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Patriarchal frauds and the descendants of dragon|
Arguably one of the oldest civilizations in the world, China has survived numerous ordeals unparallel to any other countries in the history of mankind. The longevity of the world’s only continuous civilization owes a great deal to a quasi religious mechanism which might be called a patriarchal clan system. This is a set of moral traditions based on parental authority and ancestry worship. Absolute obedience and royalty are mandatory in a system in which a ruler is deemed both as a fatherly and political figure. Reasonably, the political embodiment of this belief is none other than the imperialistic tradition which had lasted more than two thousand years, starting from the first Emperor Shi-Huang-Ti all the way to Chairman Mao. The Chinese rulers or the Emperors considered the country and the people their personal properties whose wellbeing rested not on the implementation of laws and orders but essentially on their goodwill and humors. In China, the impact of this patriarchal clan system is still being felt in every aspect of Chinese people’s daily life where the notions of filial piety and ties of blood form the backbones of a typical Chinese relationship between people and in a family. Though appeared to be a nonreligious people by Western standards, Chinese had installed in their culture a patriarchal system that has more or less played the role of a religion, as Christianity did in western culture, in cementing together social fabrics. The essential flaw associated with this clan based system is the unpredictability and abuse of power by the ruler if he turns into a monster, largely because there are no checks and balances as found in modern Western democracy. In addition, China’s clan based culture has given birth of what might be called nepotistic capitalism where connections and blood ties determine who get what. Karl Marx, upon examining Chinese culture and history, came to a conclusion that these ancient people of the East might rightly be labeled as “patriarchal frauds.” He went further to call China as a living fossil of the history given its stunning ability to survive and to hoard some of the darkest elements of the human spirit.
For the most part the Chinese political system based on patriarchal structure had worked well for the ruling classes, though not necessarily for the wellbeing of their subjects. The system has finally reached to the end of its tether in the mid of nineteen century as the world moved into a totally new era. Coming along with this new era were the ideas of science and democracy, the concepts to which Chinese were caught totally unprepared to either comprehend or accept, partially owing to their pride and partially due to their ignorance. Nevertheless, The Chinese were utterly stunned by the advancements made in the West in both moral and material progresses ever since the start of renaissance and industrial revolution. For the first time in their antediluvian history these proud people began to realize the so-called celestial kingdom or the center of the world might well be a bunch of mumbo-jumbos or self-fulfilled prophecies. And the situation quickly deteriorated after the break out of Opium War in which the outdated imperial troops were badly defeated by the British armed with gunboats and rifles. By the turn of the 20th century the ailing Chinese Empire was on the verge of collapse. In a desperate struggle to survive, Chinese had tried and failed in many attempts to modernize the country, the latest one being Mao’s “communist revolution” which had led to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. The so-called People’s Republic, however, bears little semblance to a genuine constitutional republic except in name. Mao and his followers were deemed by Chinese people as nothing but a group of new Emperors disguised under the title of chairman or president. Ever since the collapse of Manchu dynasty when the last Emperor abdicated, China’s ruling mechanism has not changed much, despite efforts by many to introduce democracy in place of the imperialistic tradition. Today, China still has a long way to go before entering into the league of modern nations so far as its political and economic conditions are concerned.
Most Chinese watchers, including veteran sinologists and self-claimed Chinese experts, are having hard time in defining the exact shape and nature of the Chinese existence. Perhaps they might have to agree that China now finds itself in a unique stage of development where the past and presence mixed in a harmonious way. In other words, traditional patriarchal clan system and a radical Western ideology, namely communism or socialism, formed some kind of holy matrimony. This matrimony, whatever it might be labeled as according to political convenience, has thus far served China’s ruling clans well in fulfilling their imperialistic ambitions. In fact, what we have witnessed so far since the victory of communists in 1949 is neither a socialist society predicted by Marx-Engel, nor a capitalist one by western standard. It is very much like a Frankenstein that defies conventional wisdom of the East and West alike. More important, this creature is poised to challenge and destroy every elements of what we know as the Western civilization, its rules and its culture as well as its philosophies.
China’s imperialistic cry is well heard around the world as its leaders have been actively engaging in a propaganda campaign to declare China’s leadership in international affairs and propose Chinese solutions to global issues. Even the recent visit of American President may be interpreted as a public relation campaign by China to proclaim its success. Amidst the chatters and clatters of the welcoming ceremonies held in the Forbidden City featuring a dazzling show of Peking opera and a serials bell play, the President should have little chance to fail to catch the message his Chinese hosts tried to convey. The Chinese are a quite delicate people when it comes to sending out messages, very often metaphors or allegories are adapted to teach a serious lesson. The Peking opera play entitled “monkey king rebels against the celestial palace” which is an episode of a well-known 15 century novel—--Journey to the West seemed more than just a jocular parody of a bunch of kids dressed in monkey suits dancing around. For Chinese, the monkey king symbolizes the icon of rebellious spirit. Though the show might appear utterly meaningless if not annoyingly droll to the American guests given their limited understanding of Chinese language and culture, the message behind it is quite straightforward. The Americans should make no mistake in underestimating the determination of the Chinese Empire, for china could be as rebellious as the monkey if the West continued to encroach into its living space. Yes, the message China tried to send out to the U.S. and West is unequivocally clear: China is a unique country unlike any other countries in this world. China’s imperial tradition is a long-lasting thing and will continue to be so in the years to come. And Chinese rulers are the lawful heirs of the imperialistic past, better known as “the descendants of dragon” in Chinese. As a result, don’t even try to think about installing your dirty and dingy western political system in the celestial kingdom. And the message seemed to be well received by the President as he had allegedly said that China’s political system worked well for its people. Mr. Trump went a step further to declare that Americans should not blame China for their trade deficits.
What has been going on is perhaps the most ironic thing ever happened in the history. For decades money and technologies of free and market economies have been poured into China to help world’s most despicable and oppressive regime to stay in power and to prosper. Since the open door policy in late seventies, communist China, with its dying and state-run economy, has somehow morphed into the number two player in world economy in less than 40 years. The rationale behind the decision of allowing china to join WTO, for instance, could be interpreted either as out of pure greed or pure lack of foresight. Whatever the reasons there might be to justify China’s joining the world market, the damage has already been done and the pains are starting to be felt worldwide. In the U.S., over fifty thousand American firms have run out of business ever since China joined the WTO. Though the issue of American trade deficit is a complicated and multilateral one, few would deny China’s role in it as trade deficits to China account for nearly one third of the total American trade deficits. True, how could it possible for two countries with such differences in political and economic systems as U.S. and China to have a fair trade?