The (Internally) Collected Quotations Of Chen Liangyu
…I cannot imagine that in fifteen years, I could manage not to ever visit the adoptive mother who reared me from a young age. Or that after becoming the supreme leader of the country, that I would not go in person to sweep the graves of my own father and mother, and instead would have my son go and perform token formalities. I could never do that. Because I am a person of flesh and blood.
In recent weeks, a memo full of sassy statements such as this one – meant to be a low blow at Hu Jintao – has begun to snake its way around Chinese journalistic circles. The file runs ten pages-long, contains eleven subsections, and is marked as Xinhua News Agency neican: the “internal reference materials” gathered in secret by the state news wire, often for official intelligence purposes. The statements in this particular neican are attributed to Shanghai’s recently purged boss, Chen Liangyu.
The authenticity of the file remains somewhat unconfirmed. Among Chinese journalists and media scholars whom we asked, only a few knew of it or had read it. But two who did told us they believed it to be genuine neican (as opposed to online parody of deadpan propaganda).
Authentic though it might be, the emergence of the file raises questions over its own motives and accuracy. Its ostensible aim is to malign Chen. It presents a rundown, essentially, of Chen’s speech crimes against Communist Party solidarity. Section headings include: “Shanghai Localism”; “Bloated Individualism and Quibbling”; “Attacks on leading comrades and central authorities’ policies”;
“Ideological Confusion”; and “Other Strange and Preposterous Ideas”.
To the outside observer, nonetheless, Chen’s purported views do make some sense. The file adds up to a morality play about the man and his fight for political survival. Chen comes off as a pro-market daredevil and an elitist trickle-downer; as Shanghai’s biggest booster and Beijing’s most anti-federalist foe; as a toady of Jiang Zemin and Deng Xiaoping and a basher, both obliquely and openly, of Hu Jintao. While flinging misgivings over the Hu government’s corruptibility and incapacity to lead the party, Chen’s self-consciously defensive of his own. He drives home his point about the intransigence of today’s “collective leadership”. But he also seems to sense, thereby, that he’s doomed to be the one bumped off.
The file on Chen first surfaced, it appears, less than a week after Chen’s dismissal in late September. News of it circulated freely on overseas Chinese-language Web associated with rights groups based overseas, including Radio Free Asia’s (click). It was effectively snuffed on the mainland, however, outside of manicured versions posted on a few blog sites. This one (click) omits the most flagrant remarks in the second half of the document, while this one (click) X’s out the name of Hu Jintao.
Otherwise, the file has been relayed mostly by email. Biganzi received a copy. Here you’ll find a rough translation of it, in full. Original Chinese and Chinese/English versions will follow in subsequent posts.
See also video clip: CCTV’s news announcement on Chen Liangyu’s case (in Chinese).
Xinhua News Agency Internal Reference Material: Selected Views of Chen Liangyu
1. On the Communist Party
- What’s most important at the moment isn’t for the Communist Party to worry that it will collapse. The Communist Party doesn’t need to keep on worrying whether or not it will collapse. The Communist Party works for sake of the people’s interests. What the Communist Party should worry about most, for the sake of the people, is whether or not the country can hold up its head in international competition – and allow the people to hold up their heads, and allow overseas Chinese, and Chinese around the world, to hold up their heads.
- Marxism is a science. Mathematics, physics, chemistry, economics, management, and psychology are also sciences. My party has to respect science when making policy decisions, and that means respecting all sciences.
- Our party needs professional talent, and our [Central] Party School has to train professional talent. That is, it has to cultivate personnel with specialized know-how who can give play to the leadership of the party in professional posts. The party School is not a place for learning central documents and policies and taking votes, nor is it a place for forming gangs and factions to struggle over ideology.
2. On Shanghai
- The “Three Represents” requires that the Chinese Communist Party represent the development of China’s advanced productive forces, the orientations of advanced Chinese culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. In all three of these respects, Shanghai is out in front of the whole country. Therefore, Shanghai represents the advanced nature of the Chinese Communist Party.
- Shanghai’s development is stable and rapid. Shanghai’s rapid, stable development has garnered the support of the central authorities, but it does not rely on the central authorities (‰∏≠Â§Æ). Gansu province, currently, still must depend on the central authorities. Shanghai has the ability to help Gansu province shake off its dependence.
3. On resisting the Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party
- It seems that Deng Xiaoping’s statement, “Development is the hard truth,” isn’t uttered much anymore. Why not? Is development not the hard truth? Then who will tell me what is the truth?
- There are some who take Deng Xiaoping’s ideology of a well-off society to mean that people who reach a well-off standard of living should not continue to improve their standards of living, that they must wait for those people who have not reached a well-off standard of living to reach it before they can continue to improve their standards of living. Such an understanding makes no sense at all. We cannot succeed in building socialism using such a mechanical way of thinking.
- When the sun rises, it shines first on the East. It doesn’t shine on the East and the West at the same time. We cannot but respect this fact; to respect it is to respect science. Balanced development can only be achieved step-by-step, through a smooth transition. Balanced development is not killing the chicken to get the egg; killing the chicken to get the egg is disrespect for science. Balanced development does not mean robbing the rich to help the poor; robbing the rich to help the poor would leave all equally poor, not equally rich.
