Wednesday, 4 June 2014

China After Twenty-Five Years, by David Lindsay

There has been surprisingly little comment on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Dare we hope that someone might finally have looked into exactly who those demonstrators were? I for one would love to know.

Statue of Liberty or no Statue of Liberty, they sang The Internationale in Tiananmen Square.

After all, one certainly does not need to be an advocate of liberal democracy to be an opponent of the regime in China. And various other types of such opponent are decidedly more numerous and long-established in China even today, never mind 25 years ago.

There is the Kuomintang. There are the Xinjiang Islamists, and the people who want to restore life expectancy in Tibet to half its current level by bringing back theocratic feudalism, and a number of equally unpleasant separatist tendencies elsewhere.

There are the Trotskyists, and those Stalinists who are not Maoists. There are now, and up to a point there were even in 1989, those who hold to the old, old Maoist faith against China’s transformation into the giant standing contradiction of the theory that capitalism and freedom go hand in hand. And many more besides.

It is impossible to overstate the absolute imperative to remain out of these things, which is no small part of the absolute imperative to have no part in any pretence that that thing holed up on Taiwan is the Government of China, or that Taiwan is a country (those two are in any case mutually exclusive propositions), any more than something holed up on the Isle of Wight at the end of a British Civil War would be the Government of Britain, or would make the Isle of Wight a country, likewise mutually exclusive propositions.

The self-styled Republic of China has had extremely few Western partisans since Nixon and the UN faced up to reality, but it had friends among the Crazies around Bush the Younger, and it would have them in and around any Administration headed by Hillary Clinton. Michael Gove and Liam Fox are probably fans.

It has no aspiration to Taiwanese independence, which is an absurd idea. Nor does it claim jurisdiction only over China as she now exists. Rejecting the authority of the present Chinese Government to resolve territorial disputes, it lays claim to all of Mongolia, as well as to parts of Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bhutan and Burma.

We must have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with it.

In addition to backing China in her territorial dispute with Japan, a dispute in which no other country ought to take any part, David Cameron is seeking a “Free Trade” Agreement between China and the European Union, so as to do to European workers what Most Favored Nation Status for China has done for American workers.

Labour has already made as clear as need be that it intends to vote against the “Free Trade” Agreement between the US and the EU, so this is just another one to add.

In both cases, there might have to be um-ing and ah-ing about how some other Agreement would have been acceptable, but regrettably not the only one on offer. So what, though? The effect would be exactly the same.

We are told that the only alternative to this approach, an approach which old hippies actively prefer, is sucking up to the Dalai Lama. Rubbish. The present Dalai Lama was born hundreds of miles outside Tibet. The Tibetans themselves migrated to what is now Tibet from further east in China, but huge numbers of them never did and never have done. The Dalai Lama comes from one such family.

Before 1959, Tibet was not an independent state ruled benignly by the Dalai Lama and given over almost entirely to the pursuit of spirituality. Tibet was certainly ruled by the Dalai Lama, by the lamas generally, and by the feudal landlord class from which the lamas were drawn. “Dalai” is a family name; only a member of the House of Dalai can become the Dalai Lama.

Well over 90 per cent of the population was made up of serfs, the background from which the present rulers of Tibet are drawn. That system was unique in China, and existed only because successive Emperors of China had granted the Tibetan ruling clique exactly the “autonomy” for which it still campaigns from “exile”. Life expectancy in Tibet was half what it is today.

There has never been an independent state of Tibet. Likewise, the presence of large numbers of Han (ethnic Chinese in the ordinary sense) and other Chinese ethnic groups in Tibet is nothing remotely new. The one-child policy does not apply in Tibet, so the Han majority there is the ethnic Tibetans’ own fault, if they even see it as a problem.

It is totally false to describe the Dalai Lama baldly as “their spiritual leader”. Relatively few would view him as such. In particular, Google “Dorje Shugden” for, to put at its mildest, some balance to the media portrayal of the present Dalai Lama. We never hear from Dorje Shugden practitioners, just as we never hear from the loyally Chinese Hui Muslims.

Moreover, the Dalai Lama has never condemned either the invasion of Afghanistan or the invasion of Iraq. For more on Buddhism as no more a religion of peace than Islam is, see Sri Lanka, Burma, Mongolia, Japan, Thailand, and beyond.

In fact, an examination of the relevant texts shows that violence in general and war in particular are fundamental to Buddhism. Tibet is particularly striking for this.

Not for nothing is it Christianity that is fashionable among the Bangkok hipsters who are among the victims of the ongoing military coup in Thailand. Something similar was no small part of the Christianisation of the Roman Empire, and then, through the court influence of Anglo-Saxon kings’ Frankish brides, to that of what was thus turned into England.

Just as pre-Communist Russia always remained the country’s true character, so very pre-Communist China remains the country’s true character.

That character reveres tradition and ritual, upholds government by moral rather than physical force, affirms the Golden Rule, is Agrarian and Distributist, is now thoroughly Classical and Patristic in taking Africa seriously, and has barely started an external war since China became China five thousand years ago. It is especially open to completion by, in, through and as classical, historic, mainstream Christianity.

China has already moved from Maoism to the equal repressiveness of unbridled capitalism.

While economic, or any other, dependence on a foreign power remains totally unacceptable, a further shift, the reassertion of her own culture, is to be encouraged by every means of the “soft” power that, in reality, is truly hard power.

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