Friday, December 28, 2012

Chongqing Police: Before and After Wang Lijun's Downfall (2)

Wang Lijun sounded like such an arbitrary person. One question the Chinese reporter asked was really good. – Xujun

[in translation; continued from the previous post]

Southern Weekend: The Women’s Traffic & Patrol Special Detachment that was set up under Wang Lijun, will it be disbanded?

Chongqing Police Official: The Women’s Traffic & Patrol Special Service Detachment, the idea for the future is to maintain a normal institutional structure, there will be men and women, some women will be diverted to other departments. Let some women comrades join the Traffic & Patrol for nonviolent law enforcement, that's all right, but to set a special women's detachment, we do not quite agree. Especially, the design of a special uniform for them was a serious breach of regulation, something that had never happened in the history of China's public security. Since May 1st of this year, the Women's Traffic & Patrol Detachment has changed the uniform.

SW:  Any results after you made ​​the above adjustments?

Chongqing Police Official: Of course. The police platforms emptied manpower from the stations, and the basic work in public security was very weak, that was why the "3 • 19 gun-robbery" case was not solved for a long time. When solving the Zhou Kehua case, we did not make big noise. In less than four days Zhou Kehua was [found and] shot; police from stations played a direct role in this, and the masses provided important clues, which proves the importance of public security grass-roots work.

SW:  After a series of twists and turns, has the operational capacity of the Chongqing Public Security declined?

Chongqing Police Official: Objectively speaking, in recent years the Chongqing police's  operational capacity has declined somewhat, but it's hard to say how much. There are several reasons: First, the 2010 "institutional reform" made a mess for cadres. Institutional restructuring was originally required by the central government and the city, and the requirement was legitimate. However, Wang Lijun required all 308 division-level cadres and 2544 subdivision-level cadres be dismissed. All had to start over and try regain their positions through competition. Because he did not trust the local cadres, Wang Lijun also required 200 division-level cadres to be transferred in from outside, but we had only a total of over three hundred posts at that level. The complete overturn was to pave the way for outside cadres. At the time, the comrade who was heading the Political Department said that, according to regulations, administration personnel are appointed but not hired, thus they can't be simply dismissed from employment.   Wang Lijun thought about it and said, "Then lets call it 'dismiss from tasks'.". That was how this new term was coined by Wang Lijun. In this way, all human resources were disrupted, a large number of highly skilled cadres effectively became rookies, and needed time to get familiar with their new jobs. Secondly, 11,800 new police were recruited and placed in their posts directly, which caused the poor quality of case-solving in recent years. Now we have decided to start career training for the new police.

SW: I heard that you recently restored posts for some police officials at division and subdivision levels who had failed to regain employment through competition.   Does this mean you let some unqualified officials return to their posts?

Chongqing Police Official: According to the regulations, in institutional reform, the filling of posts should first consider existing qualified cadres, and then use any vacant posts for employment through competition.  But he overturned everything.

When giving examinations, he made ​​it clear one test that must be included was whether police had studied Bo Xilai's and his speeches.  After some struggle, we managed to also include some professional questions. Overall, the quality of cadres who passed the exams was not too bad.

In the end, 159 division level and 968 subdivision level cadres were not used. Most of those were either not allowed to participate in the competition because Wang Lijun put trumped-up charges on them, or they passed the competition but Wang did not like them and did not want to use them. Recently, this group of cadres went through re-examination, and 76 division level cadres and 299 subdivision level cadres were reappointed.  For those who have reached the retirement age, their treatment is retained but they no longer work on key posts. For the few with very low public acceptance and poor performance, we did not reappoint.

1123 police demanded vindication

SW: Recently, we keep hearing that the Chongqing police launched a large scale internal vindication. How many police have been vindicated?

Chongqing Police Official: In May, we set up a special review team headed by a Deputy Chief, to specifically accept and review complaints of police who had been punished. So far we received a total of 1123 police complaints. Because some of the cases involve multiple individuals, the number of police that require review is 2202. So far 1796 have been reviewed; 78% of the original decisions were overturned, 13% retained,  and 9% modified. A number of departmental, division and subdivision police have resumed their duties and received retroactive wages.  So far 133 resumed their leadership positions, including 48 at the division level, and 85 at the subdivision level. Among another 9 cadres at deputy departmental level who had been dismissed, 3 have resumed their positions, and another six are under review.