- Macroeconomic readjustment is something I approve of, and balanced development is of course is good. But sound macroeconomic adjustment and balanced development definitely do not mean making a healthy child eat less just as it’s growing up while making a baby with a tummy ache stuff its stomach. Nor, of course, can you make sick person waiting for stomach surgery eat a big meal.
- We cannot treat macroeconomic readjustment and balanced development as synonyms for egalitarianism. Our party-state’s historic experience with economic building proved long ago that egalitarian thinking will only strangle development.
- Development has an order of priorities. Development can never be absolutely balanced. To make a slogan of something that is impossible may have the temporary effect of boosting people’s morale. But to regard it as true is to fool oneself, and to fool the masses.
- Do we want to renew the old cities and to build more new and developing cities, or do we want to limit the development of old cities and the rise of new and developing cities? Do we want more peasants to become urban residents? Or do we want peasants to forever be peasants? Then why are there certain people at the center who don’t think straight, and want to put added limits on the people renewing [old] cities and giving rise to new and developing cities?
4. On policy “adaptations” (ÂèòÈÄö)
- Corruption and policy adaptations are not one in the same thing. Corruption is when someone schemes for personal gain. Policy adaptation is to work for something better on behalf of the people’s interests.
- On matters that I approve of, I live up to my word. [But] there are matters on which I live up to my word but don’t have the final say. Should there come a day when higher authorities say that what I say doesn’t count, I’ll be responsible to the higher authorities, and you too shall bear the consequences. For us to be able to work together, you must be clear on this point of mine. Otherwise, do not work with me. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t fear the risks, so long as I do things worthy of the party, worthy of my conscience, worthy of the people. I do not shirk responsibility. If I have something to say, I say it. I say it clearly first, and then I act on it.
5. Attacks on leading comrades and central authorities’ policies
- Housing prices are soaring because the supply of homes isn’t meeting the demand. Land prices are soaring, and transfers are netting huge profits, because the supply of land isn’t meeting the demand. Even among watermelon peddlers, there’s not one who doesn’t understand the principle of supply and demand. But among the leaders of our party and government, there are people don’t understand it. They can’t even pretend to understand it.
- Our comrades in the leadership should change their work style of issuing written instructions on certain specific economic disputes before the disputes are investigated and reviewed. This practice does not employ legal means to resolve economic disputes, nor does it constitute normal administrative operations. This sort of practice will stir up a reaction and produce chaos. It does not increase the party’s ability to rule; it curtails the party’s ability to rule. Because the party’s ability to rule must reflect the importance attached to relying on law to resolve disputes, not reflect how much power party leaders have to do so.
- All people are equal before the law. We cannot disrespect, or fail to consider, written instructions from our comrades in the State Council leadership on the most trivial of matters. But what article of law do written orders from the State Council leaders count as? If I haven’t violated articles of law, who will warn me? If no one tells me, then this question can only be decided in a court of law. We will of course respect the court’s decision.
- Population flows have been an important factor in accelerating uneven regional development. How many provinces and cities have set up offices in the capital? The establishment in Beijing of city and provincial offices from around the country has expanded consumption in the city of Beijing and contributed to the development of the capital. How many provinces, cities, and enterprises large, medium and small have set up windows in Shanghai? How many people from other regions have come to Shanghai in search of opportunities to develop? How many enterprises from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and foreign countries have established organizations in Shanghai? All of these have gotten positive feedback and accelerated Shanghai’s development. So how can you demand that the whole country achieve “balanced development”? You could issue a document urging them all to go to Yan’an, but if they don’t go, then what? You’d still rather build Shanghai’s tall buildings in Yan’an to “balance development”? If you built Shanghai’s tall buildings in Yan’an, the price certainly would not be high. But does that make sense? Wouldn’t that be all too unreasonable?
- There are people who suspect that the current central leadership is too inclined to use administrative means to intervene in economic and social affairs. I don’t think so. But certainly there are people who misunderstand the thrust of the central authorities. They mistakenly think that the gist of the central authorities is to use administrative measures to intervene in economic and social affairs and that in practice, they take this shortcut of administrative intervention. I reckon the problem lies therein. We need to correct this misunderstanding.
- There are people who are constantly citing foreign media rumor-mongering and slander about the so-called “Shanghai faction” to discuss matters. I want to take the opportunity today to ask these people a few questions in return: Why do reactionary foreign media hate the “Shanghai faction” in this way but not the hate “Gang of Four” in this way? Why do reactionary foreign media wish ill upon our country’s fast development daily while extolling times when development stagnated and regressed during the Cultural Revolution? Whether there are persons within our Communist Party behind this phenomenon, I do not know. However, I also am not a know-nothing.
