Tuesday, May 24, 2022
The Fight for China's Future: Civil Society vs. the Chinese Communist Party  Source
cover

The Fight for China’s Future throws light on the quintessence of 21st century Chinese politics through the prism of the struggle between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and China’s vibrant intelligentsia and civil society.

This book examines Xi Jinping’s 24-hour, multi-dimensional, AI-enabled police-state apparatus and explores the CCP’s policy towards civil society. Through exclusive interviews with activists from different provinces, it analyzes the experiences and aspirations of key stakeholders in Chinese society, especially intellectuals, human rights attorneys and Christian worshippers. Providing an examination of recent global trends in relation to CCP policies, including China’s relationship with the U.S., it also goes on to explore the possible trajectories of future change.

Featuring an assessment of Xi Jinping’s leadership style and the opportunities this has given certain groups to promote the rule of law, media freedom and other global norms, this book will be invaluable to students of Chinese politics, society and culture.

quote big

Willy Lam’s The Fight for China’s Future presents a sobering picture of China in the era of Xi Jinjing where the forces of enlightenment are locked in an existential struggle with the rule of fear. Its deep insights and analysis illuminate the dynamics animating Chinese politics today. — Minxin Pei, Claremont McKenna College

For Grace, Ching-Wen, Wen-Chung and James

Chapter 1 ◊ Introduction: The civil society versus Xi Jinping’s police-state apparatus.................................. 1

Introduction: how a hard-authoritarian state squeezes freedom of thought and the public sphere...........
The subjugation of the individual...............................................................................................................
The party’s subjugation of the civil society................................................................................................
The control mechanism: Xi Jinping’s unparalleled quasi-police state.......................................................
Conclusion: how the dissident community and the civil society are fighting back....................................

1
2
6
13
17

Chapter 2 ◊ Contributions of intellectuals: Emancipating the mind in the midst of ruthless suppression.... 20

Introduction: irreconcilable contradictions between reform-oriented intellectuals
and the hard-authoritarian party-state apparatus.......................................................................................
The traditional role and contributions of intellectuals.................................................................................
The role of intellectuals as serfs in the socialist system............................................................................
The CCP’s obsession with culture—and its ominous implications for intellectuals...................................
The party’s battle against liberal intellectuals............................................................................................
Intellectuals hit back as best they can.......................................................................................................
Zhizhuxing versus dangxing......................................................................................................................
Conclusion: achievements of intellectuals who fought back in 2018 and 2019.........................................

 
20
21
22
26
27
29
30
33

Chapter 3 ◊ Human rights lawyers’ struggle against Xi Jinping’s “socialist rule by law”................................ 39

Introduction: which is more powerful—the party or the law?....................................................................
Xi Jinping’s “rule by law” mechanism........................................................................................................
Towards a legalistic control apparatus......................................................................................................
The rise of rights attorneys.......................................................................................................................
The July 9 swoop on 309 lawyers, legal personnel and activists.............................................................
Conclusion: the calling and strategy of rights lawyers..............................................................................

39
40
44
52
59
62

Chapter 4 ◊ A new awakening for China’s oppressed Christians....................................................................... 66

Introduction: Christians’ fight against the party’s unremitting suppression...............................................
Christianity’s perceived threat to the regime............................................................................................
Rationale behind the suppression............................................................................................................
The Zhejiang experience: worst religious persecution since the Cultural Revolution..............................
Christians’ baptism of fire—and their pursuit of civil rights......................................................................
Conclusion: the battle of the century shapes up......................................................................................

66
67
71
76
80
85

Chapter 5 ◊ How the China-U.S. Cold War opens up opportunities for the civil society.................................. 86

Introduction: the new Sino-U.S. Cold War has exacerbated contradictions within China
and provided a window of opportunity for the civil society..........................................................................
The China model—and the Xi administration—challenged during the clash between
Western liberal capitalist values and Beijing’s hard authoritarianism........................................................
Conclusion: how can intellectuals and civil-society activists speed up political change?..........................

 
86
 
87
93

Acknowledgment

History has its coincidences. No sooner had Xi Jinping amended the Chinese Constitution in March 2018 to enable him to rule for life than Donald Trump unleashed upon the People’s Republic of China multiple salvoes in areas including trade, technology and geopolitical contention. The years 2018 and 2019 would be remembered as the beginning of a ferocious “new Cold War” between the status quo superpower that largely supports global norms, and a quasi-superpower that thrives on hard authoritarianism, a party-controlled economy, and an unprecedentedly tight control over the civil society and such of its components as dissidents, intellectuals, rights attorneys, house church followers and labor activists.

