Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Is The Chinese Communist Party In Trouble?

Daniel Drezner notices the Epoch Times is pushing a story that over 200,000 Chinese have quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in four months. Here are some details:
On November 19, 2004 The Epoch Times published in Chinese the first of “The Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party”. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been scrambling ever since to find a way to respond.

The “Nine Commentaries” are a book-length set of nine editorials that tell the true history of the CCP. Written under the auspices of The Epoch Times editorial board, the authorship is anonymous.

The “Nine Commentaries” lay out the Party’s crimes: its campaigns of mass murder, brainwashing and terror; the 80 million plus unnatural deaths; the avoidable famines; the degradation of the environment; the corruption that goes from top to bottom, and much more....

On December 3, 2004 The Epoch Times established the Tuidang (“withdraw from the Party”) website in order to give the people of China the opportunity to renounce their membership in the CCP and its related organizations, such as the Communist Youth League (CYL).

On December 4, the website received its first solemn declarations by Party members who wished to renounce all ties with the CCP. In December the rate of such statements was a few hundred a day. But the rate has increased exponentially. On March 7, the Tuidang website recorded over 22,000 renunciations. The website has been limited in the number it can post by its ability physically to keep up with the huge volume of statements....
As I mentioned during my recent trip to China the Chinese people seem to have no love for the Communist Government. But they do have a love for China and have completely embraced Modernity1:
  • When talking to people about what's happening here it is all "the government is planning this", "the local government is doing that". In the world of us and them, the government is "them". It's like the government is just another corporation.

  • At the museum today someone mentioned Chinese history is all about Dynasties, each intended to last forever. None of them lasted. The lesson seemed obvious... They know.

  • The people I've met have completely embraced Modernity and are looking forward to better and brighter days and they are willing to work hard to get it. China will be a major source of competition in the coming years and decades.
Still, it is my guess that the CCP won't fall anytime soon. The reason is people are experiencing real progress and gaining new freedoms, though mostly economic freedoms. All of this will lead to a demand for democracy and we will see a democratic China in the future, but it will take time. Freedom is addictive (in a good way), the more they have the more they will want, but as long as progress is continually made in that direction their addiction will be sated. They have so much further to go on the economic side they can probably avoid the political side for quite some time. That's my guess, at least.

On the other hand, I'm not sure they'll ever put up with another Tiananmen Square incident, so I may be only one big event away from being proven wrong. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

(As a side note, I was in college during Tiananmen Square and saw all the Chinese students studying in America helping out those back home with faxes, emails, phone calls, etc. It was all very exciting until it all came crashing down. To me, and probably only me, purely by chance of what I was into at the time, Buffalo Springfield's song For What It's Worth will always be about Tiananmen Square. The association is strong enough the song still gives me shivers.)

1So, does one blockquote one's own writing, or is it considered okay to plagiarize one's self? I guess I'll be safe and go with the blockquote...