SW: Why have so many police officers been punished? In what situations have the original decisions been overturned, retained, or modified respectively? With so much revocation, it's tempting to think some problematic police are returning to their posts.

Chongqing Police Official: Let me give you a few examples:

One, in 2010 a middle school student drowned in Yongchuan District. The district police investigated and concluded it was suicide. But the family refused to accept the conclusion, they posted on the internet and  advertised on the streets offering a reward. After Wang Lijun learned about this, he called the district police chief and demanded an immediate arrest of that family. The district chief did not make the arrest, instead he let the family and school negotiate compensation.  Later the family went to petition the Municipal Police Bureau. Wang Lijun got very angry, he called the district chief to his municipal office, scolded him, and requested the family members of the deceased to be sent to labor camp.  The district chief did not follow Wang's instructions.  Soon Wang Lijun removed him from his position and transferred him to the command center to work as a common police for nine months. Only after the new municipal police chief arrived this year, was he able to resume his position. He now serves as the director of the police coordination department.

Two, cadres were indicted for little things. Once, Wang Lijun went to Kaixian County for an inspection, and the county police bureau's reception for his visit did not meet his high standard.  Wang was very unhappy. After he returned, he immediately let his deputy chief Tang Jianhua form a work team to investigate the county police bureau's leadership. In the end, they listed more than 50 counts of crimes and removed most of the county police leaders and a large number of cadres. Another time, Wang Lijun passed by the Discipline Committee's office and saw the toilet window's blinds were broken, he dismissed the entire office. Anywhere he went, even out of Chongqing, he required his office staff to tell hotel staff that, when pouring wine for him, the wine must be substituted with water. Sometimes the hotel staff made a mistake and poured wine instead of water, Wang would get mad and punish a bunch of his office staff.

Cases that have been overturned were mostly this kind of small mistakes, not enough for Party discipline or administrative sanctions. At that time, Wang Lijun used "admonishing talk" for actual punishment to affect police's normal promotion. For example, after one year of service, if the person got an "admonishing talk," he would not get a formal position. After investigation, we revoked the sanction on those comrades.

On the other hand, 13% of the police whose sanctions are maintained did have problems. For example, some police drove a police car to beat up civilians. The director of a police station didn't go to the [crime] site after receiving reports, instead he demanded the off-duty deputy director go; the delay caused the suspect to flee and run over a person. These people, under Wang Lijun or not, must be punished by law. In some cases of over-punishment, charges were reduced after our investigation.

On police vindication, the former secretary of the Politics and Law Committee, Liu Guanglei and the current secretary, Liu Pu, all gave specific instructions and guidance. They requested us to do a good job on ideological work.  The Municipal Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Organizational Department, and the Politics and Law Committee all gave us a lot of support. Currently, Chongqing's police force has gradually stabilized.

SW: Recently, there has been news that the Chongqing police had often used torture to extract confessions, is it true?

Chongqing Police Official: Recently some people were talking about Tieshanping. (Editorial note: According to media reports, a militia training base located on top of  Chongqing's Tieshanping Forest Park had been used as the "outsourced interrogation base" for the "smash black" campaign). Whether there existed torture is under investigation by the People’s Procuratorate. I won't comment on specific cases, but let me make two statements:  first, the police departments must serve their duties to fight against crime and protect the people, any cases violating the criminal law and endangering people's lives and property, the police must handle in accordance with law. Second, any cases handled by Chongqing police, no matter when, no matter what kind, as long as there is a complaint, we will strictly and carefully review according to law, fairly and justly deal according to law.

SW: I feel you now blame Wang Lijun for lots of the problems; Why didn't the Chongqing Police Bureau's Party Committee play its due role of supervision and discipline?

