“This is the best of times, this is the worst of times; this is the age of wisdom, this is the age of folly; this is the age of trust, this is the age of doubt; this is the season of light, this is the season of darkness; this is the spring of hope, this is the winter of despair; we have everything, we have nothing; we go straight to heaven, we go straight to hell. “
I have read this passage from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities many times before, but it has never resonated as much as it does today. A good time is when we witness the efforts made for freedom in Hong Kong, and a bad time is when we do witness the death of freedom; a dark season is when we are in the darkness, looking around, all the scenes are blurred, making people feel especially lonely, and a bright season is when we know that the darkest moment of the night is when everyone is looking forward to the dawn, and only the light in our hearts never disappears. Because there is light in our hearts, we have everything we need, and because we are deprived of everything, we need not worry about concerns anymore. The body is in hell, but the heart is in heaven.
Today is June 24, 2021, the Apple Daily in Hong Kong issues its last daily newspaper, and then closes its doors and ceases publication. The reason is that it was blocked by the SAR government. So, The Apple is not a newspaper today, but a symbol. I didn’t expect that the first scene I saw when I came back to Hong Kong after a long journey would be such a situation.
Here, I would like to quote Hu Ping, editor-in-chief emeritus of the American magazine Beijing Spring, from an article many years ago.
A citizen’s freedom of speech is the first of all constitutional civil rights. A person who loses the right to express his or her wishes and opinions is bound to become a slave and a tool. Of course, having the right of expression is not the same as having everything, but losing the right of expression will inevitably lead to losing everything. It is well known that in mechanics, the role of the fulcrum is so important that only the fulcrum itself can not do work, but only on it, the work of the lever becomes possible. Archimedes, the discoverer of the lever principle, is said to have said, “Give me a fulcrum and I can lift the earth.” In political life, freedom of speech is just such a fulcrum.
This passage was written by Hu Ping in 1975 in an article entitled “On Freedom of Expression”. It is hard to imagine that forty-six years have passed since then. The Chinese still do not have freedom of speech, and the dark night of dictatorship has even spread overseas.
Only the black night is characterized by a seemingly extremely powerful and far-reaching presence, but it cannot withstand the light of even a single candle. In fact, the yearning for freedom in every human heart is this light of freedom.
Let’s look at the situation in mainland China.
The mainland microblogs reveal that the authorities are strictly preventing young people from “learning from the experience of their revolutionary predecessors” and using revolutionary means to fight for their demands in schools; they have issued a notice to monitor all universities in the province to “maintain stability”. According to a document circulated on Weibo, the Chinese Communist Party’s revolutionary dramas such as “The Age of Awakening” have become popular among college students, and many students have posted screenshots of messages in their circles on Weibo, saying that they want to “learn from the experience of their revolutionary predecessors” and calling on the student body to unite to pressure the school, including students from Hunan First Normal College, who have taken a cue from Henan University of Science and Technology. The students of Hunan First Normal College have taken a cue from Henan University of Science and Technology to express their demands in the form of “collective shouting”, and the topic of “many colleges and universities in Hunan are requesting the installation of air-conditioners” has appeared on Weibo, “the risk of public opinion collusion should not be underestimated”. The document requires education departments and colleges to comprehensively map out the risks and hazards on campus, “to ensure that no major public opinion incidents occur.”
Having interviewed many people from the mainland who are pursuing democracy and freedom overseas, many of their views on the world, or many of the strategies they use to fight the CCP, many of them are learned from the CCP. It’s like what Mao Zedong said, learning struggle from struggle. This is the destiny that the authoritarian system cannot get rid of. They rationalize and justify themselves in order to prove their legitimacy, and for the authorities who seized power by violence, they must glorify their violent actions in order to legitimize their behavior. But this propaganda and education of legitimization is inevitably passed down, and I think this is the reason for the violent atmosphere of the CCP society. The cycle of fighting the world and sitting in the world is endless.
Hunan First Normal College, the very place where Mao Zedong studied back then. I remember back in the 80’s, this school had an outbreak of school riots, some people wanted to elect deputies to the National People’s Congress, and had sent people to various universities to string together, I was in the school at that time, I also saw their leaflets. When Mao Zedong was young, he was extremely conceited and wrote “Qin Yuan Chun. Changsha”, in which there is this passage.
I was a young man, I was in my prime.
I was a young man, I was in my prime, I was a scholar, I was a vigorous man.
Do you remember, to the mid-stream to strike the water, waves curb the flying boat?
