Dialogue China Newsletter (Issue 100 – January 15, 2022)

To support us with a donation? Click here!Dialogue China BriefingWhat China Is ReadingIssue 100 – January 15, 2022In This IssueThe articles shared here do not necessarily reflect the views of China Newsletter or Dialogue China. All articles sourced from WeChat public accounts unless otherwise noted.I. Dialogue China Opinions1. Eulogy for Friends and Relatives2. Why Did the Kuomintang Lose the Referendum?3. 2021 is a Year of Great Historic ChangeII. Policy4. “Unified Governance”: A Mechanism for the Operation of Power in Chinese State Governance5. China’s Post-70s Generation Who Cannot Afford to Pay Social Security TaxesIII. Politics6. Why Did Lithuania Go Out of its Way to Offend China? An Alternative Logic of Small State Diplomacy7. Constructing a New Order in Northeast Asia: Progress and Prospects for Cooperation between China, Japan and KoreaIV. Finance and Business8. Migrant Workers in China’s Foreign Owned Super FactorieDialogue China Opinions1. Eulogy for Friends and RelativesWang Dan – Dialogue China – December 27, 2021Dear Friends and Relatives:
My mother Wang Ling-Yun – the person who loved me most dearly and who I loved and respected most in this world – died in the hospital in Beijing on December 28, 2021 at the age of 86 due to a sudden stroke from which she could not be revived.
My only consolation from the heartbreak is that it happened so suddenly that she did not experience too much pain, and passed away peacefully in a coma. But I am left facing a lifetime of pain, grief, permanent regret and endless longing.
My mother graduated from Peking University with a history degree, and worked at the Chinese Revolutionary Museum (now the National Museum of China) for more than 40 years until her retirement. She published extensively on modern Chinese history and the history of the Chinese Communist Party. Without me, her life would have been very smooth and peaceful. However, after the June 4, 1989 military massacre in Beijing, I was number one on the government wanted list, and within a few days of my arrest the Chinese Communist authorities went on a rampage to implicate my mother, detaining her for more than 50 days, causing her calf muscles to atrophy and leaving her almost disabled. The authorities have not yet given a reason for committing such an atrocity. After that, I was imprisoned twice, and in order to rescue me and protect me, she bravely protested to the authorities and appealed to the world, never cowering in the face of enormous official pressure, and once slapping the table in front of her face to rebuke senior Chinese Communist officials. In my mind she is the greatest and strongest mother.
During the six and a half years that I was in prison for two separate terms, she and my father and other family members never stopped visiting me in prison every month. At one point there were rumors that I was going to be sent to Xinjiang for reform through labor, and my mother told the Public Security Bureau, “No matter how far away you incarcerate my son, I will crawl to see him every month.” In the winter of 1991, I was taken from Qincheng Prison to the Beijing Detention Center, where I met my mother for the first time since June 4, 1989. She did not tell me that she had been in prison and had a leg problem for fear that I would be worried. At the end of the meeting, as I sat in the prison van, I saw my mother hobbling in the cold wind with one leg in tow. I can say that without the support of my mother and my family, I would not have been able to endure the long prison sentence. But on the other hand, my mother paid a huge price for me. I am the most unfilial son in the world for making my mother carry such a burden for me. I wish she could have lived in good health so that I could have made as many amends as possible. Now, this wish is no longer possible to fulfill. There is no greater pain in life than when a son wants to serve his parents in their old age, but they are no longer alive.
After I was exiled to the United States, although I arranged for my parents to reunite with me abroad for a period of time almost every year to make up for some of the lost affection, the authorities blacklisted me and did not allow me to return to China, resulting in gray-haired elders having to travel thousands of miles to visit their black-haired counterparts. I remember once when I accompanied my parents on a trip to San Francisco, I had to book a better hotel for them. My father thought it was too expensive, but my mother said indifferently: “Let him make the reservation, how many times can he spend money on us?” How can I think of that now without tears welling up? In her old age, my mother’s greatest wish was for me to return home to Beijing and be by her side, but in the end, she could not wait for that day; in the end, I could not see my mother one last time. This blood feud is on the head of the Chinese Communist Party. I will never forget this.