- If there are people in our party with divergent views who wish to use the reactionary foreign media to launch public opinion attacks on their own comrades and colleagues, isn’t that tantamount to telling the whole world that we cannot settle our own internal affairs within the party? When this kind of incorrect work style is compared to the corruption that exists within the party, which is more dangerous to the party’s survival? To say this sort of behavior is the same as acting “against the party and against the Chinese motherland” is a bit strong; but if it develops further then then they will be anti-party and anti-Chinese, and there’ll nothing wrong in saying so.
6. Bloated Individualism and Quibbling
- Shanghai is a testimony to Deng Xiaoping’s [statement that] “development is the hard truth”. Shanghai is a symbol representing the advanced nature of the Chinese Communist Party. Shanghai has been the testing ground for rapid development since the “reform and opening”. Shanghai is the pride of our government. Under the leadership of my party, that is Shanghai, “my Shanghai”.
- As the party secretary of Shanghai, I, guided by the policy thrust decided by the central authorities, am responsible for matters within the scope of my duties. The scope of my duties is different from that of the General Secretary. And the scope of the General Secretary’s duties is different from mine. We are both Communist Party members, but this is not to say that there is no boundary line between our work and our duties. The Communist Party is a group, not a single person. There is division of labor among the leaders of the Communist Party. The Communist Party has inner-party democracy. My personal understanding is that it applies to the Communist Party, not to a single person.
- The policy of macroeconomic readjustment has not brought about its predicted results. We have to take a scientific attitude to analyze this. The city government of Shanghai, in thoroughly executing the policy aspects of the central authorities’ macroeconomic readjustment, carried them out fully and completely. Yet private capital and foreign capital continued to flow into Shanghai, and circulation of funds among private individuals was very active. We have taken note of this problem, but we do not have a policy to take measures against it. Anyway, how can we prevent Mr. Zhang from lending money to Mr. Li? Our party doesn’t have such a rule, does it?
- To promote sustainable development of the economy and society that is coordinated in an overall way, I’m stressing an emphasis on utilizing economic and social means. My idea is not to negate the use of administrative means. I also have not meant to spurn the leaders of the party. What I mean is that that when economic means can and should be used, we mustn’t consider the use of administrative means to be a shortcut. When developing a market economy, rashly using administrative means to intervene in economic and social affairs will leave undesired aftereffects. And if legal means can and should be utilized to resolve problems, then do not use administrative means rashly either. Improving our party’s ability to govern does not amount to increasing the proportion of administrative means used to intervene in economic and social affairs. That’s not how I understand it.
- If I’m not mistaken, our country’s private enterprises produce over 40 percent of GDP nationally. Here in Shanghai, state enterprises produce nearly 80 percent of GDP. If you want to discuss the issue of who adheres most to socialism, couldn’t it be said that Shanghai adheres most? The words of certain people who at every turn want to hang the capitalist hat on Shanghai are unworthy of rebuttal. Shanghai has built a model for our country’s socialist market economy, and it’s the direction toward which our country’s socialist economy is developing. Shanghai has not practiced capitalism. For Shanghai to wear that hat on its head would be unsuitable. It wouldn’t fit. Once the national GDP surpasses Shanghai’s in [proportion of] state enterprise [productivity], then you come talk to me about whether Shanghai is adhering to socialism or not. Otherwise, I beg your pardon. Don’t waste your time or mine.
7. On Market Economics
- Those cadres who have objections to the State Council’s specific measures of macroeconomic readjustment must not just complain. You must come up with specific ways of your own. Take the matter on its merits. First thing’s first, second thing’s second. Think about specific ways around specific problems. It’s people who think up the measures, after all. To work scientifically with economic problems is to fully protect and use market mechanisms. As long as a market exists, surely there will be solutions, and surely problems can be solved.
- Capital has to flow before it can give full play to development. To prohibit or limit the flow of capital is to waste capital. It’s not conducive to development. Under a socialist market economic system, the flow of capital has its own scientific laws. And to some degree, the scientific laws therein are the same as those under a capitalist system. If you say it’s not the same, then please present some scientific evidence. If you only believe that there are different scientific laws, but have not yet discovered them, haven’t summed them up, then as a temporary replacement, simply use the laws of market economics already discovered under that the capitalist system. When the airplane had yet to be invented, but there were already trains, if anybody had said that since the airplane wasn’t invented we better keep on riding by horse-drawn cart, who would have understood? Everyone would think this person’s brain was screwed up.
- The places where real estate prices are excessively high, places like Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, and Shenzhen, all have established rather sound real estate market mechanisms. There’s no one forcing anyone to buy a house, nor is there any problem with housing assigned by work units. In terms of excessively high real estate prices, two problems are spoken of: One problem is with new housing built in the prime sections of the city centers with nice green environs and convenient transportation. The homes are usually quite large and luxurious and the price is high, even very high; but there’s no problem of it being “excessive”. Whether the price of housing is excessively high or not, the market will have a natural balance. If apartment prices are excessively high, then no will buy them. So how can they be excessive? Isn’t the matter as simple as that!
