◎ 金 鐘
Over every wrecked ship, a thousand sail across
By Jin Zhong
“Over every wrecked ship, a thousand sail across. Around every sick tree, ten thousand flourish.” This well-known verse of Tang Dynasty poet Liu Yuxi was recently quoted by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao to demonstrate his literary skill in his annual showcase press conference. It brings to mind the Mao era, when this same verse was repeatedly used to describe the decay of Western imperialism, Soviet revisionism and reactionaries, and the thriving of the revolutionary spirit of socialism. The analogy to this verse at the time was, “Our enemies deteriorate day after day, while we thrive more each day.” However, flooding the country with red slogans could not hide China 's misery. Mao Zedong, who used ostentatious poems to incite the world, was ultimately buried in the catastrophe created by his own Cultural Revolution. Nonetheless, it is quite appropriate to apply this famous verse, which symbolizes the young replacing the old, in analyzing China today.
A ship lies wrecked along the shore as thousands sail past. The thousand racing ships symbolize China 's long-suppressed productivity liberated by market economy. A society on the fringe of collapsing suddenly became a factory for the world and a vibrant world market. On March 16, China 's “parliament” passed with its usual overwhelming vote a new Property Law affirming that private properties are protected under the same law as public properties. “The wind may enter, so does rain. But not the King.” The constitutional affirmation of the right to private property provides further protection of private property in the realm of civil law. This is of course the result of 20 years of development of capitalism in China , as well as a landmark signaling the gradual parting with Marxist and Leninist fundamentalism. Although the rapid development of a capitalist economy has given rise to various injustices such as the private usurping of public property, corruption, extreme income disparity and ecological disaster, the people tend to regard it as the cost any society must pay in achieving historical progress, and as preferable to returning to Mao's communist society, characterized by abject poverty and constant mutual denunciation as a means of bettering oneself.
What exactly is the wrecked ship? On the one hand is China 's boiling economy, on the other its political system and ruling ideology. The entire upper echelon is deeply embedded in a stubborn conservatism. The philosophical basis of communist revolution states that production relations must be in line with the development of productivity. Our seasoned writer Xu Xing points out in this issue that the social contradictions of China and Russia at the time of their revolutions did not constitute a cause for revolution, whereas in today's China, “production relations” monopolized by the Communist Party are impeding social development. China 's anti-democratic bureaucracy is like a giant ship blocking the waterway, and which under constant bombardment is beginning to sink.
This sinking ship is buffeted not only by the waves of mainland's “all-for capitalism” tide, but also by the social progress of Hong Kong and Taiwan . Hong Kong 's high-level modernization should be accompanied by a democratic political system. After Hong Kong 's third election for Chief Executive, its 7 million residents now have a clear goal: universal suffrage starting in 2012. The struggle of Hong Kong people to end the present birdcage democracy monopolized by a small-circle electorate poses a great challenge to Communist rule. In addition, Taiwan 's full-fledge democracy has caused the social systems of Taiwan and the mainland to become so disparate as to all but rule out the possibility of reunification. Taiwan 's recent “do away with Chiang Kai Shek” campaign has demonstrated the maturity of its democracy. There may be controversies and protests, but no violence, no disruption of social order.
Every now and then, with millions of dollars in his bag, China 's chairman Hu Jintao travels around the globe to make friends. But he does not face his own media or his people, not even once in the course of a year. The Communists may investigate corrupt officials one after another behind closed doors, but they don't spend a minute pondering the legitimacy of a handful of people monopolizing power in the republic. Is this the time to return the power to the people, or to prepare to sink with the old system, perishing with a Communism soaked with blood?