Editorial: Xi Jinping’s Choice and the Future of the Chinese People
The troubled events of Xi Jinping’s almost three years in power are now coming to a head. Xi has a choice. He can protect his and his family’s safety, secure ever lasting honor, and provide for the prosperity, freedom, and dignity of the Chinese people; or, he can put himself and his family in danger, be disgraced, and see the Chinese people continue to endure suffering, subjugation, and humiliation at the hands of the Communist Party.
History’s grand drama is playing out on the stage of China, and humankind can see clearly the consequences of what principles guide a people. While Xi has the opportunity to play the role of a hero, whichever role he chooses, history will in its time move forward. Xi must decide whether he will move with history or vainly oppose China’s destiny.
Communist Persecution of the Chinese People
Almost a century ago, communism appeared in China, a foreign doctrine promising an earthly salvation to a people smarting from humiliation at the hands of foreign powers. While it beguiled with false promises, it in fact was the deadly enemy of the Chinese.
Through its many dynasties, whether China was ruled by Han, Mongolian, or Manchu emperors, the Chinese nation for 5,000 years endured and prospered. The secret to China’s good fortune was a culture rooted in belief in the divine and the cultivation of virtues such as loyalty, filial responsibility, humanity, and justice.
This culture unified and harmonized China’s many peoples. The nation could rightly be said not to be any particular ethnic group, but a culture and the civilization born of that culture.
The rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been a long struggle, a war, seeking to eradicate this culture. This attack on belief and morality has threatened the very identity of the Chinese people.
In 1992 a new source of life appeared on the scene. The spiritual practice of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) teaches belief in the divine and the cultivation of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Falun Dafa encompasses the essence of Chinese culture and gives the Chinese people an opportunity for rebirth.
At the same time, the spread of Falun Dafa in China gave the CCP a chance to choose. If it supported Falun Dafa, it would prosper, and China’s history would now be very different.
Initially the CCP supported Falun Dafa, celebrating the dramatic improvements in health its practitioners enjoyed. But in 1999 the then head of the CCP, Jiang Zemin, launched a campaign to eradicate this practice, making enemies of an estimated 100 million Chinese people and their families. While he targeted these individuals and their belief, in essence Jiang sought the extinction of the Chinese people, to end their best chance for reviving China’s culture.
Jiang’s campaign brought to a head a moral crisis that had been building for decades. With the dissolution of the beliefs that had always bound together Chinese civilization, the Chinese people have been beset by ecological, economic, political, and social crises.
The air has become unbreathable, the land poisoned, and the water toxic. Hundreds of cancer villages have sprouted up around China.
While the CCP has bragged incessantly about rapid growth, that growth was gained through a badly imbalanced economy with a huge housing bubble and a vast oversupply of steel, iron, and other commodities. The economy’s current slump—much worse than the official statistics suggest—was inevitable.
In the attempt to destroy Falun Dafa, Jiang distorted every part of the party-state apparatus. Huge amounts were spent on labor camps, a Great Firewall to keep honest news out of China’s Internet, a Golden Shield project meant to track down every Falun Dafa practitioner, and a gigantic domestic security apparatus that cost more than the military. The moves China had taken to adopt the rule of law were reversed, and corruption became the means of governing.
With the collapse of morality, China’s society became an anxious war of all against all, with making money, by whatever means, the only thing that was valued.
The First Step: Arrest Jiang Zemin
Xi has before him the possibility of reversing these crises, but the path is difficult. If he acts he is in danger. If he fails to act, he is also in danger.
Because China’s current crisis is a direct result of Jiang’s policy of persecution, the first step Xi must take is to arrest Jiang Zemin and try him for his many crimes against the Chinese people. Jiang’s arrest should be accompanied by the end of the persecution of Falun Dafa.
Jiang was not content simply to launch the campaign against Falun Dafa, upon his retirement, he ensured it continued for another decade, controlling the Party through cronies whose loyalty he had bought with corruption. Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao had the titles of general secretary and premier, but the real power was with Jiang and his network.
Upon the end of Hu and Wen’s terms, Jiang was not able to ensure he could continue ruling through proxies. Before Xi Jinping had even taken office, Jiang’s loyalists planned a coup to unseat him.
Once in power, Xi responded with the deliberate and systematic dismantling of Jiang’s vast network, as Jiang loyalists have been purged one after another for corruption. This campaign has shown strong determination and careful political judgment.
