Hu Jintao's European Visit and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

By Wang Chen, The Epoch Times
November 13, 2005 Updated: November 13, 2005

The Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989, signaling the total collapse of the East German communist party. Sixteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, large-scale resignations from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are occurring even as Hu Jintao, the CCP General Secretary, visits England, Germany, and Spain. A visit from the head of the CCP on the anniversary of the collapse of European communism raises important questions.

The Epoch Times has conducted a special interview with Dr. Chen Kuide, renowned scholar and Chief Editor of the magazine Guancha (Observation). Dr. Chen is the author of Introduction to the Evolution of Whitehead's Philosophy, Whitehead, and Hayek. He is also an expert in the field of international geopolitics and international communism and the author of The Rise and Fall of Communism.

Beijing plays its European card against the U.S.-Japanese alliance

Reporter: Given Hu Jintao's visit to Europe on November 8, please analyze how Beijing plays its European card.

Chen Kuide: In recent years, Beijing has emphasized the importance of its relationship with Europe. There are five major political and economic powers in the world: the United States, the European Union, Russia, China, and Japan. The CCP has kept close ties with Russia, although the two countries have already diverged in governmental systems and ideology.

Collaboration between the two countries, however, still has important geopolitical significance. Given the historical interplay between China and Russia, their collaboration cannot be very close, and Beijing realizes that the benefits of this collaboration are limited. The CCP is in a panic over the fact that the U.S. and Japan have recently formed a strong economic, political, and military alliance. The regime is desperate to win over the European Union in order to balance this U.S.-Japanese relationship.

There have been political differences between the United States and the European Union, especially after the Iraq war. The CCP wishes to inject its influence in order to expand the differences, thus establishing deeper ties with the European Union and Russia against the United States.

The European Union often appears to be very close to the CCP and frequently criticizes the U.S. This is because the Chinese market is enormous and the pie has yet to be fully divided. The desire to gain economic advantages from China is huge, but in critical moments of major political and military crisis in the world, I think the European Union will still stand with the U.S. The CCP should not think that, through some diplomatic maneuvers, the deeply rooted traditions and values that are shared by the U.S. and Europe can be severed so easily.

Reporter: What do you think about Hu Jintao visiting just when Germany has a new Chancellor?

Chen Kuide: The former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was more pro-CCP because of economic ties. As far as I know, the new Chancellor, Madam Angela Merkel, is a practical and more conservative member of the Christian Democratic Party. Moreover, Merkel was born in East Germany. Normally, people who have lived in a communist country are more anti-communist because they have invariably suffered under communist rule. In my judgment, the new German government under Madam Merkel will not be more pro-CCP than the former government under Schroeder.

Tide of party resignations accelerates the collapse of the CCP

Reporter: November 9 is the anniversary of the day the Berlin Wall fell. Hu Jintao was making a state visit to European countries on that day. The number of resignations from the CCP has exceeded five million, and this is a crisis the CCP has never encountered since the communists captured political power in China. Please share your thoughts on the likelihood of the fall of China's red wall.

Chen Kuide: Resignation is a form of civilized, non-violent, and peaceful resistance. I respect this form of protest. There have been similar non-cooperative resistance movements in history, but rarely on such a large scale as what is happening in China. Gandhi's civil disobedience movement in India gained significant results. The English rule in India that Gandhi faced, however, was much more civilized than that of the present CCP regime because England has laws restraining government. The Chinese situation is much more difficult.

Nonetheless, the period from 1989 to the end of 1991 saw the overall collapse of communism from Eastern Europe to the former Soviet Union. This historical tend is reflected in the current tide of withdrawals from the CCP. There have been a series of activities related to withdrawing from the CCP system–withdrawals of famous people and symbolic events occurring in succession. These events are accelerating the collapse of the CCP regime. This is of great historical importance.

Yeltsin's resignation was the fatal blow to the Soviet Union's communist party

A well-known event occurred in the course of the downfall of the former Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev had already implemented many new policies, spoken of new concepts and of open policies. The entire trend of thought in Soviet society had changed significantly. But when the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) convened its 28th General Assembly on July 2, 1990, Gorbachev's speech still made “humanitarian democratic socialism” the goal for the Soviet Union. He did not realize that the CPSU would soon collapse.

On July 12, 1990, Yeltsin, an important leader of the CPSU, issued a statement to the Congress announcing his withdrawal from the Party. It was the final fatal blow to the Soviet empire.

On August 17, 1991, a group of stubborn left-wing radicals, together with heads of the KGB, started a coup when Gorbachev was away on vacation. At that time, Yeltsin surprised everyone by walking out of his office and jumping on a coup tank. He appealed to the public to guard the constitutional government and to guard their elected president. Finally, amidst the cheers of the public, the tank turned around and retreated from Moscow. This was an extremely significant historical event.

On August 24, 1991, when the CPSU was increasingly unpopular and Gorbachev knew that it was already effectively an empty shell, he resigned as General Secretary, under various internal and external pressures, and dismissed the CPSU Central Committee. It was not just a Party withdrawal; his act extinguished the Party. By December of 1991, all union members withdrew from the Republic, and the Soviet Union completely disintegrated.

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the CPSU were not accomplished by armed rebellion, but by voting to withdraw from the system. Now this form is more and more common. It includes the present tide of resignations from the CCP. I think we are seeing a historical trend in this form of rebellion.

Reporter: Before the Soviet Union disintegrated, did Putin, the present Russian President, also withdraw from the communist party?

Chen Kuide: Yes. At that time, Putin was a reform party member and was on Yeltsin's side.

China–U.S. relations after the fall of the CCP

Reporter: After the CCP falls, will China's relationship with the U.S. change? How will the campaign against terrorism be affected?

Chen Kuide: Yes. An obvious example would be Iraq, which used to be a threat to the U.S. The new Iraqi political power has become an ally of the U.S. in geopolitical and diplomatic relations. Although there is still a long way to go, I believe this relationship will eventually play a supportive and exemplary role for the U.S. in the Middle-east region.

The CCP's downfall will definitely not undermine China. In fact it will do exactly the opposite. It will mark the start of China's renewal. That fear and China's paranoia towards other countries will vanish naturally. Several factors, such as the availability of massive inexpensive labor and the infusion of foreign capital, make the Chinese economy seem like it is advancing rapidly. Its military development is moving even faster, however, and the CCP still maintains its monopoly over power and politics.

This regime is a potential threat to other countries and is incompatible with the mainstream international society. Because the CCP's basic system is not open, has no freedom of press, and no protection of basic human rights, other countries do not know what the CCP will do in the future and many think that the CCP is comparable to the German Nazi&#039s Third Reich. If the CCP follows the German Nazi&#039s path, it will certainly be a huge threat to world peace.

Although the CCP supports anti-terrorism on the surface, it effectively uses anti-terrorism as an excuse to persecute people and as a tool to maintain power. For the purpose of persecution, the CCP has accused many minorities and its own citizens of being terrorists. As for cooperating with U.S. efforts against terrorism, the CCP has shown indifference. After the CCP falls, China will truly join the anti-terrorism campaign, and will be a very important constructive force.