No Virginia, the 21st Century Will Not be China's Century!

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Wednesday January 28, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

International pundits chomping at the bit for something provokingly sensational to declare in past years have said that the Twenty-first Century is China's Century. Power-hungry Chinese searching for the wish-fulfillment of their dreams will champion this slogan. And even average Chinese citizens long-suffering from their own self-inflicted humiliations will hopefully proclaim that yes this is their century. But it isn't. In an age of global interdependence and instant news-messaging the Twenty-first Century belongs to no one, let alone the dreamers of China.

China will certainly self-destruct and/or self-immolate before it can claim a century. It is in their blood; it is in their up-bringing, it is in their culture. They remain a nation of slaves and when they are not slaves they are a nation of indoctrinated sheep. In the end, they will remain children of Bo Yang's soy paste vat mentality mired in stagnant beliefs imposed by hierarchical paradigms. Just when they have a chance at redemption, the soy paste vat mentality will do them in.

Bo Ren writing to Bo Yang described it this way. First he quoted Lu Xun's (Zhou Shuren) view that Chinese history can be divided into two ages, "the age when the Chinese people wanted to be enslaved but couldn't and the age when they were enslaved." Which one they are in now, I leave for you to decide.

Ren continued, "The Chinese people have never been able to think of themselves as the masters of China and hence have always acted like slaves. The message hidden in the soy paste vat tells them: China belongs to the emperor, the generals, the ministers, the heroes and the warriors; the common people are destined to be slaves." The only change that need be made in Ren's lines above is to substitute the words Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) for emperor.

How do the slave mentality and soy paste vat combine to work together? Begin with a non-transparent, unquestioned government, then add the role of national face that both feeds on and feeds off of the slave mentality and thus perpetuates it. This recently played out in China's hosting of the Olympics. China spent some forty-three billion dollars on the Olympics. Was it worth it? The rulers of China will say that it was, and in Orwellian fashion they will claim that it was they and only they that gave the nation face.

Look now to the future; it is estimated that England will spend some twelve billion dollars on the 2012 Olympics. What's this? Even without looking at inflation over the next four years how can England aim to spend some 30 billion less dollars than China? Is England's face less than that of China's? Or is there something more beneath the surface?

Forty-three billion US dollars, that is a hefty price tag for face, especially when an individual's life is so cheap in China. If this is China's century, why then does it need to buy face at 43 billion dollars? It doesn't, but the ruling PSC needs it to justify its control. And the people of China do they accept it? Of course they do; they have been indoctrinated to accept it. This is the price tag of a lack of transparency and the sheep who never question it.

Take a different perspective now. Examine the recent earthquakes in Sichuan, where some 70,000 people died in poorly constructed homes and schools. Of those that lost children in such schools, the average family got approximately US$9,000. Is this just compensation in a country that can spend 43 billion dollars on face? In a society that enforces a one-child policy, what satisfaction does US$9,000 bring when the family's dream and pride (the child) is buried in the crumbled ruins of construction that some ruling politician got rich from?

Step to another scandal, the recent Melamine milk poisoning; this time with fewer deaths, the families were luckier. They were awarded US$29,000 per child, but they too had to shut up afterwards. Those that disagree have to spend a year in re-education. US$29,000 is worth more than $9,000 but that is still a poor price to pay for a cherished child that is the hope of a generation. In all of this, where is the transparency and accountability?

To be sure, after the earthquake there were huge pledges of time, goods and money for the victim areas, but how much of it actually came through and ended up in the hands of those who needed it? What believable follow up was done? Foiled again by lack of transparency, but the slaves/sheep accept it. What choice do they have?

Return now to the Olympics. If you would ask the average Chinese was the US$43 billion worth it to give the country face; most would agree it was. And what would they say to the bereaved parents of those who lost their children? That is a different story. Enter the soy paste vat.

The soy paste answer would come along the lines that it is regrettable that the children died, but the parents should be willing to sacrifice their children for the face of the nation. Is $43 billion dollars for the face of a nation, but 29 thousand dollars or less for a child a just comparison? In the soy paste vat, as long as it is not my child that is killed, all can be justified.

This is not the thinking that will build a great nation; it may take place in the twenty-first century but it is only the expedient thinking of slaves and sheep. The soy paste vat mentality continues to keep the Chinese from facing the truth. Don't even ask about Mao. In this age of globalization, the hierarchy and power culture of China will preserve those in power but only them. The sheep and slaves will always be its willing victims.

This does not mean that China will not do damage within the century as its bombastic generals often threaten. The Twentieth Century was not Hitler's or Stalin's but Germany and Russia did do tremendous damage. So while the Twenty-first century is not China's it does not mean that China's PSC will not do damage. The fact that China has already given the world SARS, bird flu, and countless poisoned products is a small but telling indication of what lies ahead.

And the nation of Taiwan, what do the people there think of this grasping, soy paste neighbor across the Strait. True thinkers in Taiwan have already had to deal with such a mentality in the transplanted Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the past. They know from bitter experience, the suffering and deaths that it took to break free of the KMT's one-party state, a state that claimed the same rights of control as the PSC does in China. They know the long torturous struggle of their own people to create a nation from the injustice and lack of transparency of the past. Yet ironically as Taiwan seeks to free itself from its own sordid history, some fools there think that Taiwan's salvation is to link with the soy paste vat of China. Even now Taiwan's rulers refuse to face the erosion of justice and human rights. Some even wish to tear down the name of Democracy Hall and rename it after the past dead dictator Chiang Kai-shek. And the rest of the Taiwanese, do they willingly wish to be sheep and slaves like those in China?