Chongqing Police Official: I'll give you a few more examples. Because a policeman from Wushan County petitioned,  Wang Lijun punished the entire leadership of the county's police bureau. The news was spread on the internet, then a bunch of comrades in the Propaganda Division were punished.  At a Party Committee meeting, a committee member suggested that "We shouldn't overthrow a large number [of cadres]."  Wang pounded the table, "XXX, screw you! Shut up your stinky mouth!"
When Woman's Traffic & Patrol Police was established, the uniform they used was not the one regulated by the Ministry of Public Security, but was designed by the order of Wang Lijun. One of the Party Committee Members suggested that the Ministry of Public Security has clear regulation on uniforms, and this [design] resulted in a serious breach of the regulation. Wang Lijun was very angry: "XXX, do you mean only you understand the Ministry's regulations but not me? Only you follow the decision of the Ministry but not me?" The committee member had to say: "I didn't mean that, I was just doing my duty as a deputy." Wang Lijun said, "It's okay to make suggestions, but always think twice before you do."

Wang Lijun publicly claimed at a Party committee meeting: "Let me tell you, I can remove, even arrest, the entire leadership of the Party Committee within a day." At a police General Assembly, Wang Lijun also said publicly: "All of you (in the audience), including those leaders on the stage, I can get within a day."  That sort of thing, first you are unable to change, second you'd do yourself in.

SW: We always say that the current regulations are all very good, then why did those things happen under such a good system?

Chongqing Police Official: This is for individual reasons. Under the same system, why do we perform well now?

SW: Aren't there things worthy of rethinking?

Chongqing Police Official: Power was not restrained, power was abused. The lack of monitoring is what led to some lawless things happening in the Chongqing Municipal Police Bureau.

SW:  Did Wang Lijun have some good aspects?

Chongqing Police Official: Some things seem like his merits. For example, he requested that, if a police officer has a traffic accident, whether it's the police's responsibility or not, he must be detained. Of course some people supported this.  Public support is of course a good thing, but sometimes the law was violated in order to win some people's support, which shouldn't be done.  On the other hand, even though Wang Lijun punished a lot of people, sometimes he would use capable individuals who had offended him. #

(You can read the Chinese text here.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chongqing Police: Before and After Wang Lijun's Downfall (1)

For the first time since the downfall of Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun in February-March this year, a high-rank Chongqing police official comments on changes in Chongqing's police force, in an interview with the Chinese paper Southern Weekend.  The Chinese reporter asked very good questions, and the official gave almost straightforward answers. The interview is quite long and I'll post my translation in two parts.

I have asked questions in this space before on what would happen to Chongqing's police platforms and "mounted" policewomen.  You'll find answers in this interview (and also the accurate cost figures).  Note the fact that it was under Wang Lijun that Chongqing's traffic and patrol police forces were consolidated; apparently this structure will be kept. – Xujun

Feb. 7, 2011 ceremony of Chongqing's Traffic & Patrol Police

[in translation]

Southern Weekend (SW): Since March, we keep hearing that Chongqing's public safety is relapsing. What is the actual situation now?

Chongqing Police Bureau Official: Since March 15, some netizens have been concerned about a relapse in Chongqing's public safety. To address this we carried out a series of actions to ensure that "crackdown intensity is not weakened, precautionary measures are not decreased, public security does not deteriorate, the public's sense of safety is not reduced." Currently, social order in Chongqing is generally steady.

On one hand, we have stepped up precautionary measures, the total number of criminal cases from January to November 2012 fell by 8.4% compared to the same period last year. Among them, the eight major categories including murder, robbery, injury, rape, arson, bombings, hijacking and kidnapping cases decreased by 27.9%. On the other hand, we have also increased the strength of our crackdown, with the number of cases prosecuted increasing by 7.7%.

SW: Over the past three years, Chongqing published lots of data to prove the [criminal] case reduction and the public's sense of safety. Now you are releasing data that say major criminal cases are fewer than then, how can the public believe this is true?

Chongqing Police Official:  The police bureau's data on the eight major categories of criminal activity are relatively accurate, but the data on other ordinary criminal cases are less reliable. The increase in the number of prosecuted cases is also proof that police strength and their ability to solve cases are improving.

In the past, guided by an erroneous view of political performance, in order to achieve short-term personal objectives, the Chongqing Police Bureau exaggerated some public safety data and embellished propaganda: 

First, without any factual basis, some made-up data were issued. For example, saying that the "smash black, banish evil" campaign reduced  110 [emergency number equivalent to 911 in the US] calls in the major urban areas of Chongqing by 40%, or that 80% of the people used real names when reporting crimes, or that street crime rate dropped 40% after the establishment of the Traffic & Patrol, etc.  But in fact, after the establishment of the Traffic & Patrol in 2010, street crime fell by only 2.96% compared to 2009.  

