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Xi's Gorbachev obsession put China on a Soviet path

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Twincharged

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The one policy Chinese President Xi Jinping has stuck to ferociously during his tenure is to strengthen the rule of the Communist Party so as to avoid the fate of Mikhail Gorbachev and the Soviet Union. (Nikkei Montage/Source photo by AP) 

Xi's Gorbachev obsession put China on a Soviet path
Efforts to strengthen Communist Party rule has only backfired

KATSUJI NAKAZAWA, Nikkei senior staff writerJuly 30, 2020 04:02 JST

TOKYO -- The first pledge Xi Jinping made as leader of the Chinese Communist Party eight years ago was to never allow the party to suffer the same fate of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

"Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? Why did the Soviet Communist Party collapse?" he asked his fellow members in December 2012. "An important reason was that their ideals and convictions wavered," he said during an internal speech that was not carried by state media.

"Finally, all it took was one quiet word from Gorbachev to declare the dissolution of the Soviet Communist Party, and a great party was gone," he reportedly said.

Those words -- spoken mere weeks after the dark-horse candidate became general secretary -- foretold of the U.S.-China tensions that years later would relentlessly haunt Xi.

Because establishing absolute party rule -- his prescription to prevent China from following the Soviet Union's path -- has been the one policy Xi has stuck to ferociously during his tenure. It is also the core reason Sino-American relations have sunk to their lowest point since 1972, before then-President Richard Nixon visited Mao Zedong.

It is ironic for Xi that the Trump administration today is treating the Chinese Communist Party as Washington did its Soviet counterpart, trying to push it to its grave.

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Mao Zedong welcomed U.S. President Richard Nixon to China in February 1972, a development that in some parts of Asia became known as "the Nixon shock."   © AP

In a blistering speech last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Xi "a true believer in a bankrupt totalitarian ideology." He pulled no punches. "If the free world doesn't change," Pompeo snapped, "Communist China will surely change us."

It was as if the American diplomat was showing Xi the exit, beckoning him to walk the same path as Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union.

To China, the secretary of state's words reek of the dreaded "Peaceful Evolution" theory formulated by John Foster Dulles during the early years of the Cold War. Dulles, who held Pompeo's position from 1953 to 1959, talked of a political transformation of the Chinese socialist system by peaceful means. Beijing has been on alert against such a move for decades.

Pompeo's speech was so provocative it has not been squarely reported inside China. Harsh rebukes of the speech have been carried by Xinhua News Agency, but Pompeo's speech itself has not been.

Troubling for the party, the speech was filled with phrases aimed at driving a wedge between it and the people of China, clearly distinguishing between them.

Symbolically, Pompeo delivered the speech at a museum built in memory of Nixon, whose surprise visit to China paved the way for the normalization of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1979.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library on July 23, 2020. His speech in Yorba Linda, California, used phrases intended to drive a wedge between the Chinese Communist Party and the people of China.   © Reuters

The establishment of U.S.-China ties changed the course of modern history.

The Chinese Communist Party decided to part ways with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which in many ways it had followed, and instead joined hands with the U.S., which until then it had accused of imperialism.

Nixon himself made the bold choice of teaming with communist China to contain America's No. 1 adversary, the Soviet Union.

The demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 left China as the only remaining major communist power. But the U.S. did not seek to pursue the end of communist rule in China simply because China was no match for the U.S. and not worth the effort.

Today, the situation has changed, and the countries are locking horns over countless issues.

The eight years of Xi's rule are marked by a constant effort to strengthen the party.

One of the first steps Xi took was to set up various "small groups" within the party's Central Committee that would become the country's core policymaking organs. Xi himself became head of the new groups.

These moves concentrated power in Xi's hands while weakening the powers of the State Council, the national government presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, Xi's political rival.

As a result, even macroeconomic policies that were traditionally under the premier's jurisdiction gradually fell under Xi's.

This was evident at a large-scale symposium attended by a group of public and private business leaders held in Beijing on July 21. It was chaired by Xi, who was accompanied by three of the seven Politburo Standing Committee members. Li was not present, despite being known to have been in Beijing that day.

Among those invited to the meeting were representatives of Microsoft and Panasonic's China subsidiary as well as those of Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, China's top surveillance camera maker, which is facing pressure from the U.S. government.

