chinese, they will slowly swallow us up. Mongolian society is not very rich. Foreigners come with a lot of money and might start taking our women."
Big Brother acknowledges he discovered such ideas through the nationalist groups that emerged in Russia after the Soviet Union's fall; Mongolia had been a satellite state. But the anti-Chinese tinge is distinct and increasingly popular.
"While most people feel far-right discourse is too extreme, there seems to be a consensus that China is imperialistic, 'evil' and intent on taking Mongolia," said Franck Billé of Cambridge University, who is researching representations of Chinese people in Mongolia.
Hip hop tracks such as Don't Go Too Far, You Chinks by 4 Züg – chorus: "shoot them all, all, all" – have been widely played in bars and clubs. Urban myths abound; some believe Beijing has a secret policy of encouraging men to have sex with Mongolian women.
Yet Tsagaan Khass claims it welcomes law-abiding visitors of all races, and Big Brother can certainly be hospitable.
Enthusiastically shaking hands, he says: "Even though you are a British citizen, you are still Asian, and that makes you very cool."
He says the younger members have taught him to be less extreme and the group appears to be reshaping itself – expelling "criminal elements" and insisting on a good education as a prerequisite for membership. One of the leaders is an interior designer.
But critics fear ultra-nationalists are simply becoming more sophisticated and, quietly, more powerful. Tsagaan Khass say it "works closely" with other organisations and is now discussing a merger.
"Some people are in complete denial … [but] we can no longer deny this is a problem," said Anaraa Nyamdorj, of Mongolia's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Centre.
The US state department has noted increased reports of xenophobic attacks since the spring. The UN country review cites a recent vicious assault on three young transgender women. When one of the victims publicly blamed an ultra-nationalist group – not Tsagaan Khass – death threats quickly followed.
"They are getting more support from the public," added Enkhjargal Davaasuren, director of the National Centre Against Violence, who fears that ultra-nationalists are growing more confident and victims too scared to come forward. She pointed to a YouTube video posted last year, showing a man roughly shaving a woman's long hair. The victim's face is buried in her hands, but her hunched body reeks of fear.
Others in Ulan Bator suggest the movement is waning and suspect the groups' menacing stance and claims of 3,000 members are bluster. Billé thinks there is "a lot of posturing".
"We have heard of instances [of violence]. They are not necessarily all right or all wrong," said Javkhlan, a Tsagaan Khass leader. But the group is simply a "law enforcement" body, he maintained: "We do checks; we go to hotels and restaurants to make sure Mongolian girls don't do prostitution and foreigners don't break the laws.
"We don't go through and beat the shit out of everyone. We check our information and make sure it's true."
They rely on police and media pressure to reform such businesses, he added. And if that failed? "We try to avoid using power," he said. "That would be our very last resort."
Mongolian fascist propaganda, by M.Y.A. ('Mongolian National Group')
☞ The Neo-Nazis of Mongolia... (Time, 2009.7.27)
☞ The Naivety of Mongolia's Nazis (UB Post, 2008.12.04)
MUST READ! Asia Times(HK) published last Friday(10.2) following great piece:
The night Zhou was drunk under the table
by Ian Williams
As we approached the 60th anniversary on Thursday of Mao Zedong's declaration that the "Chinese people have stood up," I trawled through the memories of my time in China straddling 1970 and 1971, and found, with all the accuracy of retrospective prophesy, that there were more auguries of the current China than one might suspect.
Although my putative memoirs would be called "I was a Teenage Maoist", by the time I landed in Beijing I was a callow 21-year-old, a month older than the People's Republic. In fact, Zhou Enlai, the first premier, from 1949 until his death in 1976, repeated to us his dictum that it was too early to tell whether or not the French Revolution had been a success, let alone China's. Forty years later, I wonder what Zhou, one of the more sophisticated and cosmopolitan of the Chinese leaders, but nonetheless a devoted communist, would have made of present-day China.
I was part of a delegation from an obscure British party that enjoyed unprecedented access to the Chinese leadership, including a drinking competition with Zhou - and a very risky argument about literature with Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, who had, after all, instituted the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) by demonizing all but a tiny group of writers and artists. It was so long ago that even the Chinese used the old Wade-Giles Romanization system for the Mandarin language. We were in Peking (Beijing), and read the Peking Review every week. In fact, our visit featured in it.
Our sessions with the Chinese cadres were often like negotiations, conducted over innumerable cigarettes and a constant flow of tea. The idea was that whoever called for a bathroom break was conceding the field of battle. Sadly for Chinese pride, our side had been brought up on a diet of gallons of tea and bitter beer and had formidable resistance to such diuretics.