Xi closed the forced labor camp system, Jiang’s most convenient tool for persecuting Falun Gong. He sentenced to prison Bo Xilai , Jiang’s handpicked successor, depriving Jiang’s group of a leader.
Xi eliminated Jiang’s power in the military. He also arrested Li Dongsheng, the head of the 610 Office, which is the Party task force charged with carrying out the persecution of Falun Gong. And he arrested Zhou Yongkang, China’s former domestic security czar. These two arrests signaled the 610 Office was no longer supported by Party Central.
By arresting top officials in charge of economic sectors, Xi is taking back from Jiang the ability to control the economy. Arrests of officials in the cultural and propaganda apparatus are depriving Jiang of control over the information and opinions delivered to the Chinese people.
These have been bold moves that shocked observers in China and around the world.
But even so, Xi and Jiang are locked in a ruthless game, and these bold moves are still halfway measures. Sources high in the CCP report there have been assassination attempts on Xi’s life. If Xi does not arrest Jiang, eventually his life and that of his family may be forfeit.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to block Xi, Jiang has created turmoil in Chinese society. Sources in the CCP have blamed the massive Tianjin explosion and the collapse of the stock market on Jiang’s people.
If Xi arrests Jiang, he will find widespread support. Large numbers of Chinese curse Jiang. In an unprecedented development, 180,000 Chinese have filed criminal complaints against him for the crimes he committed against them.
Ending Jiang Zemin’s crimes and cleaning up the corruption he used to govern will help bring stability to China.
Abandon the CCP
But removing Jiang is not sufficient. Xi and the Chinese people must abandon the CCP.
Even without Jiang at its head, the political system that has ruled China for 66 years will remain in place. That system has spawned evil throughout its lifetime, and it will not allow Xi to succeed at any honest attempt at governing.
For instance, the CCP will not allow any power to be independent of it, but the only true reforms of the economy would be ones in which the economic actors and enterprises act independently of the Party. Xi’s economic reforms have so far been made within the CCP’s system, and for this reason they can’t possibly succeed. When economic reform fails, the Chinese people will turn against Xi, and his chance to lead may slip away.
In addition, if the CCP remains in power, Jiang’s wide network of loyalists will eye carefully their chance for revenge. When the moment comes—when the economic crisis deepens or simply when Xi retires, they will turn on him, and he, his family, and his faction will be in danger.
The threat Xi faces goes beyond his mere life. As leader of the CCP, Xi has inherited its enormous crimes. If Xi does not separate himself from the CCP, those crimes will be charged to him; he will forever be known as an enemy of the Chinese people.
If Xi acts, he will find broad support. As of Oct. 20, over 216 million Chinese have renounced association with the CCP and its affiliated organizations, and the rate of these renunciations is increasing rapidly. It is clear to observers, including high-ranking CCP officials, that the Chinese people are sick of the CCP and want to be rid of it.
However, Xi and the Chinese people can only sweep the CCP into the dustbin of history if an alternative is found. China must return to its traditional culture. And the Chinese people need to replace the CCP’s institutions of tyranny with the institutions of a free people.
A Democratically Elected President
If Xi leads the Chinese people in abandoning the CCP, he has the chance to be China’s first democratically elected president.
In politics, Xi should allow independent parties to register, instantly creating a real political life in China. He could also allow other organizations to form independent of the state, helping bring about a civil society.
Xi should allow a free press and begin building the institutions of the rule of law, which he has praised.
After Xi stabilizes and opens up Chinese politics, China’s economy will grow at a fast pace and in a healthy way. The Chinese work hard and are very smart, and overseas Chinese will return to a free China and bring with them money and technology. With democratic institutions able to check industrialists, there will be environmental protection and respect for workers’ rights.
In his speeches, Xi has shown that he disapproves of not including classic poems in elementary textbooks. He refers to this as “de-sinification,” recognizing that it is China’s traditional culture that makes the Chinese a people. With the CCP out of the way, Xi will applaud the revival of China’s traditional culture.
History has a direction, and critical moments come whether individuals are ready for them or not. The time for arresting Jiang Zemin, bringing him to trial, and ending the persecution of Falun Dafa has matured. When the news of Jiang’s arrest is published, firecrackers will sound throughout every corner of China celebrating a new day.
If Xi can seize the time, he will be remembered as a great hero by the Chinese people who restored their culture and gave them freedom. At the same time, nations around the world will be grateful for the changes in China and seek warm and friendly ties with a Chinese people restored to their ancient dignity and culture.