In a post today, CMP Director Ying Chan discussed the way presidential elections in Taiwan this month were actively discussed in mainland China despite a directive from the Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department that limited Chinese newspapers to using Xinhua News Agency coverage.
Not surprisingly, domestic Chinese microblogs were one of the places where discussion of the elections in Taiwan was most active — and where in fact it continues.
This post, for example, made after Ma Ying-jeou’s victory Saturday by Hong Kong journalist Luqiu Luwei (闾丘露薇), was still being shared and discussed today:
Ma Ying-jeou has won, showing that elections are not a scary thing for a ruling party. Elections four years ago were steady and smooth, and this year was no different. This isn’t the work of any one political party or political figure, but rather a reflection of how the Taiwan electorate has slowly matured. . .
Just to give readers a sense of the microblog-based reach someone like Luqiu Luwei can have, she has a reported following on Sina Weibo of close to 1.3 million. And while followers for VIP account holders can be inflated by microblog service providers in China, there is no doubt Luqiu’s following is substantial.
In response to the Luqiu Luwei post above, one mainland user on Sina Weibo wrote: “[Chinese] authorities, why do you fear elections?”
On that note we turn here to one of the most interesting pieces to appear on domestic microblogs in China this month on the question of democracy in China. The post, converted from text into an image file (a fairly effective means of eluding censorship), addresses one of the most frequent rationalizations given by opponents of democracy in China: that the Chinese people are just too base in character to make it work.
Posted on January 6, this version of the image-as-text file was shared more than 9,000 times on Sina Weibo, drawing close to 2,300 comments as of January 17. We’ve posted the image file as the bottom of our translation, and readers can see from the overlapping Weibo account names at the bottom-right that this file was re-posted a number of times.
Those who fight against democracy, please answer the following questions right away:
1. You emphasize that our people are of low character, not suited to carrying out Western democratic systems. But how is it then that we are able to implement an even more advanced socialist system? Is it that socialism doesn’t demand of the people a very high-level of character and conduct? Or is it that socialism is inferior to capitalism?
2. You advertise that autocracy is more efficient than democracy, and so you reject democracy. If this is the case, wouldn’t an even more autocratic imperial system have a higher degree of efficiency still? Should we then return to the imperial system? Is high efficiency necessarily good? And what if there is high efficiency in doing bad things — what then?
3. You emphasize that our people are intelligent, hardworking, courageous and good, the most excellent people on earth. How then do you explain that this most excellent population, having passed through 5,000 years of corrupt history and then having subsequently lived through 50 years under the most advanced and ideal system replacing [the old corrupt system], are still of such low character that they aren’t suited to the most basic democratic rights?
4. You emphasize that the peoples’ character is too low so we can’t have democracy, but why is it that intra-party democracy too cannot move ahead? Does this mean that elites within the Party are also of low character? If people are of low character, are they qualified to rule a nation and its people?
5. You say that the Party is the servant of the people, and that the people are the masters of our nation, but you emphasize that we must uphold Party leadership. Why is this?
6. You say on the one hand that we must take command politically, that politics is a required course. But on the other hand, you don’t allow us to discuss politics. On the one hand you say officials must talk politics, but on the other you don’t allow the ordinary people to participate in the administration and discussion of state affairs.
7. You say that you represent advanced culture, but you can’t tolerate freedom of expression as mandated in our Constitution. You don’t permit criticism, but only allow paeans of praise [for the Party]. So where is this advanced [culture] you talk about?
8. If the National People’s Congress is the highest organ of power in our country, why is it that it must work under the leadership of the Party?
9. Why though you are clearly staunch materialists do you completely worship a fabricated Ism [i.e., socialism with Chinese characteristics] and define this as the ultimate truth, not permitting the existence of other ideas?
10. If the people are the masters of our nation, why is it that these masters don’t have the right to demand democracy, freedom and human rights?
11. Why is it do you think that while the Party has set its mind to opposing corruption, corruption has not just seen no decline over the past decade and more, but in fact has grown more and more serious? Does this mean that the central Party’s commitment to fight corruption isn’t strong enough, or that it doesn’t have sufficient capacity?
12. You publicize the advanced nature of the proletariat, and you publicize violent revolution. But when the proletariat has used violent revolution to seize power and then annihilates the propertied classes to become the masters of the nation and monopolize all of the resources of society, cna they still be called the proletariat? Can they still maintain their advanced nature? Did our nation’s proletariat really become the nation’s masters?
13. [You have said:] “Why must we have violent revolution? Because the proletariat are the most advanced, and they demand revolution”; “Why is the proletariat the most advanced? Because they are the most completely devoted to the revolution.” What kind of logic is this?
14. You have publicized that, “Revolution is guiltless, and revolt is rational.” But now you emphasize that “stability is the overriding priority,” afraid of the wind even stirring the grass. In this era of peace, how is it that you work along contrary lines?
15. You publicize that we are a society where each person receives according to his labor, but the the power and standards for distribution [of wealth and resources] are all in the hands of just a few officials, and ordinary Chinese don’t have the right to question. What should we make of this?
16. You say there was “never a Savior”, but you parade the idea that “he [Mao Zedong] was the Great Liberator.” How do you explain that? [NOTE: Here the writer is attacking the cult of Mao Zedong, the idea that the leader’s legacy is unassailable.]
17. You publicize that in our wicked old society the people were no better than cattle and horses, but you call on the people to strive to be willing old oxen of the revolution. Could you explain this idea?
18. How is it that our leaders are always the greatest and most enlightened, but our people are always regarded as having a debased character? Is it that our leaders are unable or unwilling to work to lift up the character of the people? And how is it that we can manage to find such great and enlightened from among a population of debased character? Further, wouldn’t it be right to say that in those countries where the character of the people is not so base, the leaders there even greater and more enlightened than our own?
19. How is it that [you say] our system is the most advanced, that our government is that most enlightened, that our leaders are great, and our people are the most diligent, but the country is still very backward and poor?
20. You say that the Party was established for the people, that [the Party] is single-minded in serving the people, but the expenses of the Party are from the national treasury and the people don’t have the right to ask questions about them. Why is that?
21. The people are asked to report their personal income and pay taxes, but there is objection to the idea that government officials make their assets and holdings public. What is the reason behind this?
22. Why is it that the people are asked to pay taxes but have never been informed how this money is being spent?
23. Why is it that our economy has shown a high rate of growth year after year but the incomes of ordinary Chinese have not grown?
24. Why is it that ordinary Chinese are always asked to obey this rule or that rule, but have never been permitted to voice their doubts about the rationale behind these rules?
25. Why is it that when officials pocket millions of yuan through corrupt means these acts can always be played down, but if an ordinary citizen steals just more than ten-thousand yuan they can face capital punishment?
26. Why is it that the proletariat are the most advanced? Is it that one can become advanced simply by becoming poor, by having nothing? Do our poor people today still have this advanced nature?
27. Seeing as [according to Party doctrine] the workers are the master class of our nation, why is it that masses of laid-off workers have fallen to the lowest levels of our society?
28. Why when you are materialists through and through are you constantly seizing control, with a mountain of paperwork and a sea of meetings all to send out instructions, [urging] consensus, the study of ideology, understanding the essence [of this or that declaration], expending so much energy on all of these ideological things?
29. Why when you are materialists through and through do you have such a taste for all of these superficial articles, exaggerating and concealing things, and why do you send all of these slogans flying?
30. Why when you are materialists through and through are you so vigorous in controlling thought, requesting [, as the Party did during the Cultural Revolution, that the people] ask for instructions in the morning, report their actions in the evening, and engage in determined self-criticism?