1 October 2017 — The Best China

The 1st of October marks the founding in 1949 of the People’s Republic of China. Addressing a mass rally in the heart of Beijing on that day, the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party Mao Zedong announced the establishment of a Central People’s Government.

A decades’ long aspiration for national independence and unity seemed certain to be fulfilled. After years of civil strife, war, invasion, economic depredation and social chaos, countless people were swept up in a mood of celebration hoping for a brighter future. Exhausted by years of conflict their elation was in part the result of that fact that, in the lead up to 1 October 1949, the Communists had made numerous undertakings to vouchsafe the dawn of an era of true democracy, freedom of speech and basic human rights. The promises were reported in the Party media for nearly a decade from the early 1940s; they are collected in Voices of History: solemn promises made half a century ago 歷史的先聲——半個世紀前的莊嚴承諾, a handy volume published on the eve of the 1st October National Day in 1999. During the 1950s, the guarantees of the 1940s were soon betrayed; they have never been fulfilled. Voices of History was hastily banned in early 2000. Today, the Xi Jinping era (2012-), in continued breach with that long-forgotten past, trumpets the Communist Party’s march along what it calls The China Road 中國道路.

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Day One / One Day. Source: 2017 Palace Museum Calendar 故宮日曆

In 2017, China’s National Day marks the start of an eight-day holiday encompassing not only the symbolism of the old Maoist party-state on 1 October, but also the folk traditions of the Mid Autumn Festival, celebrated this year on the 4th of October.

One of the approved slogans for the period is ‘Heartfelt Mid Autumn; Delight at National Day’ 濃情中秋 喜迎國慶, but the mandated joy is not so much for 1 October, but in anticipation rather of the Nineteenth Party Congress scheduled for mid October. At that heavily policed and secretive event held in the heart of Beijing it is presumed that Xi Jinping will be unanimously anointed as China’s ongoing party-state-army Chairman of Everything. As the veteran Hong Kong political commentator and editor Lee Yee 李怡 has observed, it may also mark another milestone in Xi Dada’s irresistible rise:

The New China News Agency reports that during Politburo deliberations regarding the Communist Party’s Constitution it was decided that ‘major theoretical advances and thinking would be included’ in a revised document. The report offered no further details but it is rumoured that the ‘major thinking’ mentioned here is Xi Jinping Thought. That means that Xi Thought will leap over the theoretic contributions both of Hu Jintao and of Jiang Zemin — and even that of Deng Xiaoping — to share equal billing with Mao Zedong Thought itself. 中共十九大將召開,官方的新華社報道,中共政治局討論了黨章修改稿,確定要把「重大理論和思想寫入黨章」。報道沒有具體說明,但傳聞所謂的重大思想就是「習近平思想」,意味習的地位將超越胡、江甚至鄧小平,與「毛澤東思想」同以「思想」稱,與毛平起平坐了。

— 李怡《歷史車輪》, 2017年9月21日

Tiananmen Square on the eve of the 1st of October 2017 celebration of National Day, Mid Autumn Festival and the Nineteenth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

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Mid Autumn, marked by the full moon of the eighth lunar month, is also known as Reunion Festival 團圓節, traditionally a time when daughters would visit their birth families and unity was marked not only by a full harvest moon, but in foodstuffs and customs that featured harmony at home. The 2017 eight-day National Day-Mid Autumn holiday is hailed by Chinese businesses as a ‘Super Golden Week’ 超級黃金周. It is estimated that 7.1 billion tourists will be on the move, both in China and to Japan and Thailand, the most popular overseas holiday destinations.

For many people in Hong Kong, that alienated Chinese territory, the double commemoration of National Day and Mid Autumn Festival is a sombre one. Today, 1 October, we acknowledge that disquiet by launching a new series titled ‘Hong Kong, The Best China’ 香港,最好的中國. The series title was suggested by a remark made by John Minford in an interview given to the Hong Kong Economic Journal 信報 in April 2016: when John’s mother entertained guests, she would make a point of bringing out ‘the best China’. An effort was necessary, John went on to observe, to preserve ‘the best China’, much of which can be found in Hong Kong. Our Hong Kong-related  Heritage Journal entries will feature in our Heritage Projects incorporating previously published materials, that is essays, satires, poems and comments that have appeared from 1 July 2017, the twentieth anniversary of Beijing’s take over of the former British crown territory.

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In this first instalment of ‘Hong Kong, The Best China’, we introduce recent commentaries by the veteran journalist Lee Yee 李怡 (李秉堯). Founding editor of The Seventies Monthly 七十年代月刊 (later renamed The Nineties Monthly) Lee Yee has been a prominent commentator on Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwan politics for over forty-five years. His position has gone from that of being a sympathetic interlocutor with the People’s Republic in the late 1970s to that of outspoken rebel and man of conscience from the early 1980s. For decades Lee has analysed Hong Kong politics and society with a clarity of vision, and in a clarion voice, rare among the territory’s writers. The following essays are translated from ‘Ways of the World’ 世道人生, the regular column Lee Yee writes for Apple Daily 蘋果日報.

Lee Yee is also one of The Ancestors of China Heritage. He was both a mentor and my first employer (notwithstanding summer jobs for the National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) and for Gunz Pty Ltd, my father’s company, during my teens). I first met Lao Lee passing through Hong Kong in October 1974 on my way to study in the People’s Republic. Having reached an educational deadend on the mainland, and still stuck in Shenyang, I visited Lee Yee again during the Chinese New Year of 1977. He offered me a job starting later in the year. It is forty years since I started working under his tutelage. At the time, I was a callow youth of twenty-three and, amazingly, he appointed me to be one of the English-language editors at The Seventies Monthly which operated out of Cosmos Books Ltd 天地圖書有限公司 on Johnston Road in Wanchai, Hong Kong. Working with Bennett Lee, a Canadian who had also studied in China, I was out to work translating the political analyses of contemporary Chinese politics that Lee Yee published under the name Ch’i Hsin 齊辛.

Before working with Lee Yee, I had painstakingly acquired the rudiments of reading (and understanding) the mainland Chinese media both as an undergraduate and during my years as a student in Maoist China. But it was Lao Lee, with his analytical talent and independent mindset, who led me further into appreciating the ‘ways that are dark’ that constitute what I later recognised as New China Newspeak 新華文體. Lao Lee was also one of a number of Hong Kong friends who encouraged me to write in Chinese, and he published my first interview, a conversation with the then recently rehabilitated writer Ding Ling 丁玲. During the 1980s, Lee also invited me to translate occasional columns on the Sino-British negotiations and the Hong Kong Basic Law for the Asian Wall Street Journal (for an example of one of these columns, see below). He was a sceptic then, a Cassandra even. Time, and events, have proven him right.

Here, to mark 1 October National Day 2017 and ‘Hong Kong, The Best China’, we introduce Lee Yee’s observations on the debate surrounding the Chinese National Anthem and two more recent essays on Hong Kong and the People’s Republic:

  • We Did it Ourselves 我自然; and,
  • Point of No Return 萬劫不復

See also:

Our thanks to John Minford, co-founder of The Wairarapa Academy for New Sinology, for allowing us to quote from Chapter 17 of his new translation of The Tao and the Power 道德經 (forthcoming with Viking Penguin in 2018). All other translations are mine.

 — Geremie R. Barmé,
Editor, China Heritage
1 October 2017
中華人民共和國國慶

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Hong Kong in China Heritage:


Taking a Knee as the Volunteers March

On 29 August 2017, the Standing Committee of China’s People’s Congress discussed a further revision of a new law framed to protect the National Anthem, March of the Volunteers 義勇軍進行曲. It was proposed that this law be added to Appendix 3 in Hong Kong’s Basic Law 香港基本法附件三 as early as October 2017.