I have only had two experiences in my life where my mind went blank and I could not think: once on June 4, 1989 and once on December 27, 2021. The death of my mother hit me so hard that words cannot express it, and no one can imagine it. With my mother gone, the pillars of my spiritual world collapsed, and a corner of the world was forever missing for me.
But please rest assured that I will not let my grief overwhelm me. I will try to remain strong. I know that this is what my mother’s spirit expects of me. We have as mother and son been through prison, exile, and the separation of family. My mother bore so much burden on my behalf, and never complained a single time to me. She always supported my ideals. Because we agree that in this era when an evil regime is ruling China, our suffering is the price we have to pay for our faith. I believe that my mother will continue to watch over me and care for me from heaven. She is gone, and the only way I can console her spirit is to keep moving forward.
When my mother was alive, she often advised me not to drink alcohol, saying that it was harmful to my health, but I never strictly followed her advice. Now that she is gone, I hereby declare that I will never drink alcohol again in my life as a tribute to her. I hope this will put my mother’s mind at ease in heaven, and will be a belated show of filial obedience by her son.
In addition, for the second half of her life, my mother was doomed to the status of a political prisoner’s family member. But she took this as a great honor. Whenever she saw another political prisoner’s family member running to appeal for help for their family, she always wished I could do more to help them. In order to fulfill my mother’s wish, I will use most of my savings to set up the “Wang Lingyun Humanitarian Relief Fund” with US$100,000 to help other political prisoners’ families who have experienced the suffering of my mother. This fund will not accept any outside donations, but is simply a way for me, as a filial son, to help my mother fulfill her wishes.
Finally, I would like to say to my mother: “Mom, have a smooth journey and wait for me in heaven. We – mother and son – will meet again one day. At that time, let me start all over again and do nothing but be your filial son.”
Wang Dan [written through tears]
December 27, 2021【Back to TopDialogue China Opinions2. Why Did the Kuomintang Lose the Referendum?Wang Dan – Radio Free Asia Commentary – December 20, 2021December 18, 2021, Taiwan’s electorate voted on four referenda, including the restart of the nuclear program and the ban on the import of ractopamine*-treated pigs. In the end none of the “four consents” advocated by the Kuomintang were passed, while the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s rejection of the four referenda was supported by the majority of voters. In this political war of offense and defense, the Kuomintang lost and the Democratic Progressive Party won decisively. Although this result was already expected before the election, the Kuomintang did not win any of the four referenda, which is a very big difference from the poll results a month or two earlier. Why in the end did the Democratic Progressive Party win against the odds, while the Kuomintang lost so decisively?
* an animal feed additive used to promote leanness and increase food conversion efficiency in farmed animals
I think the Kuomintang should analyze and reflect on three main points: First, energy transformation and food safety are originally livelihood issues that require rational discussion by the political party leading the issue to gain public support. However, the Kuomintang characterized the referendum as a partisan confrontation, claiming that it would use the referendum results to “teach the Democratic Progressive Party a lesson,” and describing the referendum as a vote of no confidence in the Democratic Progressive Party government’s administration. The low turnout was certainly not conducive to the referendum’s success, and it can be said that the Kuomintang’s strategy was a wrong approach.
Secondly, after Chu Li-Lun took over as chairman of the Kuomintang – under the impetus of media figure Zhao Shao-Kang, party hawk Luo Zhi-Qiang and others – has been for the sake of opposition boycotting the Democratic Progressive Party’s governance in the National Assembly in order to create a “fighting blue” image. Under the domestic and international pressure of the pandemic and the Chinese Communist Party’s threat of force, the Taiwanese people desperately want to see unity within Taiwan, and cooperation between the governing party and opposition to mutually pass through this crisis. The Kuomintang’s tough confrontation line is not supported by most people, and even the relatively rational forces within the Kuomintang are quite dissatisfied. Before the vote, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi – the most powerful local head of the Kuomintang – issued a 1,000-character essay in which he politely expressed his neutral stance, indicating a serious division within the Party on the issue of the line. The radical line of Zhao Shaokang, Luo Zhiqiang and others has led to the increasing “deep blue”-ization of the Kuomintang. This does not meet the expectations of the Taiwanese people for the opposition party. The fact that none of the four referenda passed proves that the public has taught the Kuomintang a lesson with their votes.
