Does the sudden emergence of a Bauhinia Party mean that the Chinese Communist Party will replace its support for the local pro-Communist party with a political force dominated by Hong Kong drifters? It’s pointless to guess. And talk about the history of “regionalism” to reduce the problem of vassal states.
Reducing vassal states was the policy of the monarchs in the autocratic era to consolidate their power and reclaim the local power of vassal states. Localism, also known as nativism, is a tendency to deal with local and national relations. It is a tendency for a region to advocate cultural and demographic protectionism in order to protect its own interests. China’s 1989 book, “Ci Hai”, argued that “localism violates the principle of democratic centralism, places undue emphasis on local particularities, disobeets the central government’s unified policies and plans, and places local interests above the overall interests of the whole country.” But is democratic centralism democratic? Or just focus?
After the communist Party took power in 1949, the first “anti-regionalism” was the purge of the provincial communist party leadership in Guangdong province. In October 1949, the Central Government appointed Ye Jianying, a native of Guangdong Province, as chairman of the People’s Government of Guangdong Province. The leading group included Fang Fang, who had long led underground activities in Guangdong and Hong Kong, Gu Dacun and Feng Baiju, armed leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the Dongjiang column and the Qiongya Column. But less than two years later, the Central And Southern Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) sent tao Zhu and Zhao Ziyang, both from other provinces, to Guangdong to take full control of the party. Moreover, “the organization of the Guangdong Party is seriously not pure”, and “we must oppose regionalism”. Local cadres who had long made contributions to the establishment and power of the Communist Party of China were all written off, demoted officials, and hit by false accusations.
After the reform and opening up, local economic strength strengthened. In order to consolidate its leadership, the central government cannot help but suppress localism. Jiang Zemin transferred Ye Xuanping, governor of Guangdong province, from Guangdong, and struck Chen Xitong, secretary of the Party Committee of Beijing, who had occupied Beijing for a long time; Mr Hu threw out and jailed Chen Liangyu, the communist party chief of Shanghai, for his opposition to central-government controls. Cases against local forces are carried out in the name of anti-corruption. Mr Xi’s massive anti-corruption campaign has weakened local forces and greatly consolidated the power of the central government and of himself.
Ever since China began to implement despotism, every dynasty has had the problem of regionalism. Even if the political forces based on local consciousness and local interests have no intention to rebel against the central government, they cannot all comply with the command of the central government because of their geographical environment, religious background or traditional culture. When local economic power grows, the central government will see it as a threat to the regime. Central misgivings, in turn, have forced local forces to rebel for their own protection. Therefore, as long as it is a centralized system, there must be localism and the central government must have the policy of reducing vassal states. The constant rotation of regional leadership is also intended to prevent a long-term presence in one place from being integrated with local forces. Autocracy is governed by fear, including the fear of power among the people, and the fear of power.
Since the signing of the Joint Declaration by China and the UK, I have never believed in the feasibility of one country, two systems, because an authoritarian regime most fearful of localism will never tolerate the right of local governments to govern themselves for long, let alone the democratic rights authorized by the local people. Tolerating one country, two systems for the time being is only a temporary expedient, but if the central government thinks it can replace it, it will surely strike hard at the forces of local autonomy, especially those who think they have contributed to the country.
A high degree of autonomy cannot exist in a country where the power of the state is maximized. It can only exist in a country where the rights of individuals are maximized. According to Russell Kirk, the political theorist who wrote “The Foundations of the American Order,” one of the principles of the American order, based on the Constitution “We the People,” is to support spontaneous communities over artificial collectivism. Although Americans value privacy, they are also known for their outstanding community spirit. The Spirit of American federalism held that the decisions that most directly affected the lives of citizens were made by people in their communities of their own free will. The functioning of local political institutions needs and can only be effected by the agreement of the citizens affected by them. When political functions are promoted or simply replaced by the central authorities in the absence of local authorities, communities are in a very dangerous position — standardized procedures hostile to freedom and human dignity will replace political orders established with the consent of the governed.