China's 60th birthday

Written by  //  October 3, 2009  //  China, Economy, Government & Governance  //  Comments Off on China's 60th birthday

From the Economist archives, October 4 1969 It’s later than Mao thinks

China needs pulling together more urgently than its ageing leader seems to realise. We discuss its problems on its 20th anniversary as a communist state.
A measure of the unhappy state of China today is how strikingly it parallels the situation on October 1st ten years ago. Both decennials came in the wake of titanic mass movements intended to achieve instant revolutionary miracles. Then it was the great leap forward, which aimed at making an economic breakthrough by means of mass mobilisation. Now it is the great proletarian cultural revolution, which was designed to transform 700 million Chinese into militant maoists. Both failed.

KANG ZHENGGUO: But Deng Is the Leader to Celebrate
THURSDAY was the 60th anniversary of the day Mao Zedong stood on the platform at Tiananmen Square and announced the formation of the People’s Republic of China. But the revolution that millions of Chinese are really celebrating began 30 years ago — most Chinese recognize that the true revolution belongs to Deng Xiaoping. No specific reforms were as important as his persistence in further opening China’s doors and encouraging its people to scour the world for new ideas in science, technology and management. One first step was to promote talent at home. Many universities had been closed during the Cultural Revolution, which ended with Mao’s death in 1976. When he returned to power in 1977, Deng embarked on a colossal rush to hold national entrance examinations and reopen universities.
China celebrates invite-only 60th birthday
China spared no expense to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the birth of the People’s Republic of China, putting on a mighty parade — while ensuring that no member of the uninvited public could watch or potentially disrupt the proceedings. Military regiments, tanks and intercontinental ballistic missiles paraded through Beijing for an audience of dignitaries and invited guests. The New York Times (10/1) , Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (10/1)

60 years on: A red-letter day for Communism
China delivered a powerful message to the world on the 60th anniversary of the revolution
(The Independent) China marked six decades of Communist rule with a parade that had everything – a detachment of women soldiers carrying machine guns and wearing purple mini-skirts, lessons in ideological correctness, nuclear missiles and elaborate fireworks, all of which underlined China’s powerful new role in the world.
Communist China marks 60th year
  (Spectacular photos of fireworks and celebration)
(BBC) China has been staging mass celebrations to mark 60 years since the Communist Party came to power. The day started with vast lines of tanks, soldiers and missile launchers parading through the capital Beijing. Later, in Tiananmen Square, there was a spectacular fireworks show and a concert of patriotic songs and dancing. However in Nepal, police detained more than 70 Tibetan exiles who marked the day with a protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.
China’s place in the world
The world has accepted that China is emerging as a great power; it is a pity that it still does not always act as one
For many Chinese, daily life remains a grim struggle, and their government rapacious, arbitrary and corrupt. But on the world stage, they have never stood taller than today. China’s growing military, political and economic clout has given the country an influence of which Mao could only have dreamed. Yet Chinese officials still habitually complain that the world has not accepted China’s emergence, and wants to thwart its ambitions and “contain” it. America and others are trapped, lament these ascendant peaceniks, in a “cold-war mentality”. Sometimes, they have a point. But a bigger problem is that China’s own world view has failed to keep pace with its growing weight. It is a big power with a medium-power mindset, and a small-power chip on its shoulder.
The red and the black
As the People’s Republic celebrates its 60th birthday, the gangsterism the communists boasted of vanquishing has staged a comeback
(The Economist) Chongqing, the wartime capital of China, had been a hub of organised crime in pre-communist days. Now the gangs are back, with roots in the party that almost wiped them out six decades ago. As is evident [here], China has another face. Although central authority appears strong, at the local level public anger is boiling. Double-digit economic growth for much of this decade has highlighted how corrupt and dysfunctional local government has become. The campaign against organised crime launched by Chongqing in June demonstrated just how prone China remains, after all those years of Communist rule, to the age-old scourge of collusion between bureaucrats and gangland bosses. For many Chinese, life is vastly more affluent now than it was when the Communists came to power. Decent health care and education are far easier to get. But confidence in local government is threadbare.
At village level, a cautious experiment with democracy in the 1990s led to frequent local power-grabs by gangsters or by party officials in collusion with them. This has been democracy only in name. Criticising the party is still never tolerated. The job of local governments is not made easier by a flawed mechanism for sharing tax revenues between the centre and sub-national governments. This leaves many local authorities with huge responsibilities for providing public services, but without the wherewithal to carry them out. In poorer parts of China, they often find it hard even to pay their own staff. Yet, in the absence of any proper public oversight, bureaucracies keep growing.
No divorce during China holiday