It is clear that Xi and the party make the policies, not Li and the government.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has moved to weaken the power of Premier Li Keqiang.   © AP

Since taking office, Xi has reversed the clock in three areas. He has put the brakes on the separation of the government and the party, the separation of the government and companies, and on the separation of the military and companies.

As a result of Xi's "reverse reforms," the party is back at the top of every organization.

The slogan "military-civilian integration" offers a prime example.

The word "military" here does not mean an ordinary national military. It means the People's Liberation Army, which falls under the party's absolute command. Military-civilian integration is a framework for private companies to fully cooperate with the PLA.

The objective of companies is to pursue profits. But in China, there are party cells within companies. With the party at the decision-making table, they are significantly different from the international standard of companies.

Furthermore, China's companies and its people are required under the national intelligence and other laws to cooperate with the government -- essentially with the party -- to provide information when necessary.

This unique structure of the communist state has become a major drag on Chinese companies such as telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies and surveillance camera maker Hikvision, which have operations in the U.S. and other free nations.

"Party, government, military, civilian, and academic; east, west, south, north, and center, the Party leads everything." This was one of the slogans ratified at the party's last national congress, in 2017.

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U.S. President Donald Trump attends a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G-20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan in June 2019.   © Reuters

At the same congress, it was also decided that the target year for realizing "modernization" would be 2035 instead of around 2049, the 100th anniversary of Communist China's founding, as initially planned.

In other words, China would catch up and overtake the U.S. 15 years earlier than planned.

Naturally, the Trump administration has pulled out all the stops to block its rival.

China abruptly put in force the Hong Kong national security law, which erodes the "one country, two systems" principle that has applied to the former British colony since its return to Chinese rule in 1997. It was a decision that, as far as the international community was concerned, strayed far from common sense.

But the party's priority was its own domestic political interests, its survival instinct. The question of how the decision would hit the national economy was put on the back burner.

As expected, the U.S.-China confrontation has escalated, and diplomatic ties have plunged to their lowest point in decades. The Trump administration has begun to target China's communist regime itself, under the premise that many things that have happened during Xi's eight-year tenure have undermined the rules-based world order.

The U.S. is reportedly weighing entry restrictions on members of the Chinese Communist Party and their families. The party has as many as 92 million members, more than Germany's population. The total number of members and their family members is said to be nearly 300 million, closing in on the U.S. population.

If the U.S. severs ties with China's elite, it could, in effect, mean a freeze in diplomatic ties. It would also be highly dangerous.

Xi's obsession with not becoming Gorbachev and his relentless efforts to strengthen the party to that end have now all backfired.

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6th Gear
14 hours ago, steveluv said:

https://asia.nikkei.com/Editor-s-Picks/China-up-close/Xi-s-Gorbachev-obsession-put-China-on-a-Soviet-path?utm_campaign=RN%20Subscriber%20newsletter&utm_medium=china_up_close_newsletter&utm_source=NAR%20Newsletter&utm_content=article%20link&del_type=9&pub_date=20200731001007&seq_num=2&si=%%user_id%%

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The one policy Chinese President Xi Jinping has stuck to ferociously during his tenure is to strengthen the rule of the Communist Party so as to avoid the fate of Mikhail Gorbachev and the Soviet Union. (Nikkei Montage/Source photo by AP) 

Xi's Gorbachev obsession put China on a Soviet path
Efforts to strengthen Communist Party rule has only backfired

 

Not surprised to see a continual pipeline of anti-China articles from the "Free" Press....

 

Under Xi, it is obvious that there are roll-backs in freedom and liberal experimentation.

 

However, for the unfamiliar it must be noted that the previous 2 presidents - Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao's total 20 year era saw an explosion of social inequality and massive corruption amid economic progress and liberalisation. According to insider reports there were also significant party faction infighting. If Xi had done nothing and stayed the same course it is still possible to see the same type of Soviet meltdown as social tensions and internal rot permeates the society. Obviously that would be the preferred outcome of the western powers.

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Twincharged
5 hours ago, t0y0ta said:

Not surprised to see a continual pipeline of anti-China articles from the "Free" Press....

 

Under Xi, it is obvious that there are roll-backs in freedom and liberal experimentation.

