“Why can’t we find 100 spirits? Why are there only 91 spirits?” Andrew Nathan, a professor of political science at Columbia University, asked in response to a race by Communist Party propaganda officials to unearth the “great spirit” of the CCP.
In March, Wu Degang, vice president of the Institute of Party History and Documentation of the CPC Central Committee, told the media that the CPC had created 91 spirits over the past century, “from the spirit of Jinggang Mountain, the spirit of the Long March, the spirit of Yan’an, the spirit of anti-American aid, to the great anti-epidemic spirit and the spirit of poverty alleviation in the new era, all of which show the great character of the Communists.”
In February, Xi Jinping issued a call to study and educate the history of the CPC, and clearly pointed out that generations of Communists in the CPC’s century-long history “have formed a series of great spirits that have constructed the spiritual spectrum of the Chinese Communists.”
You talk about your spirit, I live my life
“In my opinion, few people take something like ’91 spirits’ seriously; people won’t accept such things.” Professor Lai Anh You said. “It’s a kind of lecture used to inspire people, to make you understand that we should be enthusiastic and positive. ‘OK, OK, I’m active and enthusiastic, now I’m going shopping, I’m going to do my own thing, I have my own kids, my own business,’ so let the party do all that.” According to Lai An You, “Most people won’t really believe it because there’s nothing in there, in other words it’s propaganda.”
The “Communist Party Members” website of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee has a special page on the “Spirit of China,” listing 28 kinds of spirits, from the May Fourth Spirit and the Red Boat Spirit, to the spirit of the Soviet Union and the Zunyi Conference, to the spirit of the war of resistance, the spirit of Lei Feng and the spirit of the moon.
Independent scholar Gao Valin points out that, on the surface alone, the listing of these spirits is really confusing. “For example, the May Fourth Movement clearly took place in 1919, before the birth of the Chinese Communist Party, but the spirit of May Fourth has been forced onto the head of the Chinese Communist Party; for example, the spirit of resistance, the spirit of labor, and the spirit of lunar exploration cannot be said to be the unique spiritual contribution of the Chinese Communist Party and China; some are clearly major mistakes of the Chinese Communist Party, but they have been whitewashed and embellished. For example, the spirit of anti-American aid to Korea. There is also the spirit of poverty eradication, where the CCP itself, especially in the Mao era, caused serious losses and deprived the peasants in successive years of political campaigns, which was the most important cause of extreme poverty; the CCP remedied the losses it caused, but instead used it to boast.”
On Aug. 1 last year, Xinhua News Agency published an interview with Chen Jin, a former member of the Central Institute of Party History and Literature, “A Century of Great Party Spirit Leadership,” listing more than 40 kinds of spirits, including the Great Spirit of Creation, the Great Spirit of Struggle, the Great Spirit of Unity and the Great Spirit of Dream.
“China is now engaged in a massive campaign to control the perception of history.” said Kong Jierong, a retired professor at New York University School of Law and an expert in Chinese law who will turn 91 on July 1. “If the history of the Communist Party is told truthfully, it will be disastrous for Xi Jinping. He is trying to weave a new myth to sanitize the history of the CCP in modern Chinese history. If you disagree with the greatest scholars, politicians, other scholars, then you are called a historical nihilist, then you are accused of denying history.”
The spirit of the Soviet Union is a bloody trampling on “truthfulness and pragmatism”
Govarin said that just by sampling the connotations of all the great spirits listed in the Communist Party Network, many of them do not live up to their names, like the “Soviet spirit,” which Xi Jinping, who is about to take over the reins of the party, government and military, defined in a speech at a symposium to mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Soviet Republic on Nov. 4, 2011. “firm belief, truthfulness and pragmatism, single-mindedness for the people, integrity and honesty, hard work, striving for excellence, and selfless devotion.”
“Historical facts tell us just the opposite,” Govarin said. From the establishment of the Chinese Soviet Republic to the start of the Long March by the Central Red Army and the Red Army everywhere, the Communist Party-controlled Soviet areas were destitute, in ruins and in economic collapse. “
“The practice of the Soviet Union was a bloody trampling on “truthfulness and pragmatism.”” Gao Valin said. The late distinguished Chinese historian Gao Hua listed the bloody figures in “A Historical Examination of the Su AB Regiment Incident”: In October 1930, the Southwest Ganxi Special Committee had killed more than 1,000 people from the AB Regiment; from October 1930 to January of the following year, 4,500 officers and soldiers of the Red Army were killed.”