Second, in some cases, data for one point or one time were amplified. For example, saying "Since the establishment of the Traffic & Patrol, Chongqing for the first time in 21 years, had zero incidence of street robbery during one day." 

Third, non-professional polling data were touted. In December 2010, a Chongqing media outlet published opinion polls on public safety satisfaction. The rate of satisfaction was as high as 98.81%.  This non-professional, flamboyant data was used in propaganda as a measure of achievements.

SW: Why was it done that way then?

Chongqing Police Official:  If the data reported by various departments did not satisfy Wang Lijun's requirements, [those involved] might be punished, so some departments reported false data. If our statistics department sent in actual data, they would be in trouble, too. If the reported street crime rate did not decline, or even declined less than Wang Lijun expected, Wang would keep giving statisticians tight shoes to wear. In this situation some departments were forced to cater to Wang Lijun with falsified data.

SW: I've also heard this: Some people feel that, in the past, Wang Lijun governed the police very strictly, and the police were very warm and responsible to citizens, but now some police are no longer as interested in helping people as before.

Chongqing Police Official: Chongqing has a police force of nearly forty thousand, certainly there are problems that exist.  Some individual officers treat public needs coldly or push them away.  But even under Wang Lijun, there were also cases such as police losing their guns, letting suspects slip away because of delays, drunk driving, and  dereliction of duty. But he suppressed such negative information, and expanded the positive messages. The Bureau's new Party committee has attached great importance to complaints involving police. Any complaints through 110 calls and internet channels about police dereliction of duty, will be carefully investigated and handled justly by relevant departments.

SW:   You say public safety has not deteriorated compared to the past, then why is it that people feel differently from what you say?

Chongqing Police Official:  In the past, Chongqing's public security was good, but not as good as the propaganda said. The propaganda magnified it. For example, the portion of burglary cases was the highest among all criminal cases, this was true before Wang Lijun became the police chief, and when he was the police chief, and is still true now with He Ting as the chief. Criminal cases have their own patterns. However, in the past if anyone dared to say on the internet that Chongqing's public security was not good, they would be punished. Now, there are no such worries, and people can say anything they want about the quality of public security.

On the internet some people expressed dissatisfaction with individual cases that have occurred recently in Chongqing, such as smashing car windows and theft.  After we solved these cases, we found that the majority of perpetrators were minors, for whom we couldn't give criminal penalties. After we arrested them, we still had to release them. This is a problem that causes headaches for police across the country. The end of the year is also generally a high occurrence time for criminal cases and accidents; recently we have been taking targeted measurements to deal with pickpocketing, burglary, robbery, etc. based on public reporting.

Public order cannot be improved by one or two crackdowns, or by extreme pressure from police every day. Public order is a societal issue. For example, why would one want to be a pocket-picker?  Police have important responsibilities to solve cases, but crime is a comprehensive reflection of various social conflicts, and prevention of crime must rely on comprehensive governance and management. This is the fundamental way to solve crime.

SW: I saw that some police platforms have disappeared. I also heard that the platforms will be gradually withdrawn. What is your plan really?

Chongqing Police Official: Police platforms will be kept, but they must be mobile. Currently, we have equipped some large police vehicles as moving platforms. The fixed platforms will be gradually optimized.  In some key areas fixed platforms will remain, and others will be changed to regular posts.

SW: Many Chongqing residents think that after the police platforms were set up, public safety was improved. Why do you have to withdraw?   Is it because they are not financially sustainable?

