The Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Congress have begun today. It’s the most important political meeting in China in 10 years. A new generation of leaders, including Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, are expected to be placed in the Party’s top positions, replacing the current leadership headed by Hu Jintao. Tempi.it interviewed on the issue the great dissident Harry Wu, Laogai Research Foundation (LRF) foundator.
How do you evaluate the 10 years-long work of Hu Jintao as president of China?
Hu Jintao was the successor of Deng Xiaoping and it was very strange Deng Xioaping nominated two successors: the first was Jiang Zemin and the second was Hu Jintao. And all of them are communist members. Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao are not elected by the people, nor by the members of the communist party. He guided the empire as the successor of Deng Xiaoping and just kept the Communist party continuing ruling the country as they want. China is a dictatorship, a totalitarian regime.
Hu Jintao managed to create a “Harmonious society”?
No, I think he is a member of he Communist party since he was young, so he just kept the regime power in the country, that’s it. Whatever the economic result of the country. He just wanted to keep the Communist party in control. He never does anything for chinese people, basically, because as you know Communism in Soviet Union, in Poland, in China never thought about people.
We saw rapid growth in economy but many problems in people lives are still at stake.
In 1976 chinese first communist leader, the emperor Mao Zedong died. At that moment there was a very serious moment for people’s debate: were should we go? Either give up the Communism or continue the communism. They have internal fights and struggles at high levels so Mao Zedong wife was defeated and Deng Xiaoping regained the power. What could Deng Xiaoping do? Give up the Communism revolution or continue the communism revolution. So Deng Xiaoping take the middle way: politically and socially he kept the power, kept the Communists in control, but economically he opened the door for capitalism. So that’s why after 30 years you can see China still remain as a communist regime but you can see the capitalism development actually in the country. Deng Xiaoping hesitated: he was a partner of Mao Zedong previously, he was Mao Zedong associate including murdering people, improving communist policy, whatever Mao Zedong did. But really he didn’t like Mao, because he persecuted him twice, attempting murdering him. He could go different way: if he criticized Mao and tried to put down Mao Zedong then he would fell also. That’s why he said: criticism of Mao later, let us focus on current environment situation. We have to change economy policy because communism economy policy never worked. that’s why after 30 years capitalism is in the country, but politically the country still is a dictatorship country.
Any hope for political reforms?
I don’t think they “really” want to promote reforms. They do a lot, allow people to run a restaurant, but economic system in China is still entirely controlled by the government of the country. For example, all the land, all the square inches is controlled by the communist party.
Hu and Wen spoke a lot of reforms.
They never spoke about it and have you seen political reforms? No. The next leader Xi Jinping, who’s that guy? I don’t’ know. Is he elected by the people? No. Nor by the party but suggested by a nomination of Hu Jintao and he’ll become the new emperor of China. That’s it.
You don’t expect any change from the new leadership?
I don’t think so. If the political stability going down it means that political environment change, if it changes the leader will be forced to do something. But if policy changes it would have forced by situation and occasion by the political environment, not by the leader.
What’s the Laogai situation in China today?
Communist leaders definitely want to keep the laogai with the regime. Because if you criticize the government and disagree with the leader, the government keep you in the jail and keep you quite. China laogai will end together with the communist control. In the laogai there are three to four millions today in maybe more than one thousand camps. Inside it happens forced labor and reform, brainwashing. People have to uphold Communism and motherland and can’t keep free political ideas or religions, they have to reform. Even today if I am a robber, a raper, economy corrupted whatever, is not involved with politics, and I will be punished whatever in Italy, or in Germany in America in China definitely, but if I go to the jail in America I can keep my mind and disagree with Obama and keep my religion and support republicans. That’s the matter. In China they forced me to force labour, to reform, to uphold the Communism and the country, I cannot keep my religion and my political view, even if my original crime is not politics.
People are surely annoyed by the Party, situation is ready to change?
I do believe in the next couple of years China will have big change, because Xi Jinping the new leader is very weak, we don’t know who’s this guy and what will happen. China today every month has couple of thousands of protests everywhere. The people attack the police stations, because their concerns are right, uprisings could happen.
What the recent struggle for power tells us of the climate in the Party?
You remind Bo Xilai and Gu Klailai case. I want to ask you: Gu Kailai, her father was military general, her husband was the member of the political bureau of the Communist Party, he was a high high level revolutionary member of the Communist Party, but she is sentenced by the court in the jail forever. Now the basic question is: if you are a member of the Communist Party according to Marx, Engels and Mao, you should not have money and be a proletarian, you shouldn’t have any land or capital company or factory, and so on. Gu Kailai has big money, do you think she is a member of the Communist Party? And we know that 90 percent of these high level Communist cadres’ families were in America, Italy, Britain, Canada, what happens? They are not proletarian anymore. If Wang Lijun wasn’t gone to the American embassy I don’t think Gu Kailai would be sentenced and the british case brought up. So that means this country and society is a black society, there is a godfather running this country. Do you think this godfather can run this society forever? Of course not, that’s why in the next couple of years the crisis will be coming.
You told Xi Jinping is weak, why?
He is weak because until today I never heard him make any common, or policy, or give speech or talking by reality, no, he is quiet. Many high level Communist Party members fight against each other because they want power and power means money. The main problem in China is still the stability of the regime, that is in danger.