Even at the time, I had a sense of bewilderment at the relative isolation from the world outside, of the top leadership. They provided us with a daily English press summary of world affairs and the difficulties of a binary view of the world became apparent. For example, Pakistan was an ally of China, therefore it was socialist and progressive - which the Pakistanis themselves would hardly claim, while social-democratic governments, like the British Labour Party, were reactionary and capitalist to the core.
As for our visit: I suspect that Zhou had hoped that it would provide information and encouragement for his planned opening to the West. We were there before British premier Edward Heath, or former secretary of state Henry Kissinger and president Richard Nixon from the United States. Indeed, as almost the only gweilos (foreigners) in town, we could attract crowds just by peering in a shop window. In those far-off days, my hair was red, which was almost like having eyes on green stalks for some people. However, enlisting us as a resource for global realpolitik confirms the naivety of their approach.
We were a sectarian groupuscule with fewer members nationally than the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee. Our contact with the working political system in Britain was minimal and our knowledge of other countries tended to be based on contacts with equally out-of-touch groups. It would be nice to think that we changed the course of history, but there is absolutely no basis for thinking so. Our input probably pointed in the opposite direction to what they did. When we asked why they did not walk in and take Hong Kong, which was then ruled by Britain, Zhou suggested it was better to lessen the economic disparities between the two sides first.
Despite their own sectarian squabbles, despite the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese were at least dealing with some aspects of the real world. For example, they had built a state-of-the-art metro system in Beijing. Even though it was as yet unopened, Zhou took us for a ride on it, which tangentially introduced yet another paradox.
They told us, with almost schoolboyish glee at their boldness, that they were calling the metro station for Tiananmen Square "Zhuxi [Chairman] Station." It was a paradox even then, that in the midst of history's biggest-ever personality cult, no physical location was named after Mao, let alone any of the other revolutionary personalities. I can only presume that it was intended as a gesture of superiority to the Soviet proclivity for churning out city names in honor of top people.
This saved a lot of sign-painting during the various rectification campaigns, the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath. Not many of the leadership stayed in power throughout.
Apart from Zhou, we met the full Gang of Four - Jiang Qing and her close associates, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen - but we noticed the omissions. Lin Biao, the powerful military commander who rose to political prominence in the Cultural Revolution and whose picture and introduction was at the front of hundreds of millions of Little Red Books, was absent in name and person. In a seamen's club in Shanghai, I noticed a book on sale by Chen Boda, Mao's personal secretary. Our minders immediately took it out the case and said it was too old and faded to sell.
Our party chairman, Reg Birch, an old communist trade unionist, asked to meet his old chum, Kang Sheng. They brought along his wife instead, explaining that the head of the security and intelligence apparatus was indisposed. In fact, along with Chen Boda, it now seems as if he, and indeed Lin Biao, were at that time in the process of being purged.
Lin shortly afterwards died in a plane crash. Kang resurfaced long enough to ensure that the People's Republic put its weight behind Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. In retrospect, I am glad I never had to shake his hand. Kang was posthumously accused of sharing responsibility (with the Gang of Four) for the Cultural Revolution. The Gang of Four had effectively controlled the power organs of the Communist Party through the latter stages of the Cultural Revolution.
In contrast with all the mass campaigns and circus antics of the Cultural Revolution, which resulted in widespread social and political upheaval and and economic disarray, these purges were being conducted in secrecy with no word of them leaking out from the leadership.
A case in point was a bizarre Christmas feast with an elderly American couple, old-style communists who had moved to China and taken up citizenship and party membership. They were brought out because they knew several of the delegation, who had asked about them.
The turkey dinner was odd in several ways. The couple were Jewish for a start, and although our Chinese hosts were trying to be hospitable with the seasonal bird, they obviously found something alien about the idea of cooking an intact animal: it came as a sort of turkey construction kit, disassembled, cooked and then reassembled. As for the couple, it was only many years later that I heard that their goose had been well and truly cooked. They were languishing in prison, brought out and dusted off for us, and then returned afterwards. But nothing they said gave any of us any grounds for suspicion.
The full Gang of Four came along to join Zhou for talks and a banquet on New Year's Eve. Jiang Qing stood out in a sea of nondescript cotton Mao suits. The still striking woman, who had reduced the repertoire of a huge nation to a handful of revolutionary Beijing operas, one ballet, the Red Detachment of Women, and pretty much one classical sonata, flounced in, every inch the imperial consort. The former actress' cotton greatcoat was draped around her shoulders like a cape, and she carried herself like an imperial consort.
When she discovered that I had been studying English literature, she immediately pronounced that Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Charles Dickens' Hard Times were the only two English proletarian novels. Even as I blurted out a negative, I was thinking hard. I saw the rest of the senior leadership of the party withdraw a little in expectation of the thunderbolt to come. Jane Eyre was clearly a bit too close to home. A governess who marries the boss had too much resonance with the career of a Shanghai starlet who married the chairman. I concentrated on Hard Times, pointing out that its hero was in fact a strikebreaker - a traitor to his class in Marxist terms.
