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China's 7 Perils Are All Western

Politics / China Aug 20, 2013 - 04:08 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


Reporting from Hong Kong in the 'New York Times', August 19,  Chris Buckley started with this lead: “Communist Party cadres have filled meeting halls around China to hear a somber, secretive warning issued by senior leaders. Power could escape their grip, they have been told, unless the party eradicates seven subversive currents coursing through Chinese society”.

The present ideological crusade is linked by many with an initial crack in the CCP (Communist People's Party) propaganda system, in January 2013, revealed by the “Guangdong Southern Weekly newspaper controversy”, when its journalists rebelled against the CCP's heavy-handed rewriting, editing and change of editorial content to suit CCP ideology.

In January, the Guangdong newspaper's original editorial piece had called for political reform and greater respect of constitutional rights “to build a truly free and strong nation” and realize the dream of the Chinese people. This was a clear reference to a then-recent speech by new CCP leader Xi Jinping on the “China dream” and the “great revival of the Chinese nation.” The article published instead of the version by newspaper staffers gave servile praise to central party rule and had many glaring factual errors.

Today the curtain, certainly aluminum foil if not yet iron, is reining down on free speech and any discussion or debate about “the peoples' constitution” of China and how it could or might be changed. China's seven perils are all Western, say leading ideologues.

Above all, in a clear break with the past, Xi Jinping's ideologues are openly targeting the West and “Western values” as the key dangers to the nation.

Even at the time of the Guangdong newspaper incident, in January, outraged journalists referred to the propaganda broadsheet “Document  No 9”, circulating in their e-mail inboxes and by paper mail. Observers and analysts today, as Chris Buckley reports are in their majority sure that Document 9 was either written by Xi Jinping himself or a very close aide.

Infrequently noted by Western observers, Xi Jinping is himself, in Chinese astrological terms a Serpent or Snake, and Years of the Snake are extremely ominous for the Chinese. Snake years have been unlucky for humankind, and especially Chinese. While Westerners have no need to be influenced by Chinese astrology (often preferring Iranian-origin “western” astrology)  more than a billion people in Asia are influenced by it. Xi Jinping is one. The Number of the Serpent, 6, reverses to make a 9.

Snake years in the past include 1929 and its stock market crash, plunging the world into the Great Depression. The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 happened during a Snake year. So did the devastating terror attack on the World Trade Center and its 3000 dead on Sept 11, 2001. The 1917 Communist Russian Revolution and over 70 years of problems linked with the Soviet Union began in a Snake year.
Much more important to Xi Jinping, the 1989 “Democracy rebellion” and Chinese Communist slaughter of protestors in Pekin's Tiananmen Square also happened in a Year of the Snake. While it is of course formally denied in China that Xi Jinping is the author of Document No 9, its content lends credibility to the majority view it was his work. If the document was not directly written by Mr. Xi it was at least submitted to and approved by the Central Committee General Office, the administrative power house of China's leadership, and could not have been published without the direct approval of Mr. Xi and the 11 other most-senior Politburo leaders.

The document enumerates the Seven Perils facing the nation, and the very first is:  “Western constitutional democracy”.

Linked very closely in the hierarchy “of evil”, Document No 9 integrates the notion of “universal values” with Western democracy as a twin Peril – a very clear rebuff to any attempt, from inside or outside China to roll human rights along with democracy into a very dangerous package for China. The Document also lists Western-inspired notions of media independence, the role of civil society and NGOs in the political process, and the Western doctrines of “free markets” and “neo-liberalism”. Lifting a corner of the veil on today's Chinese leadership and its real opinions of the West, the document lists “nihilist criticism” by Westerners of the Chinese Communist Party and its recent history and especially the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, as a major Peril.

As we know, Xi Jinping has engaged epic-scale reforms in China – called rebalancing – and these reforms nominally include the goal of exposing China’s economy to stronger market forces. In what is possibly his own personal ideological statement, Document No 9, he advances a far more powerful goal. What he calls for is a “mass popular campaign” to enforce party authority going far beyond the CCP’s periodic calls for discipline. The document and its blatant anti-Western line reinforces previous internal warnings to CCP cadres, which revealed that Mr. Xi’s confident public face has an anguished side driven by rising fears that the party and nation are vulnerable. The challenges go on increasing in number and range from economic slowdown, through public anger about corruption and censorship, to the outright refusal to change outdated laws - and many other grievances that have been “left to rot”.

