Wandering China

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

Dimming of China’s ‘great red hope’ troubles offspring of the old guard [The Age]


Domestic cohesion under spotlight.

Too easy being blinded by China’s economic miracle: A clash with the old guard as they question the cost of authoritarian capitalism?

”Thirty years of opening and reform have achieved remarkable economic achievements but those brilliant achievements were followed by class polarisation, rampant corruption, a public spiritual vacuum, chaotic thinking, moral decline, prostitution, drugs, triads and so on…”  Ms Hu Muying president of the Children of Yan’an Fellowship.

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Dimming of China’s ‘great red hope’ troubles offspring of the old guard
John Garnaut, Beijing
Source – The Age, published February 13, 2012

THE waning of Bo Xilai’s political star in Chongqing has left the Communist Party’s conservative elders without a potential saviour who can turn around what they see as a deepening internal crisis.

Mr Bo, the Chongqing party boss, announced the sacking of his right-hand man, police chief Wang Lijun, on February 2, leading Mr Wang to later flee the city and spectacularly take refuge in the US consulate in Chengdu.

Days before Mr Wang’s escape, 1200 children of high party cadres gathered for their biggest-ever spring festival gathering at Beijing’s Heaven and Earth Theatre.

Most attendees were born at the Communist Party’s pre-revolution stronghold of Yan’an.

Hu Muying, who is the daughter of Hu Qiaomu, a former Politburo member and chief speechwriter for Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, used her keynote speech to rail against the kind of party corruption Mr Bo had been waging war against.

”Thirty years of opening and reform have achieved remarkable economic achievements but those brilliant achievements were followed by class polarisation, rampant corruption, a public spiritual vacuum, chaotic thinking, moral decline, prostitution, drugs, triads and so on,” said Ms Hu, who convened the gathering as president of the Children of Yan’an Fellowship.

”These evils that were exterminated at the founding of new China have made a comeback and may even have grown worse,” she said.

”We, the children of veteran party members, keep thinking, ‘Is this the new China our fathers sacrificed their blood to fight for and establish?’ ”

Members of the Children of Yan’an make up the largest and most organised group of children of revolutionary heroes, who are using their hereditary privileges to sound an alarm about what they see as a crisis in the party.

At last year’s spring festival gathering, Mr Bo was held up as a great red hope. This year, however, nobody offered any solutions beyond a wishful plea to incoming leaders.

”We expect the new leadership can recognise the crisis and correct the wayward course,” Ms Hu said.

”Without this there will be no future.”

Mr Bo, who seemed poised for promotion into the Politburo standing committee at this year’s wholesale leadership change, had captivated and polarised the nation by waging war against corruption and breathing new life into the spirit of Mao Zedong. He now faces the probability that Mr Wang, formerly his most trusted ally, is divulging material to Mr Bo’s many factional enemies in Beijing.

Geremie Barme, director of the Australian National University’s Centre of China in the World, said Ms Hu’s organisation was the first since the 1980s to attempt to take on a role as the party’s loyal opposition.

”They matter because in China today the only legitimate form of critique is from within the party’s own heritage, which is a socialist-Maoist amalgam,” Professor Barme said.

It was too easy to be blinded by China’s economic miracle, overlook its deeper search for meaning and forget its capacity for abrupt policy changes, he said.

”Bo Xilai often sounds like political firebrand, but he is also incredibly crafty,” he said. ”One might find Bo Xilai distasteful and that ‘chang hong’ [sing red] is all over, but China’s red culture is far from over.”

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Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Bo Xilai, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Corruption, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Maoism, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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