In 2001, Gordon Chang predicted in his book “The Coming Collapse of China” that China would collapse within ten years. Ten years later China did not collapse, but instead became even more prosperous.
I said in the first edition (writing of the second edition will soon finish) of my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements:”
“Gordon Chang probed into the fundamentals and had contacts with Chinese people in China for years. His approach was correct and the problems he pointed out in his book were real serious ones very difficult to resolve.
“He did have a whole picture of the predicament Chinese leaders were in. In addition, no one had ever tried to resolve such problems; therefore, there were no lessons or experience that Chinese leaders could learn from.
“However, there is a common missing link in all Westerners’ study of China: Due to the Cultural Revolution, all talented scholars with moral integration studied hard and wanted to become politicians to establish scholars’ rule and save the country.
“China had a large number of talented politicians with moral integrity far superior to those in other countries. Western China-watchers including Gordon Chang failed in their prediction because they underestimated Chinese scholars’ talents.”
I point out in the first edition of my book that Xi Jinping is among the youngest of the new generation of talented scholars that emerged during the Cultural Revolution.
In the second edition of my book, I describe how he convinced the powerful elders to give him full support by pointing out to them three serious problems other than the rampant corruption that may cause the party to collapse and the lesson that the party should learn from the collapse of the Soviet Communist Party.
Xi is wise to be well aware of the indispensability of purge to resolve all the problems and ensure no repetition of the collapse of the Soviet Communist Party. I believe he also knows it is a very difficult job.
SCMP proves that it knows China well by carrying a report on Xi’s purge yesterday and a commentary today titled Xi Jinping’s campaign to purge Communist Party ‘won’t be easy‘.
I recommended to my readers SCMP’s report in my post yesterday titled China: Xi Jinping’s Purge Begins in Guangdong.
In my post yesterday, I said, “A purge is the best way to consolidate a new leader’s power, and strike awe among corrupt officials.”
In the first edition of my book, I sum up two formulae from Chinese history:
Wise leader + talented scholars = superpower
Despot + mob = chaos
Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao has proved that he is wise by putting forth the Scientific Outlook on Development and achieving tremendous economic growth. However, Hu has not obtained the assistance of enough talented scholars to implement his Scientific Outlook on Development.
He pointed out the problem of pollution in his Scientific Outlook, but the officials under him have paid no attention to his instruction. As a result, he left Xi the problem of very serious pollution.
Xi has proved that he is much wiser than Hu. Hu knew well the problem in China’s letters and calls system, a mechanism to receive and handle people’s petitions. Therefore, a national conference of the officials in charge of letters and calls was held in mid July 2012.
Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) member Zhou Yongkang gave a speech stressing the importance of the work of letters and calls and top PSC leaders Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang personally attended the conference to show the importance they attached to the work. However, there had been no change in interception, illegal detention, repatriation and torture of petitioners or decrease in mass protests.
Less than three weeks after Xi took over, on December 4, Xi took sweeping thundering actions to close all the black jails set up by local government in Beijing for detention of the petitioners they had rounded up and released all the petitioners detained there.
One week later, a conference of the officials in charge of letters and calls was held to ban interception of petitioners and order local officials to treat petitioners as their family members, the problems reflected by petitioners as their family affairs, and the work to deal with petitions as their family work.
Xi is obviously skilful in mobilising related officials to take fast and effective actions. However, will he able to purge his huge party of 10 million of its 80 million members?
SCMP cited some analysts’ views on the difficulty to purge the party of unqualified members. It says: “The drive to get rid of ‘unqualified members’ could be turned into a political vendetta, analysts warn, adding the cull should start at the top”.
I believe that the key is whether Xi is able to find and make good use of talent assistants.
When Jiang Zemin took over the reigns, he also faced lots of seemingly insurmountable difficulties, such as the conservatives’ obstinate resistance to the reform and opening up, state-owned enterprises’ huge debts and losses, state banks being on the verge of bankruptcy, etc.
However, he was able to find and employ talented assistants such as Zhu Rongji, Wu Bangguo, Zeng Qihong, Li Lanqing, Wang Huning and others to help him overcome all the difficulties.
Xi has proved himself a wise leader by the initial success of his sweeping thundering actions. I point out in the second edition of my book the sign that Jiang Zemin has been satisfied with Xi’s initial successes, and decided to choose Xi as the successor to him as the core of the party leadership.
Obviously, the beginning of the purge may strike awe and give rise to some restraints among corrupt officials. However, we still have to wait and see whether Xi also has the ability to find and employ talented assistants.
The tasks Xi faces, including the purge, are not what he can fulfil alone. China is such a vast country with an enormous population of 1.3 billion people. The party is so huge as to have 80 million members. Xi needs quite a few talented assistants, but so far we have not seen any of them.Read the SCMP report: “Xi Jinping’s campaign to purge Communist Party ‘won’t be easy'”
- China: Xi Jinping says party should be able to put up with sharp criticism (chinadailymail.com)
- China’s media and netizens active in Xi Jinping’s fight against corruption (chinadailymail.com)
- China: Can transformation of economic development mode be achieved? (chinadailymail.com)
- How China’s President Is Earning A Nobel Peace Prize (forbes.com)
- Xi warns CPC of Soviet-style collapse if faced with dissent (zeenews.india.com)