As the South China Morning Post reported in June:

The draft laws would ban people from playing the March of the Volunteers at events such as funerals or as background music in public places, which lawmakers argue reduce the anthem’s dignity.

Malicious revisions to the lyrics or derogatory performances may also be punished under the proposed legislation by up to 15 days in detention.

As with other mainland Chinese state rituals that have been concocted over the past few decades, there law also contains stipulations regarding the appropriate demeanour to be adopted by Chinese citizens when the national anthem is played. In imitation of American practice, when the anthem is played all loyal Chinese are expected to stand ‘solemnly’ at attention, while athletes and others are required to place their right hand over their heart. Further stipulations in the bill cover education and the promotion of the song. The anthem would henceforth be included in textbooks from primary school onwards; it is to be sung by all and sundry on appropriate occasions to ‘express patriotism’.

As Hong Kong democracy activists voiced concerns that these draconian proscriptions were aimed in particular at parodies and protests over the Chinese anthem, it was reported that the well-know Anglophile, socialite, entrepreneur and Financial Times agony aunt columnist David Tang 鄧永鏘 (Sir David Tang Wing-cheung) had died.

The political commentator Lee Yee 李怡 chose to overlook Tang’s death and instead devoted two columns in his ‘Ways of the World’ 世道人生 column in Apple Daily to the Chinese anthem. In the first column, Lee pointed out the disingenuous nature of China’s belated efforts to protect a national anthem that had, in the past, been treated with opportunistic contempt.

How long, one wonders, before Hong Kong protesters, inspired by NFL players in the United States, ‘take a knee’ when March of the Volunteers is played?

See also:

— Editor, China Heritage

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Protests of the kind that threaten the imposition of the new ‘National Anthem Law’ on Hong Kong.

National Anthem 國歌

Lee Yee 李怡

The Communist National Anthem was adopted at the time of the founding of the Communist state. That was sixty-eight years ago. … The new law is evidently aimed at football fans who have previously protested the imposition of the anthem in Hong Kong. If such a law is adopted, however, it is doubtful that it will encourage Hong Kong people to identify any more strongly with the song; all it will do is offer a measure of reassurance to the Communists and their sympathisers. 中共國歌於中共建政時產生,已有68年,現在才立《國歌法》… 很明顯,這個法是針對前年港中足球賽香港球迷在奏國歌時發出噓聲而立,也同香港網民創作惡搞國歌版本有關。立此法後,應該不會增加香港人對國歌的認同,而只會使中共及親共人士感到自慰。

For increasing numbers of Hong Kong people, in particular young people, who identify psychologically and emotionally solely with Hong Kong, if they are forced to show respect for the Chinese National Anthem at international sporting events, they might chose to avoid showing up in the first place. 對心理和感情上越來越趨本土化的香港人特別年輕一代來說,如果一定要被迫在香港舉行的國際賽事中表現對中國國歌尊重的話,他們可能的選擇會是避免進場。

… Over the years, it is the Communists themselves who have shown that they hold their own national anthem in contempt. Tian Han’s 1935 March of the Volunteers [Tian Han 田漢 wrote the lyrics to a melody composed by Nie Er 聶耳 that was then used in the film Children of Troubled Times 風雲兒女] was declared to be the anthem in 1949 but, in 1966, Tian Han was jailed as a traitor at the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution, and the words of the anthem were banned. Eventually, The East is Red was sung during important state celebrations. … 最不尊重自己的國歌,則是中共自身。1949年中共建政時將1935年由田漢作詞的《義勇軍進行曲》定為國歌,到1966年文革爆發,田漢被指為叛徒下獄,國歌起先是變成不唱歌詞的純演奏曲,其後在各種慶典上索性以唱《東方紅》來代替國歌。