Thirdly, the biggest dilemma facing the Kuomintang, or rather the biggest problem, is their position on cross-strait relations. With “resisting China and protecting Taiwan” becoming the mainstream public opinion, the Kuomintang is in a very awkward situation in Taiwan. If they follow the mainstream public opinion, resist the Chinese Communist Party’s aggression, and draw a clear line with the Chinese Communist Party, there will be no big difference between their political stance and that of the Democratic Progressive Party, and the public will inherently favor the local party between the two parties. If the Kuomintang continues to adhere to the “1992 Consensus” and echoes the Chinese Communist Party’s policies on Taiwan, and chooses to take a friendly stance toward the Chinese Communist Party, it will definitely be regarded as a traitor to Taiwan by the majority of voters in Taiwan and will not be able to gain the support of most voters. In this regard, the Kuomintang is in a dilemma. Although the referendum is about livelihood issues, the general context is the increasing threat of force by the Chinese Communist Party, and the Taiwanese people’s dissatisfaction with the Chinese Communist Party will naturally be projected as dissatisfaction with the Kuomintang.
This referendum is a major warning to the Kuomintang: if they continue to stick to the radical line of “fighting blue,” if they continue to use boycott as the main strategy of the opposition party, and if they continue to maintain the cross-strait policy of “communist cooperation,” they are running counter to the mainstream public opinion in Taiwan. The next step is the 2022 local elections. Unless the Democratic Progressive Party makes a major mistake in its administration that leads to strong public discontent, the Kuomintang’s future will be very bleak, and it is likely that it will gradually dissipate under the attack of the ruling party and other opposition parties, and its political influence in Taiwan will gradually diminish.【Back to TopDialogue China Opinions3. 2021 is a Year of Great Historic ChangeWang Juntao – YouTube – December 11, 2021Today, I am pleased to have the opportunity to share with you my views on U.S.-China relations and human destiny, not just a review of 2021, a year of great historic change. How big a change? The President of the United States, Joe Biden, and his predecessor, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, both said: The confrontation or competition between the United States and China is now about the kind of system in which the next generation of human beings will live. So the United States must do its best to win this competition. China’s President Xi Jinping said that the world is now in the midst of the greatest change of the century, that is, the east is rising and the west is falling.
We in the United States have witnessed the difficult adjustments in both the U.S.’s policy and situation. And as Chinese from mainland China, no one has a more comprehensive perspective on the political situation in mainland China than we do. Because people in mainland China may not see the overall situation. Likewise, there is no other Chinese American community that can understand the impact and changes more deeply.
So today I would like to briefly explain what is happening in China and the United States, and then talk about the implications for human destiny and what choices we overseas Chinese should make.
Vice President Pence once listed all the conflicts between China and the United States at a Southeast Asia ministerial meeting, after which he asked Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping to return to the Deng Xiaoping line. What is the Deng Xiaoping model? We can explore it from many angles. Deng Xiaoping’s model is a rejection of the Mao Zedong model. Chairman Mao’s model came from a remark he made in Chongqing, when he said that the October Revolution* brought us Marxism with the sound of a cannon. Later, after the civil war, socialist revolution and post-war construction, following the classic revolutionary theory of Marx, and finally in 1976, according to the Communist Party, the Chinese economy was on the verge of collapse.
* The October Revolution, officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution under the Soviet Union, also known as the Bolshevik Coup, the Bolshevik Revolution, the October Uprising, the October Coup or Red October, was a revolution in Russia led by the Bolshevik Party of Vladimir Lenin that was instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917–1923. It was the second revolutionary change of government in Russia in 1917. It took place through an armed insurrection in Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) on October 25, 1917. It was the precipitating event of the Russian Civil War.
