|To support us with a donation? Click here!Dialogue China BriefingWhat China Is ReadingIssue 99 – January 1, 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. Under the Mask of “Shamelessly Claiming to be a Democracy”2. Have You Seen It? The Taiwan Affairs Office of the PRC State Council Does Not Oppose “One China, Two Governments”3. Does the Chinese Communist Party Dare to Attack Taiwan?II. Policy4. The 25 Fixed Rules that Choke China’s Ground Floor PoliticsIII. Politics5. A True Great Nation is Never Founded on the Basis of Money6. Planning the State: A Conceptual Framework for Understanding “The Governance of China”IV. Finance and Business7. The Financial Complexity Puzzle Behind China’s “Evergrande Crisis”8. Characteristics and Trends of the Dramatic Changes in China’s Social Stratification in the Last 20 YearsDialogue China Opinions1. Under the Mask of “Shamelessly Claiming to be a Democracy”Wang Dan – Up Media – December 10, 2021|
Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng’s recent statement that “China is a democratic country with a clear conscience” drew a tidal wave of ridicule and rebuke, and even in China’s domestic WeChat social media circles there was a lot of sarcasm and negative comments. It is already disgraceful to call oneself a “democratic country.” But to go so far as to claim to have a “clear conscience,” I know no other word than “shameless” to describe such a statement. This is not the first day that I have met the Chinese Communist Party, and I know how impudent they are in their self-aggrandizement. But to say something like this makes me unable to judge where the bottom line of their shamelessness is?!
But apart from the mockery and refutation, I think there is something to ponder deeply in this outrageous statement of Le Yucheng’s. The Chinese Foreign Ministry should not be unaware of the fact that claiming to be a “fully-deserving democracy” is bound to attract unanimous ridicule from the outside world, given how well they know what is going on in public opinion. Then the question arises: Why did the Chinese Communist Party make such a ridiculous statement, knowing that it would be ridiculed?
First of all, we have to see that this is a typical manifestation of the “wolf warrior” diplomacy style of the Xi Jinping era. One of the characteristics of the Xi Jinping era can be described as “brutal.” This can further be split into two meanings, “barbaric” and “violent.” They know full well that this action will have negative effects, but now that it is done, it must be done to completion, so-called “barbarically” or with “brute force,” completely recklessly. “Heng” is a Beijing slang word that means overbearing to the point of insufferable arrogance. Both “barbaric” and “bullying” are the arrogant mentality of the “second generation Reds” that comes from their ruling party genes. The “second generation Reds” with better standards can restrain and temper their “barbarism,” but Xi Jinping, with his low standards, will not only not restrain himself, but will proudly exaggerate it. What the superior loves, his inferiors will be found to love exceedingly. The personal style of Xi Jinping has formed a kind of indicator of speech and behavior within the Chinese Communist Party, so “brutality” has become the collective image of the Chinese Communist Party in the Xi Jinping era, and everyone has to conform to this standard. This is the fundamental reason why there are more and more shameless “wolf warriors.”
Second, we have to see that the rapid economic growth of the Chinese Communist Party in the 1990s once fooled the West with the crown of the “China model,” which has become common wisdom. Now that China’s economy is in a downward cycle, even mentioning the “China model” is embarrassing. The Chinese Communist Party has now launched a new measure to maintain social stability, which is to create a political “China model,” that is “Chinese democracy” or “full process democracy.” These words and arguments, of course, will not be bought by anyone serious outside of China, but the Chinese Communist Party’s big foreign propaganda is often big domestic propaganda in disguise, and “Chinese-style democracy” is meant to be internal propaganda to try to make up for the loss of legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party’s rule due to the economic downturn. Although the slogan “a democratic country with a clear conscience” is shameless, the repeated brainwashing in China’s closed political environment is, at least in the Chinese Communist Party’s own opinion, somewhat effective. This is the fundamental reason why they repeatedly make such ridiculous statements despite the ridicule of the outside world.
Finally, we have to see that the word “democracy,” which has not been seen for a long time, has recently made frequent appearances in the Chinese official media. The term “full process democracy” was actually proposed a long time ago, but had been shelved. Is the Chinese Communist Party trying to democratize? Of course not. No one with a little common sense about the Chinese Communist Party would believe it. It is likely that this phenomenon is also part of Xi Jinping’s overall plan to violate the Party’s established practice and reappoint himself to a third term as Communist Party leader. The Chinese Communist Party no longer dares to have the confidence of Chairman Mao Zedong, who did not need to embellish the word “democracy” and simply called himself “Qin Shi Huang,”* Xi Jinping has to play the role of a great power leader, always denounced by the outside world as a “dictator.” He also lacks self-confidence. He is trying to seize and create a “democratic” discourse. In addition to competing with the United States on a systemic level, Xi Jinping is also trying to create “emperor’s new clothes” for himself, so that when he ascends the throne there will not be too many holes in his new clothes. Of course, this is just his own wishful thinking. No one really thinks that Xi Jinping has anything to do with the word “democracy.” But Xi Jinping does not care, because he is a product of the “barbaric and violent generation.”
* Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor of a unified China. Rather than maintain the title of “king” borne by the previous Shang and Zhou rulers, he ruled as the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty from 221 to 210 BCE.【Back to Top】Dialogue China Opinions2. Have You Seen It? The Taiwan Affairs Office of the People’s Republic of China State Council Does Not Oppose “One China, Two Governments”Hu Ping – Up Media – October 19, 2021
On October 6, 2021, Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, answered a reporter’s question.
Question: The Kuomintang (KMT) parliamentary caucus proposed a so-called “resolution requesting the United States assist in resisting the restoration of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the United States” in the Taiwan legislature on June 6. What is your comment on this?
Answer: Taiwan is an inseparable part of China, and it is a historical and legal fact that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to the same China. We firmly oppose any so-called “Taiwan independence,” “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan” secessionist acts. Cross-Strait affairs are the domestic affairs of our compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, and no outside interference will be tolerated.
Do you see? The Taiwan Affairs Office opposes “Taiwan independence,” “two Chinas” and “one China, one Taiwan,” but not “one country, two governments” or “one China, two governments.” You know what? If Taiwan and the United States renew diplomatic relations, it will not be “Taiwan independence,” it will not be “two Chinas,” it will not be “one China, one Taiwan,” it will be “one China, two governments.”
This means that if the United States and Taiwan resume diplomatic relations, the mainland has no way to oppose it. I would say that cross-Strait relations are one of the most complex issues in the world today; its subtleties are not clear to most commentators.
What is the difference between “two Chinas” and “one China, two governments”? The difference lies in the demarcation of territory.
The current cross-Strait relationship is one country, two governments. The government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) declares that the territory of the PRC includes the mainland and Taiwan. The government of the Republic of China (ROC) also claims that the territory of the ROC includes the Taiwan area and the mainland area; the territory of the People’s Republic of China and the territory of the ROC overlap, so in fact they are the same country. The cross-strait relationship is one country with two (central) governments.
If Taiwan amends its constitution and declares that the territory of the Republic of China is limited to Taiwan and no longer includes the mainland, then there will be two Chinas. If Taiwan changes its name to Taiwan Republic in addition to its territory, then it is one China and one Taiwan.
But the status quo is that Taiwan has not amended its constitution, let alone changed the national name. In the current constitutional system of the Republic of China, the relationship between the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China is one country, two governments, that is, one China, two governments.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has long ceased opposing “one China, two governments,” as reflected in the 2000 White Paper of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of the PRC, and the relevant speeches of Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping. Surprisingly, not many people in the United States or Taiwan seem to have noticed this subtle but important change in the Communist Party of China’s approach to cross-Strait relations and its implications.
Why did the Chinese Communist authorities make this change? Because circumstances have changed. Since 1972, when the first joint communiqué was signed between the United States and China, there have been tremendous changes on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, as well as in cross-Strait relations.
In the early days, the governments on both sides of the Taiwan Strait were highly hostile and each regarded the other side as puppet governments. There were no economic, trade, or personnel exchanges between the two sides. Later, the hostility between the two governments gradually faded, and there were more and more economic, trade and personnel exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Along with the development of cross-strait personnel exchanges and economic and cultural exchanges, various problems have arisen. To solve these problems, more than 20 agreements have been signed between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, covering personnel exchanges, investment and trade, joint crime fighting and mutual judicial assistance.
Ordinarily, the signing of these legally significant agreements should of course be done by the governments of both sides of the Taiwan Strait. However, once the signature of the People’s Republic of China and the signature of the government of the Republic of China are placed side by side in the same legal document, it means that the government of the People’s Republic of China is not the “only” legal government representing the whole of China, but one of two legal governments. It also means that both sides have accepted the principle of “one China, two governments.” Since the mainland authorities were unwilling to accept “one China, two governments,” but had to sign these agreements with Taiwan, each side launched a civil society organization, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) on the mainland side and the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) on the Taiwan side. The Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and the Straits Exchange Foundation were authorized by their respective governments to sign this series of agreements.