Through narrowed eyes, Jiang delivered her ultimate riposte, "You have long hair. It makes you look like a girl." There was a barely concealed sigh of relief around the table. At least it was not "Off with his head!" or "Counter-revolutionary scum".
The evening, after a banquet fit for an emperor, ended with drinks for us and Zhou and his entourage. The Gang of Four did not, as I remember, hang around. It became a drinking match, with shots of mao tai, the ferocious-smelling sorghum-based overproof liquor that had become the official drink of the party.
As the youngest there, but already with a reputation as a determined drinker, I was moved forward as the champion on going glass-for-glass with Zhou, a man with an iron constitution. But I saw how he stayed ahead. He only drank half his, while I was drinking the lot. Even so, he gave up first, as I remember - allowing for the fact that after large amounts of the stuff, memories can be unreliable.
Despite the Moscow-style purges going on behind the wainscoting, economically, China's development was more balanced than that of the Soviets. We could go on a pub crawl through the streets of Beijing, pijui - beer, being one of the early accessions to our Mandarin vocabulary and although, for example, cotton was rationed, consumer goods seemed in adequate supply. In the covered market, locals looked superior as Aeroflot pilots came rushing through stocking up on things from soap to razor blades to tomatoes that the Soviets' heavy industrial base couldn't provide.
The variety of cigarettes, from coffin nails to the crush-proof packs of the most expensive brands, has always made me wonder about the role of tobacco in industrialization - selling the peasants highly profitable cigarettes was a financially painless way of raising state funds compared with expropriation. The other aspect was the amount of collective entrepreneurial activity that was taking place, even after years of disruption from the Cultural Revolution, which had not officially finished by then.
For example, in the countryside, communes were making cement boats for sale, while in Shanghai we visited a back-street factory that was etching silicon chips - almost state-of-the-art at the time. Even then, I remember wondering about the flue that vented the hydrofluoric acid fumes from the process onto the street. In a microchip, it encapsulated the future environmental problems of reckless development, even as it demonstrated the entrepreneurial urges that Deng Xiaoping was later to unleash.
I returned to Britain puzzled. The Cultural Revolution had not visibly destroyed the economy, as was sometimes claimed. But it was difficult to know what it was all about. It was bad enough when party leaders were denounced for esoteric sins of culture and ideology during the Cultural Revolution, but these silent purges and behind-the-scenes disappearances reduced the struggles to personalities and power-plays. Mao himself seems to have been playing off the leaders against each other.
So perhaps that was the twin legacy of the first 20 years. It developed the ground for the upsurge of economic activity in which China seems not only to have stood up but appears to be racing ahead. But it also has left the Communist Party totally committed to clinging onto power, without much in the way of ideology, while its leadership changes behind closed doors, with only the faintest pretence of consulting the masses. And by all accounts, party leaders at every level are still fond of banquets and mao tai.
Tomorrow sees the 60th anniversary of the creation of the People's Republic of China. Here, in today's Guardian(UK), four people, all once committed members of the ruling Communist party, recall their part in its creation:
☞ Sixty years on: veterans of Chairman Mao's China remember
Almost twenty years after the collapse - forced by the "PL"A - of the democratic student movement/revolt in Beijing The Guardian (UK, 5.20) published following interesting report about the transformation process in China's "Communist" Party:
The Communist Party's Quiet Revolution
World's largest political party has consolidated its iron grip by transforming itself and its relationship with the Chinese public
Jerry, a bright undergraduate, has been trying to join for three years. Hope, pursuing a philosophy doctorate, dreams of changing society. Tina just wanted a job.
These young, well-educated, cosmopolitan women are the new face of the Communist party: an institution popularly regarded abroad as ageing, male and moribund.
It's become commonplace to contrast China's economic revolution with its lack of democratic progress. Since the bloody suppression of 1989's student protests, political reform appears to have stalled.
Last week, in posthumously released secret memoirs, Zhao Ziyang – the reformist leader ousted due to that movement – warned that China must move towards western-style democracy.
But the party's number two, Wu Bangguo, ruled that out this spring. Censorship is increasingly sophisticated. A groundbreaking intellectual call for reforms, Charter 08, gained thousands of signatures and was quashed; five months on, one of its authors, Liu Xiaobo, remains in detention. Gao Zhisheng, a human rights lawyer, gave a detailed account of torture by the authorities. Now he has simply disappeared.
But behind this apparent stasis lies a more complex tale: of an evolving party that has consolidated its iron grip precisely by transforming itself and its relationship with the public.