Later, they revised the lyrics to read: ‘Arise! Red Guards loyal to Chairman Mao; we will use our bodies to build an Anti-Revisionist Great Wall!… .’ In March 1978, after the end of the Cultural Revolution, the Fifth National People’s Congress approved the new lyrics: ‘Advance! Heroic people of all [China’s] nationalities. The Great Communist Party is leading us on a New Long March!… .’ 再後來,又修改歌詞為:「起來!忠於毛主席的紅衛兵,把我們的血肉,築成中國的反修長城!……」。到文革結束後,1978年3月五屆人大通過新填詞的國歌:「前進!各民族英雄的人民!/偉大的共產黨,領導我們繼續長征!……」

Then, following Tian Han’s posthumous rehabilitation, in 1982 the original tune and lyrics were reinstated by the Fifth Plenary Session of the Fifth National People’s Congress. China has never treated it national anthem with respect; it’s a song that has been changed time and again at the whim of party politics, and an anthem that was banned from being sung for over a decade. How can you possibly think that just by passing a law like this you can win peoples’ respect? 其後田漢獲平反,到1982年12月五屆人大五次會議通過決議,恢復原國歌之詞與曲。隨着政治鬥爭需要而改來改去、停唱十多年連自己都不尊重的國歌,豈是立一個法就能贏得人民尊重?

— excerpt from 李怡 《國歌》, 2017年08月29;
see also《國歌的現實意義》, 2017年08月31

One of the many Hong Kong spoof 惡搞 versions of the Chinese national anthem.

We Did It Ourselves 我自然

Lee Yee 李怡

What’s the most ideal form of government for a nation or a society? And what’s the worst? The observations of the pre-Qin philosopher Laozi still resonate today. 一個國家、一個社會,最好的管治是甚麼狀態?最壞又是甚麼狀態?先秦老子提出的論述,到今日還是至理。

In Chapter Seventeen of The Tao and the Power it says: 《道德經》第十七章說:

The Highest Rulers
Were beyond Knowledge.
Those beneath them
Were loved and praised.
Those lower still were feared.
The lowest of all were reviled.
Wherever Trust
Is lacking on High,
It is lacking Below.
The Taoist is Distant,
Sparing with Words.
Whatever is Accomplished,
Whatever occurs,
The common folk declare:
‘We did it of our own accord,
We did it ourselves!’

太上,
下知有之。
其次,
親而譽之。
其次,畏之。
其下,侮之。

信不足焉,
有不信焉。

猶呵。
其貴言也。

成事述功,
百姓皆謂:
我自然。

trans. John Minford,
The Tao and the Power
(Viking Penguin, forthcoming)

Things are best when ‘The Highest Rulers were beyond Knowledge’. That’s to say that the people know there is a government but take no heed of it because, although the government maintains order, its existence is as natural and imperceptible as the air we breath. People are independent in themselves and are free to pursue their own lives.「太上」,就是最好狀態;「下知有之」,就是民眾知道有政府的存在,但不當一回事。因為政府只是維持秩序,但就像空氣的存在一樣,百姓知道有但沒有感覺,人人自立、自住、自由地去做自己的事。

Those beneath them
Were loved and praised.
其次,親而譽之。

The next best form of rule is one that elicits genuine feeling and praise. But why is this inferior to the highest form of rule? Because this inferior kind of government only enjoys genuine support and praise because its ‘rule of virtue’ and ‘rule of humanness’ benefits the masses and provides largesse. For a government to be able to give people what they want it requires control over a society’s wealth and with that the right to redistribute it. That’s to say, the wealth that was in the hands of normal people is taken over by those in power. As it says in the Confucian Analects: ‘Generosity confers authority upon others.’ If you show people generosity you can exercise power over them. Your generosity gives you power over them; by controlling the wealth of a society you can meddle and interfere in people’s lives. 次好的治理狀態,就是愛戴而讚美政權。治國而能夠得到人民的愛戴讚美,為甚麼不是最好而只是次好呢?因為受愛戴和讚美是政權行「德政」「仁政」,給百姓好處和恩惠的結果。但政權能夠給百姓好處和恩惠的前提,是政權掌握和控制了所有的社會財富。也就是說,本應屬民眾所有的社會財富已經被當權者掌控。《論語》說:「惠則足以使人。」你給人恩惠,就可以支使他。通過施恩惠來支配人,是基於權力的考量。這就是權力對百姓的自然生命和生活的干預和侵擾。

