Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Xinhai Revolution Centenary: Chinese pendulum swings to the left [The Age]


100 years since the end of dynastic rule: Here’s a look at media coverage as this report from the Sydney Morning Herald marks the Xinhai centenary by uncovering, a new Mao-inspired epoch of socialism and nationalism. Xinhai Revolution trigger magnificent and exceptional change of Asia (Xinhua, October 10, 2011) + China’s Xinhai Revolution Celebration a Strategy to Win Taiwan (Epoch Times, October 5, 2011) + China grapples with revolutionary past, 100 years on (AFP, October 9, 2011)

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Chinese pendulum swings to the left
John Garnaut In Beijing
Source – Sydney Morning Herald, published October 9, 2011

CHINA is heading into a new Mao-inspired epoch of socialism and nationalism, says the founder of China’s most powerful leftist internet platform.

Han Deqiang, who founded and retains behind-the-scenes control over the Utopia website, says most observers have failed to notice a profound shift in China’s ideological and political trajectory.

He recited an old saying about the Yellow River dramatically changing its course every generation to describe China’s swing from Chairman Mao to Deng Xiaoping and back again.

“The river runs to the East for 30 years, the river runs to the West for 30 years and now it will run East for another 30 years,” Professor Han, who works at Beijing Aeronautical University, said.

“The transition is already occurring but people are failing to notice.”

Professor Han’s confidence that the Chinese Communist Party is returning to its Mao-inspired roots comes as the country is once again awash with demands for democratic political reforms.

The latest trigger for debate is the 100th anniversary of the fall of the Qing dynasty, known as the Xinhai Revolution, which provided a moment of optimism about constitutional democracy.

Both the Communist Party and democratic activists claim the Xinhai Revolution as part of their historical ancestry.

“The left, in the sense of representing anti-democratic dictatorship, does not own revolutionary legitimacy in China,” David Kelly, research director at China Policy, a Beijing advisory, and a visiting professor at Peking University, said.

“The anniversary of 1911 brings into play the fundamental decision between social democracy and revolutionary dictatorship.”

The anniversary has raised awkward comparisons between the dying days of the Qing dynasty and corruption, social tensions and political uncertainty under the Communist Party today.

Advocates of democratic reform have to tread carefully through China’s censorship controls and face state-driven harassment, sometimes violence, if they venture too far.

Professor Han and his Utopia website, in contrast, have been given a free hand to push Maoist and anti-Western ideas while launching blistering attacks on liberal opponents. Professor Han concurs with the liberal diagnosis of China’s problems but rejects liberal political prescriptions.

At the top of his attack list are the leaders of the country’s financial system. “They don’t care whether China turns into chaos or not because they can just withdraw their money from Swiss bank accounts and buy everything at bargain prices and make double the profits,” he said.

Professor Han places huge expectations on Bo Xilai, the Politburo member who has revived Maoist rhetoric and “leftist” policies.

He said Mr Bo had merged the liberal and revolutionary streams of the Chinese left but would dispense with the liberal part.

“Only Bo can save communism and save China.”

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Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, History, Influence, International Relations, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Xinhai

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