Couples in China’s biggest provincial municipality will not be allowed to divorce during celebrations of 60 years of communist rule.
On China’s 60th anniversary, Tibet wants quiet
(CSM) Thousands are expected at a government-led rally in Lhasa as Chinese soldiers with tear gas patrol the streets in a bid to prevent a riot similar to the one in March.
Lhasa, Tibet – Tibetans are hoping the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China will pass uneventfully, and Chinese police and military in Tibet are on heightened alert to make sure that there will not be a repeat of last year’s deadly riots. While Thursday’s celebrations will center on Beijing, with the country’s largest-ever military parade, thousands are also expected to gather 2,500 miles away in Lhasa for a government-led rally in front of the Potala Palace, the exiled Dalai Lama’s former home. Photos of preparations
China’s 60th anniversary: from Mao’s ideology to iPhones
Four generations of women recall China’s decades-long swerve from revolution and trauma to pragmatism and creature comforts.
Robert Scheer: Exorcising America’s Diplomatic Demons
(Truthdig) This week the Chinese Communists celebrate their 60th year in power, an event that the make-war-not-peace crowd, now bloviating over Iran and Afghanistan, might benefit from contemplating. They might also recall a time when the mere suggestion of peaceful coexistence with the Red Menace of China was a career-ender for high school teachers and State Department officials alike. Now the danger from the Chinese Reds is that, being more prudent capitalists than Americans, they might be unwilling to continue carrying our rapidly growing debt.
Norman Webster: Sixty years after his victory, Mao’s shadow looms
China’s ‘Liberation’ day was Oct. 1, 1949
Twenty years later, Oct. 1, 1969, China put on an anniversary show for the ages. Dazzling fireworks, a huge Rose Bowl-like parade through Tiananmen Square and a boffo public appearance by Chairman Mao himself were the highlights. I covered them all in my first assignment as a foreign correspondent 40 years ago, the beginning of two years in Beijing. It was quite a celebration. My yellowing clippings report the spectacle, the speeches, the embarrassing Mao-worship. They do not predict the turmoil still to come. What nobody knew, except perhaps Mao himself, was how much poison was still in the system.
China’s 60th Birthday: The Road to Prosperity
(TIME) Sixty years ago Mao Zedong stood before a sea of people atop Tiananmen Gate proclaiming, in his high-pitched Hunan dialect, the founding of the People’s Republic of China and that the “Chinese people have stood up!” The moment was marked with pride and hope. The communists’ victory had vanquished the Nationalist regime, withstood the vicious onslaught of the Japanese invasion and overturned the century of foreign encroachment on China’s territory. Moreover, Mao and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power without significant external support — theirs was largely a homegrown revolution.
The Party’s Not Over: Why China’s 60th birthday is nothing to celebrate.
(Foreign Policy) The reform period since Deng took power will be nearing the completion of its 31st year — more than half the age of modern China.
This is significant because China’s leaders since Deng have been telling the world that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will soon relinquish its dominance over the Chinese economy and society, and is assiduously laying the groundwork for fundamental economic and political reform, and eventually democracy — but only after it recovers from the chaos and destruction of the Mao years. After all, Deng famously declared that democracy was “a major condition that emancipated the mind.” But the reform period of 31 years has exceeded Mao’s 27 years of terrible rule. The excuse that the party will “let go” its economic and political power but for the ghost of Mao and his terrible legacy is wearing thin.
So, first things first. Why should the party “let go” more power and instead work toward building institutions that will aid political reform and eventually democracy in China? Because in one important respect, authoritarian China is failing: While the Chinese state is rich and the party powerful, civil society is weak and the vast majority of people remain poor.
But aren’t China’s leaders doing a magnificent job of at least leading the country toward prosperity? After all, since Deng’s reforms, Chinese GDP has grown 16-fold. And isn’t this ultimately for the benefit of most of the country’s people? Not in China’s model of investment-led state corporatism hatched after the 1989 Tiananmen protests to preserve the economic power and relevance of the party. More

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