Human Rights Not a Topic for the 17th Communist Party Congress
Human Rights Not a Topic for the 17th Communist Party Congress

While the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was being held in Beijing this past week, most people thought the meeting avoided important issues and was a product of a power struggle inside the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Chinese people in the mainland think there isn't anything new in these meetings, especially no movement toward democracy and human rights in China. The Congress is merely a staged play, and while the promises are tempting they are in fact non-existent bait.

The Congress Avoids Issues that Affect the Existence of the CCP

Shi Zangshan, a Washington D.C. based China expert, believes the 17th Congress avoids two important problems vexing to China: Falun Gong and the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Shi said that it never took the CCP more than three days to eliminate anyone, except Falun Gong, which is still active after eight years of persecution.

Falun Gong practitioners tapped TV programs in China and played clips that exposed the CCP's persecution against Falun Gong. Practitioners around the world are calling on members of the CCP to quit the Party in order to stop the persecution. Many people in China have received information on quitting the CCP through various channels. The very foundation of the CCP is collapsing.

Shi mentioned another bloody suppression – the June 4th massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989. The key elements preventing a harmonious society in China are the suppression against Falun Gong and avoiding the redress of the massacre. If the 17th Congress continues to refuse to address these issues it will only worsen the conflicts in Chinese society.

Recently political critics, including Hu Ping, said that Jiang Zemin wants to stay in power and insisted on the continued suppression against Falun Gong because he fears the consequences after stepping down. The fights at high levels in the CCP are wrapped around Falun Gong, but no one is willing to bring it up at the Party's congress, which decides the future of the CCP.

Fei Liangyong, Chair of the Federation for a Democratic China, thinks the Congress is nothing but a process. “Hu stressed a peaceful development based on social justice, environment conservation, and a reduction of poverty gap. However, the current society of China is the most unjust in China's history and has turned China into a ticking bomb. China's Gini coefficient in 2006 was 0.496. Seventy percent of China's money falls in 0.4 percent of it population,” said Fei.

According to Fei, the current system in China is the worst combination between capitalism and communism. There is violence and dictatorship, barbaric socialism and turning solely to profit and greed from capitalism.

Huang Xiaomin, a democratic activist from Sichuan Province called the reports from the 17th Congress “a boring novel with no plot.”

Avoiding Important Historical Issues

Professor Sun Wenguang from Shandong University said, “Hu's report avoided many historical issues such as Falun Gong and the Tiananmen Massacre, which were the issues the general public wants to settle.”

Scholar Gu Shan thinks during Jiang's rule there were two policies that have had a deep impact on current Chinese society—corruption among officials and suppression of Falun Gong. The former is the root of the current unstable society and the latter is the worst human rights violation in the history of the world.

Not Getting Hopes Up

Li Keren, a human rights activist from Guizhou Province said, “No matter if the CCP reforms or not, we have no hope in it. The communist system hurts us too much. The system won't change because it needs to protect its own interests.

“The situation became very intense in the country as the 17th Congress approached. From what the CCP does, we can clearly see the 'New Administration of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao' is just a bubble. Nothing will fundamentally change.”

Zeng Ning, a commentator from Guizhou Province, said that politics in China belongs to the privileged. There is no possibility for civilians to get involved.

Feeding the People Fantasies

Fan Gu from Chongqing City said, “The CCP promised to nationalize the military, have multiple political parties, an independent judicial system, and news freedom in as early as 1947 to 1949. The checks were never cashed.”

An appellant in Beijing said, “The people have been ignored again. When will Hu's promise come true so 'those who want to learn can be taught, those who work can be paid, those who are sick can be healed, those who are old can be taken care of, and those who want to live will have a place?' At every meeting they hold out mouth-watering promises so we would follow them. They are just feeding us fantasies.”

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