Chongqing Police Official:  The consolidation of traffic and patrol police is a very good idea, but it is worth discussing whether fixed platforms are needed. First, the current platforms lack mobility. The dictate of public security work is that, because crimes are not in a fixed place, the police force must follow the cases. Police should go where criminals are. A lot of crimes occur distant from the platforms. If you let the masses go to the platforms to report, what does 110 do?  The Traffic and Patrol Police are like the hospital registration room and the emergency room,  they are responsible for registration and emergency first aid, but can't treat serious illness. Those cases must be assigned to specialists. Our own requirement is that as soon as the public calls, we go to the crime scene

Second, the police platforms take up a lot of manpower. Each platform requires 20-30 officers, and Chongqing has 500 platforms that use nearly 14,000 police.  This is more than 1/3 of the total manpower. Most officers at police stations and community offices were transferred to the platforms. Chongqing originally had 803 police stations, and 2904 task rooms, but because manpower was deployed to the platforms, 220 stations were merged and 926 task rooms were unable to operate normally. The Ministry of Public Security requires that, police stations should account for 40% of the total force. But early this year, Chongqing’s had only 24%, no one to do the work at the stations. For example, transient population, released inmates, drug abusers and those with mental illness were poorly managed. The early warning information on crimes could not be collected. Since March of this year, we have restored 104 police stations and more than 900 task rooms.

To place a lot of the police force on the streets can only treat security problems superficially. People see so many police on the streets and feel safe, happy, that is understandable. But a big number of police does not equal good public order.  In the Liberation Monument area, with the presence of Traffic and Patrol Police, there are still lots of pickpockets. Thus after setting up police platforms, we still had to organize a team of several hundred to specifically deal with pickpockets.

Third, the fixed platforms are too wasteful. One platform costs 300,000 yuan for fixed equipment, and 800,000 annually for operational expenses. Chongqing has 500 platforms, and a year costs a total of 4 billion. The long-term effect is to waste a big amount of fiscal funds.  If they are changed to mobile platforms, to buy a Iveco truck needs only 200,000, and all the equipment can be moved into the vehicle. The monthly cost for each vehicle is 60-70,000 less than a fixed platform. Do the math, how much money can be saved?

In addition, a fixed platform operates in the open air, it's hot in the summer and cold in the winter for both the public and the police. That's not very humane. Mobile platforms have heating in the winter and air-conditioning in the summer. (To be continued)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why Are Children Targeted?

In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, I'm reposting the following piece on China's school killings from two years ago. The question "why children are targeted" has become international.
Killing Children - An Act of War Against China’s Collective Future

New America Media, news analysis, Xujun Eberlein, Published: May 17, 2010

In Hanzhong, Shannxi, a mother-and-son team rented a rural property to open a private kindergarten for 20 children. One day the son found a snake inside and killed it. This disturbed the property owner, 48-year-old Wu Huanming, who had been suffering from a variety of diseases and had grown increasingly superstitious in recent years. Blaming the snake killing for the ineffectiveness of his medical treatment, Wu went into a frenzy. On the morning of May 12, Wu entered the kindergarten carrying a meat cleaver and hacked to death seven children, along with the mother-and-son proprietors, wounding another 11 children in the process. Wu committed suicide afterward.

Hanzhong police provided these details at a press conference a day after the killing, according to Xi’an Morning Post.  At first glance, it looked like another malignant but isolated crime. In fact, it was only the latest in a series of mass attacks on young children in different provinces of China that occurred between March 23 and May 12. Beijing police said last Wednesday they successfully interdicted seven criminal attempts targeting schools and kindergartens in that city alone.

All over China, people winced. Why are young children being slaughtered? Such massive attacks on children did not happen even in the Cultural Revolution, the most violent period of Communist China. And now China is experiencing unprecedented prosperity.

Despite the apparent similarities in actions and targets, there is no universal explanation of motive. Among the killers besides Wu Huanming were a doctor who could not find a job and, at age 42, had a history of failed relationships; a 40-year-old villager who had suffered mental illness for five years; a 31-year-old school teacher on sick leave for four years; a 46-year-old unemployed man with debts resulting from multi-level marketing; and a 45-year-old villager whose newly-built house faced demolition.

Two of the six suspects were said to have suffered mental illness, prompting concerns about China’s lack of mental health care. But insanity can hardly explain the other four cases.

Most of the suspects lived at the bottom of the society, leading observers to blame their anger and desperation on the wealth gap. The Internet is abuzz with questions about whether China’s economy should be characterized as that of a “rich state, poor people.” But even this does not explain why children were repeatedly targeted.

Chinese cherish children as the promise of their future and their defense against death. Though rare stories exist about “exchanging [dead] children to eat” (“易子而食”),  those were from disastrous periods of war and famine, when desperation was all there was. Has China today entered such a period of extreme disaster?