The people who say that real estate prices are excessively high are, in reality, talking about a separate problem. The problem is that ordinary people in city centers cannot afford to buy these sorts of homes that are rather large and luxurious, and ordinary people cannot afford to buy those villas in the subdivisions. This type of real estate is of course excessively high in price to ordinary people. But the problem there is not that the price of real estate is excessively high. Other homes not so centrally located are affordable to ordinary people, and the government is also trying hard to help them purchase homes. The Shanghai city government has done much in-depth, painstaking work to safeguard Shanghai’s stability and development. If, say, we were to build some low-standard housing in the city center to allow ordinary people to afford it, then they would not consider real estate prices to be excessively high. But would that be in accordance with the laws of the market and of economic development? Would it accord with scientific market mechanisms? By no means does there exist a problem of “excessively high” real estate prices. Pushing down housing prices is a problem that should be resolved through the relationship of market supply and demand. To want to solve the problem through meetings means to want solve the problem through administrative means, but administrative means cannot resolve a problem of market supply and demand. Market supply and demand has its own scientific laws. Therefore, the real problem is that a problem that’s not a problem has been treated as a problem, and unscientific means have been used in attempt to solve a problem that’s not a problem. People this managing affairs – now there’s a problem!
- The market should decide how high the profits of real estate developers go, and how much the government benefits from real estate development and trade. Right now demand for land exceeds supply, so our policy is to seek out more land. Right now the demand for housing exceeds the supply, the demand for luxury housing exceeds the supply, and the demand for ordinary housing exceeds the supply as well. So our policy is to encourage developers to build more housing. If developers’ profits are very high, then naturally there will be even more developers entering the trade. And market competition naturally will achieve a kind of balance. In these respects, the government need only lay down a policy of protecting the market mechanism. There is no need for the government to stick its hands in and manage real estate prices and developers’ profits. If the government manages too much, it will mismanage, and the market mechanism will be strangled. If the government manages arbitrarily, the result will be an even more severe shortfall of supply. Instead that will make real estate prices even higher, and developers’ profits higher too. If the government meddles and manages arbitrarily, it will cause chaos in the market. Without a doubt, tightening up the supply of land, cutting down financing to developers, cutting down the supply of home building materials and adopting a harsh system of approvals toward developers, in reality not only will not reduce the price of real estate and the exorbitant profits of developers. To the contrary, it will raise real estate prices and developers’ exorbitant profits, and instead encourage speculation in housing. It is demand exceeding supply that will cause the market mechanism to operate naturally and expand supply, and allow the relationship between supply and demand to attain a balance. That’s the way to control real estate prices, developers’ profits, and housing speculation at a reasonable, balanced level. This kind of control is natural, not artificial.
- When Comrade Jiang Zemin was still Mayor Jiang, he referred us to a case from the mid-eighties, when the Shanghai Ethyl Factory was facing stoppage in production. The Shanghai Ethyl Factory’s main raw material was dried sweet potato ÔºàÂ±±ËäãÂπ≤Ôºâ; you probably call it dried yam (Âú∞ÁìúÂπ≤). Originally, it was supplied mainly from Anhui province. Then after the economic reforms, the peasants in Anhui decided for themselves what to grow in the ground, and Anhui’s village and township enterprises began to produce ethyl alcohol themselves. So the Shanghai Ethyl Factory couldn’t find dried sweet potato and had to halt production. Could you say Anhui province should be blamed for “localism” because of this? At the time, in order to rescue the Shanghai Ethyl Factory, Shanghai began to raise its price; it bought up dried sweet potato, and the problem was resolved. Not only was the problem resolved, but later the Shanghai Ethyl Factory also transferred technology to Anhui province, and helped prop up the ethyl processing industry in Anhui and other outlying provinces, and everybody benefited. Because the purchasing price of sweet potatoes rose, the Anhui peasants’ incentive to grow it also increased, and no phenomena of limitlessly rising prices arose. Following the Third Plenum of the 11th Communist Party Central Committee [December, 1978], the state gradually set forth the status of the socialist market economy. Economically, the localities had the right to make their own decisions based on their own local circumstances. Competition arose between different localities, and this drove economic development. So when market mechanisms are allowed take effect according to their scientific laws, the result is benign interaction. If the government interferes, market mechanisms are artificially damaged, and vicious competition will arise. The vicious competition I speak of is a governmental problem. Back then, suppose the Ethyl Factory’s original price could not buy sweet potatoes and Shanghai had sought out the State Council, and the State Council had decided that Anhui was not allowed to produce ethyl and instead had to use its dried sweet potato to guarantee the supply to Shanghai, or that the State Council had decided that Shanghai was not allowed to raise its purchasing price for dried sweet potato. If that’s the way it was, then that would have been “localism” protecting one party. Shanghai and Anhui surely would have gone before the State Council and criticized one another for practicing localism. Yet when the mechanisms of the market are allowed to take effect, the problem of “localism” fundamentally does not exist. When economic activity is marketized, economic decisions are free and economic policies are open. What we need is to guarantee that full play is given to market mechanisms, to encourage benign interaction. Competition that arises in the market is all concrete, it’s all local, but none of it is what some people say is localism or whatever. Yet if the central interferes in market competition, then it would have ended up just the way I postulated before. The State Council would have decided that Anhui was not allowed to produce ethyl and instead had to use its dried sweet potato to guarantee supplies to Shanghai; or the State Council would have decided that Shanghai was not allowed to raise the purchasing price of dried sweet potato. That way, by contrast, localism would have arose.
