Zhai Minglei: You Have Failed Us, Mr. Wen
China Media Project partially translates a, “lengthy, passionate and strongly-worded discussion of China’s history, current leadership and political reform” by investigative reporter Zhai Minglei. The essay has since been purged from the Chinese Internet:
Democracy is not at all as many people have described it, leading to internal chaos. When governments work for the will of the people it is the plotters and tyrants who are most unhappy. Von Mises said: “For the sake of domestic peace, liberalism aims at democratic government. Democracy is therefore not a revolutionary institution. On the contrary it is the very means of preventing revolution and civil wars. It provides a method for the peaceful adjustment of government to the will of the majority.”
But wherever there is oppression there is opposition, and the opposing of tyranny is a basic human right. Therefore, if democracy does not form the basic fabric of society, then those who oppose potentially become a force of unbridled destruction, and this is the terrible soil of revolution. But when democracy forces political power to yield to the popular will, the basis for revolution is removed.
When people say things like, “Democracy is not suited to the temperament of the Chinese,” the people of India laugh. When people say things like, “Asian culture has no tradition of democracy,” the people of Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand all laugh. It was on Chinese soil that Asia’s first republic was founded last century, and 98 years later Chinese now say democracy is unsuited to China.
OK, so even if we do not oppose undemocratic systems, I’d like to ask how exactly it is that our good Party leaders are to be chosen. If it is not through democratic means, are we to resort to royal succession? Or executive appointment? None of these traditional ways can be used. If you don’t employ democratic means, what will you use — the laws of the forest?
Autocracy will not only destroy society, it will engender struggle within the ruling party and ultimately destroy it as well. This is Wen Jiabao’s basic logic in his words of support for democracy.