One lives and unlearns. Especially when one tries to learn communism in general and Chinese communism in particular. When, for instance, Satiricus read not long back about Chinese communism spawning billionaires looking for brides, he learnt that Karl Marx'sCapital and its latest Chinese edition are two entirely different things, and while Marx taught how to be a good communist, the present-day Chinese communist is now learning how to be a good capitalist.
Apparently, original communism may be about money matters, but money matters for modern, Chinese communism. Then there is this matter about religion. Satiricus recalls reading that defining dogma of communism?Religion is an opiate of the masses. Well, not any more?not for the Chinese communist masses. For not only are growing numbers of Chinese returning to the Buddhist religion, but the first ever officially sponsored religions conference in Communist China, called the World Buddhist Forum, has also been held the other day. An official statement from Beijing described the Forum as ?a high-level platform for Buddhists from around the world to have dialogue, exchanges and cooperation and a stage for Chinese Buddhists to exercise their wisdom.? Good God! Does that mean Chinese Communists now need the wisdom of Chinese Buddhists? Does that mean the slaughter of students in Tien-an-Men Square was not exactly wise by Shakya Muni'sstandards? Nowhere the mass killings of the ?Cultural? Revolution? Going even beyond that, in the year 1940, nine years before the Communist Party seized power, Mao Tse-tung had set out his plans for a ?New China?, which would take certain steps… to confiscate land from rural landlords under the principle of ?land to the tiller?.
And what did these ?necessary steps? involve? They involved widespread slaughter. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of land-owning rural residents and their families were executed or beaten to death by fellow villagers. Would the Buddha have smiled? Satiricus thinks not. But then, that was then, this is now, and Chairman Mao'sculture has been so radically revolutionised by Chairman/President Hu Jintao that the culture made by Mao and the culture hyped by Hu are as different as chalk is from cheese.
Hu says China is currently in the throes of a profound crisis because of unprecedented economic inequality, growing political unrest, and a moral vacuum. This is profoundly puzzling for Satiricus, as he is neither a communist nor a Chinaman. Was not communism all about eliminating economic inequality? Then how could there exist economic inequality?let alone in unprecedented measure?in China after half a century of communism in power? Next, how could political unrest exist in China, let alone grow? Is it not a time-honoured tradition in communist rule to eliminate political unrest by the simple process of eliminating those who cause it? And finally this moral vacuum business is surpassingly strange.
Since when did materialist communism have anything to do with morality? Accordingly to old reports the pornography business has prospered in China. So Satiricus supposed that being a prosperous pornographer was the same as being a good communist. And according to new reports, it is becoming increasingly fashionable among young Chinese newly-weds to get themselves photographed in the nude.
Satiricus was admittedly rather taken aback, but perhaps the young comrades were only highlighting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the naked truth about Chinese communism. In such a situation where do moral values come in? Still Hu holds that there is a moral vacuum in the Chinese communist society, and the way to fill it up is?believe it or not?the revival of the ancient Chinese culture, including Confucianism. Aha!
Confucius preached the virtues of the ?superior man?, and Hu hopes they will contribute to the making of the superior communist. Not content with invoking Confucius and Buddha, the President of Communist China has actually issued a set of eight commandments to improve the moral standards of the Chinese people: 1. Love the motherland. 2. Serve the people, don'tdissever them. 3. Uphold science, don'tbe ignorant. 4. Work hard, don'tbe lazy. 5. Help each other, don'texploit others. 6. Be honest, don'tprofit at the cost of your values. 7. Be law-abiding instead of lawless. 8. Know plain living, do not wallow in luxuries.
Satiricus is stunned. To his hopelessly Hindu mind all this sounds suspiciously like Manu Smriti. Actually he had read not long ago that an ancient manuscript of Manu Smriti was indeed found during an archeological excavation somewhere in China, but he had no idea the Communist President would plagiarise from it. Otherwise the edicts are anti-communist from beginning to end?at least in the beginning and at the end. For the first commandment asks the Chinese to love their motherland, but does not ask the Tibetans to love their annexed motherland. And the last edict asks them not to wallow in luxury. But how can a Chinaman be a billionaire communist and not wallow in luxury? It seems a Chinese puzzle, if you ask Satiricus.
But there are China-watchers who are not as innocent (read ignorant) as Satiricus. They say this whole morality-mongering is for stemming the growing corruption in the Party and state organs all over the country, which threatens to become all-pervasive.
Does that mean Chinese communism is a triple failure?in Economics, Politics and Morality? Satiricus does not know, as he is neither a communist nor a Chinaman. All he can say is that no communist dogma remains undiscarded by Chinese communists. Poor Karl Marx. He may be turning in his neglected grave in London, capital of the original capitalist country.