8. Shanghai Localism
- As long as Shanghai has what the whole country wants, then balanced development will not balance out Shanghai. We in Shanghai need not worry about that. When others are unwilling to say that “development is the hard truth,” we profess this hard truth. When others are at a standstill, we continue to develop. This is my Shanghai localism. I have absolute confidence in reform and opening and in market mechanisms, and if no one among you doubts it, then that’s good. As long as Shanghai “keeps advanced” in scientific research, manufacturing, banking, commerce, culture and all other respects, then no matter how other people want to allocate it, how can the money be even? The money will always be spent in Shanghai. On this point I have absolute confidence. Am I not right?
- When the city of XX in Jiangxi province wanted to attract trade and investment from abroad, they spent their first sum of money here in Shanghai. In Shanghai they hired experts. How did they succeed in attracting trade and investment and making money? They exported their products through Shanghai. Shanghai helped them make money, and Shanghai made money too. Not to mention that all of their bosses bought homes in Shanghai, and their bosses had relatives who opened stores in Shanghai, too. After ten years, they are the same as us. They’re all Shanghai residents. And at least their will be next generation as well.
- When I was young, I remember, salaries in Shanghai were lower than they were nationally. But the whole country came to Shanghai to spend money, especially at the Number One and Number Two Department Stores. You’d buy a lot of stuff to take back home. At that time, Shanghai had no right to manage the money it made. At that time, we still didn’t have market mechanisms; we were not permitted to have market mechanisms. Finances were centrally allocated and transferred by the central authorities. Shanghai could but act as a relay point. Shanghai residents could only get some cheap goods through their work units or factories. That was the only little tangible benefit. Now we don’t have to worry about this problem. Now Shanghai has so many private enterprises and foreign-invested enterprises. Even if the Shanghai city government were to give over its finances to someone else to control, so long as Shanghai people have money in their hands, so long as Shanghai’s growth allows the whole country and whole world to come and spend, to come and seek out ways to develop, then Shanghai could not stop growing even if it wanted to.
9. Other strange and preposterous ideas
- In the reform and opening, while acting in accordance with the scientific development concept of preserving stability while seeking rapid pace, Shanghai mustn’t be afraid to go ahead of the whole country. On a road that our predecessors have not taken, after all, someone must take the first step. Why can’t Shanghai take the first step? History has proven repeatedly that we in Shanghai have the ability to travel roads that our predecessors have not taken. In the past, Shanghai was called the “adventurers’ playground”. If Shanghai is called the ” adventurers’ playground” once again, what would be wrong with that? To strive for growth requires adventurousness anyhow. If one day Shanghai grew to overtake America’s New York, what would be wrong with that? New York has always been the playground of the world’s adventurers. Unfortunately for Shanghai, it was interrupted for several decades. If we could make the world’s adventurers come to Shanghai, if Shanghai can achieve that kind of appeal, then one day Shanghai might overtake New York, and Chinese language schools in New York would begin to teach course in Shanghainese.
- Our party already has discussed Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s statement that “Development is the hard truth.” Everybody knows this principle, and everyone identifies with it. If there was not someone who wanted to refute or change the understanding of it, then as I see it, there would be no need in the least to call a meeting to deliberate over it further, no matter how [the purpose of the meeting] is nominally phrased. Suppose there was someone who wanted to call a meeting to deliberate over the name of the city of Beijing; would you think that it was for the purpose of enhancing and raising awareness of the name of the city? [Right now] Someone is purposely avoiding mentioning that “Development is the hard truth”. But over the long haul, I suspect, there will be a son who does not wish to recognize his father. The son wants to prove he’s wiser than his father. If he can slowly prove it and everyone can see it, than that’s fine for him. What’s the rush?
- The cadres of our party must rely on the masses. I’ve never said that relying on the masses means we can only rely on the masses of workers, peasants, soldiers and neighborhood committees. That is the former way of saying it. Entrepreneurs, businessmen, and people with brains and influence in technological, cultural and intellectual circles, all are our masses too. Foreign businessmen are also our masses. Everybody is part of the masses upon whom our party cadres should rely. Therefore I stress, the cadres of our party really must manage to open their minds.