Xi said the spirit of the Soviet Union is “one heart for the people,” while history tells us that “the Soviet Union has brought deep disasters to the people.” Govarin said.
Govarin pointed out that the “Chinese Soviet Republic” was a divided, puppet regime established 50 days after the September 18 Incident in 1931, and that this “state within a state” had diplomatic, military, labor, financial, land, judicial, and other powers. This “state within a state” had foreign affairs, military, labor, finance, land, justice, worker-peasant prosecution, education and other departments, with 18 provinces and 4 counties under its administration.
“The Central Soviet Union had a population of about 3 million people, and there were 300,000 to 400,000 people who worked as soldiers and ate food off the production line.” Gao Valin said. “The young and strong were mobilized to join the army, and the remaining old, weak, women and young peasants became serfs, and the fruits of labor were almost plundered in the name of the revolution. The government issued public debt of 3 million yuan according to the size of 3 million people in the jurisdiction, mainly borne by the peasants in the countryside. After buying and then campaigning for the peasants to return the purchased public debt to the government unconditionally.” Govalin said.
Covering up evidence of wrongdoing is a consistent means of ensuring the “greatness” of the party
The Spirit of China page on the Communist Party website lists the “Spirit of the Northern Wilderness,” “Spirit of Daqing,” “Spirit of Hongqiqu,” as well as the spirits of Jiao Yulu, Lei Feng, Wang Jie, and model workers. Wang Jie spirit, and the spirit of model workers, labor and craftsmen.
“This is just a continuation of the strategy to suppress the truth about the Communist Party’s record in power.” Roger Garside, a former British diplomat and banker, said. “I know that Chinese Communist Party history will not truly portray the famine caused by Mao Zedong in 1958.”
Garside was a British soldier on the Hong Kong-China border at the time, “Thousands of refugees trying to flee mainland China into Hong Kong, crawling under barbed wire and across the border in the valley, and I was watching with the soldiers, and it opened my eyes to some of the realities of Communist rule, the premature death of 46 million people, and you’re not going to see that paragraph in this party history, I’m sure of it. “
Covering up evidence of crimes committed is a consistent practice of the CCP to ensure “greatness, glory and rightness. One of the most impressive stories in former senior Xinhua correspondent Yang Jijian’s “Tombstone” is that in 1961, after learning that officials from the Ministry of Food and the National Bureau of Statistics had prepared a statistical table showing that the country’s population had fallen by tens of millions, Zhou Enlai ordered that it be “immediately destroyed and not disseminated. Afterwards, Zhou Enlai even called the officials to ask them if they had destroyed it. When he heard that it had been destroyed, “Zhou Enlai was relieved.
Chen Jin, then deputy director of the Central Literature Research Office, was the first to propose a “spiritual genealogy” of the CCP. He wrote an article on the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China in 2016, “Inheriting and Promoting the “Spiritual Genealogy” of the Communist Party of China. “A great cause calls for a great spirit, and hard struggle inevitably produces a great spirit. One of the distinctive marks that distinguishes the CPC from other political parties is that during its stormy journey of nearly a century, it has led the people to forge many great spirits that have astonished heaven and earth and sobbed the gods,” he wrote.
The 30 or so spirits he listed at the time also included “the spirit of women’s volleyball, the spirit of pioneering cattle in special economic zones, and the entrepreneurial spirit of the new era” during the reform and opening-up period, but these spirits of the reform period disappeared from the 28 spirits on the Spirit of China page of the Communist Party website.
This spirit, that spirit, ended up being a mental illness
Gao Wenqian, who used to be a member of the Central Documentary Research Office of the Communist Party, said, “I know Chen Jin, and it’s hard for him to take the trouble to use so many adjectives to lay out and render them. The so-called ‘spiritual genealogy’ of the CCP is a hodgepodge of inconsistencies and incoherencies that cannot be explained. This hodgepodge is actually a historical reflection of the CCP’s history, which is constantly being ‘branded’, going back on its words, and recklessly scribbled for the sake of the political needs of reality. Mao advocated the ‘spirit of five fears’, the ‘spirit of counter-currents’ and the ‘spirit of justified rebellion’ during the Cultural Revolution, can it be the same as the spirit of the Deng and Jiang Hu eras? This spirit, that spirit, after talking for half a day, in the end is a mental illness.”
