Posted in China

Never forget national humiliation, but forget everything else

Wùwàngguóchǐ, or for the non-Chinese speakers, “never forget national humiliation” was originally coined in response to the ‘Mukden Incident’ and the resultant Japanese aggression in Manchuria. Fifteen to twenty million Chinese  were to ultimately die in World War II and during the period leading up to that war. Japan bears the responsiblity for most of those deaths. The Nanjing Massacre and numerous other crimes against humanity should not be forgotten.

However, “never forget national humiliation”, but forget everything else in the People’s Republic of Amnesia’? Yes, forget the forty million or so who starved to death between 1958 and 1962 and the millions more who died either during, or because of, the Cultural Revolution. Don’t even think about the fact that the man, whose face appears on every Chinese bank-note, was a mass murderer on a par with Adolf and Uncle Joe. And, if you haven’t quite got the gist, those who propagate the “never forget” narrative are the same people who profited from the Chinese government ordering the slaughter of its own citizens in 1989.

Where this blackout, or, to be more accurate, block out, leads to became obvious once again this week when 100,000 plus signed a petition on behalf of a Vietnamese-American grandfather who was dragged off an overbooked flight. There they were our “chip on the shoulder, China must be strong” jingoistic nutters screaming out about the injustices that Chinese still have to suffer despite the fact that not only was the man very probably randomly selected, but he also wasn’t Chinese.Yes, of course,

Chinese lives matters, as all lives matter, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if they really did start to understand their own history. However, to be fair, while the “never forget” narrative in the “People’s Republic of Amnesia” is there to serve the interests of the CCP, the West has cultivated, and still is cultivating, a plethora of lies, lies, and statistics that has produced a rape of the planet that is still going on. Still, the first step in ensuring that an increasingly powerful China doesn’t metamorphose into a similar ogre might be for the country to confront the past in all its facets.

Posted in China

Trump and the Possibility of War with China

Politicians pursuing their own personal interests when they make political decisions is hardly novel. For instance, Dick Cheney, who shows no remorse for his crimes when he says  that he would torture prisoners again”,  is just one example. His role at Halliburton, the world’s largest oil field services company with multi-billion dollar contracts with oil corporations including Chevron, is at least an indication that he had a not so ulterior motive when he was a part of the decision-making process that culminated in the illegal war in Iraq and he is, of course, not an isolated figure.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise to discover that the climate change denier, Donald Trump, has ushered in his “energy revolution” by allowing the construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines, which had been blocked by the Obama administration. After all, while the world still waits for this particular crook’s tax returns, financial disclosure forms proving that he invested in Energy Transfer Partners, operators of the controversial pipeline, are  there for everyone to see along with the information that the company’s CEO donated to Trump’s campaign.

Nevertheless, with federal tax credits for wind and solar power set to continue for at least three years, and with the majority of US states having energy mandates of their own, the hoped for return on investment might not be there, even if the “folks in the fossil fuel industry” are rubbing their hands in glee at the moment. Furthermore, yesterday’s green light for the oil industry will see concrete opposition to the new administration from native Americans and environmental activists.

Indeed, this is a precursor of what is to come, as every action from Trump’s administration will provoke a reaction. For instance, what might be expected if Trump carries out his threat  and “impose a border tax of 35 percent on (German) vehicles imported to the U.S. market”? After all, “German carmakers employ about 33,000 workers in the United States and German automotive suppliers about 77,000 more”.

Of course, it is a trade war that is being talked about here and, while that won’t benefit anyone, it is difficult to see how that will lead to a greater conflict. Nobody is seriously predicting a war between Europe and the United States. As mentioned in last Saturday’s post , however, such a war with China is a real possibility and this is where Trump, with his own personal interests and agenda, is an even greater risk than the just as despicable Dick Cheney was.

Whereas with Europe there is likely to be a compromise, which will mean that war will be avoided at all costs, the outcome of a trade war with China is less likely to predict and all the more so since  China might even be capable of winning such a trade war. However, a victory for Beijing, which would follow on the heels of a trade war with Europe and discontent at home, would probably be one that might even lead to a scenario where Trump’s last card to save his presidency would be to provoke a real war that could allow him to cling to power”.