History, however, also has ironclad rules that punish those who have refused to draw the proper lessons from past fiascos. China’s topsy-turvy history has been dramatized the past two years by a series of anniversaries. The year 2018 marked the 120th anniversary of the short-lived 100 Days Reform of the Qing Dynasty and the 40th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping’s Era of Reform and the Open Door. The year 2019 marked the centenary of the May Fourth Movement, the 125th anniversary of the beginning of the First Sino-Japanese War, and, of course, the 70th birthday of the People’s Republic of China. While trying to fend off constant surveillance and harassment by Xi’s AI-enabled police state apparatus, intellectuals and NGO pioneers are wrestling with some overwhelming questions. For example, although CCP leaders ranging from Jiang Zemin to Xi Jinping have insisted that Western values such as rule of law and civil rights are not suitable for China’s guoqing (“national conditions”), Marxism not only hails from the West but is widely regarded as a failed creed by European and American intellectuals. (In May 2018, Xi lavishly celebrated Marx’s 200th birthday and even sent a five-meter statue of the thinker to his birthplace Trier. But most Germans were lukewarm toward the controversial founder of Marxism and Communism.) Many of the mistakes made by the CCP during the Mao era were partly due to the Great Helmsman’s self-serving misinterpretations of the teachings of Marx and Lenin; yet Mao disciple Xi seems destined to perpetuate blunders such as erecting a personality cult around himself, upholding the party’s monopoly on power, tightening the “dictatorship of the proletariat” and squashing the breathing space of intellectuals and other activists in the country’s fast-growing civil society. Despite the pranks that history seems to have played on China, civil society pacesetters are adamant that the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and related mistakes must never be allowed to recur.

While pondering such weighty issues, I have benefited from much-neededencouragement, expert advice and timely tips, tea and sympathy from the following friends and colleagues: Robert Barnett, Jean-Philippe Béja, Bo Zhiyue, Keith Bradsher, Anne-Marie Brady, Kerry Brown, Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Anson Chan, Jane Chan, Chan Kin-man, Priscilla Chan, Gordon Chang, Nicholas V. Chen, Helen Cheng, Joseph Y.S. Cheng, Pearl Chih, Ching Cheong, Linda Choy, David Faure, Edward Friedman, Chloé Froissart, Brad Glosserman, Ryoichi Hamamoto, Harry Harding, Chiew-Siang Bryan Ho, Russell Hsiao, Bertel Heurlin, Hung Ching-tin, Peter Jennings, Jan Kiely, Amy King, Timmy Kwai, Patricia Kolb, Carol Lai, Jimmy Lai, Lai Ming Chiu, Diana Lary, Emily Lau, Franky F.L. Leung, Theresa Leung, Angela Li, Linda Li, Joe Lian Yi-Zheng, Lee Yee, Albert Lim, Delia Lin, Perry Link, Dimon Liu, Sonny Lo, Paul Loong, Bruce Lui, Michelle Ng, Mak Yin-ting, Norihito Mizuno, Jeanne Moore, Ng Ka Po, Joyce Nip, Minxin Pei, Eva Pils, David Shambaugh, Simon Shen, Victor Shih, Claude Smadja, Masaru Soma, Volker Stanzel, Robert Suettinger, Norihiko Suzuki, Carina Szeto, Akio Takahara, Marina Thorborg, Luigi Tomba, Kristof van den Troost, Steve Tsang, King Tsao, Jonathan Unger, Sebastian Veg, Arthur Waldron, Kan-Tai Wong, Pak Nung Wong, Alfred Wu, Guoguang Wu, Wu Lik-hon, Ray Yep, Chris Yeung, Yukiko Yokono, Fong-ying Yu, Maochun Yu, Ricky Yue and Zhang Baohui.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Smith Richardson Foundation, whose generous support has been crucial to the success of this project. Thanks are particularly due to the Foundation’s Senior Program Officer Allan Song for his advice and counsel. The Jamestown Foundation, of which I’ve been a nonresident Senior Fellow since the early 2000s, has been an unfailing source of encouragement and support. I salute, in particular, President Glen Howard for many years of unfailing help.

Special thanks are due to the editorial, production and marketing staff> of Routledge for taking very good care of this manuscript. I am particularly indebted to the generous help of Publisher, East Asia Stephanie Rogers and Senior Editorial Assistant Georgina Bishop. I would like to record my gratitude to the Notre Dame University Press for permission to reuse tidbits of my chapter on the Chinese intellectual in Public Intellectuals in the Global Arena: Professors or Pundits? (2016). Two good friends, C.W. Li and Verna Yu, have helped me with research, particularly regarding Chapter 5.

