DCB #123: First Ever Since 6/4/1989: White Paper Revolution!

To support us with a donation? Click here!Dialogue China BriefingTalking About China NowIssue 123 – January 15, 2023In This IssueThe articles shared here do not necessarily reflect the views of the briefing or Dialogue China. All articles sourced from WeChat public accounts unless otherwise noted.I. Dialogue China Viewpoints1. The “White Paper Revolution” Is Not the 1989 Protest Movement 2.0II. Policy2. Which “Three Fires” Do New Officials Burn the Most? Survey on the Distribution of Attention of 700 Provincial and Municipal SecretariesIII. Politics3. The Rise of China in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1990-2019IV. Finance and Business4. Will China’s Economy Rely on Real Estate Again as the Bailout Escalates?5. Behind the Rumors of Xu Jiayin Jumping Off a Building, How Did Hengda Fall From the Peak?6. Initial Public Offering of Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests for COVID Companies Halted: Vested Interests Should Not Be Allowed to be Fixed and PerpetuatedDialogue China Viewpoints1. The “White Paper Revolution” Is Not the 1989 Protest Movement 2.0Wang Dan – Radio Free Asia Commentary – December 8, 2022After enduring three years of extreme – to the point of absurd – pandemic prevention policies, the Chinese people finally could endure no more and took to the streets, shouting slogans like “Give me liberty or give me death!” Watching the videos of these protests certainly reminded me of 1989, when we, too, cried out for freedom. But how should today’s White Paper Revolution be compared to the 1989 pro-democracy movement?

There is certainly one obvious similarity between the two movements. That is, the younger generation – as in our day – is at the forefront of the social struggle. This may come as a surprise to many, as the general perception is that most Chinese students do not question the authorities and stay away from politics. They are much more concerned with their personal well being. This may have been the case before the pandemic, but the virus has changed many people, especially the younger generation. After realizing that “lying flat”* would not bring them any positive gains, young people finally had to fight back in order to survive.
* 躺平 tǎng píng; literally ‘lying flat’ is a lifestyle and social protest movement in China that began in April 2021. It is a rejection of social pressures to overwork, such as in the 9-9-6 working hour system [9-9-6 means working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week], which is often regarded as a rat race with ever diminishing returns. Those who participate in tang ping instead choose to lie down flat and get over defeats via a low desire, more indifferent attitude toward life. It can be thought of as the Chinese equivalent to the hippie counter-culture movement in the United States.

Another similarity is that, although the White Paper Revolution started with discontent over the anti pandemic policy, people now share the same desire for freedom as students did in 1989. The young people of both movements recognized that a society must have a democratic and free political system if they are to have a better life. This White Paper Revolution, after 33 years, has once again raised clear political demands, and even shouted the slogan “Overthrow the Communist Party,” which shows that the failure of decades of Chinese Communist Party brainwashing and the passion for democracy in the hearts of Chinese people have not been extinguished.

Despite this, there are many differences between the White Paper Movement and the 1989 pro democracy movement.

First of all, after the outbreak of the student protest movement in 1989, a body formed by representatives from various universities to lead the movement soon emerged, and students from each university came forward to take charge of organizing the protests. However, in contrast to 1989, the White Paper Revolution was not organized and had no leaders. It was a decentralized social resistance, much like the Be Water strategy of the 2019 Hong Kong protest movement. Or rather, it is a characteristic of the new era of global protest movements. This is due in large part to the role of the Internet. Social mobilization in 1989 lacked the support of technological power and had to be organized to mobilize people. Now, through the Internet, an anonymous person online can appeal for a demonstration. Times have changed, and the means of resistance have naturally evolved.

Second, in 1989, most people did not believe that the government would use military force to violently repress the movement. During the demonstrations, we always believed that our actions were patriotic, a belief that most Chinese citizens also held. Thus, our bravery, so to speak, was based on a lack of understanding of the brutal nature of the Chinese Communist Party. But now, 33 years later, the Chinese government has cracked down on countless peaceful protests and arrested innumerable protesters and political dissidents. Nowadays, Chinese people know very well that it is very dangerous to take to the streets and shout slogans like “Overthrow the Communist Party,” and that they will face violent suppression. Under such circumstances, I personally think that the courage of so many people to stand up for themselves has actually surpassed that of us in the early days of the 1989 pro democracy movement.

