Deng: Beware of Imperialist China
In 1974, Deng Xiaoping, the “Architect of Modern China,” warned the world that someday China may become an imperialist country that will bully other countries. How did this happen?
One of the greatest achievements of the Chinese Communist Party is to transform China from a famine-racked economic disaster under Mao Zedong into the world’s second largest economy with cutting edge technology and infrastructure.
One of the darkest periods in the history of modern China is the era of Mao Zedong and his “Great Leap Forward,” during which the Chinese economy suffered tremendously and millions of Chinese died. In the period after Mao’s death, Deng Xiaoping assumed leadership of China and the Communist Party.
It was Deng who launched a series of far-reaching market economy reforms that have earned him the recognition of being the “Architect of Modern China.” In contrast, Mao was known as the most repressive of China’s modern day rulers, willing to sacrifice human lives in order to main the continuous iron-fist rule of the Communist Party.
Deng was not the chosen successor of Mao, but Deng managed to out-maneuver the chosen successor of Mao – Hua Guofeng – and became de facto leader in 1978. Although he inherited a China with disorder and disenchantment, he was able to restore order and embarked on political and economic reforms. One of the political reforms was to set term limits for every official, including the president, who was limited to ten years. This remained in effect until Xi Jinping became president and lifted term limits. He also introduced foreign investments and started diplomatic ties with many countries, including the United States.
It was, therefore, a bit shocking to many observers that during Xi Jinping’s 100th anniversary speech of the CCP, he was wearing a Mao jacket and had a giant portrait of Mao Zedong as a foreground for his public speech.
Xi used his speech to send a message of defiance or a threatening message to the world, depending upon one’s point of view. He said: “No one should misunderstand the will of the Chinese people to defend its territorial integrity.” Although it is unimaginable to imagine being bullied by any foreign country including the United States, Xi said in his speech that the era of China being bullied by foreign countries is over. He said: “By the same token we will never allow anyone to bully, oppress or subjugate [China]. Anyone who would attempt to do so will find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel by over 1.4 billion people.”
The CCP has now started tightening its control by establishing party branches in all aspects of Chinese life. Xi has even put the squeeze on business tycoons, not because they are rich, but because he does not want them to challenge his authority. According to the Economist, several wealthy businessmen have been arrested or otherwise reined in. One recent target is Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce giant Alibaba (and a party member). Alibaba and its financial services company, the Ant Group, have more than 200 party branches with 7,000 members, said Alibaba’s party chief in 2018. Yet Mr. Ma stepped out of line by attacking regulators in a speech. That led to the halting of what would have been the world’s largest initial public offering: listing the Ant Group in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Mr. Ma dropped out of sight for three months. Regulators forced Ant Group to restructure and fined Alibaba more than 18-billion yuan for violating antitrust law.
It has been a long and difficult struggle for China to move out of the Mao Zedong era. Now that it has become a superpower, we should remember the speech made by Deng Xiaoping, the Father of Modern China, in 1974 at the United Nations:
“China is a socialist country, and a developing country as well. China belongs to the Third World. Consistently following Chairman’s teachings, the Chinese government and people firmly support all oppressed peoples and oppressed nations in their struggle to win or defend national independence, develop the national economy and oppose colonialism, imperialism and hegemonism. This is our bounden international duty.
“China is not a superpower, nor will she ever seek to be one. What is a superpower? A superpower is an imperialist country which everywhere subjects other countries to its aggression, interference, control, subversion or plunder and strives for world hegemony. If capitalism is restored in a big socialist country, it will inevitably become a superpower. The Great Proletarian Revolution which has been carried out in China in recent years, and the campaign of criticizing Lin Piao and Confucius now underway throughout China, are both aimed at preventing capitalist restoration and ensuring that socialist China will never change her color and will always stand by the oppressed peoples and oppressed nations.
“If one day China should change her color and turn into a superpower, she too should play the tyrant and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should identify her as social-imperialism, expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it.”
China, under Xi Jinping has become the China that Deng warned the world about in 1974 – a superpower that is playing tyrant in the world. It is subjecting other nations to “…bullying, aggression and exploitation.” It has become an imperialist country.
* * *
Writefest2021, our annual 6-session workshop, returns on July 12-23. Young Writers’ Hangout on July 10 & 24 with Gabriela Lee and Weng Cahiles, respectively, 2-3 p.m. Contact [email protected]. 0945.2273216
Email: [email protected]