Since 2007, I have been associated with the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) as an Adjunct Professor in its History Department, the Center for China Studies, and the Master’s Program in Global Political Economy. I am much indebted to my CUHK colleagues for their unfailing guidance and support. While researching this book, I have also benefitted from the help of the following institutions: the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (especially Albert Ho); the China Labor Bulletin (Geoffrey Crothall and Han Dongfang); and the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and its Director Professor Ying Fuk-tsang.

I must also salute my siblings for several decades of warm support and close camaraderie: my sisters Pansy, Kin-Hung, Miranda and Leslie, and brothers Wo Hei and Justin. Above all, I must express my gratitude for the spiritual and other support that my dear, sweet wife, Grace, has given me for so many years. We are very thankful to have two loving, smart, and kind-hearted children, Ching-Wen and Wen-Chung. I am somewhat optimistic that my grandson James will see a China that is more in tune with universal values such as rule of law, freedom of expression and democratic elections.

ACFTU

AIIB

ASEAN

BRI

CAC

CAS

CASS

CCAC

CCC

  CCCDR

CCDI

CCFA

CCFE

CCP

CCPIW

CCTV

 

All-China Federation of Trade Unions

Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Belt and Road Initiative

Cyberspace Administration of China

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission

China Christian Council

Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms  

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection

Central Commission for Foreign Affairs

Central Commission for Finance and Economics

Chinese Communist Party

Central Commission for Propaganda and Ideology Work

China Central Television

CDP

CGF

CHRLG

CICIR

CLB

CMC

CNSC

COD

CPLC

CPPCC

CSL

  CUFWD

CYL

CYLF

 

China Democracy Party

China Gospel Fellowship

China Human Rights Lawyers Group

China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations  

China Labor Bulletin

Central Military Commission

Central National Security Commission

Central Organization Department

Central Political-Legal Commission

Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference

Cybersecurity Law

Central United Front Work Department

Communist Youth League

Communist Youth League Faction

  ERAO

FYP

GDP

GPCR

LGBT

MCA

MOC

MOF

MOFA

MPS

MSS

NCM

NDRC

NPC

OBOR

 

Ethnic and Religious Affairs Office

Five-Year Plan

Gross Domestic Product

Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender

Ministry of Civil Affairs

Ministry of Commerce

Ministry of Finance

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Public Security (police)

Ministry of State Security

New Citizens’ Movement

National Development and Reform Commission  

National People’s Congress

One Belt One Road

PAP

PBoC

PBSC

PHSA

PLA

PRC

RMB

SAR

SARA

  SASAC

SEAC

SOE

SPC

TAR

TSPM

VPN

WTO

XUAR

 

People’s Armed Police

People’s Bank of China

Politburo Standing Committee

Protect the Harbor Seal Association

People’s Liberation Army

People’s Republic of China

Renminbi

Special Administration Region

State Administration of Religious Affairs

State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission  

State Ethnic Affairs Commission

State-owned Enterprise

Supreme People’s Court

Tibet Autonomous Region

Three-Self Patriotic Movement [Protestant Churches]

Virtual Private Network

World Trade Organization

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

anfang

cunjing

dangjia zuozhu

dangxing

douzheng

fangkong

fazhi

fenliu

  gonggong zhishifenzi

gongmin yishi

gongyi

guanxi

guojia’anquan

guoqing

 

“security protection” which covers police and national-security work

“village police”

“becoming masters of their own affairs”

“party nature”

“warlike struggles”

“prevention-and-control”

“rule of law”

“farm out”

“public intellectuals”

“citizen consciousness” or “public consciousness under modern rule of law”  

“public interest”

“connections”

“overall national security”

“national conditions”

hukou

keju

kuibai

lianghui

minjian

minjian zuzhi

  minzuzongjiao shiwuju

pingfang

pubian gongyi

pushi jiazhi

quangui

renquan lv’shi

renxing

shehui tuanti

shehui zuzhi

shidafu

shidai zhuxuanlv

 

“residence permit system”

“imperial government examination”

“decay and collapse of society”

“two associations” [TSPM & CCC]

“people’s or “people-level”

“non-official or “people’s organizations”

“ethnic and religious affairs offices; ERAOs”

“restoration of reputation”

“common justice”

“universal values”

“aristocratic” socialism or “crony capitalism”

“human rights lawyers”

“human nature” or “humanity”