Deng Xiaoping was personally involved in China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, and he realized that the revolution was a failure and a mistake. He then led China to join the United States led capitalist system and to open up in order to reform the economy. But Deng Xiaoping – with his own experience of the chaotic world – had a deep distrust of freedom and democracy, and of people, so he came to learn about capitalism economically, but politically he did not want to learn, but only wanted to keep the social control that the Communist Party already had.
These forces of economic development are not only satisfied with economic interests, but also require political voice. The lack of political reform in this development process led to corruption, which was the actual cause of the 1989 pro-democracy protest movement. It was on the foundation of China’s economic development and reform and opening up that new social forces emerged, and they required a new mode of political management.
But Deng Xiaoping carried on the same old practices. Although we knew that Deng’s high handed measures could not eliminate the new social forces, in 1989 these forces began to know that it was no longer possible to seek to allow the market to play a decisive role in the allocation of resources in the Western democratic way.
Xi Jinping later decided to use the Communist Party’s dictatorship as a tool to enforce it. He could no longer deal with some issues concerning the development of China in a normal way. So he established a personal dictatorship: the whole country is surnamed Communisty Party, and the whole Communist Party is surnamed Xi. He is not following Deng Xiaoping’s model of streamlining administration and instituting decentralization. He wants to start reshaping a new supply-side reform of China, to adjust the growth model of China and Chinese industries and policies, and to develop industries that are high-grade, precise and advanced and can lead the world. The large enterprises not in sync with this supply-side reform such as Evergrande’s Xu Jiayin, Anbang, Wang Jianlin and other capital groups relying on real estate speculation are being rectified. Those really in the field of high technology – especially to build China’s powerful enterprises leading the world, including private enterprises, and even foreign-funded enterprises such as Elon Musk’s – Xi has only established a fundamental, overly centralized and autocratic system.
In this process, he did not adopt a low profile with regard to the United States as Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao did at the beginning. Instead, he made the Americans think that he wanted to return to Maoist communism. After the outbreak of Covid-19, Xi Jinping told entrepreneurs to spit out what they had eaten in the past, so this is really the integration of “government, industry and academia.” Entrepreneurs are worried about the security of their property, and have a problem with Xi Jinping lacking understanding and chaotically directing the economy.
After the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama said that the United States had become the global political leader at the end of history. China then also said that it recognized the pattern of “one superpower, multiple regional powers.” After 30 years of development in this area, Silicon Valley in the United States has become the world’s engine of technological innovation.
In globalization, on the one hand, the United States is in the process of de-stocking, and its industrial structure has also undergone changes. This change is that many developed countries have outsourced most of their manufacturing industry, leaving only high value-added manufacturing industry, the rest dumped overseas. Germany, Japan and Taiwan have all gone through such a stage.
If Biden is replaced, is there any hope that the Chinese economy will recover afterwards? I do not think so, but Biden is different from Trump in that he thinks it is not simply a trade issue. Biden;s policy toward China is divided into three areas, one of which is in the area of confrontation, which is related to United States values. This is along two fronts, one with the human rights front, in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, etc., and Falun Gong and in domestic political issues.
But many politicians, including media moguls, believe that if China’s economy is allowed to grow, the Chinese middle class will demand political reform. The recent two-day democracy summit was aimed at China, and it was more of a competition between two systems. But the current international political situation is actually very difficult to resolve. If China continues to be an authoritarian and dictatorial state, it will be impossible for this country to cooperate with liberal and democratic countries to cooperatively address humanity’s problems.
Xi Jinping’s overall strategy is to talk about the Four Comprehensives* – 1. Comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society 2. Comprehensively deepen reform 3. Comprehensively govern the nation according to law 4. Comprehensively strictly govern the Communist Party. This is actually the hard truth of Deng Xiaoping’s construction-centered long-term development strategy. So I say Xi Jinping – who has experienced so many political power struggles over the past nine years – is unlikely to change. We say that there is a path dependent principle here, going a wrong direction, and step by step deviating further and further away from the original location.