Xinhua News Agency Internal Reference Materials: Selected Views of Chen Liangyu (Part II)
10. Criticisms and attacks on individuals made outside the party
- China’s “peaceful rise” is something to be achieved, not talked about. Mention it once and it’s unnecessarily suspicious-sounding. Mention it too much and it’s boasting. It’s also not conducive to China’s stability and development, and it’s irresponsible. If China tries hard to maintain stable development over the long-term, there really will come a day when China achieves a “peaceful rise”. But there’s a problem in using a slogan like “peaceful rise” to arouse patriotic enthusiasm. Patriotism already has been cooked up much too hot among Chinese young people. Youths will let their minds roam so far as to think about fighting, killing, bombing, landing, and occupying. These are the things they shout for. If your youths always think this way and shout this way, other people will be scared into fearing China. If you say you want to “peacefully” “rise”, then who can trust whether you say you want “peace” or want to fight and kill? People elsewhere fear China’s current development. Once people are afraid, surely they won’t want to allow you to “peacefully rise”. If you’ve only just gotten off your butt and they already want to stamp you right back down, then don’t even think of ever getting back up. What’s been said is said, but hereafter, talk like “peaceful rise” is best left unspoken. This is my personal opinion. I’m only concerned with the facts, not with the individuals.
- When we talk about patriotism, it’s best not to speak constantly about topics like the Eight Allied Armies and the Japanese invasion of China. To speak [of patriotism] scientifically, according to human nature, and according to the demands of social stability and harmony, an individual’s patriotic ideas should comprise a series of different levels. First, one should love one’s parents, love one’s children, and love one’s family; after that, one should love one’s classmates, love one’s colleagues, and love one’s neighbors; next, the person should love society; love oneself, and love the place one lives. Only when one has accomplished all of these can one really enter into love of the country, love of the party, and love of the people. If we see someone whose treatment of his parents and his adoptive mother is most heartless, then we shall suspect that the love of country, love of party and love of the people that this person speaks of might be very false.
- China wants a stable domestic and international environment for it to develop. The effort to achieve and preserve this sort of environment for growth is the key problem of our past, present and future. It also requires that the senior leaders of our party and government be individuals of steady disposition. Whether Comrade Hu Jintao’s character meets this consideration, I am not clear. Based on some reference materials, I have noticed that, when Comrade Hu Jintao was in Tibet serving as First Secretary of the Party Committee of the Autonomous Region, in order to deal with a small number of monks rising in revolt, he personally donned a steel helmet on his head and held up a tommy gun. Yet I do not consider this the expression of a steady character. I hope that the collective leadership of the Standing Committee of the Politburo takes note of this issue when they make major decisions.
- What I detest most is when someone makes irresponsible remarks about someone else’s health. Someone who gossips about others’ illnesses has a health problem himself. I don’t need a doctor to make that diagnosis. This person definitely has a psychological problem, and a psychological problem is also a kind of illness. There’s no way to cure this kind of illness.
- I got my start doing actual work, not by dint of speaking falsehoods, paying lip service, and talking a lot of nonsense. Inherently, I have no way to maintain agreement with the kind of person who grows and thrives by speaking like a human being in front of people and lying behind their backs. I don’t trust that people who depend on speaking falsehoods, paying lip service, and talking a lot of nonsense, and who grow and thrive by speaking like a human being in front of people and lying behind their backs, can represent the interests of our party, our government or our people.
- There’s no need to speak intimidations toward me. That won’t do any good. I served in the army from 1968 to 1970. At that time we were concerned everyday that we would go to war with the Soviet Union. Every day the army had to grasp wartime thinking, to arouse the troops. From that time on, I began not to fear death. But I’ve lived another 35 years. Now, I fear death even less. Nor would I feel I needed to put a steel helmet on my head to deal with a few monks.
- After I got busy with work, I was seldom able to care for my father, and I feel bad about that. When people are able to provide my father some assistance, and allow him to pass his days rather comfortably, I’m very moved. It relieves a bit of the pressure on my heart. I cannot imagine that in fifteen years, I could manage not to ever visit the adoptive mother who reared me from a young age. Or that after becoming the supreme leader of the country, that I could not go in person to sweep the graves of my own father and mother, and would have my son go and perform token formalities instead. I could never do that. Because I am a person of flesh and blood.
- To decide to make policy adaptations for the sake of the vital interests of the masses accords with our party’s principle and spirit of “seeking the truth from facts.” Of course, there are risks to doing this. Whether these risks are big or not depends on the person making the decision to adapt the polices, and on whether or not people possessing greater power put the vital interests of the masses in a certain place. The risks for me are not minor. Because among my higher-ups are two shi la wu zi. (a Zhejiang obscenity, meaning sons of thieves).
- Our country’s current economic reforms started in the countryside. Rural economic reforms began with a production team in Anhui province’s Chu county. When the production team first started to practice the contracted responsibility system, it did not tally with the central authorities’ policies and laws of the time. The production team’s cadres took great risks. How did they begin? I remember that at the time, they had an agreement. The agreement stated that if a production team cadre was imprisoned for allocating the fields among the different households, then the all the members of the commune had to take charge of his family’s farm work, as well raise his children to the age of eighteen. How tremendous! In the agreement there was another clause, also tremendous, that apparently said that the matter was not permitted to be spoken of with superior authorities or with outsiders; whoever said anything would be the enemy of the entire production team. This episode has become a part of party history. That person who grew up in Anhui surely must not read party history, for it seems he is utterly unaware that our country’s current economic reforms began this way. That adoptive mother of his was really a waste. She raised him in vain.