Those lower still were feared.
其次,畏之。

An even lesser form of rule is one in which people are afraid of the government. They fear the government because it maintains control through violence and intimidation. This is not a form of government in which people are mindless of power, nor is it a form of control that elicits genuine support and affirmation; it is a rule maintained by terror.  再次一等的治理,是人民畏懼政權,這是依靠暴力、威嚇進行統治的狀態。百姓既不是僅僅對政權「下知有之」地享有自由,也不是對政權「親而譽之」地得到福利,而是只有恐懼。這是將統治建立在百姓恐懼基礎上的管治。

The lowest of all were reviled.
其下,侮之。

This is the basest form of rule, a government people neither respect nor fear. It’s a government they look down on, despise, mock and revile. 最下等的統治,就是民眾既不尊重政權,也不畏懼它,而是瞧不起它,蔑視它,嘲弄它,辱罵它。

Wherever Trust is lacking on High,
it is lacking Below.
信不足焉,
有不信焉。

A lack of trust means that the power-holders are insincere, as a result the people don’t trust them either. On a deeper level this means that not only is the government untrustworthy, its people cannot to be trusted either. This produces a society that lacks mutual trust, one in which nothing can be depended upon. It all starts when ‘Trust is lacking on High’. 「信不足」是指政權缺乏誠信,「有不信」指百姓不再相信政權。深一層的意思是,不僅政權不可信的,百姓也不可信了。這就形成了一個失去互信的社會,是社會的信任崩潰。根本原因,是從政權「信不足」開始的。

The Taoist is Distant,
Sparing with Words.
猶呵。其貴言也。

The rulers are hesitant and they don’t interfere with the people by issuing too many decrees. They are sparing, careful and restrained in what they say. 「猶」就是猶豫,「貴言」是指掌權者不能多言,以免政令繁多侵擾百姓,要猶豫、謹慎、珍惜自己的言論。

Whatever is Accomplished,
Whatever occurs,
The common folk declare:
‘We did it of our own accord,
We did it ourselves!’
成事述功,百姓皆謂:我自然。

This means that when something has been accomplished people know that it is their own achievement. They don’t need to give thanks to the Party or the State. For people to be able to say ‘We did it ourselves’ means that they are masters of their own destiny, independent, free, proud. This is the best kind of society. Only when the people are strong can the nation be truly strong. 意思是當事情做成了,在講述功勞的時候,百姓都說,是我自己幹的。不會感謝黨和國家。若這個社會人人做出成績都說「我自然」,它的前提就是每個人都是自己的主人,人人都自主、自由、自尊,這就是管治國家社會最好的狀態。因為民強才是真正的國強。

Hong Kong used to be a place where ‘The Highest Rulers/ Were beyond Knowledge.’ The colonial government was like the air we breath: everyone knew it was there, but no one took any notice. People had no idea that the legal instruments underpinning the administration were the Hong Kong Letters Patent and the Hong Kong Royal Instructions. When people achieved something they felt ‘We did it of our own accord, we did it ourselves!’ 香港曾經是「太上,下知有之」,殖民地政府就像空氣一樣,知道有,但無人關注,市民根本不知道憲制法律文件《英皇制誥》及《皇室訓令》是甚麼東東。任何事情做成功,就說「我自然」。

Following the transfer of power [to the People’s Republic in 1997], the authorities have constantly tell people to study the Basic Law and the Mainland Constitution. As for the Communists and the Kong-Coms [港共] it is evident that ‘Wherever Trust is lacking on High, it is lacking Below.’ These days, there’s all this business about a National Flag Law, a National Anthem Law… such things are a form of coercion disguised under legal folderol; the people of Hong Kong ‘fear them’ and ‘revile them’. 主權轉移後現在的政府,老叫人學《基本法》和中共憲法,中共與港共「信不足焉,有不信焉。」甚麼國旗法、國歌法、「披着司法的色彩去施暴」,讓市民「畏之」「侮之」。