With more than 74 million members – up from 50 million in the early 1990s – it is the largest political party in the world. There are millionaire members, branches in Wal-Marts and plans to open a branch on the first Chinese space station. Senior cadres remain overwhelmingly male, but there is now a compulsory retirement age and even (very low) quotas for women.
In recent years, it has concentrated on targeting the best and brightest. The party has largely transformed itself "from a mass organisation designed for mass mobilisation and ideological campaigns, into a technocratic leadership corps", said Professor Jeremy Paltiel of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Paltiel, an expert on party membership, said that in the 1980s recruits were looked down on by peers as careerists and probably second-rate students.
Some elite students still consider the party – with its attendant political meetings – boring and irrelevant. But between 30% and 50% apply to join the party. An approval rate of about 5% reinforces the desirability of membership: recruiters seek those with top grades, leadership potential and youthful idealism – albeit feigned in some cases.
To rise through the governmental hierarchy, membership is a must.
But it shines out for other employers, too. The draw was not your ideological purity, explained Tina; more the evidence of your accomplishments.
"To be honest I'm a bit embarrassed," the graceful 24-year-old admitted with a blush, twining a long strand of hair around her finger.
"Other people joined because they wanted to help the party and country … My main reason was because it was very hard to find a job."
Spin and polling
Outwardly, the party remains rigidly ideological; members are drilled in Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents and current president Hu Jintao's Scientific Development Outlook. Hu has, in fact, stepped up political education – perhaps because of an evident disconnect: to many, what the party really stands for is personal advancement, social stability and national unity.
"There's a difference between believing in Marxism and being a party member," one said drily.
For the last two decades, the party's mission had been to "maintain the brand but change the content", suggested Anne-Marie Brady, associate professor of political science at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Experts have been called in to study political change overseas, culling lessons from New Labour and French and German socialists – and using Gorbachev's reforms as an example of what not to do.
"That learning from the west has been brought back into China and used to maintain and enhance the strength of the current political system," Brady said.
The government has modernised its techniques as well as its cadres.
It is now an assiduous user of opinion polling and sophisticated spin techniques, showing greater responsiveness to public opinion. Unlike its models overseas, it does not require votes: but it needs at least tacit support.
Allowing people more space to challenge the status quo may, in fact, help to perpetuate the system, providing outlets for frustration and dissent – as long as there are no attempts to organise independently; what the party fears most are alternative power structures.
When public outrage becomes widespread and dangerous – over tainted baby milk, for example – authorities often seek to assuage it before stamping it out. Bloggers may be allowed to have their say before the shutters come down. Official heads may roll. New initiatives may be announced.
The demands of Chinese citizens have carved out greater – albeit variable – space to criticise lower-ranking officials or hold them to account, engage in public affairs, debate ideas and take part in an emerging civil society.
Yet lawyers, activists and dissident intellectuals are routinely harassed and threatened. Even parents who lost their children in the Sichuan earthquake have been bullied and detained for protesting about shoddily built schools.
"If [people] don't touch the line, they can do a lot of things. But there is a line there," said Hope.
She's a softly spoken, thoughtful young woman, who chooses to meet in an artsy cafe near one of the country's top universities, where as many as two-thirds of her classmates are party members.
Like others, she asks to be identified only by her English nickname. But she is candid about her initial hesitation when invited to join, and her ultimate decision to do so.
"It's easy to be a critic, but then maybe you can't change society. You can do more inside the system than without," she said.
"Students can see its problems, but still think China can do much better under its leadership. They want to go into the system and maybe make a little change. Maybe some people have an underlying motive: more desire for power. But quite a lot really want to do something to change the country."
For most, she thought, a priority was freedom of information and the rule of law; only some wanted multi-party elections.
"Chinese people don't hope to go the western way – but hope for a powerful government to restore social justice," she suggested.
Using the D-word
It is hard to generalise about what a diverse nation of 1.3 billion people without freedom of expression really think; and impossible to know what they might believe without government censorship and propaganda.
But the Asian Barometer study of political attitudes, the most comprehensive to date, came up with some surprising findings. In mainland China, 53.8% believed a democratic system was preferable.
Then came the kicker. Asked how democratic it is now, on a scale of one to 10, the Chinese placed their nation at 7.22 – third in Asia and well ahead of Japan, the Philippines and South Korea.
"Chinese political culture makes people understand democracy in a different way, and this gives the regime much manipulating space," concluded Dr Tianjin Shi.
To the confusion of some western observers, Hu's speech to the last party congress used the D-word more than 60 times.
"They would like to talk about democracy with Chinese characteristics. My problem is that no one really can offer a definition of what that is," said Dr Yawei Liu of the Carter Centre's China Programme, which works with Chinese officials to improve elections and civic education.