Mismanagement, actions that provoke a reaction, incompetency, conflicts, and scandals will very much be the trade marks of this presidency. It can only be hoped that should Trump try to sell himself as a symbol of national unity by provoking an all out war with China, all and sundry see him for the self-serving egomaniac that he his, and, even if Cheney and his bedfellows got away with their own little mass murders, this particular capitalist absurdity will be stopped before he leads us all down tthe road to armageddon .

 

Posted in China, Uncategorized

Reflections on the Nationalistic Narratives that help to keep an Absurd System in Place

The book was bought in Foyles today; ‘Never Forget National Humiliation’ and with the pigs pigging it in Capitalism’s temples from Beijing to Bicester Village, Vancouver to Venice, Shanghai to St Moritz, the evidence would appear to suggest that  “Wuwang guóchǐ” has long since replaced the “4 legs good, 2 legs  and bad” narrative and doesn’t “building Socialism with Chinese characteristics sound like a bad joke?

No, post Tiananmen the Marxist “facing the truth in the face” narrative just has to take a back seat and while the present mumble jumble, gobbledygook makes little sense, that little is a little more than preaching equality in the quite crazy kleptocracy. Moreover, like everything else in China, they are only doing what the West has been doing for the last three hundred years or so.

Apropos of which, there was me, after buying the book, sauntering down Whitehall. The centre of empire, an older empire, but not long gone and, somehow, still hanging around. The statues of this, that, and the next guy who reveled in privilege and led millions of Tommies to the slaughter as they plundered the globe and my mind sort of drifted to my grandfather and his hatred of Churchill on spotting his – and people like my grandpa don’t get a statue – monument at the bottom of the street, just across from Westminster Abbey.

Yes, the blighty Brits have their very own equivalent of “Wuwang guóchǐ” and it goes something like “never think about what it really was”, is and will continue to be. At least, until the shit hits the frying pan. Oh, and the shit will hit the frying pan! On across the river, down to and over Lambeth Bridge and through the jolly nice gentrified residential area with “Starbucksies”, wee Waitroses, nice apartment blocks, and up to Victoria Station.

British economic growth in a nutshell in front of your face, rentier capitalism, and they haven’t quite managed to understand it, have they? The compound growth shit, just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work in Beijing, it doesn’t work Birmingham, Bangkok, Burnley, or Berllin ….. it doesn’t work anywhere! And back to ‘Never Forget National Humiliation’ …. well, you have got to think of something to distract the people and get them to participate in keeping this shit going.

Posted in China

China, the Revolution betrayed, and the coming Catastrophe

It was a worthwhile read and Lousia Lim’s book ‘The People’s Republic of Amnesia’, which was mentioned in the blog’s previous post, has now been given the required dose of cognitive processing. The mention towards the end of the book of George Orwell’s quote on controlling the past to control the future and controlling  the present to control the past is certainly pertinent.

It is, however, a futile undertaking on their part, because the kleptocrats in the middle kingdom are, as they have always been, a part of the problem, rather than the problem itself and, while their asset striping and their putting public wealth into private pockets has allowed those who see nothing, hear nothing,  say nothing, and who have the guanxi, to live the “good” life, the very economic model they slaughtered their own citizens for at Tiananmen, and elsewhere in 1989 will come back to haunt them.

When it comes to Orwellian newspeak Deng Xiao Ping’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics” takes the biscuit and the freak that uninterrupted economic growth is has already spawned a new generation of protesters in the form of environmental activists. Moreover, this is not some nascent movement and, while air and water pollution are a long way behind corruption as the Chinese people’s major cause of concern, the disgusting heavens above China and the country’s polluted rivers are viewed as being linked to an equally disgusting kleptocracy that has bought into the capitalist dream.

As Lousia Lim points out, there is ample evidence to suggest that China turned its back on socialism and democracy in 1989 and social cohesion, which can no longer look to communist ideals, is now achieved through  jingoism and xenophobia. Nevertheless, it is a deja vu story and we really have been there before. However, the scale of growth in China is such that the coming catastrophe could lead to the total annihilation of mankind and that is another very real reason why the revolution in 1989, which was ultimately betrayed and then forgotten, is important to all of us.