This is even more evident in the Chinese Communist party-state itself. Even when an athlete wins a medal they must express ‘love and praise’ for the party-state. In the People’s Republic people have never lived in a way that allows them to say ‘We Did It Ourselves!’ 中共國,就更不用說了。運動員贏得獎牌,就要對黨國「親而譽之」,中國人從來沒有活得「我自然」。

— 李怡《我自然》,  2017年9月6日

‘We Did it Ourselves’ in the hand of Li Jintai 李金泰.

Point of No Return
萬劫不復

Lee Yee 李怡

During the sixty-eight years of its existence the Chinese Communist state has never experienced a time when ‘The Highest Rulers / Were beyond Knowledge’. But they have gone through the stages of being ‘loved and praised’, ‘feared’ and ‘reviled’. They’ve now achieved a state of social anomie resulting from ‘Wherever Trust Is lacking on High, It is lacking Below.’ 中共建政68年,大陸從沒有經歷過「下知有之」的「太上」狀態,卻完整經歷了「親而譽之」、「畏之」、「侮之」幾個狀態,而進入全民「有不信焉」的互信崩潰的社會。

A violent land reform movement was carried out in the early years of the Communist state; it benefitted the majority of farmers who were allocated land. The peasants ‘loved and praised’ the new government. Despite their discomfort with the vicious imposition of social divisions by the Communists, most educated people also ‘loved and praised’ the state; they did so in particular because they were critical of the egregious inequalities previously created by capitalism and they were initially beguiled by socialist ideas. As for urban dwellers, many enjoyed a new kind of approval of their status and personal benefits, their number included the proletariat who were now decreed to be ‘the leading class’ in society, the petit bourgeoisie, and even the patriotic capitalists who were embraced by the Communists for their contributions. 中共建政之初,在農村實行暴力土改政策,大多數農民因為得到土地的恩惠而對新政權「親而譽之」。社會眾多知識人,也由於憎惡資本主義造成的貧富懸殊、着迷於社會主義理想,雖然對中共的「暴力分貧富」感不安,也「親而譽之」。至於城市人,被掌權者封為領導階級的工人,小資產階級,被中共指為要實行「勞資兩利」的民族資本家,似乎都得到名義上的肯定和實際上的一些利益。

What do the five stars on the Chinese Communist national flag represent? The big yellow star in the centre represents the Chinese Communist Party itself. The other four are: the workers, the peasants, the petit bourgeoisie and patriotic capitalists. That’s to say that the Communists united these four groups when it established the People’s Republic of China, and all four, including the capitalists, ‘loved and praised’ the party-state. 中共國旗那五顆星代表甚麼?中間的大星代表中國共產黨,四顆小星分別代表:工人階級、農民階級、小資產階級、民族資產階級。也就是說,建政之始,中共以這四大階級為國家根本,分別讓利。而四大階層的人,包括資本家,當初也對中共政權「親而譽之」。