“social groups”

“social organizations”

“learned mandarins at the service of the monarch”  

“leitmotifs of the times”

tianluo diwang

tuanqi

wangyi

  weiwen [wei-wen]

wenhua qiangguo

xianzheng

xinzheng

xunxinzishi

yangqi

yifazhiguo

yiren weiben

zangdongxi

zhendi

zhengfa

zhengfa shuji

zhishifenzi

zhutixing

zizhuxing

 

“a dragnet that stretches from heaven to earth”  

“Christian fellowships”

“make groundless criticism of”

“stability maintenance”

“cultural power”

“constitutional governance”

“new order”

“picking quarrels and provoking troubles”

“SOE conglomerates” Sometimes called China’s chaebol

“rule by law”

“putting people first”

“dirty things”

“battlegrounds”

“political-legal” system

“secretary in charge of law and order”

“intellectuals”

“self-sufficiency and independence”

“initiative” and “innate self-sufficiency”

About the Author
Willy Wo Lap LAM


Willy Wo-Lap Lam (born 1952;[1] Chinese: 林和立; Cantonese Yale: Làhm Wòh-lahp) is a Hong Kong journalist, political scientist, and commentator on Chinese politics. He is currently a Jamestown Foundation fellow and an adjunct professor at the Centre for China Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong.[2]

He holds a BA from University of Hong Kong obtained in 1974, an MA from University of Minnesota obtained in 1978 and a PhD in Political Economy from Wuhan University obtained in 2002.[3][4]

Lam worked for the South China Morning Post until 2000. He was the paper's Beijing correspondent until the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, and was China editor during the 1997 handover of Hong Kong.[5] In 1995, he was described as the "quintessential China watcher";[6] CNN called him "one of the most plugged-in observers of Chinese politics in the world" in 1999.[7] Lam was critical of Jiang Zemin at the time, saying that Jiang had "successfully consolidated his power" but "hasn't used that power to accomplish anything significant".[7] He left the paper in December 2000 complaining of editorial censorship.[8]

Lam has described the direction of Chinese society under Xi Jinping as "the closing of the Chinese mind".[9]

Bibliography
Lam, Willy Wo-Lap (1989). The Era of Zhao Ziyang: Power Struggle in China, 1986–88. Hong Kong: A.B. Books & Stationery. ISBN 9627374016.
———— (1995). China After Deng Xiaoping. New York: John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0471131148.
———— (1999). The Era of Jiang Zemin. Singapore: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0130837016.
———— (2006). Chinese Politics in the Hu Jintao Era: New Leaders, New Challenges. Armonk and London: M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 0765617730.
———— (2015). Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping: Renaissance, Reform, or Retrogression?. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 978-0765642097.
———— (2019). The Fight for China's Future: Civil Society vs. the Chinese Communist Party. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 978-0367188665.

References

  1. Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF).
  2. "Willy Wo-Lap Lam". Jamestown Foundation.
  3. "Willy Lam". Speakers Connect | Asia's Leading Speakers Bureau for Virtual and Live Events.
  4. "Willy LAM Wo Lap". www.ccs.cuhk.edu.hk.
  5. "Willy Lam". Geostrategy-Direct.
  6. Shambaugh, David (1995). "Review of China After Deng Xiaoping". The China Quarterly (142): 607–609: 608. doi:10.1017/S0305741000035244. JSTOR 655447.
  7. Healy, Tom (1999). "Rise of the nowhere man: Profiling a risk-allergic Jiang presidency". CNN. Archived from the original.
  8. Pan, Philip P. (1 May 2002). "Hong Kong Paper Fires Critical Journalist". The Washington Post. Willy Wo-Lap Lam, a columnist known for his insider tales of Communist Party intrigue, complained he was being muzzled and quit in December 2000.
  9. Johnson, Ian (1 June 2015). "Q. and A.: Willy Wo-Lap Lam on 'Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping'". The New York Times.

External links
Articles at Jamestown Foundation
Faculty page at Chinese University of Hong Kong

© 2020 Willy Wo-Lap Lam

The Fight for China's Future
Civil Society vs. the Chinese Communist Party

First published 2020
by Routledge
2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN

and by Routledge
52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

© 2020 Willy Wo-Lap Lam

The right of Willy Wo-Lap Lam to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe.

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
A catalog record has been requested for this book

ISBN: 978-0-367-18866-5 (hbk)
ISBN: 978-0-367-18869-6 (pbk)
ISBN: 978-0-429-19891-5 (ebk)

Typeset in Bembo
by Taylor & Francis Books