Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Siu Kiu: Modern Chinese History Should Be Called the Era of "Red Peril"

Modern Chinese History Should Be Called the Era of "Red Peril"
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, Edited by Kathy Griffin, Written by Siu Kiu (蕭喬)
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/03-01-2015/21448/ 
(Source: Reuters/VOA)
When the Communist regime is someday overturned, its years of rule may come to be regarded as the "Red Peril" in Chinese history.

This is not simply an opinion about the Communist regime, it is a fact. One of the localist slogans has been "to build a culture nation" in Hong Kong. But why "culture"? You have to look at the country across our border. The idea of building a "nation state" belongs in the last century. Now that the Cold War is over and we have seen the outcomes of countries dictated by the Communists, "building a culture nation" seems a more appropriate goal.

China was culturally dead at the moment when the Communists "founded" the PRC in 1949. From 1949 to 1978, all of China was immersed in an era of "extreme Communism". Extreme politicisation was prevalent, embodied by the push to uphold Marxism-Leninism or Maoism, combat Confucianism, pursue collectivism and economic equality, the Cultural Revolution, all sorts of political struggle. These activities in the name of a single political ideology strongly affected each and every aspect of life in China, including politics, the economy, society and culture. Even Confucianism, which had prevailed for thousands years of Chinese history, permeating social relationships from the family to the state, was completely denied and rejected. "Father is dear, mother is dear, but not as dear as Chairman Mao" was a popular slogan during the Cultural Revolution. China became (and still is) culturally dead.

How did the old China "disappear" from the world? We could make a satirical comparison with its neighbouring countries. In Japan, we can find many things that we would regard as “Japanese” in the qualities, traditions and architectures there. Kinkaku-ji or the Apartment of Tokugawa Ieyasu, for example, has been retained for its significant cultural heritage. Japanese soft power is embodied in the kimono, the traditional clothing of the country, which is seen as a symbol of elegance and decency in the eyes of foreigners. Japanese pop music culture is also still part of the global mainstream. In fact, the genuine strength of the country lies in its cultural influence. The rise of Japanese culture happened during the economic miracle era of the 1950s to 1970s. Similarly, Korean culture thrives in Korea (and beyond). You can "find the culture of the country in that country".

Do not think this is a matter of course. In a Communist country, the culture of the country can be completely eliminated. And this is what happened (and still is happening) in China. The current China is not a Sinitic China, but a foreign Communism regime, drawing its breath from Russian or foreign culture. In this China, all forms of traditional culture have been destroyed, including ethics, especially during the Cultural Revolution. The Chinese you see today retain the faces of Chinese, but they do not act as they would have in the past. A culture is defined not only by its tangible parts, such as the Lunar New Year (which is now called "Spring Festival"), but also its intangibles, such as one's cultivation. We have seen the qualities that are deep down Japanese - bushido, and the considerate character - especially in the Fukushima nuclear disaster. This is the collective character underpinning the culture of the nation. But what about Chinese? They are no longer cultivated and civilised as they were in the past. They only carry the selfish gene, and Confucian values no longer exist in their minds.

You can barely argue with Chinese people, as you are not on the same channel. A Chinese citizen might say, "I have my own reasons", "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun", "Money talks", or "We have our own culture". In Hong Kong, we have a different culture – we do not eat dogs, they do.  They have re-interpretation for each and every word. Socialism, "with Chinese characteristics"; Rule of Law (法治), in China would be "governing the country according to law" (依法治国) and so on. Chinese culture has long vanished to thin air, leaving "Chinese-style" culture. It is not difficult to see who is more dependent on whom for safe food when it comes to grey goods smugglers. But they will say, "Without us buying things from you, you, Hong Kong, are dead." So when we talk about the issue of Hong Kong Independence as a nation, we have reason to support this idea of "build a culture nation".

The Chinese today are pathetic. Who is to blame? Probably the "Red Peril" of Communism, but really, the Chinese people themselves. Hong Kong is fortunate enough to have been taken by the British, so we could be slightly removed from the historical tragedy. The current China has nothing to do with Chinese culture anymore. Genuine Chinese culture, however, has been restored in our neighbouring countries. We can see influences of the Tang dynasty in Japan, the Ming dynasty in South Korea, the Qing dynasty in Taiwan, and the Song dynasty in Vietnam. When an ethnic Chinese (huaren) region wants to build its own nation and aim for real strength, it does not have to think this comes solely from rely solely  economic strength or military prowess – it can also come from a cultural foundation. Hong Kong has such a foundation and it should cherish it, or we will fall to the Red Peril.

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