Harming children on a mass scale did not start this year. As early as 2004, long before the Sanlu milk scandal, there was the “dark-heart milk powder” incident in which counterfeit milk powder caused the deaths of 13 babies and permanent disablement of 171 others. It outraged the entire nation that someone would target babies to make a profit. That incident reflected a moral decay in China, but no one could have foreseen that child-harming would escalate to the raw violence seen this year.

In one of the six recent school attacks, 45-year-old Wang Yonglai was an even-tempered Shandong villager and a long-time Party member. On the morning of April 30, Wang carried a hammer to the village’s elementary school, and pounded five preschool children on their heads. Wang then poured gasoline on himself, grabbed two children into his arms, and lit himself on fire. While Wang burned to death, the two children were pulled to safety by teachers.

This tragedy happened on the day Wang’s new house was to be demolished. According to an investigative report in the independent Caijing magazine, Wang’s greatest wish in life was to build a new house for his son, now 20 years old, so that he would be able to get a wife. Last year, after Wang spent his lifetime savings plus 60,000 yuan of debt, the new house was finally built. Wang had gone through all of the proper procedures. In June 2009, the local government issued Wang’s house the “rights certificate.” On the day of April 23, 2010, however, Wang received notice from a government department that his house was an illegal building and must be demolished in two days. Wang and his daughter called and went to many places trying to save the house -- the mayor’s hotline, the “law hotline,” the TV station -- to no effect.

“Wang Yonglai’s new house still stands right now,” the Caijing report says, “while the demolition day became the day of his death. Using his death, five little children’s blood, and the serial effect of other school attacks, he temporarily preserved the painstaking effort of his life.”

One office of the government approved Wang’s house’s legal status, but another government office judged it an illegal building. Wang was given only a few days notice before the demolition. The government was too powerful, and the ordinary villager powerless. Finally, “the weak take revenge on the weaker,” concludes a Chinese blogger. Robbed of his future by a state impervious to his plight, he took revenge by destroying others’ futures -- their children.

Wang’s plight is reminiscent of that of a Sichuan woman, Tang Fuzhen, who burned herself to death last November in a failed attempt to stop the local government from demolishing her house. After her death, the government judged Tang and her relatives to be criminals who “used violence to fight the law.” The government also tried to block media reports on the case. Tang’s death, and similar self-immolations in other Chinese cities, did not stop forceful house demolitions by the government and developers, nor did the tragedy rouse any remorse. Only about a month ago, a government official involved in demolishing Tang’s house was still saying the cause of the tragedy was that Tang “did not have knowledge of law.”

When suicide alone is no longer effective, the most horrific crime – mass killing of children -- becomes the most effective option to some of those desperate enough to end their own lives. More than a manifestation of individual problems or even of social injustice, it is an act of war against China’s collective future. It is a sign that now is a time of extreme desperation, for all China’s great strides toward prosperity.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Zi Zhongjun: "Officialdom Corruption Is not to be Feared, Society Corruption Is"

Note: Zi Zhongjun (1936-) is a well-known scholar and translator in China, in the fields of international politics and US study. The following is her speech during the so-called "consensus symposium" held in Beijing on November 26. -- Xujun

[in translation]

I didn't plan to speak, because I'd rather not say anything.  The words in the first paragraph of this document, that "The 18th Congress …is heartening," is contrary to my own feelings.  I'm not the least bit excited, but feel dispirited, without hope. That speech is full of clichés and set phrases, while the few noteworthy lines are backward-facing.

This morning many insightful people have expressed intelligent and incisive views; I admire that, and their passion is touching. Those opinions have been expressed many times by many people. My first question is:  To whom are we speaking?  Who makes up our imaginary audience?  It seems our eyes are still looking upward, hoping the rulers will adopt [our suggestions], but is that even possible? I recall a small article I wrote, "The Nation's Rise and Fall, Not Everyone's Responsibility." That was to interpret Gu Yanwu's words. His famous saying was, "The world's rise and fall, everyone’s responsibility." But then he also said, "The nation's rise and fall, meat-eaters decide," which means it is not everyone’s responsibility. At the time the Ming Dynasty was dead, and he said you rulers destroyed it, we had no responsibility, our responsibility is to maintain orthodoxy – or national spirit in modern terms.   Why from time immemorial are "meat eaters despicable, lacking foresight"? Because avarice blinds the eye of judgment. It is vested interests that impede good decisions. So the problem is not how to convince them to change. 