 

However, for the unfamiliar it must be noted that the previous 2 presidents - Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao's total 20 year era saw an explosion of social inequality and massive corruption amid economic progress and liberalisation. According to insider reports there were also significant party faction infighting. If Xi had done nothing and stayed the same course it is still possible to see the same type of Soviet meltdown as social tensions and internal rot permeates the society. Obviously that would be the preferred outcome of the western powers.

Spot on. 

The US is working with its allies to fix China. 

But Xi is also not making friends anywhere. 

Interesting read.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/25/what-mike-pompeo-doesnt-understand-about-china-richard-nixon-us-foreign-policy/?outputType=amp

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Supersonic
5 hours ago, t0y0ta said:

Not surprised to see a continual pipeline of anti-China articles from the "Free" Press....

 

Under Xi, it is obvious that there are roll-backs in freedom and liberal experimentation.

 

However, for the unfamiliar it must be noted that the previous 2 presidents - Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao's total 20 year era saw an explosion of social inequality and massive corruption amid economic progress and liberalisation. According to insider reports there were also significant party faction infighting. If Xi had done nothing and stayed the same course it is still possible to see the same type of Soviet meltdown as social tensions and internal rot permeates the society. Obviously that would be the preferred outcome of the western powers.

In agreement with you. China is too large to govern without an iron fist. He is in a tough position.

That however is not an excuse for his policies and behaviour internationally.

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Supersonic
2 hours ago, Voodooman said:

Spot on. 

The US is working with its allies to fix China. 

But Xi is also not making friends anywhere. 

Interesting read.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/25/what-mike-pompeo-doesnt-understand-about-china-richard-nixon-us-foreign-policy/?outputType=amp

Recently, China quite interested in making many enemies, threatening Canada, USA with regards to Meng extradition.

Threatening Australia, UK wrt 5G, Huawei.

Pushed new security law in HK, pissing just about everyone else including EU.

Building structures, expanding, claiming South China sea right up to neighbours doorstep: Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan.

Building structures somewhere in Kashmir against India.

What else ?

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6th Gear
11 hours ago, Kb27 said:

Recently, China quite interested in making many enemies, threatening Canada, USA with regards to Meng extradition.

 Threatening Australia, UK wrt 5G, Huawei.

Pushed new security law in HK, pissing just about everyone else including EU.

 Building structures, expanding, claiming South China sea right up to neighbours doorstep: Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan.

Building structures somewhere in Kashmir against India.

What else ?

I agree with you that China has many enemies (western bloc).

However for the many examples you list, I think there are 2 sides to the coin. We mainly only hear the western voice and what the US wants us to hear.

I prefer to reserve judgement.

 

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Supersonic
41 minutes ago, t0y0ta said:

I agree with you that China has many enemies (western bloc).

However for the many examples you list, I think there are 2 sides to the coin. We mainly only hear the western voice and what the US wants us to hear.

I prefer to reserve judgement.

What's the story on the China side of the coin.

With regards to Meng extradition, it is clearly CCP has no regards for due process.

With regards to HK Security Law, it is clearly CCP is above law and order.

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Twincharged
20 hours ago, t0y0ta said:

Not surprised to see a continual pipeline of anti-China articles from the "Free" Press....

 

Under Xi, it is obvious that there are roll-backs in freedom and liberal experimentation.

 

However, for the unfamiliar it must be noted that the previous 2 presidents - Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao's total 20 year era saw an explosion of social inequality and massive corruption amid economic progress and liberalisation. According to insider reports there were also significant party faction infighting. If Xi had done nothing and stayed the same course it is still possible to see the same type of Soviet meltdown as social tensions and internal rot permeates the society. Obviously that would be the preferred outcome of the western powers.

1 mountain cannot have 2 tigers.

rise of china will lead to a crash with US sooner or later.  

all the anti china press  and news from the west is just part of the crash .

but US  and the west will find china very different compare with soviet union to deal with. 

if we read more westen news we will heard more anti china news.

its the same if u watch china news they also show all the bad stuff happening in US, like the current riot, how US  fail in controling covid19 1 death / min bababa

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Hypersonic

Soviet union collapsed cos of the failed economic policies.
The Russians while brilliant in some aspects like the arts, scientific endeavour was never a mercantile economy. Their economic mismanagement led to the inevitable political downfall of the Party.
China has done it with the benefit of hindsight and frankly a much more entrepreneurial domestic economy.

