Hongkong: Folket mod kommunistpartiet

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Der er nogle ting, som udenlandske politikere ikke taler om, når de er på besøg i Kina. Og med protesterne i Hongkong er der kommet endnu et punkt, som man vil gøre alt for at undgå. For værdier er noget, som politikere ikke tager med til Kina.

For eksempel er demonstrationerne i Hongkong dårlig timing for den amerikanske præsident, der kommer til Kina om en måneds tid, som der står i denne artikel i New York Times.

Men hvor slemt er det nu lige i Kina? Som professor David Shambaugh – der har skrevet en lang række bøger, der bør være lektielæsning for enhver, der interesserer sig for kinesisk politik – siger det i artiklen:

“China right now is undergoing the harshest political repression it has seen since 1989,” said David Shambaugh, director of the China policy program at George Washington University, citing the year of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

“The situation has gone from bad to worse from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping, and the administration isn’t speaking out about that.”

Det vil Obama næppe gøre opmærksom på. Det er heller ikke noget, som danske politikere lader sig tynge af, når de besøger Beijing. For det vigtigste er danske arbejdspladser og økonomi. Hvilket det også er for Storbritannien, mener Anson Chan i denne artikel på Guardian:

One of the most profoundly disappointing responses to the events in Hong Kong has been Britain’s silence – or its weak words that have sometimes been worse than silence.

At the very least, Britain should act honourably: it has a moral and legal responsibility to Hong Kong. It did after all sign a treaty, back in 1984, that guaranteed Hong Kong’s core values and way of life, including freedom of speech and assembly, until 2047.

The truth is that money talks. Talk to British business people and their first instinct is to keep their heads low; they just want things to carry on as before, would like the protests to disappear, and maintain good relations with China. The view from the British government is not much different.

For Beijing og præsident Xi Jinping er det lige nu et af de vigtigste spørgsmål, som de skal finde et svar på. For krisen i Hongkong truer kommunistpartiet, og den skal løses, som Evan Osnos skriver i The New Yorker:

Resolving the crisis falls to President Xi Jinping, in Beijing. Eighteen months after taking office, the tall, phlegmatic son of the Communist aristocracy has swiftly consolidated control of the Party and the military, arresting thousands of officials in an anti-corruption campaign and promoting his personal brand of power. For years, Beijing has downplayed the importance of any single leader, for fear of creating another cult of personality. Xi is reversing that trend: he has already graced the pages of the People’s Daily more times than any leader since Chairman Mao; last week, the government issued a book of his quotations in nine languages.

Xi sanctifies absolutism as a key to political survival. In a speech to Party members in 2012, he asked, “Why did the Soviet Communist Party collapse? An important reason was that its ideals and convictions wavered. Eventually, all it took was a quiet word from Gorbachev to declare the dissolution of the Soviet Communist Party, and the great Party was gone. In the end, nobody was man enough to come out and resist.” But the very strategy that Xi has adopted for safeguarding the government in Beijing has hastened the crisis in Hong Kong. He has staked his Presidency on a “great renewal” of China, a nationalist project that leaves little room for regional identities. Last year, when the Party faced mounting complaints over deadly air pollution, Internet censorship, and rampant graft, it arrested lawyers, activists, and journalists in the harshest such measure in decades, and circulated an internal directive to senior members. The notice identified seven “unmentionable” topics: Western-style democracy, “universal values,” civil society, pro-market liberalism, a free press, “nihilist” criticisms of Party history, and questions about the pace of China’s reforms. The list was, in retrospect, a near-perfect inventory of the liberties that distinguish life in Hong Kong.

For Kinas Kommunistparti og dets magtfulde leder Xi Jinping er det vigtigste mål, at partiet beholder sit greb om magten. Og her er folket en trussel mod dem, som The Economist fortæller her:

China’s Communist Party leaders are no doubt keen to hold on to power for its own sake. But the country’s grim history also helps explain why they are so determined not to give ground to the demonstrators in Hong Kong who want to replace the territory’s fake democracy with the real thing (see article). Xi Jinping, China’s president, and his colleagues believe that the party’s control over the country is the only way of guaranteeing its stability. They fear that if the party loosens its grip, the country will slip towards disorder and disaster.

They are right that autocracy can keep a country stable in the short run. In the long run, though, as China’s own history shows, it cannot. The only guarantor of a stable country is a people that is satisfied with its government. And in China, dissatisfaction with the Communist Party is on the rise.

