Panama News Vol 11, No. 19. Oct 9-22, 2005
China's Leader Is Not The Man
China today has a very "happening" leader. One can only marvel at his demonstrated ability to consolidate a tighter and tighter hold over such a vast and diverse region. The internet is more controlled in China than anywhere in the world. Cell phone messages and chat room postings are monitored on an ongoing basis and soon the same will be true for text messages. All non-government organizations -- even such environmental groups as those struggling to save the panda and other endangered species -- must shut down unless they can find government sponsorship. From now on, when some little old lady in New Zealand mails off a check to save the panda, the money may well end up in the back pocket of a Communist Party boss. This isn't what China needs.
These and other repressive measures have supposedly been put in place in response to a perceived foreign threat. But there is no foreign threat to the Chinese government or to China. Everybody wants China to work things out on its own and in its own unique way. China is just too big and dangerous to be tampered with from the outside. Look at the crazy mess the meddling Americans made in Iraq. Nobody is going to meddle in China's affairs. The whole world is on China's side. Nobody is trying to keep it down. Everybody acknowledges its eventual leadership.
Only, the world wants a real China, a China whose people have access to information about the world as it really is -- not a China that is thought-controlled and hate-mongered. The other day I met a young fellow from South Dakota at the Chinese-language school here in Taiwan where I study Mandarin. He'd just finished a stint in Mainland China as a college English teacher. He described how his students there stood up before the class and made presentations, which were nearly identical hate-filled diatribes against Japan or an independent Taiwan. The students were all brainwashed with an identical twisted view of the world. They couldn't think for themselves. A China with minds like this, ruling the world, would be a disaster. The world doesn't need or want such a China under such a leader. The prospect, as the Japanese have pointed out, is "scary." What the world needs is exactly what China needs -- for China itself, not its leader, to happen.
China has had too many "happening" leaders. It doesn't need another. It needs to be free. The Chinese people are smart enough to take care of the rest. They were given economic freedom and the Chinese economy happened, in spite of the government and the party. Now they must be given intellectual, political, and organizational freedom. Only then will China really happen - despite its government and party. The government and party will benefit immeasurably, and certainly claim credit, but they won't be behind China's happening. Freedom -- this is what will have done the trick. That's the point that the brave youths gunned down in Tienaman Square were trying to get across to their countrymen. China needs to be free if it is to happen. China, the biggest, and perhaps brightest, of nations -- only needs, at long last, this one thing.
In the name of "stability" its current leader is doing everything in his power to stifle the one and only requirement for his nation to be great. Stability cannot be imposed artificially and self-servingly like he is trying to do from the top. What results is the fragile, brittle, corrupt, and lifeless system that the unfortunate Chinese know only too well. Stability must come about, like everything alive and everything real, in an organic, almost biological fashion from every direction at once, by allowing all aspects of China to grow with freedom and with checks-and-balances into resplendent and interdependent health.
One Chinaman, long ago -- the great Lao Tzu -- wrote a book about this way of growth. His view was that, with the true leader, no one knows he's leading. China doesn't need another leader, out to make himself big, like Mao did, again and again, at China's expense. It's had too much of that already. More than ever now, China needs a true leader, a man who will make China, not himself, happen. That leader will lead not just China, but all nations. The present leader is not that man.