But, at the same time as all of this — when the Communists ‘conquered the rivers and mountains’ to achieve power — they also achieved dominion over the nation’s social and physical assets, thereby acquiring the power to redistribute land, let the capitalists pursue their money-making ventures, as well as bestowing honours and privileges on the workers. All of these resources originally belonged to those social groups anyway, not to the power-holders; but once they were in power the Communists could employ these assets as they saw fit. Over time, the support the Party enjoyed allowed the power-holders to become further entrenched and, after a few years, they launched a cooperative movement and repossessed all of the land that they had previously redistributed. They also launched a factory and business cooperative movement leading to all of the factories and businesses in China being nationalised, although by ‘nationalised’ we actually mean that they were taken over, or ‘privatised’ by the Communist Party. According to the Basic Law, this includes the ownership of land in Hong Kong as well. 不過,這正說明了中共打下江山取得政權,同時奪取了所有的社會資源,於是才有資源分田地、讓資本家安心經營、給工人一些榮譽和福利。這些資源本來是屬於全社會士農工商個人而不是屬於掌權者的,打江山後掌權者據為己有才有資源去施恩。然而,在全國普遍「親而譽之」使政權穩固之後,過不了幾年,一個農業合作化運動就把土地全部掠取到掌權者即中共手裏,一個工商業公私合營運動,就把全國各城市大中小工商戶全部據為國有。所謂國有,實際上就是中共黨所有。包括《基本法》所寫明的香港土地所有權在內。

The history of global socialism has validated the remarks make by the great scholar Wang Guowei nearly a century ago. Wang wrote: ‘Will equal distribution really lead to everyone enjoying the same share? If a small group of people are to be relied on to carry out such a redistribution, there will also be a small group who get to manage the whole nation. The former proffered situation will not be realised and the latter state of affairs will be unfair. The Soviet Union is evidence of this.’ 全世界均貧富之社會主義歷史,印證了將近100年前中國國學大師王國維在1924年寫下關於社會主義的一段話:「然此均產之事,將使國人共均之乎?抑委託少數人使均之乎,均產以後,將合全國之人而管理之乎,抑委託少數人使代理之乎?由前之說則萬萬無此理,由後之說則不均之事,俄頃即見矣。」

Inequalities of themselves generate privilege. In 1945 George Orwell put it this way: ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’ 不均之事即造就特權。也就是1945年奧威爾提出的:「一切動物都平等,但有些動物比其他動物更平等。」

In the early years of the Communist rule workers peasants and capitalists enjoyed some benefits and the government was ‘loved and praised’. But there were two things over which the Communists kept control: the rifle and the pen; that’s to say the army and propaganda. When they took back the privileges they had previously given to the workers, peasants and capitalists they relied on their brainwashing propaganda system and violence to maintain their rule. Violence led people to abandon ‘love and praise’ and it became ‘fear’ and ‘revulsion’ instead. The falsehoods of the propaganda system meant that ‘trust was lacking on high, and trust was therefore lacking below’, resulting in the collapse of mutual trust in the society as a whole and the collapse of public morality. 中共建政之初,對農工商施小惠,贏得士人「親而譽之」,但有兩樣東西中共是牢握不放的,一是槍桿子,一是筆桿子。也就是軍隊和言論。在把給予農工商的小恩小惠收回來之後,就依靠洗腦式宣傳和強制性暴力維持統治。暴力統治使人民由「親而譽之」轉為「畏之」「侮之」;洗腦宣傳的假,又造就了「信不足焉,有不信焉」的全國社會信任破產、道德崩壞。

All of this stemmed from the fact that after stabilising their new state the Communists did not create a society in which the rulers were ‘beyond the knowledge’ of those they ruled. The early respect and support the party-state enjoyed, including from the intelligentsia, served to encourage the Communists to become more authoritarian, to expand their privileges and indulge their corrupt practices. ‘Love and respect’ handed the rulers the equivalent of a blank cheque, allowing them to take what they pleased. 這一切的根源,自是中共奪取政權後,沒有實現一個讓人民自主的「下知有之」的社會,但各階層包括知識人對中共政權的「親而譽之」則是鼓勵了掌權者的專權、特權和腐敗。「親而譽之」等於把一張張空白支票交到統治者手裏,讓統治者予取予求。

Today, we see the appearance of numerous people in Hong Kong who ‘love and praise’ the Communists. It is these people who are leading the society onto a path of no return. 而今,香港產出大批不論中共做甚麼事都「親而譽之」的人。正是這些人,使社會邁向萬劫不復之境。

— 李怡《萬劫不復》,  2017年9月7日

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Myriad 萬字.