 

Posted in China, History, Palestine and the Middle East, Politics

China, Historical Deception, and letting People speak the Truth

When I was back in Munich recently, I met an old friend whose father worked at the Hungarian embassy during the Cultural Revolution. His matter-of-fact account of what he could see from his apartment window was only out of the ordinary because it came from someone who no longer has any active, or academic, interest in that period, but who could, nevertheless, relate events as if they had happened only yesterday.

His window looked out onto Tiananmen Square and he recalled how he watched trucks full of Red Guards rolling past with an occassional  hapless individual, with a sign around his or her neck, in the middle of them. Interesting information from someone who had been there and got the t-shirt, but had never read the book.Should the historians tell the story, their credibility might suffer somewhat should their narrative be substantially different. At least for as long as people like my friend are around. Of course, similarly it might be thought that it is difficult for someone to tell all and sundry that they are living in their own house, when some old lady can hold up the keys to that house, which she was forced to leave at gunpoint. The reference there is obvious, but back to the China narrative and fast speed forward to 1989.

At the moment, I am reading Louisa Lim’s ‘The People’s Republic of Amnesia’ . Her narrative is based on testimony given by people who directly experienced the events of May and June 1989 and who were affected by them. An ex-PLA soldier talks about his first deployment to Tiananmen and how they had to return to barracks because their paths to the square were blocked by students and citizens who “tried to employ reason against the use of force” (Lim:11). And then it is fast forward again, but this time to 2011 and an English colleague in China telling me why he likes living in Beijing. The Běi jīng rén” are great people  and they are very politically aware, he told me, before going on to relate a very similar narrative to the one delivered by Ms Lim. 

Of course, that was in 2011 and, as my recent stint in China informed me, in four years a lot can change and there is evidence to suggest that today the truth narrative is as unwelcome in China as it was during the Cultural Revolution and that the ability or willingness to deal critically, not only with the ten years from 1966 to 1976, but also with the preceeding and following years, has actually decreased. History is, once again, being re-written, it is being selectively and subjectively sourced, and everything is just hunky-dory in a pseudo-Marxist country which apes a growth model that is completely based on the most blatant contradictions in capitalism, and which inevitably lead to the pursuit of ridiculous geopolitical goals that are based on a mythical past.

As indicated in the second paragraph, the phenomena of re-writing history and conjuring up some mythical past in order to achieve Machiavellian political goals is not unique to China and elsewhere there also exists some very strange concocted notions to give the state its raison d’État”. Moreover, the oxymoronic “Jewish Democracy” founded on a mythical  “land without people for a people without land” might be at least as absurd as China’s Xi Jinping contending that China is a Marxist country.

Nevertheless, it is with China that this post began and it is where it will end by returning to Lousi Lim’s book which is a welcome countermeasure to the “2 + 2 = 5” version of history being pursued by Beijing today. Moreover, while it might also serve as a wake up call for those followers of myths elsewhere, it is what is happening in China that might push us all into the abyss sooner rather than later. The first step, therefore, is to provide a voice to those isolated by the truth, and Ms Lim’s book does that.

 

 

 

Posted in China, Politics

China, the South China Sea, and the Myth is stronger than History

Slow reading of Bill Hayton’s ‘South China Sea: the struggle for power in Asia’ means that the point in the book where  Geoff Wade supplies evidence which undermines China’s historical claims to the area (24, 25,26) has only just been read. Almost a coincidence then that the confrontation with the Australian academic’s arguments took place almost simultaneously with  an international tribunal in The Hague rejecting China’s argument that it enjoys historic rights over most of the South China Sea” .

The reaction from Beijing was to be expected and it was quickly asserted that “the tribunal’s decision “is invalid and has no binding force,”. Nothing surprising here and in the context of international law China might even have a case. Nevertheless, the claim itself has to be based on something and that is why a defiant President Xi Jinping once again stressed China’s claim to the area  “since ancient times.”

Now, re-writing the past to facilitate the CCP’s legitimacy at home is, of course, the norm. Or, how do you sell the Cultural Revolution and all the other shit that might be attributed to “Mr 70% good and 40% bad”, the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen, and the continued censorship, lack of freedom, dirty air, and the richer getting richer, and the poorer, poorer, to the population?

