An Outdated and Feudal Slogan
By Jin Zhong
October 1 this year marks the 60th anniversary of the birth of the PRC. Whenever this day comes, the glowing lights of Tiananmen Square can be seen from afar, while the slogans “Long live the great People’s Republic of China” and “Long live the great unity of all nationalities of China” are seen almost everywhere in the country. In the old days, the CCP announced slogans on May 1 and October 1 every year. In 1951, Mao Zedong personally added “Long live Chairman Mao” as another slogan for the celebration, which was then turned into “(May Chairman Mao lives for) ten thousand years, ten thousand years, ten thousand ten thousand years.” Naturally, people wouldn’t forget to say “Long live the Chinese Communist Party.” Today, people no longer yell “Long live Chairman Mao,” but the other “long live” slogans remain and have not been cast into doubt. Mao passed away at the age of 82, by no means an “eternal life.” He believed that the Communist Party, like all human beings, would “die when it became superannuated.” The Soviet Union, regarded as China’s big brother, only lived to the age of 74. So “long live” is merely a means of “rule by slogan.”
In recent years, the issue of ethnic nationalities has raised much concern in China, recalling the old slogan “Long live the great unity of all nationalities of China.” The word “unity” has become unalterable, perfectly justified and politically correct in the Communists’ mind. We still remember the day in 1969 when the 9th Congress was held; Mao triggered great unrest in the CCP while proclaiming that it was “a congress of unity and victory.” Any attempts at secession would be regarded as a serious crime. Factional strife, disagreement, and even Zhao Ziyang’s objection to the suppression of the student movement were regarded as monstrous crimes of secession. The Dalai Lama, Rebiya Kadeer, Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian are definitely the chief offenders of splitting our homeland. In response to the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Taiwan, President Ma remained silent, but the CCP (Ye Xiaowen, Director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs) criticized Dalai as “a foreign monk reciting Buddhist scriptures,” which implied that his blessing on Taiwan’s typhoon victims was not the real purpose of his visit. Earlier, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council had already announced that “anti-communism is an internal contradiction among the people,” and that splitting the country constitutes “a contradiction between our enemies and us.”?
Is “unity” really that sacred? Universal values include a wide range of concepts, including democracy, freedom, human rights, an independent judiciary, philanthropy and equality, while there are also elements such as diversity, tolerance and respect for minorities, but “unity” is not included. “Unity” is not a derogative term. Regrettably, however, it has been ruined by the Communist Party and become a tool for despotism. From Karl Marx’s appeal in The Communist Manifesto, “Workers of the world, unite!", to the “United Front,” one of the three magic tools in the CCP revolution; from Mao’s political tricks on “unity/struggle” to “consistency with the central government” in the post-Deng era, the “main theme” of ideology and “social harmony” has been the source of unity. In fact, calling for unity around the Communist Party under a totalitarian system and for acceptance of single-party rule is no different from accepting slavery. Attempts to abolish despotism will be considered secessionism. When it comes to the United Front, we commonly see tragedies in which “the measure people use will be applied to themselves.” As a result, it is hypocritical and fraudulent to focus on the “unity of all nationalities in society” without political democracy, personal freedom and human rights protections. In a country where ethnic issues are seen as class struggle, a system where the government refuses to hand state power back to the people after six decades, is there genuine national unity?
Compared with the “Iron Curtain” societies of the Communists, Western societies are often described as liberal. People may not notice the conflict that exists between these two different values. While a democratic system respects individuals, individualism and the autonomy of unity and separation, an “Iron Curtain” society is collectivist. An individual is merely a cog in the wheel, and unity is a rope for binding a group of people together. If people pursue freedom, there won’t be “great unity.” That is why it’s time for the CCP to give up its exclusive notion of “long live.” This debased phrase, originating with the worship of emperors and borrowed by revolutionaries, is totally incompatible with a modern mentality (contemporary democratic countries do not use the term “long live” to demonstrate worship of a nation). However, given that “long live” was so widely used by Mao’s government, many people became numb and resigned to the despotic power of the phrase. Their ignorance is the main feature of China. When the day of democratization comes, the first thing that Chinese people should do is to throw the tyrant’s portrait and its accompanying “long live” banners into the rubbish bin of history.
30 August, 2009 in Hong Kong
(Translated by Isabella Lam)