By David Bandurski — Have you ever wondered why China persists with a one-party political system? Have you ever scratched your head over why China refuses to check the concentration of political power by separating the legislative, executive and judicial functions of government? Well, my friends, perhaps you’ll find resolution in China’s latest brand of ideological infant formula.
We introduce to you . . . the “Six Why’s.” That’s right, Hu Jintao and his army of CCP theorists have worked out a simple political primer for us all, a kind of FAQ of market-Leninism.
The “Six Why’s,” which could be read as an indirect response to the 20th anniversary of the 1989 student movement, and perhaps the CCP’s answer to Charter 08 and the published journals of former premier Zhao Ziyang, seek to answer basic political questions like, “Why should Marxism be our guiding ideology?”
Launched with great party media fanfare back on June 5, they have gotten precious little attention in the Western media. Why? Most likely because the “Six Why’s” formula, for all of its cozy paternalism, is still mostly an impenetrable mess of dogma.
A comparatively brief summary of the “Six Why’s” can be found at the CCTV International website.
We encourage those readers who have strong Chinese reading ability, a great deal of spare time, and the monumental patience it takes to read official Communist Party twaddle to click into the commentary links provided after each summary point — essays like, “We cannot accept ideological pluralism,” “Cleaving to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” or, “Our nation must not practice privatization.”
In any case, the “Six Why’s” are an important formulation of ideology within the CCP, and for this reason we should pay them ample attention. Books, apparently, have already hit the shelves.
Brief translations of one formulation of the “Six Why’s” (from the CCTV International site) follow:
1. Why must we uphold the guiding role of Marxism in the realm of ideology?
The guiding role of Marxism in China has not been decided by any certain person or by the will of one party, rather it is a choice and circumstance of history, and a choice rendered by the people. Our country’s process of revolution, building and reform has thoroughly shown that without Marxism there would be no new China; without Marxism and its renewed development in China, there would be no Socialism with Chinese characteristics. In these times, the struggle and competition for overall national strength grows fiercer by the day, hostile forces in the West refuse to stomach our nation’s development and strengthening, and as they have never ceased to carry out a strategy of “Westernization” toward us, and a conspiracy of “separatism” . . . In these serious international circumstances, if we were to give up the guiding role of Marxism in the sphere of ideology and pursue a path of pluralistic guiding ideologies, this would mean ensnaring ourselves and tearing down our own defenses [lit: “tear down the Great Wall on our own”].
2. Why is it that only socialism can save China, that only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China, and why can’t we take the path of democratic socialism and capitalism?
Socialism with Chinese characteristics is not the old path of being closed up and rigid, nor is it the old wicked socialism under a new banner. It is a socialism marked by a determination to seek reform, a striving toward development, perseverance on the path of openness, putting the people first and promoting harmony . . . Over the last 30 years, it has been socialism with Chinese characteristics that has propelled the Chinese people toward modernization, moved them closer to the world and into the future, successfully achieving the transition from a highly centralized planned economic model to a socialist market economy full of energy and vitality.
3. Why must we continue with the system of people’s congresses, and why can’t we practice “separation of powers”?
The history of many countries in the world teaches us that in developing democracy we can only take our own paths. If we depart from the facts and circumstances of our own country, if we disregard the objective demands of social and economic development, if we blindly copy the systems of other nations, not only will we not achieve the peoples’ hopes of developing democracy, we will damage their interests and for the development of the economy and society, or even court disaster.
4. Why must we persist in the system of cooperation and consultation of various parties with the CCP, and why can we not the Western multi-party system?
Political parties are the engines of politics in the vast majority of countries in the world today, and they have an important role in political life. Employing a political party system that suits the circumstances and features of a nation, and which accommodates its state of social development, is an important precondition of that nation’s development and progress. The system of cooperation and consultation of the CCP with various political parties is a great creation in which our party combined Marxist theories of political parties with the theory of the united front as suited realities in China . . . The system is a historical necessity, and it is both greatly original and highly superior.
5. Why must we persist in a public ownership system in which various types of economic ownership systems co-exist? Why can’t we carry out privatization or a “more pure” form of public ownership?
Persisting in a system of public ownership is a demand and special characteristic of our nation’s socialist economic system, and it meets with the needs and special features of the operation of our national economy. Ours is a populous nation with a weak economic basis and very unequal development. The hardships facing us in our task of advancing economic reforms and socialist modernization are of a seriousness such as the world has never before seen. If the socialist system of public ownership is overturned and we pursue privatization, then the socialist system will no longer exist, and we will then forfeit our basis for leading the people through various obstacles and challenges, for liberating and developing productive forces, and for moving toward common prosperity.
6. Why must we persist in our economic reform policies? Why can’t we turn back?
Economic reform and opening is a necessary historical choice. Our experience has shown that the path and direction of economic reform is entirely correct. The past, present and future of economic reforms lie in the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and in the realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people.
[Posted by David Bandurski, June 19, 2009, 1:25pm HK]