An excellent blog post by the talented Mr. Carrdus from ICT, who first talks about Xi Jinping visiting Lhasa and then goes into some history about the first great ideas of the Chinese Communist Party:
This idea that science provides salvation has its roots in the May 4th Movement. In 1919, China was going through wrenching changes following the collapse of the millennia-old dynastic system, and struggling to forge a path in a hostile modern world. The rallying point for China’s nationalist intellectuals was the stinging indignation that came when German colonial interests in China were handed to Japan – without even consulting Beijing – under the terms of the Versailles Treaty at the end of World War I.
A small band of highly influential Chinese intellectuals concluded that China needed to modernize; and to modernize, China needed science, but it also needed democracy, concepts they introduced as “Mr. Science and Mr. Democracy.” Mr. Science would empower China’s industrial and economic growth and Mr. Democracy would harness her intellectual and spiritual forces. “Only these two gentlemen can save China from the political, moral, academic and intellectual darkness in which it finds itself,” wrote Chen Duxiu, one of the figureheads of the May 4th Movement.
Chen Duxiu, of course, was also one of the founders of the Chinese Communist Party.
Ninety years later, and while “Mr. Science” is still (s)lavishly entertained in China, “Mr. Democracy” has long since been banished and exiled by the Party founded by Chen Duxiu. In his place stalks “Mr. Stability,” the Party’s Frankenstein creation who unflinchingly sends tanks against students in Tiananmen Square, who censors, pillories and imprisons critics by the thousand, and whose world-view is so far off-kilter that the Dalai Lama – of all people – is demonized with such ferocity that Tibetans are tortured and imprisoned for owning a copy of his portrait. What’s that if it’s not “political, moral, academic and intellectual darkness”?
The scientific development of “Mr. Science” now serves only to justify the Party’s continuing authoritarianism and absence of political reform, while the consequences of ostracizing “Mr. Democracy” are the huge imbalances and gathering discontent that are fast becoming the hallmarks of modern China.
Mr. Xi is heavily tipped to be President of China in the next couple of years, and in due course he too is likely to have his own slogan, his own ideological thumbprint—which is more the pity. Rather than another clumsy ideological club to snuff out reform, now more than ever the Party – and indeed all of China – needs a “Mr. Democraxi.”