“Mao Zedong said back then that ‘people should have a little spirit’ to serve the people and struggle and sacrifice to save China, does the Communist Party still have a little bit of that now? What the CCP is doing is exactly its opposite, doing everything to preserve the selfishness of one party. This time, for the 100th anniversary of the Party, the official imperial literati have compiled and tampered with the so-called ‘spiritual genealogy’ of the CCP, writing it to the hilt, deliberately exalting Xi Jinping, throwing his weight around to serve the political needs of the one-party monopoly of power, which is worthless in history and is only a laughing stock. ” Gao Wenqian added.
Gao Wenqian, who worked in the Documentation Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and left the country in anger after the June 4 crackdown in 1989, wrote the book “Zhou Enlai in Later Years” overseas. Gao Wenqian said, “In this position of documentary research, one has to say things against one’s heart, and anyone with a brain understands that, but one has to say things that are false, big and empty and that one doesn’t even believe. Do you think it is mentally painful?”
Controlling the right to write about history is something that communist regimes have done. “This is nothing new for the communist regime.” Kong Jierong said. “Many Russian humorists have joked about the Soviet slogan that they would say, ‘The president is great, the future is bright, but history is uncertain.'”
“Therefore, who decides history?” Kong Jierong asked. “It is the party that controls the present, so the Communist Party controls the present today, and Xi Jinping controls the party, and he is determined to compile a bright, clean, pure history of the Communist Party, a history of the Communist Party that must not talk about the many inhuman and terrible events that have occurred.” He replied to himself.
“The CCP sums up so many spirits, but there is no spirit of constitutionalism, democracy, freedom, rule of law, or even a mention of the spirit of seeking truth from facts.” Gao Valin, an independent scholar, said. “This is both in line with the historical practice of the CPC’s century-long direction and a clear indication of the CPC’s value direction in the new era.”
“I think some of that knowledge will still be there, despite the fact that children are being denied knowledge of their own country’s history.” Gestede, a former British diplomat, said. “And there are many people, millions of people, who go abroad for their education, who have the opportunity to read books, who go back to China, who, although they have to keep their mouths shut and live in a totalitarian environment, are not ignorant of the true history of their own country,” Gestede said.
Gestede recently published “China Coup: The Great Leap to Freedom,” a new semi-fictional book about a coup at the top of the Chinese Communist Party. In what he describes as a coup, he says, “libraries will be opened, archives will be made public, facts will be told, and public anger will explode, erupting like a volcano against those who have long suppressed the truth.”
Xi Jinping creates ideological monopoly in an attempt to rebuild Mao-era values
Independent legal scholar Yu Ping’s observation about China is that the biggest difference between Xi Jinping and the three generations of Chinese leaders before him is that while the previous three generations of leaders also emphasized Communist Party ideology, Xi is trying to rebuild the legitimacy of Chinese values.
“Not only is this being comprehensively emphasized, comprehensively summarized and comprehensively articulated in documents, but he is doing this through administrative methods, through methods of control over resources, through a comprehensive mobilization, or brainwashing.” Yu Ping said. “He (Xi Jinping) has completely created a monopoly of ideas, a situation that is very similar to what happened before the Cultural Revolution, or the first 30 years of the Communist Party.”
But Lai Anyou expressed skepticism about the ultimate effect of Xi’s brainwashing with the Red Gene. He said: “Yes, so I think the more successful part of this propaganda is that it makes people forget certain things, but it doesn’t make people believe certain things.”
“As you say, people don’t know about ‘June 4,’ they don’t know about the Cultural Revolution, they don’t know what Mao did,” Lai An-you said. “But do people specifically believe in a certain spirit? Most of the population doesn’t care much about those things.”
According to Lai, whether the CCP propagates 28 or 91, “the spirit of this and that, the general spirit is the spirit of Yugong Yishan, that we can do anything, the old man can move mountains, we can overcome difficulties and do anything with our will.”
“I think most Chinese citizens have gotten the message that we must ‘keep up with the central government,'” which is called ‘voluntarism,’ the spirit above all else. ” Lai Anyou said.
But, according to Lai Anyou, this system of the CCP is contradictory at its core, “On the one hand they treat people like babies and teach them these stupid things; on the other hand, they send more and more people to college, more and more people overseas – last year specifically, because of the big popular – more and more people are getting an international education, more and more people are traveling, more and more people have cars, houses, a middle-class life.”
“Chinese people are smart, they think for themselves and live their own lives on the one hand; on the other hand, they appreciate the success the party has achieved over the years under Xi Jinping’s leadership.” Lai An You added.