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CCP Losing Its Grip on China As Riots Worsen
In the mid-1950s, Chinese authorities suppressed the "Hu Feng counter-revolutionary clique" composed of members of the then Chinese literary and art scene, and Mao Zedong wrote a note saying that the day when the public is happy is the day when the anti-Communist rebels suffer."
The naked truth of this statement was once again revealed prior to this year's world celebration of Human Rights Day on Dec. 10. At least 10 residents of Dongzhou Township in Guangdong Province, who participated in a protest against corruption, pollution and land seizures, were shot dead by riot police. There have been reports quoting villagers as saying that there were even tanks or armored vehicles patrolling the scene, a situation similar to what followed the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
It was unusual that the New York Times gave this incident a front-page headline saying that China's riots were getting worse. It could also be said that Beijing is also gradually losing its grip on the nation, for not only is it unable to control protests, it has shown itself unable to restrain rampant exploitation by local interest groups, including looting and killing.
Between August and September, there was a different riot incident instigated by villagers from Guangdong's Taishi Village. Although this incident was given positive coverage by the state-controlled media, it still resulted in repression by the local government, which colluded with local gangs. As a result, even lawyers and other professionals showing concern over this incident were reported by the international media to have been kidnapped or assaulted.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was on an inspection tour in Guangdong at the time of the riot, but, surprisingly, he did not intervene. Was he simply afraid of local gangs? Or were local leaders or members of the family of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin involved in the incident?
No matter what the truth of the matter is, the hypocrisy of "people-based" governance, as proclaimed by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Wen, has been seen for what it is by Chinese interest groups. Hu and Wen don't act in the interest of the people and ignore the pressure of the international community to improve China's human rights conditions.
Repression against human rights protests will just get further out of hand, with the result that lives will be lost as in last week's incident in Guangdong.
In order to safeguard their own interests, privileged groups in China will get rid of people either directly or indirectly. The two incidents already mentioned are examples of the former, while man-made disasters -- such as mining disasters (which are so frequent they kill an average of 16 people each day), explosions in chemical factories (primarily caused by ignoring safety in a drive toward higher profits) -- are examples of the latter.
The Mainland Affairs Council and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy have censured China for the recent massacres. In this way, they highlight Taiwan's effectiveness as a democratic nation.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which has joined hands with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), should show more concern for the misfortune of the Chinese people. I look forward to what the pro-China KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou will say in the upcoming talks between the KMT and CCP this month. If he says nothing to criticize the Chinese government's human rights record, then let the Taiwanese people do the work of righting the wrongs of the Chinese people.
Paul Lin is a commentator based in New York.
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