There is no patriotism, love for the Party and nationalism, but 100% personal freedom and ardor. Mao Zedong Thought is the ideology that the Chinese Communist Party constitution and the Constitution stipulate to “uphold”, how can young people not learn it? In addition, the Chinese Communist Party’s culture of violence and its conspiracies and machinations during the revolution have also been a model for generations of Chinese people to follow. In this way, everyone is full of the philosophy of struggle, full of sophistry, and the Chinese Communist Party is certainly afraid.
This is an insurmountable problem of the authoritarian system. If the Communist Party wants to be legitimate, it must legalize the violent revolution, but at the same time legalize and rationalize the violent confrontation of the people in society, so that wherever there is oppression, there is resistance, so it is very bad for the society to control the regime and maintain stability. However, if the violent revolution of the Communist Party is not rationalized and legitimized, its own ruling base will be challenged.
Before the 1980s, most of the so-called “counter-revolutionary organizations” that the CCP “busted” were of the Marxist, Leninist, and Maoist schools of thought, except that they did not follow the leadership of the Party and studied communist theory on their own. In the end, of course, Marxism, Leninism, and Mao became weapons of criticism of the current regime and turned into organizations that subvert state power.
In contrast, the situation in a democratic society is completely different. The ideological basis is democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law, and the government is established on this basis, and the schools are educated and trained on this basis, and finally the whole society agrees on the same thing, so the society can develop smoothly.
The Communist dictatorship could not solve this deep contradiction, so the former Soviet Union and the former Eastern European regimes fell one after another. North Korea, for example, mutated into hereditary politics, which is equivalent to returning to the old feudal era. The Chinese Communist Party, on the other hand, mutated into power capitalism and nation-statism. Deng Xiaoping’s “non-controversy” and Jiang Zemin’s “Three Represents” and the inclusion of capitalists in the Party were all part of this mutation. The CCP downplays the violent revolution before the seizure of power, the extreme policies of Mao, the international communist movement, and the ideological disputes with the West. So the only argument the CCP has for its legitimacy is economic growth. This is the reason why “GDP figures rule the country” after Deng Xiaoping.
But all this has changed since Xi Jinping came to power. Initially he wanted to replace communism with nationalism, but in recent years, the CCP’s policy has actually been to return to the original socialist line, to Mao, so we see the CCP beating up corrupt officials and capitalists at the same time. But in this way, the old deep-rooted social conflicts may reappear, such as the so-called “V Brigade” or the young students who have started to “learn from the revolutionary martyrs” and wage various struggles against those in power and in power.
Two weeks ago, a high school student from the countryside “caught fire” in mainland China. Zhang Xifeng, a senior at Hengshui High School, gave a speech on a TV speech program, “I am a pig from the countryside. He said in the speech, “I am a pig from the countryside, but also to aspire to arch the cabbage in the big city.” The response on the network is strange and varied, most of them are not very positive, such as Zhang’s grimace, “bitter and hateful”, “sharp and radical”, “resentful” of society “, “three views are not correct” and so on.
This Zhang came from the countryside, went to high school in the city, ready to take the university entrance exam, he found that the gap with his classmates in the city is too big, the main gap from the family and their own class difference, so vowed to struggle. You can go and watch Zhang’s speech when you have time. Basically, he told the story of a poor kid from the countryside who fought hard and vowed to become a “human being” in this world.
This is not surprising at all. I will reveal a little secret, most of the world’s best-selling works, including novels, movies and comics, are actually the same story, that is, a poor family’s child, suffering from oppression, vowed to struggle hard, and finally succeeded and became a human being. The Three Kingdoms”, “Water Margin”, “Journey to the West” is this, right? Superman, Spider-Man, Captain America, right? Almost all of Jin Yong’s novels, are this way. Because this is the most exciting part of the world.
So Zhang Xifeng students, the pursuit of exactly this. But the real reason why his speech, which makes many people tremble, is that he makes others feel hatred in his speech.
To be honest, this is the core of the Chinese Communist Party’s cultural propaganda. With hatred, violence is only logical. Most of the eight model plays of the Cultural Revolution and the 100 red plays of the Communist Party’s centennial were, at their core, violent and hateful. Through such propaganda, of course, it is impossible to turn society into harmony and peace and goodness.
This hatred will not stop. In the rural areas of Hebei is the children of poor families hate the rich households in the city, the city is the cynical little pink, hate Hong Kong Taiwan and the United States, the people hate others rich, those in power hate others more influential. This layer by layer, with hatred hatred as a foundation, and then struggle, and finally success after revenge. Isn’t this how the Chinese Communist Party has been going for the past 40 to 50 years?
In my opinion, this is the fundamental reason why the Chinese Communist regime cannot stabilize itself and the society cannot be stable.