"If you look at civic activism, what's taking place in cyberspace and what's going on in 600,000 villages in China [with grassroots elections] they all seem to indicate there's still a push from the top and most importantly from the bottom to expand political reform … The problem is how grassroots efforts could be elevated to a higher level and whether the leadership has the wisdom and courage to move forward with an agenda."
Since the mushrooming and then suppression of the Tiananmen democracy protests amid a split between reformists and conservatives, China's leaders have concluded that cracks at the top can only lead to disaster.
Maintaining consensus – at least in public – has been central to their operation. If anyone is pushing for major reform, it is not evident.
Hundreds of millions in China already go to the polls to choose low-level representatives. But efforts to promote and expand village elections – widely lauded in the 1990s – appear to have stalled.
Recent experiments, such as the use of deliberative democracy in setting budgets and awarding a greater say in the selection of local party secretaries, offer clues to possible routes towards or alternatives to a multi-party system. Yet so far, they stand alone.
Optimists suggest that economic rights lead inevitably to greater hunger for political freedom. But others fear that capitalism has created vested interests that entrench the system.
Professor Sun Liping, a sociologist at Tsinghua University – and the doctoral supervisor of vice-president and heir apparent Xi Jinping – warned earlier this year that China's greatest danger was not social instability, as authorities say, but instead "social decay", with rising inequality and alienation.
"The fundamental cause … is the marriage between political power and capitalism," he wrote.
"The two have joined hands in China … We thought power would be constrained in a market economy. But we have now seen that power has acquired higher value and greater space for exertion."
If you can't beat 'em
"The economy is improving, society is improving but there is no improvement in elections," complained Yao Lifa. He could be the mirror image of Tina and Hope: a 50-year-old, largely self-educated man from the provinces who tried to beat 'em, not join 'em.
He began competing for a seat in his local people's congress in Hubei in 1987, when the election law was first promulgated. After 12 years of harassment and dogged campaigning as an independent candidate, he won. Later he was turfed out again. He has been detained on "at least" 10 occasions, often for promoting voting rights.
The elections are fake, he argues, because the system can't tolerate genuine democratic contests.
"The law only states that people have the right to vote; there are no rules to protect this right. When your right to vote is harmed, you can't even set up a case in the court," he said.
"But there is no reason to say western democracy does not fit China. Chinese authorities say people's education level is too low and our economy is still not developed. But how was the economic and educational situation in the west hundreds of years ago?"
How many compatriots share his views is another matter.
People in China complain bitterly about official corruption, inefficiency and brutality. But – as the government reminds them – multi-party elections do not guarantee good governance or stability. After decades of turmoil, many seem willing to settle for a quiet life and economic wellbeing – at least for now. There's little sign that the current economic downturn is leading to widespread social unrest – still less open opposition to the government.
"Basically, I think they're doing a very good job," Tina said earnestly.
"China's so big, but it's not wealthy. The leadership have helped it develop fast. I looked at the G20 meeting in London and felt kind of proud of the government; foreign countries really hope that China can help.
"Maybe other people think oh, China, there's no freedom. But it's not easy to make everything perfect."
☞ Tradition statt Revolte (taz, 6.02)
☞ Forget Tiananmen, thus spake Confucius (A. Times, 6.03)
Huang Qichang, a "Chinese worker and socialist" (according to Infopartisan, Germany) writes for chinaworker.info. Few days ago he said in an interview with the German "socialist" daily newspaper Junge Welt: "For a considerable time Maoism is becoming more and more popular. The major part of the New Left in China is influenced by the Mao Zedong-Ideas. They have the prevalence and not alone in the generation of the elders!
For example: last year an underground organisation was founded under the name of 'Maoist Communist Party of China'('MCPC'). It's describing the present leadership of the CPC as 'complete pro-capitalist and revisionist' and the 'MCPC' is seeking its overthrow. The revival of Maoism is the result of the neo-liberal policy of the government."
Now, Asia Times (HK, 5.06) published following interesting coverage:
Tough times breed nostalgia for Mao
Although Mao Zedong died 33 years ago, the founding father of communist China seems to still be alive in the hearts of many Chinese.
A new wave of nostalgia for the late chairman is sweeping the nation ahead of the 60th birthday of People's Republic of China (PRC) and amid the global financial crisis. The leader, who led the PRC from its establishment until his death in 1976, is surging though his brand of socialism has long been officially abandoned and there has been criticism of "serious mistakes" such as the Cultural Revolution.
Chingming is a traditional Chinese festival for the dead when families tend to the graves of their ancestors. It normally falls on
April 4-5 each year. During Chingming this year, tens of thousands of visitors flocked into Shaoshan, Mao's native village in Hunan province, to pay homage. According to Hong Kong's Ta Kung Pao daily, on April 2 alone at least 30,000 people from various places of the country visited Shaoshan.