* The Four Comprehensives, or the Four-pronged Comprehensive Strategy 四个全面战略布局 is a list of political goals for China, put forward by General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping in 2014.【Back to TopPolicy4. “Unified Governance”: A Mechanism for the Operation of Power in Chinese State GovernanceChen Kelin, Zhou Luyao – Political Scientist – September 14, 2021Why Read This?
Since the reform and opening up, China has achieved a long period of rapid and stable development. The emergence of the “Chinese miracle” has triggered academic discussions on China’s national governance model. By considering the “central-local” and “state-people” relationships in a unified manner, this paper outlines the “unified system and local governance” and “multiple goals and behavioral choices”. By considering the “central-local” and “state-people” relationships in an integrated manner, this paper outlines three core features of the “unified system and local partition,” “multiple goals and behavioral choices,” and “bottom-line cooperation and incentive differences” to further explain the logic of Chinese state governance at the meso level.(Read the full text

Back to topPolicy5. China’s Post-70s Generation Who Cannot Afford to Pay Social Security TaxesHe Ceng – Southern Metropolis Observer – October 11, 2021Why Read This?
They were once envied city people, before and after birth, and caught up with the “late, scarce, and small” family planning policy of “one is not less, two is just right, and three is more,” and are caught in the middle between the “post-60s” and “post-80s” generations. Now that their parents are getting older, many of them are among the heaviest burden bearers among China’s 200 million flexibly employed people. With the outbreak of a sudden pandemic, the road ahead may be even more thorny for this low formally educated, low skilled, urban underclass who have been working sporadically for years and even rely on their elderly parents for “support.”(Read the full text

Back to topPolitics6. Why Did Lithuania Go Out of its Way to Offend China? An Alternative Logic of Small State DiplomacyZhang Yanlu – Beijing Cultural Review – November 22, 2021Why Read This?
On November 18, 2021, Lithuania allowed the Chinese authorities in Taiwan to set up a “Taiwan Representative Office in Lithuania,” openly creating “one China, one Taiwan” in the international arena. The Chinese side decided to downgrade diplomatic relations between the two neutral countries to the level of chargé d’affaires. Many scholars have pointed out that the international landscape on the one hand is the gradual emergence of a competitive situation between major powers, on the other hand the international system is increasingly fragmented and diversified. This complex situation provides an opportunity for small countries to enhance their international political influence. In view of this, it is necessary to face the characteristics and demands of such small countries and guide them to fully play their role in multilateral and bilateral cooperation mechanisms, so as to avoid their use of the “geopolitical card” and “human rights values card” to create diplomatic leverage and take advantage of their private interests.(Read the full text

Back to topPolitics7. Constructing a New Order in Northeast Asia: Progress and Prospects for Cooperation between China, Japan and KoreaJin Yiwen – Current Affairs Analysis – November 30, 2021Why Read This?
As near neighbors in Northeast Asia, China, Japan and South Korea have a long history and culture of intermingling with each other, and have through trilateral cooperation realized the favorable geographical position of “1+1+1>3.” The trend of economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, which has been developing since the 1960s, and the process of cooperation in East Asia, which started in the latter half of the 1990s, have provided the “timeliness” for cooperation between China, Japan and Korea. The ‘human harmony’ atmosphere for trilateral cooperation has been created by the timely assessment of the situation by the leaders of China, Japan and Korea and the positive response of the three societies.(Read the full text

Back to topFinance and Business8. Migrant Workers in China’s Foreign Owned Super FactoriesWang Jiawei – Southern Weekend – November 15, 2021Why Read This?
On July 27, 2021, Apple Inc. announced its financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2021. The data show that revenue reached a record US$81.4 billion in the June quarter, up 36 percent year-over-year. Apple maximizes profits by outsourcing. At the bottom of this global industrial supply chain are tens of thousands of Chinese workers. More than 100,000 of them gather in Shanghai’s “Apple Village” and take to the production line, repeating the tedium and drudgery of a 12-hour day for a quarterly incentive of 10,000 yuan.(Read the full text

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