- I’m a person who does not belong either to the optimistic school of thought or the pessimistic. In the past, I always liked a line from a sorceress in a foreign film that I’d use over and over as my pet phrase. Now in my mind I still often think of it. That line is: “Focus on results.” Our economic reforms of today began in the countryside. Rural economic reforms started from a production team in Anhui who defied the policy directives set by the central authorities but were “focused on results”. This production team violated the central authorities’ policy directives, yet made shocking achievements, and the results were affirmed and popularized. That is precisely to ‘focus on results.” It’s already recorded in Communist Party history. That precisely the meaning of Deng Xiaoping’s “development is the hard truth”. People who don’t remember this must go back and have another read. Should there be a day when those shameless scoundrels boot me out, take me down – this kind of thing is not outside the realm of possibility, I said I’m a pragmatist, I’m not blindly optimistic nor blindly pessimistic – then at that time, the best way for those of you thinking of me to handle it is to show them proof of our results.
11. Ideological confusion
- If you do not have the time to read other (books), it’s not a concern. But you absolutely must take the time to read the “Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping” and the Selected Works of Jiang Zemin” thoroughly. I don’t mean to say that other (books) are not to be read. What I mean is, if your job is to be a good driver, then you definitely have to know the traffic regulations and how to drive, but you do not have to know the principles of a car engine and how cars are built. Even if you don’t know the function of a car’s exhaust pipe, it won’t stop you from being a good driver.
- Putting too much emphasis on stability will only make people think that in reality, things are not stable. Putting too much emphasis on harmonious society will only show that in reality, society is not harmonious. It is correct to emphasize such words on appropriate occasions. But when taken as pet phrases, and used indiscriminately and too often, they become counterproductive. Our meeting today has been going on for one hour and forty minutes. Haven’t you begun to feel a little dizzy? Begun to feel as though you want to take a nap? Thirsty? Hungry? If I don’t speak this way, perhaps most of you will not realize you have such sensations. But once I speak this way, do you not begin to have these sorts of sensations? This is exactly what I mean to say. It’s called psychology.
- In the case of mass disturbances, anyone who violates the law should be punished according to the law. We can’t merely penalize the leaders. If we merely punishing the leaders, does it represent that our government is lenient toward people who break the law? Or does it represent their belief that the “law does not extend to the masses”? Neither of the two tallies with the spirit of “rule according to law”. People who create mass disturbances when they legal avenues but do not pursue them, and judged by courts but not subjected to the verdicts, must be punished uniformly. Otherwise they’ll have absolutely no respect for the law, and “rule according to law” will be nothing but wasted breath.
- China is led by the Communist Party leader, and every locality in China is led by the same Communist Party leaders. The localities have to abide by the central authorities, and the central authorities also have to cooperate with the localities. The central authorities have to cooperate with the localities, but the central authorities cannot possibly understand the real situation locally as the local governments do. The central authorities may listen to reports and make inspections, but they still won’t understand the real situation in the localities in the way local governments do. Therefore in the localities, when we speak of the Communist Party leaders, we’re referring to the local Communist Party government leaders. Only such leaders are concretely connected and can solve problems. Simply abiding by the central authorities does not solve concrete problems. The relationship between the central authorities and the localities should be understood this way. The leaders of the Communist Party also should understand it this way. Divorced from the real, specific place, everything is meaningless.
- In the course of systematic reform, we definitely must be careful about delegating power to lower levels, because after power is delegated, taking it back gives rise to problems that are harder to solve than before it was delegated at all. So what to do about problems that arise after the power is delegated? As I see it, the only way is to trust and depend on the legal system. Those aspects of the legal system that are lacking have to be perfected. To handle problems that arise where power is already delegated, adopting methods to take the power back is not a good way. Give and take back, give and take back, and the people are bound to feel that the routes of reform and conservatism are struggling against one another. In fact, with respect to reform, all of us are completely in agreement. So we should not continue this practice of retaking power any longer. What we have to do is perfect the legal system. That way, the people will not feel that the routes of reformism and conservatism are struggling against one another.
- How large the scale of the United Front Work Department’s work in Shanghai actually is, I, the party secretary of the city, do not know. What I want to ask is: in Shanghai, this international city with a high level of openness economically and culturally, are there people monitoring the United Front Work Department’s work, and how are they monitoring it? The United Front Work Department’s work in Shanghai already has had a direct effect on Shanghai’s work. In the course of our projects to attract foreign investment, recruit talented personnel, conduct foreign trade, and carry out cultural exchanges between China and abroad, we find the United Front Work Department obstructing and interfering with us everywhere. What department should I seek out to investigate whether the United Front Work Department is carrying out an assignment from its superiors, or if it is secretly doing its own or others’ private work. I think that we must have a system to oversee this, and the local government should have the right to participate in the surveillance.