This White Paper Revolution can be said to have opened a new page in China’s development. For the first time in 33 years, the political environment in China will no longer be the same. The ongoing protests will have a major impact on the development of Chinese society moving forward. The protesters have shown the Chinese people that the rulers are not so terrifying when the people can stand up in unity and express their demands. As the fear of authoritarian power decreases by degrees in people’s minds, there will be many more protests to come. China has not only entered a new and eventful era, but also a new era of national popular resistance.【Back to TopPolicy2. Which “Three Fires” Do New Officials Burn the Most? Survey on the Distribution of Attention of 700 Provincial and Municipal Communist Party SecretariesYan Yang et al. – Journal of Hainan University – November 17, 2022Why Read This?
Recently, party and government officials around the world have entered a period of intensive restructuring. As the decision maker of economic and social development in a place, how to allocate the policy attention of local party committee secretaries is a very important issue. First of all, the attention to economic development issues remains high; secondly, political and party affairs issues have increased significantly after 2013; young officials pay more attention to economic development issues, and local party secretaries who are older pay more attention to political and party issues; party secretaries in provincial capitals pay more attention to economic development; secretaries in eastern regions pay slightly more attention to economic issues than those in central and western provinces, while those in western regions pay more attention to economic issues than those in central and western provinces. For the western region, issues such as poverty eradication and livelihood improvement have crowded more attention from policy makers.(Read the full text

Back to topPolitics3. The Rise of China in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1990-2019Kim Emmanuel – National Politics Scholar – November 30, 2022Why Read This?
First, the paper provides internal dynamics of Latin American and Caribbean countries to illustrate why the “China threat theory” has not gained more traction in China’s interactions with Latin American countries, reflecting the favorable perceptions of China in Latin America and the Caribbean. Second, how China has created an economic effect in Latin America, fostering a perception of “opportunity” rather than “threat” in Latin American and Caribbean countries’ engagement with China. Third, the region’s overall connection to United States influence suggests that China is operating in a space dominated by the United States. United States power is also constrained by subservience and resistance within the region, highlighting the potential for counter-hegemonic forces to emerge that seek to challenge the status quo.(Read the full text

Back to topFinance and Business4. Will China’s Economy Rely on Real Estate Again as the Bailout Escalates?Xie Jiu – Sanlian Life Weekly – December 3, 2022Why Read This?
After the epic bailout by the central People’s Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission [CBIRC] a few days ago, the Securities and Futures Commission also joined the bailout. The Securities and Futures Commission’s bailout mainly restored the financing ability of listed real estate enterprises in five aspects, including restoring the merger and reorganization of listed real estate companies and supporting financing, restoring the refinancing of listed real estate enterprises and listed real estate companies, and allowing the refinancing of H-share listed companies with real estate as their main business. However, in 2010, in order to curb the rapid rise of housing prices, the securities and regulatory authorities suspended the approval of listing, refinancing and major asset restructuring for real estate development enterprises with idle land and land speculation.(Read the full text

Back to topFinance and Business5.Behind the Rumors of Xu Jiayin Jumping Off a Building, How Did Hengda Fall From the Peak?Xie Jiu – Sanlian Life Weekly Magazine – December 7, 2022Why Read This?
The rumors of Xu Jiayin’s suicide by jumping from a building were boiling, and Evergrande released an article and photos of Xu attending the group meeting on its official website to respond to the various rumors. Since this year’s October 1 National Day holiday, the regulator has started an epic rescue of the real estate market, especially on November 28, the Securities and Futures Commission issued an announcement to resume the restructuring and refinancing of real estate companies, which is the policy spring breeze that Evergrande tried to return to the A-share through the muddle and waited for 4 years but did not wait. Evergrande may have survived the most difficult moment, but it is still facing a debt of RMB 2 trillion, which cannot be easily solved by the policy spring breeze. No matter for Evergrande or Xu Jiayin, the future is still full of uncertainties.(Read the full text

Back to topFinance and Business6. Initial Public Offering of Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests for COVID Companies Halted: Vested Interests Should Not Be Allowed to be Fixed and PerpetuatedWang Jing – Southern Weekend – November 29, 2022Why Read This?
If a large number of nucleic acid amplification tests for COVID companies are allowed to go public, it is tantamount to solidifying and perpetuating their vested interests. It is hard not to recall the paradox of nucleic acid testing, which is comparable to the “paradox of the cobra”: nucleic acid testing is implemented to eliminate pandemics, but it turns out that the high profits from nucleic acid testing give the companies concerned incentives to produce false positives and false negatives to perpetuate pandemics, and even to buy officials for transfer of benefits. These consequences are not “theoretical,” but there are already many real life examples, thus turning a short term business, which was originally born out of public policy, into a money making machine that may become long term or even permanent.(Read the full text

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