The visitors ranged from retired party and government officials to primary and high school pupils. They first bowed and placed wreaths at a 10.1-meter-tall bronze statue of Mao erected in the village - the numerical figure 10.1 stands for October 1, the date on which Mao declared the founding of the PRC in 1949. They then visited the mud-walled, clay-tile-roofed rural house where Mao was born. Many also went to pay tribute to the tombs of Mao's parents and ancestors near the village.
Another sign of growing nostalgia for Mao is the comeback in popularity of his Little Red Book among Chinese university students, according to a report by the France24 news channel. "We are selling five times as many copies of his book as before the [financial] crisis," said Fan Jinggang, the owner of neo-leftist Utopia Bookstore near Peking University. He said 200 copies had been sold a month since the start of the economic downturn late last year.
The global financial crisis has already cost some 25 million migrant workers their jobs in China, and university graduates also face an uncertain future.
"I have spent so much money in going to university to study," 22-year-old student Yang Lu was quoted as saying on the France24 report. "I will graduate next June, but I don't know if I will be able to find work. In this kind of situation, how could we not feel nostalgic for the Mao era, when all students were guaranteed work?"
Chinese are also increasingly worshipping the late chairman like a god. The Beijing-based Horizon Research Consultancy Group last year conducted a survey on religious beliefs in 40 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan.
It found that 11.5% of the families surveyed had a shrine in their homes of Mao, in the form of a statue or bust. This was only slightly less than the number of families (12.1%) that keep memorial tablets of their ancestors. Only 9.9% of families had a Buddhist icon, and 9.3% and 8.8% of families worshiped icons of the God of Fortune and God of Land, respectively. The survey did not cover rural areas, where many families are known to keep statues or pictures of Mao in their homes.
According to Hong Kong's Ming Pao daily, some of the visitors to Shaoshan during the Chingming Festival prayed to Mao to bless them with health, fortune or love, while some high-school students hoped Mao would help them pass their university entrance exams. Some retired cadres prayed to Mao for an end to official corruption.
During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Mao was worshipped like a god with his Little Red Book read like the bible. But shortly after his death, his merits were re-evaluated by the party when it was led by Deng Xiaoping, whose reform and open-door policy ran counter to Mao's ideal of socialism.
In the 1980s, Mao was "taken down from the sacred shrine" and articles and novels published that denounced the Cultural Revolution, a nationwide social and political upheaval spearheaded by Mao that he hoped would eliminate his political rivals and revolutionize Chinese society.
Between 1966 and 1968, Mao encouraged his young supporters, the Red Guards, to take over power from state authorities and form "revolutionary committees" to replace government establishments. But soon Mao's supporters split into factions and started fighting one another...
Then in 1993, the centenary of Mao's birth, a wave of nostalgia for the chairman swept the country. It was partially encouraged with official memorial activities. Some people close to Mao, such as his guards, secretaries or doctors and nurses, published articles or books about his daily life, and movies and television series about Mao in war times were screened. One feature was common in all of them, Mao was depicted as a human leader - a great one, but not a god.
Even after Mao was removed from the "sacred shrine", some mysterious phenomena seemingly occurred that added to his god-like status. On its completion, Mao's statue was inaugurated on December 20, 1993, six days before Mao's 100th birthday. Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin visited it to remove the red silk covering the statue, but after several tries he still could not pull down the cover. After some whispered advice from one of his staff, Jiang respectfully stepped back and bowed three times to Mao's statue. Only after this did he succeed in pulling down the silk. Stories like this have led many people to believe that Mao had become a god after his death.
But the worship of Mao like a god, for whatever reasons, is just a by-product of the growing nostalgia for the chairman. Although Chinese people may generally live a better life today, they feel much less secure and safe than under Mao's rule.
"I earned less than 100 yuan a month [US$14 at today's exchange rates] in Mao's time. I could barely save each month but I never worried about anything. My work unit would take care of everything for me: housing, medical care, retirement and my children's education, though there were no luxuries. If I had some problem, I could always turn to my work unit for help. Now I receive 3,000 yuan as a [monthly] pension, but I have to count every penny - everything is so expensive and no one will take care of me now if I fall ill," said a retired middle-ranking official in Beijing.
China today faces social evils which were apparently less common - or publicized - during Mao's rule, such as rampant official corruption, a growing wealth gap, and rising crime such as drug abuse and prostitution. This is another reason people fondly remember the Mao era.
In a old joke, Deng was troubled by growing problems caused by his reforms, so one night he paid a visit to Mao's memorial hall at Tiananmen Square. Looking at Mao lying in his crystal coffin, Deng murmured, "Chairman, pray tell me how to deal with the problems." Suddenly Mao sat up pointing a finger at Deng and said, "You come in, I go out. And all these problems will be solved!" The joke shows that even years ago public discontent with societal problems had already began to grow and people wished for a strongman like Mao to solve them.
