Getting to the Root of the Problem

Many of us Western campaigners have tended to concentrate our human-rights activities on Tibetan issues, partly because we feel that is our calling, and partly because those issues are relatively well-known in the West. What has become apparent over the last few years is that the plight of conquered Tibet is part of a larger political battleground, one which centres-around the ruthless expansionist policies of the Chinese Communist Party, and one which has involved countless other human-rights violations on a scale similar to those which we know of in Tibet.

Broad Press - Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images
Over Twenty Million Chinese people have now taken a stance against Communism.

Talking to a Chinese-human-rights worker about the Tibetan issue, an interesting comment emerged, basically that the Tibetan issue would be solved from within China, not from within Tibet, and this would happen when when China's other political problems were finally put right. At the time I didn't  agree with this or see its significance, however I have come to admit there is an element of truth in the idea.

Until the last few years, here in the West  most people knew about the invasion of Tibet,  but knew little of what conditions in China itself were like, as that country was still maintaining a "bamboo curtain" of isolation and secrecy, not unlike that of the former Soviet Union.  What we now know of China itself shows that the political climate  in that region is not just a local phenomenon, but a serious concern for World stability and peace. Numerous  recent events have delineated not just the totalitarianism and  belligerence of the Chinese Communist regime, but also that regime's ability to coerce and manipulate other governments into committing human-rights abuses on their behalf.  

Looking at the Chinese lifestyle today, there is little question that the major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are now Communist in only name. In all other respects  they  mirror  similar cities in the West, in being centres of commerce and trade, set firmly in the capitalist style of ideology. It is probable that the majority of citizens now pay only lip-service to Communism, and regard the CCP as an outdated institution which retains its power only through the nature of its political monopoly, which allows for no alternatives.

The recent change of leadership from Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao gave rise to bright new hopes of change; however those hopes were not realised, with Hu Jintao maintaining the same hardline Marxist policies as his predecessor.  This fact more than anything else underlines the fact that he Communist leaders cannot - will not - even consider change, and therefore constitute ideological  dinosaurs whose extinction from the political sphere is only a matter of time.

Mao Zedong's stated reason for conquering Tibet  was its being governed by a feudal system, and that he perceived his invasion as being a liberation of the Tibetan people from mediaeval serfdom. We know that was not an accurate assessment of the situation, however it's interesting to compare the way in which the majority of the 'feudally-governed' Himalayan kingdoms have adapted, changed and modernised since those days with the CCP's total refusal to step out of its 1940's ideological time-warp of worn-out Marxist dogma. Clearly, China is now the nation with the outdated and primitive 'feudal' government, while others have embraced change.

Despite its tenuous hold on power, the CCP still maintains its  policies of belligerence towards neighbouring Taiwan. With the recent "secessionist" edict, the likelihood of a military invasion of Taiwan seems higher than ever. Such an invasion, Tibet-style, might well bring other major powers into the battle, and it would not be exaggerating to say that such an act would have the potential to spark a World War. That, coupled with PLA Major-General Zhu Chengzhu's recent outburst to the effect that nuclear weapons would be employed if the West were to in any way intervene in a takeover of Taiwan, underlines the critical risk to World peace which the CCP represents.

In this environment, it could be argued that a change of in the nature of Chinese political power is highly likely, if not actually imminent.  We have also seen from historical perspectives, that the longer an outmoded government retains its power by force, the more violent and damaging the repercussions when 'the change' finally does come.  I'm thinking here of the bloodthirsty French Revolution, and of the  bankruptcy of the Russian states after  the demise of Marxism.  The longer the change is delayed beyond its natural time, the more likely is war or famine as a result.

Anything which would hasten the change would be of great benefit to both the Chinese and Tibetan peoples.

A step in this direction of change was instigated by the publication of  "Nine Commentaries on Communism" by the Chinese-expatriate run Newspaper, The Epoch Times.  This special edition covers the history of the Chinese Communist Revolution from its roots until today, and  exposes the weaknesses of the Marxist ideological policies.  Since its publication  a growing number  of influential Chinese citizens have been  showing their wish for change by way of resigning their membership of the Communist Party.  The resignations, which started in a small way, have recently grown to a landslide defection from the Party. 

- How many denouncements will it take to see a change? An expert on Chinese politics has estimated that, while the Party claims to have many tens of millions of members, most of these 'members' are persons who have signed-up under duress of one kind or another, such as the requirement of CCP membership to hold certain jobs. The true figure for loyal Communist Party supporters is estimated at being around around 8-10 million  - That is, before the Nine Commentaries campaign began. It's interesting to note that this figure, while large by Western standards, represents a Party with a one percent mandate.  A government with so low a level of support would be untenable in democratic countries, and the only reason the situation persists in China is the lack of any real opposition. At a rough guess, it was postulated that four million resignations might see the start  of a change in the Chinese political climate. That figure has been reached, and all indications are that the resignations are indeed having a profound effect on Chinese politics.

It should perhaps be made clear (as this point is often misunderstood)  that the Nine Commentaries are not in themselves a political campaign - that is, they do not aim to  replace the CCP with any designated replacement party, or even with any specific type of government. Their objective is a simple one - to discredit and disempower the existing corrupt regime. The intention is that, on the Communists losing power,  democratic elections should take place in much the same way as took place in the former Soviet Union, and the Chinese people be allowed to decide on their form of government - for the first time in fifty years.  Although the aims relate mainly to China, it is hard to imagine that a successful outcome would leave Tibet any worse off than at present - In all likelihood, Tibet  would find itself in a vastly improved political climate.

A personal opinion of the Webmaster.

The Chinese people should be allowed to decide on their own what form of society they want to have. The Chinese people did not elect the CCP.” - Erping Zhang, Mason Fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

"It would be good for the ambassadors of democratic countries in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere also to show by joining demonstrators and by other means. It would be important to show that the democratic nations of the world are on the side of the Chinese people. That they feel strongly that China deserves not only a modern economy but a modern political system." Mark Palmer, former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary.