The Chinese government has recently continued its campaign of closing down websites that might be seen to be critical of the regime. But one website (http://www.hybsl.cn) has remained online. It contains historical information about former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Hu Yaobang. In the history of the Party, Hu's legacy remains a sensitive issue. On May 25, The Epoch Times interviewed Mr. Chen Pokong, editor and critic for the website. Mr. Chen thinks that the retention of the website may set the scene for the current President and Premier to strengthen their positions at the 17th CCP congress next year.
Website Editor Says No Political Pressure from CCP So Far
An editor for the website, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that the Hu Yaobang website was officially opened on March 17, 2006. It is a non-government run website with six to seven staff members all focused on research. The main objective of the website is to collect, study and reorganize the historical data regarding Hu Yaobang.
There are three main sources of information for the website: Hu's family, print media and witness accounts.
“Hu Yaobang's family has offered some assistance to provide letters from Chinese citizens.”
“To date, no political pressure has been applied by the Chinese authorities,” the editor said.
A Strategy to Strengthen the Positions of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao
Many websites in China have recently been pressured by the CCP or even forced to close down. Mr Chen said that it is impossible to tell at this stage whether the Hu Yaobang website would also be shut down. Given that it has only been operating for a short time, the CCP is still monitoring and observing it. The final decision to shut down a website may take some time to come and the websites being watched are rarely shut down quickly, unless of course their position is firmly against the CCP.
Chen Pokong further commented that Hu Yaobang had never been completely disowned by the CCP either in the memorial speech by Central Committee of the CCP on April 22, 1989, or in a congress held in November, 2005 in memory of Hu Yaobang on the 90th anniversary of his birth.
“The basic tone has not changed in either case. The CCP has affirmed most parts of Hu's legacy. Any negative aspects have not been stated. If the keynote has not changed, it is not unusual to have a former senior member and a man memorialized by the CCP,” Chen said.
Second, there are no reasons to oppose this memorial website for Hu Yaobang in the current situation.
Third, Hu and Wen's, foundation of power, especially Hu's, comes from the Communist Youth League (CYL) and Hu Yaobang was the founder of the CYL. Therefore “To respect Hu Yaobang is useful in strengthening Hu and Wen's power, and suppressing the Shanghai gang headed by Jiang Zhemin.” Chen said. Mr. Chen believes that it may also be a strategy by President Hu to win more posts for his supporters at the expense of Jiang's supporters at the 17th CCP Congress.
What they did last year in commemorating Hu Yaobang plus the presence of the Hu Yaobang website run by a public group are “all beneficial for Hu-Wen to strengthen the power of Youth League group, to expand their power base and to fight Jiang's group under the auspices of Hu Yaobang.” Chen said.
“The main objective is to obtain more posts in the 17th CCP Congress for Hu and Wen's supporters and for their personal benefit. I think this is the major concern for them.” Chen commented.