As long as there is economic progress internally in china, will things change? The chinese has a long history of internal strife and the chaos of Cultural revolution is still somewhat in the chinese mind. To go against the Party will be a long long stretch ideologically, not to mention practically. Especially for the elites who can afford to migrate in this day and age.
 

 

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Twincharged
33 minutes ago, Lala81 said:

Soviet union collapsed cos of the failed economic policies.
 

 

 

Soviet  Union is doom to fail. It consists  of too many  countries. All different agenda.

Even europe cannot be rule by a single party.

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Supersonic
45 minutes ago, Lala81 said:

Soviet union collapsed cos of the failed economic policies.
The Russians while brilliant in some aspects like the arts, scientific endeavour was never a mercantile economy. Their economic mismanagement led to the inevitable political downfall of the Party.
China has done it with the benefit of hindsight and frankly a much more entrepreneurial domestic economy.

As long as there is economic progress internally in china, will things change? The chinese has a long history of internal strife and the chaos of Cultural revolution is still somewhat in the chinese mind. To go against the Party will be a long long stretch ideologically, not to mention practically. Especially for the elites who can afford to migrate in this day and age.

No thanks to XJP Foreign Policy, a lot of elites (CCP member) and family members are stuck. 

Can't move to America or Europe (They like these places).

Can't move their assets there as well.

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Twincharged

US will not allow another country to be stronger than them in technology and military...like Japan and the former Soviet Union.

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Twincharged
16 minutes ago, Silver_blade said:

US will not allow another country to be stronger than them in technology and military...like Japan and the former Soviet Union.

China already  ahead in many technology like the unlimited nuclear fusion  that can give unlimited  power. High speed rail. Even space.

 

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Supersonic
3 minutes ago, Beregond said:

China already  ahead in many technology like the unlimited nuclear fusion  that can give unlimited  power. High speed rail. Even space.

PRC did not have all the technology for HSR.

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Twincharged (edited)
3 hours ago, inlinesix said:

What's the story on the China side of the coin.

With regards to Meng extradition, it is clearly CCP has no regards for due process.

With regards to HK Security Law, it is clearly CCP is above law and order.

China is suspicious, it doesn't trust most countries and I can't blame them. With US working 24/7 to subvert its rise (directly and indirectly), you have to assume everyone is an enemy.  

Hence despite international objection, it has to close the loop in HK (can't have a big destabilizing force at your door step) and not appear weak anywhere near its borders. The strategy is probably to shake everyone up so that you will think twice when you get a call from Mike Pompeo next.

Next is Taiwan?

But by not playing to international rules, China is pushing everyone to the side of the grand alliance.

I believe China's rise is inevitable and XJP is chosen to lead for a reason, China might be set back temporarily but it won't be broken, so we had better play our cards right while maintaining a neutral stance.

 

Edited by Voodooman
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Twincharged
15 hours ago, Kb27 said:

Recently, China quite interested in making many enemies, threatening Canada, USA with regards to Meng extradition.

Threatening Australia, UK wrt 5G, Huawei.

Pushed new security law in HK, pissing just about everyone else including EU.

Building structures, expanding, claiming South China sea right up to neighbours doorstep: Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan.

Building structures somewhere in Kashmir against India.

What else ?

Japan with rare earth and SG with terrex?

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Supersonic
3 minutes ago, Voodooman said:

China is suspicious, it doesn't trust most countries and I can't blame them. With US working 24/7 to subvert its rise (directly and indirectly), you have to assume everyone is an enemy.  

Hence despite international objection, it has to close the loop in HK (can't have a big destabilizing force at your door step) and not appear weak anywhere near its borders. The strategy is probably to shake everyone up so that you will think twice when you get a call from Mike Pompeo next.

Next is Taiwan?

But by not playing to international rules, China is pushing everyone to the side of the grand alliance.

I believe China's rise is inevitable and XJP is chosen to lead for a reason, China might be set back temporarily but it won't be broken, so we had better play our cards right while maintaining a neutral stance.

Hearsay XJP was a compromise btw Jiang and Hu.

With regards to HK, i think it is more for XJP legacy than close the loop. 

Next year, it is CCP 100th year anniversary.  XJP needs something to show that he is as great as Mao.

With the rise of CCP, ppl already forget why MCP was banned.

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