Western analysts tend only to see a diversionary tactic being employed by Mr Xi. They do not believe that anti-Western, and anti-foreigner sentiment is rising in China, but this may be overly optimistic. Document No 9 says: “Western forces hostile to China and (supporting) dissidents within the country are still constantly infiltrating the ideological sphere”. Opponents of one-party rule, it says, “have stirred up trouble about disclosing officials’ assets, using the Internet to fight corruption, media controls and other sensitive topics, to provoke discontent with the party and government”.

CCP propaganda operatives across the country have focused the key foreign enemies of China identified by the Document.

“Western anti-China forces led by the United States have joined in one after the other, and colluded with dissidents within the country to make slanderous attacks on us in the name of so-called press freedom and constitutional democracy,” said Zhang Guangdong, a propaganda official in Lianyungang. The slogans and conclusions made by Party central office propaganda officials are quickly handed down and spread across the country. Certainly at “grass roots' and small town level, Xi Jinping's call to arms is seen as China's necessary defence against a coordinated Western attempt to break through China's political system, and impose decadent Western values. This 7 Perils campaign is seen by some observers as having the potential to become another Great Leap Forward – and like Mao Zedong's Great Leap this includes the leap into the unknown.

Less and less surprising to Westerners, both China's hard right and hard left are vigorously anti-Western – but for totally different reasons. Much more surprising to Westerners because it never features in CCP propaganda and rarely in news and current affairs, China's attitudes and policies towards Islam – both inside and outside China – have a long and complex pedigree. However, simply taking the subject of greatest present interest to Westerners – the Muslim Brotherhood, djihadists, Al Qaeda and the sunni-shia divide – all of these issues have been lengthily analyzed by Chinese strategists, for more than 50 years in the case of the Brotherhood. China's own “Wild Islamic West”, or Xinjiang, is a theatre for the Politburo's application of its own strategy on Islamic insurgency and political action. Outside Chinese borders, notably in India, its Islamic strategy is also applied.

With China's hard left and hard right, the Politburo's Islamic countervailing power strategy targets the same enemy: the West.

Also rarely noted by Western analysts, but a fact, the US Afghan war brings American fighting troops to the western borders of China. This is not appreciated by China. Its countervailing strategy, developed for more than 25 years since the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, is at its simplest “divide and rule”, and applied relative to Islam in the same fashion as Chinese counter-Buddhist strategy inside Tibet.

Both religions are regarded as decadent by Chinese communist ideologues, which to them explains the Western “fascination” with Buddhism and Islam. Applying both Marxist and Maoist analytical tools, China's hard left has a fully-developed ideological explanation of today's chaos in the Middle East and North Africa – called “Arab Spring”, or more recently Arab Winter. China' hard right, while it extols market-based reforms and transparent pricing, is also extreme nationalist and sees itself as the guardian of Han traditions stretching back to Emperor Yu, called Yu the Great (died about 2100 BC).

Drawing on a complex web of powerful myths, China's hard right compares the victory of Yu the Great against ravaging floods – with the need to contain and weaken the West. Yu is credited with successfully devising a system of flood controls that were crucial in establishing the prosperity of the Chinese heartland. Yu, whose father had tried to contain the Yellow River with simple dykes – and was executed for his failure - devised a system of irrigation canals to split and spread floodwaters into many fields across a huge region of central China. Completing the myth and linking with the tradition of Mao Zedong and the hard left, Yu ate and slept with the common workers and worked with them to dredge the silty beds of the rivers, for the 13 years of work the projects took to complete.

Divide and rule is therefore a well known strategy to Chinese ideologues – and Islam lends itself to that strategy, notably due to the sunni-shia divide. Chinese ideologists, today, see the West as critically weakened and therefore dangerous, making it vital to contain what they see as increasing Western attempts at infiltrating and weakening Chinese society, to bring down China with the West.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2013 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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