Mao Tse Dung was able to galvanize the hopes of his country mostly because of their desperate plight; economic production was low and foreign intervention between the Opium War and Japan’s Nanjing Massacre had taken their confidence. Like Hitler, Mao’s aura of charisma was able to induce them to melt down all of their metals in an effort to create mass industrialization during The Great Leap Forward. Employing nativist nationalism harkening back to history and China’s weaknesses, his call for a defense of the homeland enlisted the males of the masses in the army and created widespread xenophobia. Corruption was prevalent and millions perished, but the state was stable. Deng Xiaopeng’s reign brought in pragmatist nationalism, bringing together both communism and the Western command economy. What is interesting about this nationalism is that has brought wealth and accession to the WTO, but also instability as China has embraced elements of its past and future. Portions of the military, people, and the Government all show signs of a China that has the torch of a bright future but the remembrance of a dark past.
Local government in China is split into four divisions of provincial, county, township and village with each level down having a smaller and distinct role in the life of the individual, in order to stimulate grassroots activity. Economic reform was based on taking the state owned Soviet system and switching it to the aforementioned village level. This move essentially revitalized the Chinese economy, quadrupling output by 2000 and creating an export giant; between 1990 and 1997, the growth of China’s exports has been twice as large as the world average (Murray 222).
Most of this is due to the privatization of the SOE’s (state owned sectors), which were and still are a major controller of scarce economic resources, transportation and energy. Controlling much of the heavy industry of China such as iron ore and coal, SOE’s only contribute 33 % of China’s GDP, while consuming 67% of the country’s capital resources (Overholt 47). By privatizing many of their areas, 2.6 million small enterprises were in operation for Deng only four years after Deng began reform in 1983. (Fewsmith, 126). Today, SOE’s composed approximately 77.6 percent to the economy, in relation to the 28.5 percent they once had (Overholt 47).
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However, because of this, ten’s of thousands have been let off from their jobs and urban unemployment has skyrocketed to ten percent. In addition, many of those in the rural land have yet to see the results of China’s 5.7 trillion dollar purchasing power parity. Much of this has to do with the corruption especially prevalent at the village level, as party cadres basically have free reign. Per Capita Purchasing Parity is only 4,400 dollars and disparities between the cities and rural areas increasingly heighten tensions. Uprisings have occurred in response to this, similar to the Tiananmen Square situation which was incited in response to the inflation that occurred when expectations of the state were not met. Much of this has to do with variations in state control, as in Guong Dong (Southern China), where economic controls are lessened as the commercial area is very distant from Beijing. . Discontent with the system is also increased by the fact that the production of heavy industry and construction which is central to foreign exports has created widespread health problems. Acid rain is common and chronic asthma is experienced by a great portion of society.
The army under Mao Tse Dung was central to nativist nationalism, representative of the great power in numbers of the land. Today, however, the reality is that by opening up a market in which intelligent and educated citizens can potentially make sums of money beyond their dreams, the military loses out on a vital class of citizens who might have given their expertise if their other future wasn’t so bright. Even those who have incentives are not sure if its worth it; the constant back and forth motions of prioritization and subsequent de-prioritization such as the PLA defense budget dip from 18.5 percent in 1979 to 8 percent in 1989 cause many to wonder if their sacrifice of higher living for service to their nation would be as valued when military modernization is fourth on the list of current modernizations (Lewis 87). It is no wonder then that the army holds the lowest morale and a lesser array of technology; one-third of troops stationed on the land depart from “active duty” annually (Federation of American Scientists).
The Chinese have therefore turned to weapons in place of large armies in hope of not having their territory torn apart like in the imperial ages.The First Academy’s personnel of 27,000 is easily China’s largest research and development sector in the China Aerospace Corporation (Stokes 115). Coincidentally, their weapons, which are a confirmation of the nativist view, are the only indigenous weapons system China has fashioned thus far. Nevertheless, the Academy does not mind its sole independent position in the military, as their purpose is to mold its existence with two goals and concepts. First off, to perfect the ballistic missile and assure its place in Chinese history as the most dependable and capable weapon, therefore enhancing its psychological deterrence and ability to coerce (Stokes 117). With production and development moving at a strong and consistent rate independent of any other government processes, the prediction of 1,000 ballistic missiles in the next year is sure to fulfill this aforementioned goal (Stokes 117). Secondly, the PRC’s emphasis on nuclear proliferation is based on the policy of “limited deterrence”, where a strike upon China would be followed by a retaliatory strike against the enemy in huge proportions ; 15-20 percent of the United States would be targeted in “population centers” if military conflict came to a tee (Stokes 118).
The Party and State of China are symbolic of the change that has come since pragmatic nationalism came to the scene. The National People’s Congress, composed of 3,000 delegates chosen every five years, has instituted The Rule of Quiaoshi which codifies procedures and eliminates the personal squabbles in committees, which sometimes led to murderous outcomes.
Hu Jin Tao, President of the People’s Republic of China is emblematic of the more legalistic fourth generation, as people have been bringing court cases to the Supreme People’s Court for the first time in history. Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council (executive organ) is representative of the concept of limits instead of continuity, only being able to serve two five-year term limits. However, the Communist Party of China still has supremacy over the state. The Standing Committee of the Politburo comes to a consensus on party matters and is made of nine people, six whom are Jiang Ze Min’s friends, which may seem to bring some of the corruption of that regime with it. This has become a pattern with China, of former leaders exerting pressure on the government in rule. Deng took the head of The Military Affairs Commission, just like Jiang Ze Min has done at the present time. In charge of the third bureaucracy of China, the former ruler is allowed to have to opportunity to be in charge of a position that rules “at the barrel of a gun” and disallows the Fourth generation from consolidating power. Even as The Central Committee which does the day to day work of party organization has had an age limit of sixty eight instituted, it is still based on loyalty and ties to the past. The fact that decisions move downwards somewhat makes the National Party Congress nothing more than a gala of unity. Held every five years and attended by the 3000 delegates, it is essentially just a rubber stamp for the policy decisions of The Central Committee.
China is indeed split in many ways. Though economic fortune is upon them, poverty in rural lands and unemployment in urban areas and physical plight of industry plague the people. The army shows a lack of resolve while the emphasis on weaponry promotes instability with the areas of Taiwan and Japan with its contention of Theatre Missile Defense, as “the CCP has sacrificed substantial gains from trade in order to protects its power [before]” (Yushi 45). While the state improves its ways, the party still is mired by connections to the corrupt regime of Jiang Ze Min. All of this being said, the pragmatic nationalism that has taken place in China shows how fragile the country truly is. The government of China must therefore act more carefully in these years of the WTO to continue six to eight percent growth. If not, the riots of Tiananmen Square in 1989 may become more of a widespread reality than ever before.
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