In the hope of finding a solution to these problems, some educated people such as the neo-leftists are re-reading Mao's works. They are outspoken critics of capitalist-style economic reforms and demand a return to some sort of socialism.
But the liberal intellectuals who support capitalist-style reforms strongly resent the public nostalgia for Mao. Well-known author Zhang Xianliang, who is also deputy to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, once tabled a motion urging the government to suppress the nostalgia for Mao, saying such sentiment would jeopardize ongoing reform and "opening up".
Apparently for Chinese communist leaders, Mao is still a legacy. So, public nostalgia for Mao could help justify the legitimacy of the communist rule of the country. For, while Mao's socialism is abandoned in practice, Mao Zedong thought is still upheld by the party, at least in theory. In this sense, the nostalgic sentiments could also somehow help fill the nation's ideological vacuum left by reform and "opening up".
However, for the communist leaders, nostalgia for Mao could also be a double-edged sword. If they fail to ease growing public discontent behind such nostalgic feelings, one day public discontent could erupt and threaten their rule.
Yesterday's Guardian(UK, 4.28) published following interesting article about recent developments in the Japanese "Communist" Party(日本共産党):
Disgruntled Japanese turn to resurgent communists
Web-savvy Japanese Communist party's message of welfare and jobs lures young voters away from sleazed-mired political mainstream
Faced with an economy in steep decline, rising unemployment and an uncertain future, a growing number of Japanese are shunning the conservative consensus and turning instead to a new brand of cuddly communism.
While the leaders of Japan's two main political parties battle poor opinion poll ratings and accusations of sleaze, the Japanese Communist party (JCP) has seen its fortunes transformed after years of being dismissed as an irrelevant hangover from the cold war.
In the last 16 months membership has soared to more than 410,000 as the revamped party courts younger voters from the working poor. Of the 14,000 people to have joined since the end of 2007, about a quarter are aged under 30, the party says. That contrasts with the ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP), whose membership has plummeted from 5 million at its peak to about a million today.
By dispensing with ideological rhetoric and focusing on welfare and jobs, the JCP has struck a chord with students, the unemployed and the estimated 10 million Japanese earning less than 2m yen (about £14,000) a year.
Yasuhisa Wakabayashi is typical of the new Japanese communist. The 23-year-old Yokohama factory worker joined the party in January. "Unlike the mainstream parties, the communists aren't interested in seeking donations from major corporations," he said. "They talk about education and welfare and the problems of ordinary people. And they are honest."
The JCP is making its presence felt on the internet. Among its clips is a rousing tirade by the party's affable leader, Kazuo Ishii, against the exploitation of contract workers, which has been viewed more than 100,000 times on YouTube.
The circulation of its official newspaper Akahata (the Red Flag) has risen for eight straight months to 1.6m, although it is still a long way short of its 1980 peak of 3.5m.
The JCP also owes some of its success to a novel published in 1929. Kanikosen (The Crab Ship), a Marxist-inspired account of rebellion, sold over half a million copies last year after it became required reading on restless university campuses.
Despite its resurgence, few believe the party will play a pivotal role in national politics. It has just nine seats in the 480-seat lower house, and is hampered by an electoral system that penalises minor parties.
JCP officials insist they will play no part in a coalition, not even if it means turfing the LDP out of office for only the second time in 54 years. "We would co-operate on individual policies but we wouldn't be part of a coalition," said Kimitoshi Morihara of the party's international bureau. "There is no difference between the LDP and Minshuto [the main opposition party] on the economy, defence or any of the big issues of the day. But we are different."
The JCP is barely recognisable from the party of 30 years ago. Now, dialectic materialism has been replaced by a commitment to "democratic change within the current framework of capitalism".
"The JCP of today is very different," said Go Ito, a professor of politics at Meiji University in Tokyo. "The modern party is pragmatic, which is why it has managed to tap into the dissatisfaction being felt right across Japanese society."
The Chinese Information Office of the State Council published on Monday(4.13) the National Human Rights Action Plan (2009-2010).
The full text you can read here:
☞ China Releases Human Rights Plan (NYT, 4.14)
"Das Kapital" as Entertainment for the New Bourgeoisie?
Last December, punktually to the "Christmas sales"(^^) in Japan, the EastPress Co. publishing house released Karl Marx' "Das Kapital" as a manga guide version (資本論/まんがで読破)...
Sounds strange! But it makes some sense - somehow... Well, at least it's a kind of funny!
But now the Chinese producer He Nian has a complete f... nitty idea, as you can read in the following article (in today's Guardian, UK):
China to bring Das Kapital to life on Beijing stage
You've read the book, attended the seminars and pondered the accumulation of surplus value – now see the musical.
