Why are the Chinese, at least the Han Chinese that is, so fervently patriotic and hypersensitive when it comes to any criticism of Chinese, or rather their regime’s, the CCP’s, actions and (mis) deeds?
The power of constant inculcation on their subjects’ minds is such a powerful tool, totalitarian regimes like to exploit to the full.
In the case of China, the indoctrination has been polished and raised to new and unprecedented levels, and turned into an art form. It starts at an early age, and never ceases for Chinese citizen’s entire lives.
The CCP’s influence is all pervasive and ubiquitous indeed. Their tentacles extend into every aspect of Chinese citizen’s lives, and the party is almost omniscient in its awareness what the rank and file, every citizen is thinking and doing.
The Chinese Communist Party is organized in three tiers according to age.
The first encounter young, receptive minds have with Communist doctrine is in the ‘Young Pioneers’.
These are captured from the age 6 through to 14, and boasts a membership of about 125m.
It is structured along the lines of grassroots cells, and so has all the appearance of an organisation with democratic principles.
Except in the case of the CCP in whatever guise; Young Pioneers, Youth League or CCP, the command flow is strictly from the top down, and there is no probability that any ‘ideas’ will ever percolate their way up the chain for eventual consideration and inclusion into policy.
The Young Pioneers are organized into Small, Medium and Large Detachments, complete with Leaders, Deputies, and Committees in a hierarchical structure. These groups in turn are controlled by appointed adults drawn from the Communist Youth League.
Which budding future leader and up and coming highflier wouldn’t want to be part of such an important organisation, and assume an esteemed leadership role at the tender age of 6?
Being part of the YP is not just an exciting experience for the young child; to wear the red scarf, or being one of the crowd, or just the allure of holding an ‘important’ superior position; it is essential for survival and acceptance in a society where there is no tolerance of individuality or deviation from the ‘norm’.
During the Cultural Revolution this organisation was reorganized as the Little Red Guards and was an active protagonist in the mayhem and atrocities committed.
These little darlings were busy denouncing their own parents, family members and teachers, or anyone fitting the profile of the counterrevolutionary, and so reaped reward for their bravery and unflinching struggle for the cause of the party; bestowed by the party.
The motto of the YP is:
“Be ready to struggle for the Communist cause.”
With the refrain:
“Always be ready.”
At the age of fourteen members automatically graduate into the Communist Youth League of China, CYLC which boasts a membership of over seventy million.
The system rewards ‘loyalty’ and conformism and is geared to be completely exclusive, either you’re for the party or you’re a traitor and a bourgeoisie reactionary.
You’re not likely to get into any high ranking position in commerce, unless you’ve proven yourself to be a completely loyal and committed party member throughout your life. And of course political appointments are a direct result of having an impeccable record of membership from the Young Pioneers through to CYLC to the CCP, and unquestioning loyalty and compliance along party lines.
Independent thought is snuffed out before it has a chance to emerge. It would be foolhardy to voice any dissent in such a stifling atmosphere of absolute, uncompromising allegiance.
Conformism is all that counts, and the repetition of the Party’s doctrine and pronouncements is the only viable option available; and what ultimately is tolerated.
Anyone wanting to be accepted, and rewarded with privileges and promotion has no other choice; be a party hack or be ostracised and face a life strewn with hidden obstacles and glass ceilings.
The CCP of course maintains complete control over what the Chinese citizen is allowed to know, and what their version of the truth is.
The riots in Tibet provide a graphic example of this:
“BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The head of Tibet's regional government has denied that security personnel carried or used lethal weapons in dealing with the violent riots in Lhasa last Friday. “
"The security personnel showed restraint in the entire process of handling the incident," said Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Autonomous Regional Government in Tibet, at a news briefing in Beijing on Monday.”
This in spite the world media being awash with reports from first hand eyewitness accounts in Tibet relating the hearing of gunshots, seeing monks and civilians gunned down and accounts of possibly hundreds killed by gunfire, and the (unexpected) emergence of pictures depicting dead Tibetans with gunshot wounds.
In the aftermath of the ‘riots’ every Tibetan house throughout Tibet was ransacked and searched, ostensibly to look for pictures of the Dalai Lama, the true target were pictures of the riots, as the CCP was desperate to avoid the emergence of photographic evidence which would provide graphic prove of the massacre perpetrated by the Han Chinese security forces.
Verbal accounts are much easier to dispel than photographic evidence.
But of course, these inversions of the facts by the CCP’s own media are mainly aimed at domestic consumption, so what the rest of the world thinks does not concern the Chinese media controllers.
And as there is no alternative news source allowed, the Chinese citizenry has no means of verifying the accuracy of Xinhua press releases.
Or more to the point, why would one even dare to doubt the veracity of the ‘motherly’ party’s version of events?
To this day there has only ever been
this version of events, which has been thoroughly discredited by the world’s independent press. But admissions or retractions are not part of CCP vocabulary.
The CCP’s sole raison d'être is selfpreservation, the grip onto exclusive, unfettered power.
The party rules by fear, the fear of being on the wrong side of the ‘law’, or more aptly, the fear of incurring the wrath of the party for whatever reason.
Freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution, so why is there no free press?
By the same token, constitutionally the party’s rule is completely sacrosanct and unchallengeable, and with it socialist thought, or more precisely whatever the party decrees and adopts as their dogma.
This ‘no go territory’ is so nebulous, far reaching and all encompassing that chances are that if you utter anything not already official party line, you might be inside this formless description of what is not allowed.
This enforces some very onerous self censorship; for being accused of being an enemy of the state could prove hazardous to one’s life indeed.
The Chinese ‘independent’ press just runs Xinhua press releases, this way they’re always sure of being inline with party doctrine and aren’t transgressing the foggy line into territory of offending the party.
This way the party has sole access to its citizen’s minds, and the constant fear factor imposes an all pervasive, self limiting censorship.
This lifelong, exclusive exposure to CCP propaganda cements in all the beliefs, doctrines, and the version of events the regime wants its population to behold.
All these instilled dogmas, doctrines and ‘facts’ become the only points of reference, and hence whatever is being assessed or reasoned over is judged against this all pervasive, exclusive ‘knowledge’ base.
It leaves no room for any lateral, independent or analytical thought.
Perhaps next time, on encountering a victim of such ‘programming’, it might be wise contemplating the futility of expending any energy attempting to have a reasoned debate which draws on logic, facts or proof.
To answer the title’s question; of course it is both, unfettered nationalistic patriotism, and a programmed reflex reaction arising from being denied the right of ever having to make choices, deliberating over the veracity and merits of pronouncements and never having the luxury of being allowed a healthy dose of scepticism.
We take it for granted to question, to probe, to seek alternative views and to debate, even just internally, issues at hand and so draw a reasoned conclusion on the merits and reliability of a story.
Sometimes we might be wrong, but at least we are open to accept alternative view points and opinions.
And for next time we will have learnt an incremental lesson and incorporated this into our understanding of the world, and so progressed a little along a path of eternal growth and learning.
No such cultivation of original, lateral and analytical thought for Chinese citizens.
Wouldn’t the hysterical nationalistic fervour, the frenzied demonstrations, the irrational calls for boycotts, witch hunts, vendettas and vitriolic persecution of perceived ‘Chinese traitors’, which has been sweeping (Han Chinese) China, graphically illustrate this?