Saturday 10 November 2012

China’s foreign returnees (PO)

M D Nalapat
The last ten years have been spectacular ones for China. Under Hu Jintao,the country has quadrupled its gross national product and more importantly, ensured that it is rapidly catching up with Japan,Gernany and the US in hi-tech items. His predecessor Jiang Zemin was among those who prodded authorities to crack down harshly on student protestors in Tienanmen Square in 1989, and who as President of China brutally suppressed the Falun Gong sect.

It was also Jiang who resorted to “missile diplomacy” with Taiwan, sending off volleys of missiles into the sky and mobilizing artillery and naval vessels in a bid to terrify the Taiwanese. Instead,they embraced the anti-China candidate in the 2000 election, Chen Shui-bian. In contrast,President Hu has adopted a much more tolerant attitude towards public protests in China,where these days sustained opposition from people can succeed even in getting huge industrial projects cancelled. This never happened under Jiang (1992-2002), who gave preference to Big Business and even gave billionaires prominent positions within the Chinese Communist Party.

President Hu ( 2002-2012) adopted a “sunshine” policy towards Taiwan,offering the island major economic concessions in the form of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement. The missiles and artillery were put back into storage,and formal and informal contacts with Taiwan got multiplied.Such a “peaceful” approach enabled the relatively more pro-China candidate,Ma Ying-jeou,to win the 2008 presidential elections.

Over the past four years,the development of ties between the two former rivals across the Taiwan Straits has been phenomenal. More than a thousand flights leave each week from Taiwan to the PRC and vice-versa,while more than two million Chinese tourists have visited Taiwan since Ma became President. Although both sides retain their own governmental structures,yet the improvement in atmospherics has ensured that tensions have all but disappeared.Those close to President Hu are even sending out feelers to the pro-independence party,the DPP,rather than simply demonizing it the way Jiang did.At the core,it may be said that Jiang Zemin’s approach reflected the values and attitudes of the Western world (which he admired and sought to emulate),while the much gentler approach of Hu Jintao is in sync with traditional Chinese values and culture.

During the Jiang decade, thousands of Chinese youth were encouraged to go to the countries that the then President of China admired, which is those forming part of the NATO bloc. These elements were given top jobs once they returned.In turn,they ensured that other top jobs went to those with a similar background of working in foreign companies or studying in foreign universities.Today,across what calls itself a Communist country,there are several institutions where those with a 100% Chinese education or work experience are treated as second-class citizens.The top jobs get monopolized by returnees from abroad. Several of them fail to filter what they picked up in the NATO bloc with the sieve of Chinese needs and interests.

The consequence is that many push lines of policy that are designed to meet the interests of the foreign countries and companies they were once part of,rather than the people of China. Each NATO-bloc financial enterprise that was responsible for the criminal conduct which led to the 2008 financial crash has employed the sons and daughters of those at the top in China,thereby giving themselves a seat at the dinner table of the mighty,so to speak. Speculators operate in a manner almost as free as they do in neighbouring India,another country where such NATO-bloc financial enterprises are pampered and listened to. There is a difference between going abroad and studying technical subjects such as engineering or medicine,and learning the humanities or matters of finance. The former are value-neutral,while the latter are laden with (invisible) assumptions that at the base regard only Western institutions and ways as desirable,and the others - including Chinese and Indian - as inferior. There are too many in high positions in China who have become suffused with the same uncritical admiration for the NATO bloc that was seen during Jiang Zemin’s time in office.

In Hu Jintao’s ten years,efforts have been made to recover the essence of Chinese civilisation.but the swelling numbers of people filled with values that they have picked up from the NATO bloc make such a task difficult. It is time for the Chinese leadership to change course,and to give a higher value to those who have been educated in China and who have China-relevant experience over those whose exposure is almost entirely to the NATO bloc. Those returning from that bloc need to ensue that they put in place filters that would make them better able to understand and appreciate their own country.Hopefully Xi Jinping,the successor to Hu Jintao, will not return the country to the mores and conventions of the Jiang Zemin period,but will continue on the path trod by his predecessor Hu. Only that way can China re-align itself with its ancient civilisation and harmonious ways.

1 comment:

  1. Sir, I have read your nice and informative article on Dangers of Wahabism, Can I translate on your behalf and republish in Malayalam Language in any of Malayalam Periodicals!!
    if so ..Sir, Pls can you mail your sincere response to