Chinese producers are attempting to transform Das Kapital from a hefty treatise on political economy into a popular stage show, complete with catchy tunes and nifty footwork.
Whether Karl Marx would approve of his masterwork being served up as entertainment for China's new bourgeoisie is a matter of speculation. But the director He Nian – best known for his stage adaptation of a martial-arts spoof – has promised to unite elements from Broadway musicals and Las Vegas shows in a hip, interesting and educational play featuring a live band, singing and dancing.
"The particular performance style we choose is not important, but Marx's theories cannot be distorted," he said sternly, in an interview with the Wen Hui Bao newspaper.
Zhang Jun, an economics professor at Shanghai's prestigious Fudan University, is being drafted in to ensure the production is intellectually rigorous.
The director said the play, which is to open next year, will be set in a company and will document the progress of its workers. In the first half they realise their boss is exploiting them and begin to understand the theory of surplus value. But far from uniting, as Marx enjoined them in the Communist Manifesto, some continue to work as before, some mutiny and others employ collective bargaining.
Yang Shaolin, the general manager of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, said that in the past it would have been difficult to imagine Das Kapital adapted into a play with "main characters, major dramatic elements, and profound educational meaning", but that it was now possible thanks to the flourishing of different styles in Chinese theatre.
Even so, the producers face a tough challenge. True, the social criticism of Marx's 19th century contemporaries Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo has been transmuted into two hugely successful all-singing, all-dancing musicals – Oliver! and Les Miserables. But unlike the novels on which those were based, Das Kapital has never been noted for its vivid characterisation or gripping plot.
There is some precedent for the new production. A Japanese writer and translator is said to have adapted Das Kapital for the stage in the 1930s, and the result was subsequently translated into Chinese.
Three years ago a German theatre group had another bash. But despite an added inducement to attend – a copy of Volume 23 of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels for each theatre-goer – the Suddeutsche Zeitung described it as mostly "something of a lecture … at times dry and boring".
☞ Das Kapital turned into a manga comic (Telegraph/UK, 08.11.18)
☞ Marx goes manga in a Kapital comic strip (The Times, 08.11.18)
☞ 'Das Kapital' comic has mass appeal (AP/Japan Times, 08.12.24)
For more please check out:
Wow.. Until now I had no idea that Japanese military leaders can be sooo funny:
Just enjoy General T. Tamogami's latest joke: "The Korean peninsula had been prosperous and safe under the Japan's rule" (i.e. the colonial occupation between 1910-1945).
Well, I'm sure that the majority of the Koreans will "misunderstand" (^^) the "joke" - definitively!!!
Anyway, today's Guardian (UK) has the story (also IHT, NYT etc.):
Tokyo to sack defence chief for denying Japan's wartime acts
The chief of staff of Japan's air force is to be sacked after he claimed the country had been drawn into the second world war by the US and denied it had been an aggressor during its occupations of the Asian mainland.
In an online essay entitled 'Was Japan an Aggressor Nation?' General Toshio Tamogami yesterday claimed that Japan had been provoked by the then US president, Franklin D Roosevelt, and that many of Japan's wartime victims took "a positive view" of its actions.
The claims drew a swift rebuke from politicians. The defence minister, Yasukazu Hamada, said he would dismiss the general immediately. "I think it is improper of the air force chief of staff to publicly state a view that clearly differs from the that of the government," he told reporters. "It is inappropriate for him to remain in this position."
The prime minister, Taro Aso, a nationalist who has upset Japan's neighbours with ill-judged comments about the war, described Tamogami's views as "inappropriate, even if they were made in a personal capacity".
In the essay, which is likely to spark outrage in China and South Korea, Tamogami wrote: "Even now there are many people who think that our country's aggression caused unbearable suffering to the countries of Asia during the Great East Asia War." Japanese nationalists use the term the Great East Asia War to support their view that Japan entered the conflict to free Asian countries from western colonialism.
"But we need to realise that many Asian countries take a positive view of the [war]. It is certainly a false accusation to say that our country was an aggressor," he wrote.
He said the Korean peninsula had been "prosperous and safe" under Japan's 1910-1945 occupation and that Roosevelt had "trapped" Japan into attacking Pearl Harbour in December 1941. He went on to accuse Roosevelt of being a puppet of the Comintern, the international communist movement founded in Moscow in 1919.
Tamogami, who did not seek the defence ministry's permission to submit the essay, called for Japan to reclaim its "glorious history". He said: "A nation that denies its own history is destined to pursue a path of decline."
He shares the view of many neo-nationalists that the Allied war crimes tribunals - which sent several Japanese leaders to the gallows - were a farce...