On September 16, 2021, Florida U.S. Senator Rick Scott and Wisconsin Republican U.S. Representative Tom Tiffany sponsored separate bills calling for the restoration of diplomatic relations with Taiwan and an end to the United States outdated “One China” policy. And on September 23, 2021, Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio said the United States needs to be careful to avoid conflict, as Taiwan will ultimately be a “red line” issue for China. This shows that in the United States political circles, even those legislators who care about Taiwan do not quite understand the difference between “two Chinas” and “one China, two governments,” nor do they notice that the Chinese Communist Party has revised its “one China” principle, and that “one China, two governments” used to be a “red line” but has long since ceased to be one. I believe that once the United States political class is generally aware of the difference between “one China, two governments” and “two Chinas,” and that the Chinese Communist Party is no longer opposed to “one China, two governments,” they will find it much easier to resume diplomatic relations with Taiwan than they originally thought.
Today, if the United States establishes diplomatic relations with Taiwan based on the “one China, two governments” principle and implements dual recognition of the government of the People’s Republic of China and the government of the Republic of China, it is based not only on the United States’ national interests and founding philosophy, but also on the change in circumstances, change in cross-Strait relations, and change in the Chinese Communist authorities attitudes themselves on the issue of cross-Strait relations and the connotation of the one-China principle (the Chinese Communist Party is no longer opposed to the “one China, two governments” principle). If the United States establishes diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the Chinese Communist Party has no reason to protest, because the Chinese Communist Party and cross-Strait relations were the first to change, and the United States is only changing accordingly. If the United States announces that its policy is “one China, two governments,” the Chinese Communist Party, which has long ceased to oppose “one China, two governments,” can find no reason to oppose it.【Back to Top】Dialogue China Opinions3. Does the Chinese Communist Party Dare to Attack Taiwan?Wei Jingsheng – Radio Free Asia – December 2, 2021
Will the Chinese Communist Party dare to invade Taiwan? Yes and no. Not when they are smart, but when they are stupid. Why do I say so? Because there are still some sane people in the Chinese Communist Party who think that attacking Taiwan would be an absolute lose-lose proposition. But their views will not necessarily prevail. If a person as foolish as Xi Jinping prevails, he may dare to invade Taiwan. His so-called stupidity is that he sees only the benefits and not the dangers.
A few days ago, the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a subcommittee of the United States Congress, released its annual report to Congress. The report contains a section that specifically assesses the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party in the Taiwan Strait, including the possibility of military action against Taiwan. The report is very detailed, and its core meaning is the same as I described above: when you’re smart, you don’t dare invade, but when you’re foolish, you do.
The Chinese Communist Party has been preparing for the unification of Taiwan by force for many years. The report also mentions that the readiness of weapons and equipment is almost complete. If there was no interference from the United States and Japan, it can be said that the conditions are already in place. Therefore, it is recommended to speed up the armament of Taiwan and strengthen its defense capability, as well as to express explicit deterrence in Taiwan Strait affairs. That is, to reduce the motivation of the Chinese Communist Party to invade Taiwan by force.
The report also touches on the Chinese Communist Party’s lack of military ability to invade Taiwan. The People’s Liberation Army suffers from a poor organization and command system, especially a lack of qualified officers. And once the war starts, it will be opposed by a coalition of countries, even met with armed intervention and economic blockade. China’s economy will suffer great difficulties and may even collapse. Considering China’s own interests, not those of the Communist Party leaders, it would be most unwise to invade Taiwan by force.
The above explanation is very simple, and can be understood by anyone not brainwashed. But some people’s brains are just confused, that is, they want to be deceived. They want to liberate Taiwan as if possessed by the devil. They also claim that it is a core interest, and cry for the liberation of Taiwan like their mother and father have died. Why? Some people want to liberate Taiwan without rhyme or reason, because the Chinese Communist Party has spread deceptive propaganda for so many years, and their brains have been washed clean and not dried out yet. Or there are people who are born mentally deficient or their heads have too much water in them. Of course, we cannot rule out the 50 Cent Army and Little Pinks pretending to be righteous and angry in order to cheat the Communist Party out of money.
The Chinese Communist Party has been calling for the liberation of Taiwan for many years, saying that it is a core national interest. In fact, it is to create an imagined enemy to fool the people, in order to rally their support. Since Chairman Mao Zedong’s time, Taiwan was never considered a core national interest. To curry favor with Godfather Stalin, Mao turned the army that was preparing to liberate Taiwan into attacking North Korea, and Mao did not even go all out. From this lost opportunity to attack Taiwan, how can you call it a core national interest?
