On his blog, Ran Yunfei writes his thoughts about the new book by Du Daozheng, the former CCP official who helped obtain Zhao Ziyang’s memoir that was published last year. Translation by China analyst David Cowhig:
Today Ran Yunfei on his blog wrote his reactions to Du Daozheng’s book “What More Did Zhao Ziyang Have to Say” published this past January, in diary form. Du, a former high senior official, was one of the people who helped Zhao record and publish his book. Ran locates Du among a group of senior Party cadres who fought for their ideals (for truth, zhenli) as youths and then later in life, sought the truth again, trying to understand what really happened. These are people who came to doubt what they had fought for and also to reflect deeply on the damage that a totalitarian system causes.
Ran remarks that this group of retired cadre renegades, because of their knowledge of all the lies, fakery and back and forth within the system and its information blockages, are in a unique position to know what happened. Ran said that Du will be remembered for his three good deeds:
* After he retired, he founded the magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu [Hot Emperor and Yellow Emperor Spring and Autumn Chronicles]
* Helping, together with others, Zhao Ziyang prepare his book the Pathway of Reform 改革历程 on reform in the 1980s, his own downfall and June 4th.
* Writing What More Does Zhao Ziyang Have to Say?
Ran discusses how not only, as many observed, are Chinese afraid of their government, but also these high officials, like many Chinese, live in a climate of fear that requires them to regularly spout nonsense. Many high officials themselves didn’t know what would come next.
As example of fear, Du discusses how conversations with Zhao were held with the curtains drawn and copies of the tapes were held by several senior retired cadres for fear of police searches. Du had dreams about being caught and searched, dreams that reflect his internalization of the fear of the police and the Party.
Ran ends his review quoting from Du’s book on fear and lies
Du’s explanation for this is “Sometimes a lie is not a lie: Chinese intellectuals to this day have a kind of fear dwelling within them, sometimes they feel terror, this situation is much different from the situation of the capitalist countries in Europe and the United States. ” (p. 124) The democratic countries of Europe and the United States have long enjoyed freedom from fear. Totalitarian China of course cannot be compared with them. Actually the high pressure and fear that the Chinese government gives to its people, is greater and further reaching that that that of the authoritarian systems of China’s past.