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A cascade of events that began with a speech in January, 1975
There was a well-known promise from the youth of China that "the day we achieve our Four Modernizations will be the day that we commemorate the Premier's passing with pomp and style."|
That was from a poem in that heart-rending April 5th, 1976 event that led directly to the downfall of the Gang of Four in October of that year.
Zhou's first enunciation of the march towards the Four Modernizations at the Fourth People's Congress in January, 1975 did not prepare the nation for his unexpected passage a year later, although it was manifest to his immediate entourage that he had end-stage prostate cancer.
That clarion call for dedicated efforts to bring the nation out of the tumultuous ten years of the CR was heeded and taken to heart by the entire Chinese people.
In order not to let the Premier 'lose face' the Chinese people had to achieve his lofty goals within a specified period of time -- by the end of the Twentieth century give-and-take a few years.
The actual goal was then penned on paper by later generations of Chinese leaders to be within certain quantifiable parameters and was achieved JIT (just-in-time) before the century was out.
China today is infused with a deep sense of mission and destiny, with a national vista broader and more encompassing in scale than America's Manifest Destiny in the Nineteenth Century, and totally bereft of racist overtones at either the conscious or subconscious level.
The steely resolve to regain primacy in world affairs was not a fluky figment of imagination of a few mandarins, but the noble inspiration of an entire generation of havenots who were fed up with political infighting and were willing to do anything to see China great again in the eyes of the world -- all the better and merrier if that resolution were to be rewarded by opportunities for personal enrichment.
The Chinese people didn't exactly go from being paupers to nouveau riche in one summer, nor did the nation go from nothingness to modernity in one generation.
For eons China had led as the world's most advanced civilization.
Immunization against cowpox was widely practised in China in the Fifteenth century long before Edward Jenner introduced the practice to England in the Nineteenth.
Paper currency was used beginning in the Tenth Century and an efficient postal service was established in the country long before Koizumi had to struggle with his by throwing down the gauntlet.
The Forbidden City was completed a year after Admiral Zheng He discovered America in 1421 in his epic maritime voyage to all seven continents with galleons carrying more than 23,000 soldiers under the command of his four vice-admirals.
The Great Wall which stretched farther afield than the expressways connecting San Diego with Boston remains even today as the greatest architectural enterprise ever taken by humankind.
Yet Japan's invasion of the 1930s epitomized China's state of misery before the revolution of 1949.
China was like a big oceanliner negotiating sharp turns in her uncharted course towards her modern destiny. Every ten years since the October Revolution of 1911 she felt the need to negate at least some of her policies or deeds of the previous ten years just to convince herself that the ship was still heading towards the right direction.
Yes, in 1911 Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Manchus; then Yuan Shi-kai negated Sun's revolution by trying to reinstate the imperial system.
The C C P held its first meeting in 1921, only to be betrayed by Chiang Kai-shek on April 12, 1927 in Shanghai with many of their comrades killed during the Northern Expedition.
1931 saw the 9.18 attack on Shenyang by the Japanese. Still, this did not hold Chiang back from launching his New Life Movement in the mid-1930s, no matter how big a misnomer it was in view of the Japanese attack on July 1, 1937 at Marco Polo Bridge leading to the all-out war.
1941 brought in the Americans on our side in the eight-year arduous struggle against the Japanese because of the sneaky attack on Pearl Harbor.
1951 China was fighting the Americans in the snowy mountains of North Korea with very primitive weapons.
1961 saw the initial stirrings for recovery from the Great Leap Forward movement and withdrawal of haughty Soviet experts who carried off their blueprints with them when they found that Mao would not let them control China .
1971 saw the death of Lin Biao which began the process of undermining the Extreme Left who had been in power since 1966.
1981 saw further Sino-U.S. rapprochement which opposed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
1991 saw thirteen years of Gaige Kaifang solidifed especially after Deng's visit to the south in 1992, prompting China to advance more boldly on all fronts. America tried to undermine China's development by offering green cards to all Chinese scholars sent to study in America before the June ++ turmoil, attempting to rob China of a generation of her already scant supply of her best and brightest.
This betrayal negated the fruits of the previous ten years of improvement in bilateral relations after the Americans who -- like their Soviet predecessors -- found that China was not just another lackey willing to twist and turn like a contortionist would by tantalizing the Chinese with a fistful of dollars.
2001 was the first year in the new Five Year Plan which alternatively promulgated a new Progressive and then an Intensive Fiscal Policy. This year -- 2006 -- is the beginning of a new Five-Year Plan that will implement well-planned policies including but not restricted to privatizing SOEs, expanding multilateral trade and establishing brand names in the global market.
China looks set to embark on her road of cultural revivalism, increasing her soft, economic and hard power every minute.
Barring another Japanese invasion -- this time hitched to the chariot of neo-imperialists -- she is truly well-positioned to achieve what had been but a pipedream a century before in 1905 -- when the two foreign nations of Russia and Japan ridiculously fought a battle on Chinese soil.
And all this had started with the January 1975 speech of Premier Zhou En-lai, sublimated and congealed into national purpose and action upon his death exactly three decades ago on January 8, 1976.
Hence this commemoration note.
Wei Chao, M.D.
P.S. thanks for the correction.
[ Last edited by wchao37 at 2006-2-11 11:16 PM ]