"I do have my understanding about the general concept of democracy. Starting in Hawaii, I have gotten a more specific understanding of American democracy - more specific than I've learned from books.
"I believe the communist party will go to hell...China will be the foundation of world wide peace."
Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
Chinese President Jiang Zemin
"Although I'm already 71 years old, my ears still work very well. While I was delivering my speech, I did hear the sound from the loudspeakers [of the protesters] outside. But I thought my only approach was to speak louder."
Jiang ZeminDate: Fri, 31 Oct 97 06:51:05 GMT
November 1, 1997
quoted in Hawaii during official visit to the United States
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Subject: Guest Book Signature
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Findout="Just surfed on in!"
comments="It's my first time to come to the page, and I see some comments and debates on it, it's excellent. I only have time to see a topic, something like "is it because U.S. want to prevent china from becoming a superpower", and I'v carefully read your reply a 18 old surfer.
Most of you answers are really wonderful, I agree with you on most of the issues you were talking about. however
1) I still believe U.S prefers a weak china, that's why when china is now destined to be a very powerful contry (it will be clear in the next century), many of the U.S politician, citizens become more and more hostile or at least alert toward china, several years ago life is more peaceful, I think.
2) I am a chinese, I understand the chinese very well, from the very beginning of history of china 5000 years ago, chinese are more willing to enjoy a peaceful and wealthy life and also tranquillities in their soul, very surprisingly democracy or polictical need were never a dominant or strong desire of chinese, maybe it is a kind of difference between western and eastern culture, chinese are easy to be content and satisfied, when you really try to touch the profond phynolophy and culture tradition you will really understand whey chinese tend to be peaceful, gentle, open-minded and torlerant, no matter the ruler is totoalitarian (sorry I don't know how to spell this word) or not, you can hardly expect communist invade other countries, I assure you.
3) I am not sure whether you'v been to mainland china, if not I suggest you go there to have a look, people there are enjoying their life, yes, we have a lot of problems, a lot, a lot, corruption, potential unemployment, etc., but life there is passionate, booming, enagetic, it's the most hopeful place in the world, I believe one day communist party will go to hell, not as a result from the pressure of U.S., but a kind of slow, penetrating changes, communist will assimilated, changed by both the hopeful economy, but also the destiny of china, which is destined to regenerate after being tortured by our own fault and also invasion of western country, it will be the foundation of world-wide peace.
4) Tianmen massacre might be forgotten, (you may be surprised) sure, if the changes are imcremental and progressive, even if one it is picked up, it is because of another political prosecution. In china, no one believe politics is really good, it is only good when you want to make use of them, the only real only good thing is what you enjoy in your personal life, and the immortalities in your soul.
Thanks for the pleasure you'v given me by this web page."
First of all, than you for the nice words about my webpages. It are for thoughtful persons such as yourself that I spent so many hours building them. I read your words with interest and agree with you except in a few areas. But I think these disagreements worth examining in some detail.
I also would like to see a China in the future where the Communist Party morphs, reforms, abdicates, dies a natural death - whatever! - by itself without others having to bring about change violently. I tend to be a little pessimistic, however, about this since few are the historical examples of authoritarian leaders/regimes giving up power voluntarily. That runs contrary to human nature which seems to naturally strive to accrue power, not give it up unbidden. More often the case is that people have to fight and earn their freedom.
Furthermore, I do not agree that the leaders of citizens of the United States look upon China as hostile primarily because it is "destined to be a very powerful country next century." After all, Germany and Japan - former mortal enemies of America - are now "very powerful nations" yet not enemies of the United States. America for the most part has a favorable image of those nations as law abiding countries with civil liberties, a free press, and functioning democracies. China - a country still arrayed in commissar culture, "peoples' courts", labor camps for dissidents, an absence of open elections and intellectual pluralism - stands apart from the larger family of nations on the earth which have moved towards democracy in the last twenty-five years.
China may move more towards this type of open society in the future and she may not. If pressure both inside and outside of China relents, I highly doubt such change will ever occur. It is not in the naked self-interest of Communist bureaucrats to share power with anyone else. Until open elections occur in mainland China and the people have the power to punish an inefficient/corrupt/bumbling regime, freedom can hardly be said to flourish in the middle kingdom. I hope to see such a day in my lifetime. A day when the Chinese people speak their mind as they wish without fear of the authorities and get their news from an organization NOT controlled by the government! Can you join me in hoping for such a day?
As opposed to purely individual spiritual pursuits, politics and the organization of society are also important. I hope the "passionate, booming, energetic" life in mainland China does not come into conflict with the limits the government places on political and artistic expression. Tianmen will not be forgotten or forgiven inside China or out until it is examined and dealt with openly and publicly so that it may be purged from the body politic. Only then can true healing take place, in my opinion. Too many cameras captured the large-scale bloodshed and there were too many witnesses for anybody to "forget" it. The tragedy need be acknowledged and its lessons studied so it can never happen again. The Chinese leadership seems itching towards such a move, and Jiang recently in a visit to the United States admitted to "shortcomings and mistakes" in present and past actions. We shall see what happens, H.Y.
I like your attitude - in direct contrast to that of the 18 year from Penn State University. I cannot help but think that if enough people like yourself make themselves heard in China, positive change cannot be long in coming.
You said, "No one believes politics is really good." A revolutionary once said a long time ago that government is a necessary evil at best, an intolerable one at worst. It are not in the halcyon days of plenty but in times of hardship and misfortune that the mettle of a political system is tested. We shall see what happens in China.
I hope this e-mail finds you well personally and professionally in Nanjing.
Very Truly Yours,
P.S. I commend you on your excellent idiomatic English!