Without Taiwan, what core national interest is China missing? Nothing is missing for China, but the Communist Party is missing the core interest of fooling the whole nation. Who likes Taiwan’s independence the most? For most people it does not matter. But for the Communist Party, there is one less inflammatory imaginary enemy. Therefore, the biggest promoter of Taiwan independence is the Communist Party.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Taiwan’s democracy movement was launched overseas and funded by the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Department. The early leaders of the Taiwan independence movement told me that they chose the slogan of Taiwan independence in order to find an entry point for the democratic movement. Because the people of Taiwan, under the anti-communist propaganda of the Kuomintang, were most unwilling to accept the tyranny of the Communist Party. Therefore, the democratic movement took on the appearance of a Taiwan independence movement and gained the support of more people.
Now that Taiwan has become democratic, why is the independence movement gaining more support? This is the work of Chinese Communist Party Leader Little Xi. The annexation of Hong Kong, the suppression of Xinjiang, Tibet, and all the political dissidents, the Wuhan virus, plus wolf warrior diplomacy have all created a big mess. What the people of Taiwan are seeing now is not just KMT propaganda, but the reality right in front of their eyes. It is the greatest interest of the people of Taiwan, the core interest of the people of Taiwan, to keep Taiwan independent of the Communist Party’s tyranny.
Who is the biggest promoter of Taiwan independence? Probably no one can accomplish it but Xi Jinping. In this matter, and only in this matter, Little Xi has surpassed Chairman Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. He can be rated as the greatest accelerator of the disintegration of the Chinese Communist Party. Xi Jinping is the chief architect of the collapse of the Communist Party.【Back to Top】Policy4. The 25 Fixed Rules that Choke China’s Ground Floor PoliticsHe Xuefeng – Beijing Cultural Review – October 27, 2021
Why Read This?
In the overall situation of modernization of national governance, grassroots governance is undoubtedly the foundation of foundations. In recent years, grassroots governance is facing new opportunities and challenges, and formalism [just going through the motions] is on the rise. How can grassroots governance be improved, in order to avoid “good intentions having bad outcomes”? The fixed rules identified in this paper reflect the common problems of township governance — big responsibility and little authority, busy work, excessive supervision, strict and harsh promotion, fatigue from overwork, lack of motivation, high pressure, great uncertainty, formalism, and detachment from the masses, which deserve inquiry into and attention from all walks of life.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Politics5. A True Great Nation is Never Founded on the Basis of MoneyZhang Rulun – Beijing Cultural Review – October 3, 2021
Why Read This?
In the current specific situation in China, we should first ask not whether to develop, but why to develop. Is the purpose of economic development to meet the material needs of people that can never be satisfied in practice, or to improve the quality of life? Is there, or should there not be, a higher purpose and principle in life than earning money and pursuing material desires? The author argues that a truly great nation is not founded on money, but rather on changing our way of living and our understanding of existence in order to restore the spirit of humanity, not by empty appeals and discussions.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Politics6. The Planning State: A Conceptual Framework for Understanding “The Governance of China”Yuan Chao, Zhao Yong – Political Scientist – September 2, 2021
Why Read This?
“Planning” is not only an important administrative experience in China’s political affairs, but also an important means for the Communist Party to govern the state. The Chinese Communist Party, the National People’s Congress, all levels of government, and the general public are closely integrated into the multi-level and multi-principal governance system of the “planning state,” in which the Communist Party’s stances, national will and people’s actions are transformed and manifested. The ‘planning state” has effectively promoted structural changes in central and local authority, positive interaction between the state and the market, and enhanced the ruling capacity of the Communist Party of China.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Finance and Business7. The Financial Complexity Puzzle Behind China’s “Evergrande Crisis”Pan Hongsheng – Beijing Cultural Review – September 14, 2021
Why Read This?
Recently, the renowned real estate developer Evergrande Group has been caught in a debt crisis. Some photographs of protesters gathering at the enterprise gate have been circulating on the Internet. Rumors such as “housing for debt” and priority repayment for the minority are spreading like wildfire, generating widespread concern. Although the direction of these events is still unclear, the financial operations in question reflect an important issue — the complexity of China’s financial system. These changes are beyond the common imagination of the industry, regulators and policy makers, and their impact on financial regulation, financial supervision and financial stability cannot be ignored.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Finance and Business8. Characteristics and Trends of the Dramatic Changes in China’s Social Stratification in the Last 20 YearsLi Qiang – Beijing Cultural Review – November 9, 2021
Why Read This?
In recent years, as economic circumstances and the basic structure of urban and rural areas change, more and more people feel that the opportunity for upward mobility is shrinking. What is the actual situation? The publication of the seventh census data provides an excellent data base for social structural changes in the past decade. Since the 21st century, Chinese society has undergone four major changes: 1. Fundamental changes in the urban and rural demographic structure. 2. Huge changes in the modes of production and lifestyle of PRC residents. 3. Major changes in the occupational structure. 4. Differentiation of the social status of the population in large cities, mega-cities and small cities.（Read the full text）
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