Mange påstår, at Kina stadig i dag er et konfuciansk samfund. Lederne i partiet bruger da også selv løs af referencer til Konfucius og Mencius. Det er en del af partiets – og kejsernes – legitimitet, at de har “himmelens mandat” til at lede Kina.

Men har de nu også det, spørger Chris Fraser, der er professor i kinesisk filosofi på Hong Kong University i denne blogpost:

How do we know how well a leader is fulfilling his responsibility and maintaining his mandate? For Mengzi, the people do not choose their leaders or run their own government. But public approval or disapproval serves as an indicator, or a gauge, of how well the leadership are doing their jobs.

You might argue that public demonstrations such as this week’s are just the sort of thing Mengzi is talking about. When tens of thousands of people pour into the street day after day in frustration, this is a sign that the leader is failing and his mandate is weak.

Så nej, hvis man trækker Mengcius frem og ser historisk på det, så har de kommunistiske ledere nu tabt, skriver professor Sam Crane fra Williams College på sin fremragende blog, The Useless Tree:

When he says that, for Menicus, the “people do not choose their leaders” he is simply making an historical observation: people in ancient China did not choose their leaders. This is not to suggest that Mencius cannot be relevant to modern democracy; quite the contrary, Menicus has been an inspiration to various East Asian democratizers. And one of ways that the old text applies to what is happening in Hong Kong right now, is what Fraser points to: the mere fact of massive public protest is a sign that the leadership – and that means the Beijing leadership – has lost the mandate of the people.

And we can take it one Mencian step further: since the people are the eyes and ears of Heaven, it is plain the regime has not only lost the mandate of the people, but also the mandate of heaven.

Derfor er der god grund til, at de kinesiske medier og internettet har været stærkt censureret i Kina, hvor de færreste har hørt om de egentlige årsager til demonstrationerne i Hongkong, som ekspert i kinesiske medier, Jeremy Goldkorn, siger her til nyhedsbureauet AFP:

On the Chinese mainland, however, the story is being spun to match a different narrative – one in which the demonstrators are “violent”, “extreme” and being manipulated by foreign forces.

A front-page story on the protests in Monday’s (September 29) Chinese-language edition of the Global Times tabloid showed not scenes of demonstrators being tear-gassed at close range, but rather rows of police officers trying to keep a surging crowd of protesters at bay.

And in what experts say is a record clampdown on social media, news has adhered strictly to the party line, with the ruling Communist Party’s censors working to erase social media postings from protesters in Hong Kong or any criticism – at home and abroad – directed at Beijing.

“There’s very little information aside from the official point of view that you can find that lasts very long,” said Jeremy Goldkorn, the founder of Danwei, a Beijing-based firm that tracks Chinese media and Internet.

“That doesn’t mean that people don’t know what’s going on, but the messaging is being controlled quite strictly,” he added.

Men Kinas Kommunistparti har også tilhængere i Vesten, der forsvarer den kinesiske etpartistat, og som ikke vil fortælle om demonstranternes krav om demokrati, som forsøger at bagatellisere protesterne og siger, at de ikke har legitimitet. Om det er nyttige idioter eller om de har stærkere tilknytning til Kina, kan man kun gætte på. Her er et eksempel fra China Daily via China Digital Times:

The three of you who initiated “Occupy Central” are academics and a member of the clergy. Your responsibility is to nurture talent, not to take it onto the streets in defiance of the law at the risk of ruining the future of your charges. Don’t be presumptuous about the absolute integrity of your position. Bear in mind that there is that silent majority who might not share your views. I would council you to read more history and learn from the mistakes of mankind’s past. You may then gain an awareness of the dangers of unpredictability and not seeing the wood for the trees. Most of all, you must avoid violence.

Don’t be besotted by apparent Western superiority and practice. Always think twice before you act.

Tell me, if Beijing were to accept your demands for “one person, one vote” in Hong Kong, and the people on the mainland also were to follow suit in electing the president of the country, where do you think it would lead us in the current situation?

[…] I have studied and worked in the US and Canada for nearly 50 years. I understand that Western democracy is no panacea. For success it requires an upgrade in the quality of the people. According to the prevailing view, democracy is a blessing in Europe and the United States (though not perfect), but a poison in Taiwan, and a disaster in the Arabic world. I predict it would create chaos in China and cause the people to suffer. Do you not understand this obvious truth?

:: Grafik via Artnet, der har samlet en række af de bedste logos for paraplybevægelsen

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Hurtige klik fra Kina af Kim Rathcke Jensen. Jeg er journalist og BA i kinesisk. Jeg bor i Beijing, hvor jeg arbejder som Politikens korrespondent i Kina og Asien.

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