I'm thinking, we are talking about such obvious problems; if we can all see them, do the rulers really not? They are not mentally retarded. They must have deeper experience than us on social crises; otherwise why would they mobilize 1.4 million to protect a meeting of thousands [i.e., the 18th Party congress]?  Why so much fear and guilty conscience?  Now there's no point in analyzing how each line is written. Language is unprecedentedly disjoined from reality, unprecedentedly hypocritical. What is "socialism with Chinese characteristics"? There are Chinese characteristics, but there is no socialism! Now there's still talk of "our" socialism and "their" capitalism, it is very ridiculous. The fact is that China's crony capitalism has combined with transnational capital, and they are linked by common interests.  The victim is China's laborers and laborers of the other countries.

Someone just said, "To reform is to court death; to not reform is to wait for death." This is a widely spread line. But one thing must be made clear: Whose death is it? If reformed, would the entire Chinese nation die? I think the hope of the nation's revival is on reform; otherwise, though not necessarily "dying," it will fall, sink. People hate corruption, but officialdom corruption is present at all times and in all countries. That's not to be feared. What is to be feared is the corruption of society as a whole. Right now our entire society is corrupt. During the KMT era, officialdom was corrupt, but the rest of society academia, the arts, journalism and business enterprises – were not all corrupt, so when the regime was overthrown, society still had hope. Now, all walks of life are corrupt, and people are inured to corruption.  Even a child knows that parents should give teachers gifts to get better treatment for her. The children who grow up this way would not think anything wrong with it. Those of us here who are above 40 years of age know it was not like this when we were in school; then there existed the concepts of fairness and justice. If things continue as now, I'm afraid the next generation simply will not care at all about fairness and justice, but consent to the rules of corruption and care only how to better play the game. This is the entire nation spiritually rotten! Mr. Sun Liping's argument on "societal breakdown" was very enlightening for me. So I'm particularly worried about education issues! This speech [about the 18th Party congress] has no mention of education issues. We need to have our eyes looking downward, focusing on the enlightenment of the people. The people's quality and the leadership's quality interact as both cause and effect. The consciousness of the people is the most important. I was saddened by the vandalism and atrocities in the name of "patriotism" that happened a while ago [during anti-Japanese protests]. A hundred years with no progress; above is still Empress Dowager Cixi, below is still the Boxers. I do not mean to compare any leader with Cixi, but that action [i.e. the anti-Japanese protests over island disputes] began with the connivance and acquiescence of, or perhaps was intentionally orchestrated by, the government, in order to transfer internal conflicts to a foreign enemy. This is the modus operandi. Later when it got out of control, then suppress, in the end still having to compromise with the foreign country. In short, we need a different way of thinking, changing the angle – is our responsibility to the whole nation, or the dynasty?

Speaking of reform's entry point, the most important thing is to establish the rule of law. With a sound legal system in place, the government should try to control other things as little as possible, then society naturally will have vitality and self-control. I agree with someone else who just said that the practice of "double designations" within the Party is a violation of the rule of law, violation of human rights.  It feels a bit like a gang cleaning its own house, not the modern country's rule of law. Who is monitoring the Party's Commission for Discipline Inspection? Without the supervision of public opinion, without transparency, without checks and balances of power, corruption is impossible to treat. There is also the need to clarify a concept, that is, the United States implementing world hegemony must not become the reason for us to oppose constitutional democracy. To take the road of constitutional democracy is to join the common progress trend of mankind. Human rights are equal rights everyone should have, regardless East or West. Equality is a modern society's concept; in feudal times, people had to live with stratified society. In modern society this is not acceptable, as equal rights are required. To use the hegemonic behavior of the US or the pirate past of Britain as the reason to deny human rights, liberty, and equality, is to confuse concepts. It's as if someone eats well, becomes strong, and beats others up or even murders them. Should we then refuse to eat? Those are two different things. The direction of constitutional democracy is our own interest, and has nothing to do with foreign countries.

[中文原文] 资中筠:20121126日在共识座谈会上的发言