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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 8-Oct-2009
Communist China celebrates its 60th anniversary with bizarre military parade

Web Log - October, 2009

Communist China celebrates its 60th anniversary with bizarre military parade

Twin messages from the government: Enemies are both inside and outside China.

A comparable event would be the July 4, 1976, celebrations of the 200th anniversary of America's birth. There were parades, concerts, fireworks, and spectacular visits by tall ships from around the world. It was a nationwide celebration, with families and ordinary people attending events across the country.

But that isn't what happened in China last week, as the country celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Mao Zedong's victory in the Communist Revolution, and the birth of the People's Republic of China.

There was indeed a parade in Beijing, but there were no "ordinary people" to be seen. They were all told to stay at home and watch it on TV. They weren't allowed anywhere near the parade. Tens of thousands of heavily armed police were stationed around Beijing to keep people away from the parade. Hotels were closed, and residents from nearby neighborhoods were evacuated.

Here's a video of China's 60th National Day parade:

The parade was rehearsed to perfection by almost 200,000 people taking part. They were selected based on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) affiliation, and those appearing in groups were chosen to have the same height.

The heart of the parade were the military. There were thousands of troops from the People's Liberation Army (PLA), showcasing tanks and trucks carrying nuclear missiles, while fighter planes flew overhead. On display were 52 new weapons systems, all developed from Chinese technology (as opposed to the past, when weapons systems were all purchased from Russia).

The celebration concluded on Thursday evening, with applause, cheers and fireworks, after a chorus by about 60,000 people, including President Hu Jintao, danced and sang the classic "Ode To The Motherland."

Message #1: Paranoia of the Beijing government

The 60th anniversary celebrations sent to the world two major messages, both of which I've written about many times.

The first message is that the Chinese government is scared to death of its own people, to the extent that this is probably the most paranoid government on earth. This paranoia began with the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, followed in 1991 by the collapse of Russia's Communist government and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Since then, the CCP has lived with increasing fear and anxiety that the same thing would happen to them.

There's good reason for them to have this fear. The number of "mass incidents" is now exceeding 100,000 per year. Each mass incident can involve just a few dozen people, but some of them involve tens of thousands of people. If even one of these mass incidents occurred in the U.S., it would be international news, but there are tens of thousands of them each year in China. These mass incidents are mostly directed against the wealthy Úlite of the CCP. The Chinese security forces are very experienced at keeping these mass incidents under control, but China has a history of these things growing out of control, leading to a major rebellion.

These fears have grown in the last two years, thanks to the widespread violence in Tibet in 2008, and the widespread violence among the Uighurs in Xinjiang province earlier this year.

According to one study:

"China has grown sixteenfold since reforms began. But in the absence of effective institutions that restrain the discretionary powers of CCP officials and render them accountable for their actions, it is the state and the CCP that grows stronger rather than the Chinese people and civil society.

Many problems in modern China begin with the increased role of the Chinese Communist Party in Chinese economy and society. Tellingly, the number of officials before and after the Tiananmen protests has more than doubled, from 20 million to 45 million. Since the early 1990s, the CCP has retaken control of the economy. State-controlled enterprises receive more than three-quarters of the country's entire capital each year, reversing the situation prior to 1989.

The private sector, on the other hand, is denied both formal capital (bank loans) and access to the most lucrative markets, which are reserved for the state-controlled sector. Only about 50 of the 1,400 listed companies on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges are genuinely private. Fewer than 50 of the 1,000 richest people in China are not linked to the Party. This state-corporatist model favors a relatively small number of well-placed insiders.

Rise in Corruption

Meanwhile, a billion people remain "outsiders" in the corporate-state system and are largely missing out on the fruits of gross domestic product growth. In fact, 400 million people have seen their net incomes decline during the past decade. Absolute poverty has doubled since 2000.

This extensive role of the CCP has coincided with a rise in systemic corruption. Courts at all levels are still explicitly under the control of Party organs. According to studies by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, stealing from the public purse by officials amounts to about 2 percent of GDP each year, and it is rising. According to a 2005 CASS report, more than 40 million households have had their lands illegally seized by corrupt and unaccountable officials since the early 1990s."

This is exactly the kind of environment that gave rise to massive rebellions in the past. Previous major popular rebellions have included the White Lotus Rebellion (1796-1805), the Taiping Rebellion (1851-64), and the Communist Revolution (1934-49). The time is right for a new one, and the CCP is well aware of the danger. (See my 2005 article, "China approaches Civil War.")

By closing the 60th anniversary parades and celebrations to ordinary Chinese citizens, the CCP's paranoia has taken a giant step forward.

Message #2: Preparing for war

The massive military display is another warning to the world that China is preparing for war, especially with the United States.

One thing that I've noticed over the years is that the Chinese don't really deny this. Officially, they talk about "harmonious relations" with other countries, but that's always in the context of assuming that other countries will do as China wants. But if you look at what China is DOING, rather than what they're SAYING, it's clear that they expect a war. (See, for example, my 2006 article, "China's plans for war with America.")

The massive military display last week is yet another warning to the U.S. and the world. The Chinese military must feel increasingly confident to have put up that kind of display.

These two messages -- an internal rebellion and an external war -- are not contradictory. In fact, that's what happened last time, when they fought the Japanese in WW II right in the middle of their Communist Revolution.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the China thread of the Generational Dynamics forum.) (8-Oct-2009) Permanent Link
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