- Obedience must be justified. To require absolute obedience without justification is not realistic. Soldiers in the army must abide absolutely by their senior officer. But to depend on such a system of obedience alone is no good. So in the army there also must be ideological work, war mobilization, and so forth. For the party central committee to demand absolute obedience from the localities, it must allow internal debate and public debate. Right now, in many localities, there is absolute disobedience toward some of the policy directives of the central authorities. As the central leaders, shouldn’t we be discussing in this meeting whether central policy directives are unreasonable, unconvincing? Is it the case that some central policy directives are fundamentally unrepresentative of the places all over the country? When we run into problems, shouldn’t we first examine where our own problems lie? Sure, the central authorities are the boss of the localities, but the central authorities have to be a good boss. You have to act like a boss to be a boss. Otherwise, if the localities act as their own bosses, who can you blame?
- With the problem of corruption, people must have power to be corrupt. The more powerful people are, the more corrupt they can be. It’s out of the question for people without power to be corrupt. They can only bribe people with power. Therefore, in considering the problem of corruption, to merely investigate and punish is to treat the symptoms but not the disease. To treat the disease, power must be dispersed, unnecessary power cancelled out. With respect to land approvals, key state investment projects and so on, the phenomenon of corruption is widespread in our country. So with respect to land approvals and key state investment projects, why don’t we make use of power a little less and markets a little more? The same goes for a lot of other areas. The power of the government is the root of corruption. Augmenting the power of the government will only augment corruption. But decrease the power of the government, let go of matters that needn’t be bothered with, and allow market mechanisms to balance thing out naturally, and when the people stop seeking realize their owns gains through power, corruption will lose its breeding ground. Then it can be controlled. But use even more power to fix corruption and as a result, it will cause more corruption.
- I’m resolutely opposed to spreading a plan around the country for coordinated economical housing prices, where the government takes the lead in allocation and sales. By no means can this sort of planned economics resolve the predicaments of families in dire straits. To the contrary, this will give the government an even more authoritative function. And the more authoritative its function, the more opportunities there will be for corruption. I think the function the government should play in this regard is to survey the market, to comprehend the market, and to encourage the market to provide economical housing sufficient to satisfy the needs of society. Do not forget, we are still living in the primary stage of socialism. “Distribution according to one’s needs” is not on our agenda yet. There will always be people unable to afford to buy housing. This problem is a normal phenomenon in the primary stage of socialism. When we get to the high stage, then we can solve this problem. To speak of solving this problem right now, if it’s not cheating the public, then it must some great leap forward. And it’s also possible to suspect that people are creating certain new functions of government power in order to give themselves opportunities for corruption.
- [I] propose that inner-party democracy be reflected not only in inner-party criticism. It must be reflected in the autonomy of local party organizations over local affairs. And the model for it must be set from top to bottom. The inner-party democracy we have currently proceeds from bottom to top. At best, it’s democratic discussions among party members, and at worst, it serves to encourage people to rise in rebellion. I hold to the belief that inner-party democracy cannot merely proceed from bottom to top. When it gets to the top, it’s only centralized and not democratic. So inner-party democracy must proceed from top to bottom.
- Discussion of strengthening the leadership of the party cannot be divorced from Comrade Jiang Zemin’s theory of the “Three Represents”. Divorced from Comrade Jiang Zemin’s theory of the “Three Represents”, strengthening the leadership of the party comes to mean simply protecting the interests of the party and forsaking our party’s most wide-ranging service – on behalf of the basic interests of the people. There are those who say that the formulation “strengthening the leadership of the party” is not precise enough, that it should be worded “strengthening the service of the party”, to highlight the concept of serving the people. That way, it would not give people the wrong impression that the Communist Party is also a special interest group. It would also be a better embodiment of our party’s special character of serving the people.
- I never ever said I was a hoodlum. Who would believe that I said something like that? I did say: “There are people who should not behave like hoodlums. If someone behaves like a hoodlum toward me, then I’ll be even more of a hoodlum.” That I did say, and I’ll say it again. I’ll explain what I mean: There are people who take matters we discuss within our party to Hong Kong. They add oil and vinegar and start rumors and slander about those who criticize them. That is behaving like a hoodlum. I won’t take after this kind of behavior. I won’t use it. I look down upon this kind of person. When I say I’ll be even more of a hoodlum, I’m saying that if things continue develop this way unchecked, I’ll break the rules as well. Abiding by the rules is not easy, but breaking the rules is very easy. “I’m not making threats. Only a mad dog can jump a wall. But if wasn’t for the mad dog jumping the wall, man [I] wouldn’t have any way of handling it.
- Our society is still composed of family units. The family is the most basic cell of society. So speaking of the family’s interests is the same as speaking of the nation’s interests and the state’s interests. I believe you can trust the sort of person who would help a friend at the loss of his own life to sacrifice his own individual interests, or even the interests of his family, for the sake of the interests of the nation and the state. But the sort of person who’s a friend in one’s presence but who sells out friends behind their backs – can this person be trusted to sacrifice his own individual interests for the sake of the nation’s and state’s? That sort of person is a vile character (Â∞è‰∫∫). People who trust that sort of person are also vile characters. Within our party, we have vile characters like this from top to bottom. We cannot but beware of such vile characters.