Friday, October 2, 2009

The People's Republic of China: Sixty Years of Progress and Achievement

On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong stood in Beijing's Tienanmen
Square and declared:

" After centuries of foreign domination and humiliation,
the Chinese people have stood up."

With those words, the People's Republic of China was

Sixty years later, the People's Republic is not just still standing,
but has risen to heights undreamed of by even the most rabid of
Mao's followers.

And for the Chinese people, it was a day of justly-earned celebration.

In a spectacle never before seen in China, 100,000 troops
marched through Tienanmen Square, publicly displaying
the nation's military might as never before. The military
displays were followed by thousands more coreographed
and costumed participants reminiscent of the Beijing Olympics
opening ceremonies just a year ago. Naturally, the festivities
concluded in the evening with traditional Chinese fireworks.

And the entire event was broadcast live around the nation and
around the world by Chinese television. And congratulations
poured in from everywhere . Several nations issued
commemorative postage stamps. Chinese communities
around the world celebrated with flags, fireworks, and even
dragon dances. Even the Empire State Building was lit up
for the occasion in red and gold.

Truly a remarkable day for a remarkable people.

But no one knows better than the Chinese people what
struggles they had to overcome to get there.

After coming to power, the Chinese Communist Party
began to try to wrest China from its age-old poverty
and backwardness. The first effort, The Great Leap
Forward, resulted in famines that killed tens of millions.

The next convulsion, The Cultural Revolution, threatened
to tear the country apart. After the loss of almost a hundred
million lives, it ended only when the People's Liberation Army
threatened to put an end to Party rule.

But the leader of that would-be coup, Deng Xiaoping, is The Man
who Turned China Around.

Declining all official position (except the most powerful position,
Head of The Central Military Commission), he declared:

"I don't care if a cat is black or white. I don't care if a cat
is a Capitalist Cat or a Socialist Cat. What I want is a cat
that catches mice."

With that China took off - and it hasn't stopped since.

Opening its doors to foreign education and foreign
investment, today China is the world's factory and foundry.

Instead of sending its most promising students to Moscow
to study Marxism and Leninism, it started sending its brightest
students West - to study science, technology, engineering and

Carefully studying the economic history of the West, China
replaced utopian communism with state-directed mercantilist
capitalism - using currency controls,tariffs, taxes and subsidies
to vault itself past "free market" Western economies.

In the process, China has also become the world's largest
Creditor nation. And early in 2010, it will pass Japan as
the world's second largest economy. And, if present
trends continue, by 2020 China will attain the economic
position it has always coveted - Number One.

None of this, though, has come without a price. "Political
Freedom" as we in the West understand it, is unknown.
But, there are compensations and accomplishments
of which the Chinese are justly proud.

In two generations, over a half-billion people have been
lifted out of the abject poverty that they had known since
antiquity. That has never before happened in history anywhere.
Another three hundred million people - mostly in the cities -
now comprise a Chinese Middle Class, with owned homes,
modern appliances, TV and internet, working in the sorts of
jobs that didn't exist even twenty years ago. There are over a
million millionaires - and even in the worldwide downturn,
that number continues to grow.

Along the way, there have been missteps - but China has
used these as learning experiences. National Day celebrations
twenty years ago were marred by the "democracy"
demonstrations, which were quickly suppressed by tanks
and troops. But, instead of embarking on endless new rounds
of repression, China used this experience to begin a decade-long
anti-corruption drive against its often corrupt and inefficient
local officials.

The local bosses now know they have to deliver for their
people - or there will be consequences. And in a remarkable
development, the National Government now encourages
the local press to speak out against corruption and
incompetence when discovered.

You can't question the Party's right to rule - but you
can question how well they do it.

And this shows up in the opinions of the people.
Even with the recession, fully two-thirds of China's people
are optimistic about the future - higher than any
Western country. Western-educated Chinese youth now
see more opportunity at home than in the US or Europe.
And the Chinese diaspora supports The Motherland as
never before.

There may be problems in the future - but for right now,
"The East is Red"

1 comment:

  1. China has much to be proud of- for a one party system they do it well. Are we really that much different from the Chinese? Does adding one political party to our Republic really make us free? At least the Chinese make progress with their programs. we have to put up with redneck retards screaming about death panels and their shouting the stupid lies the right wing keeps feeding them. Freedom and liberty are precious and important but not when Republicans keep riling up their fringe and set them up to attack anything with Democrats attached to it. I don't see a good future I think with all the racist rancor and revolting attitudes shown by these simpletons I think there will be another civil war by the year 2020. Think about it its been less than a year of Obama's term and Republicans pretend he's committed these "atrocities" and "violations" of the Constitution. absurd, baloney, poppycock- nonsense! Every thinking person knows that Obama is cleaning up Bush's mess but don't tell that to a Birther! Forget it man! the Republicans are terrible.