However, when the Chinese Communist Party  draws on a doctrine of “historical rights”to claim “inherent and indisputable” sovereignty over much of the South China Sea, it is really time to worry, because it has been proven time and time again that the myth is always stronger than the history. Moreover, while the Chinese people might be coerced and, yes, even seduced by the myths at home, it is when these myths appear on the international scene that conflict becomes inevitable.

 

Posted in China

Marxism in China today

Reflections on the latest stint in China and a couple of things that have changed and a couple that haven’t.

Deng Xiaoping’s pronouncement that Mao was 70 per cent right and 30 per cent wrong still reflects the official view. Of course, despite the CCP catergorically stating that the Cultural Revoluton was a“total mistake” how could that be any different? The main man is still on all the bank notes and the party has its legitimacy.

Therefore, Lucy Hornby’s article, “China’s Xi denounces ‘other-isms’ in eulogy to Marxist roots” (FT, 2/3 July 2016) in this weekend’s ‘Financial Times, which I read on the flight from Hong Kong to London, was interesting, not because of its news value, which in considering the restrictions imposed by Beijing on reporting by the foreign media has to be minimal, but rather due to the fact that Xi Jinping actually deems it necessary to stress ideological purity. According to the Chinese President, China was, is, and will always be a Marxist country and it is almost a bit like Tony Blair telling you he is a socialist.

Still, while waiting for “the never was a socialist” Tony to get up in front of an audience and show a raised fist would be a wait in vain, here is Xi telling all and sundry that the “aping of the West” economic model is building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Of course, the economic model that capitalism provides, as has been mentioned elsewhere in this blog, is nothing more than disaster capitalism and with the dirty heavens above China’s mega cities getting dirtier , the poor getting poorer and poorer and the rich getting richer and richer, Xi, although possibly less of a hypocrite than Tony, is, to put it mildly, full of shit.

And what has changed? Well, firstly, back in Qingdao in 2007 students would tell you how they had to get a good degree, so that they can look after their parents later and that narrative could still be heard in 2011 in Zhengzhou. It still might hold true for most Chinese. However, that class where daddy has millions and millions has got a bit bigger and we now have a increasing percentage of the population whose sole objective is to spend their parents money. Money that for the most part is a product of that system of rentier capitalism, which is plaguing the whole planet and money which invariably contributes to asset stripping at home and outrageous property prices both there and elsewhere. The bubble is waiting to burst..

Privileged young men and women and with their parents invariably cultivating their guanxi through the party, they too are invariably members of this very pseudo communist party, even if they will never attend a meeting of their local branch. Moreover, with them and the majority of thepopulation in the major urban areas staring into their iPhone 6s, while accessing an internet which is both heavily censored and in many other respects limited, it appears that there can be no cognitive processing on their part of what is really happening. If something has changed then at least superficially there is less dissent than there was four years ago. The flat white at Costas, the trips abroad, the BMW ….. and in another country they would be singing, “The working class can lick my ass, I’ve got the bosses job at last” to the tune of the ‘Red Flag’

Fortunately, Xi himself either ignores, or has long since forgotten, his “Marx” and an educational revisiting dialectical materialism might show this “capitalist roader” the error of his ways. For every action there has to be a reaction and, with our being in society determining our consciousness, a little tête-à-tête with richie rich and his mates in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, or elsewhere, will inform us that a party which seeks its legitimacy in some sort of pseudo marxist ideology is already seen as a joke by the majority of those who have the money and time to chew the cud while the masses still chase the dream.

That can only be good news for the planet, even if it is to the masses that we must ultimately look if there is to be real change. The contradictions of capitalism do not have room for socialism with Chinese characteristics, or any pseudo Chinese road to socialism. 1989 and Tiananmen might have been the death knell for socialism in the PRC but the narrative continues and it is an narrative that will conclude either with socialism or some sort of dystopian brave new world, not only in China, but all over the planet. For the time being the pseudo socialists and make believe marxists, the suffocating skies, and the feeble fetishists, have the upper hand, but the big wheels keep on turning and it is difficult to disagree with David Harvey when he says that if capitalism is still around in twenty years, we would be better off not being here.