China news 1st February 2021
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China news 1st February 2021

Political correctness in China

As the saying goes:

The dynasties of China cannot be separated from the rise and fall of chaos.

Although this statement has been challenged by many academics, it has always been very popular among the people. Even those who did not delve into Chinese history would probably know that the past dynasties could not escape decline. 

From time to time, the CCP hopes to extract nuggets from history to justify its own dictatorship.  It must give the public some explanations about the chaos and decline of the previous system. There are many film and television productions with the Qing Dynasty as the background portraying ideology that caters to the taste of “Xi Jinping’s New Era”. 

Therefore, instead of analysing in detail the numerous film and television works of the Qing Dynasty during Xi Jinping’s rule, the writer looks at two recent films in detail.   The writer concludes that any dissatisfaction with a central government is only a manifestation of insufficient understanding. Planning action against the central government because of insufficient understanding is even criminal.  They subvert the state and cause the common people to suffer.

by Raychan
by Raychan

Today, political correctness has not only permeated the film and television industry in China but has increasingly affected the daily lives of Hong Kong people as well.   

Taking the outbreak of COVID in Wuhan as an example, the central government characterized the problem as a major concealment of the epidemic by the local government.  The central government has always been wise. After learning the seriousness of the problem, it decisively issued an order to close the city to quickly bring the epidemic under control.  However, certain people who tried to force the Hong Kong government to close the border were violently identified by certain groups as escaping cowards and attacked. 

All of this was in line with the ideology of the two movies.  If reflection on history can only draw one conclusion, is that still reflection?  The CCP’s emphasis on “the right to speak on Qing history” is a part of the political and ideological campaign.  Under the premise of political correctness, most of the things that can be published only after passing the CCP’s review, will only praise the centralised system in the early Qing Dynasty, or talk about the parts of the Qing Dynasty that were invaded and oppressed by Western powers later on.


The problem of Chinese New Year

In our second story we look at the problem of Chinese New Year, again affected by COVID-19.  Other nations celebrate festivals by travelling to be with families.  Chinese traditions almost compel families to be together over Chinese New Year.   But, says this writer: “Do not return home during the Spring Festival, pay for the benefit of everyone.”

by Pascal Bernardon
by Pascal Bernardon

This winter, the pandemic has rebounded in China. This brings huge pressure on China’s epidemic control after the global epidemic has also risen sharply. It shows the complexity of epidemic prevention and control work. 

As this period coincides with the Spring Festival holiday, the increase in mobility and celebrations will inevitably bring difficulties in epidemic prevention and control. Long-distance movement will cause transmission risks, and the movement of an individual may bring risks to a region. At present, some restrictive measures have been introduced in various places, which have also triggered some discussion. Some people think that returning home during the Spring Festival is of great significance to individuals. Participants in the discussion have their own reasons to travel or go home for the New Year, and they often think that they are “no problem.” The Spring Festival is a rare opportunity to reunite people drifting outside after a year of struggle. It is also a manifestation of family affection and meaning of life. It is a choice with high spiritual value, both ethical and cultural. 

But at the same time, objectively speaking, this kind of nationwide large-scale flow and agglomeration after the flow does have real risks. This kind of risk may be a small probability, but epidemic prevention and control need to start from the prevention and control of small-probability events. An accidental negligence or loophole may lead to huge consequences that are unpredictable. Strict prevention and control measures are necessary to prevent loopholes. But the reality is that this precision will also involve and affect many people, because a large-scale screening and quarantine must be carried out to accurately find the infected. Now everyone must endure some inconveniences, because once any problems arise, they, their families, and society may all pay a huge price for them. The virus is very cunning. Anything that is missed or unexpected may be exploited by it. It can only rely on everyone to pay a small but inconvenient price to avoid a greater price. 

Not being able to go home for reunion during the New Year is a loss of family affection. As the epidemic has begun to rebound locally, we endure some inconveniences to have a safe gatherings in the future. Of course, society and the government also need to provide more support and guarantees to those who cannot return to their hometowns and reunites. It is a very concrete and feasible measure to provide financial support to migrant workers or other groups who cannot return to their hometowns. 

There is also a need for more cultural activities arrangements and specific and feasible support in life, so that people who cannot return to their hometown can feel the warmth of home. At the same time, various activities can be carried out online so that distance is no longer a barrier to family affection. We may have to bear the inconvenience and loss of this Spring Festival and have regrets and losses for the epidemic prevention. But this is a dedication for the well-being of the entire people, and a necessary price for the safety of the entire society, which is vital to our future.

(The author is a professor at Peking University) 


Military arsenal

Finally, in what some might see as a warning to outsiders, Ifeng’s history writer records the time when a small band of ardent communists defeated soldiers from the USA trying to support the Nationalists.  The People’s Liberation Army robbed a U.S. military arsenal in 1947.  Apart from the history, the story also reflects social conditions at the time. 

One night in early April 1947, the people in Tianjin city were suddenly woken from their dreams by a loud noise. The noise came from the east and continued, as if something had exploded, and flames could be seen in the distance. Soon, there were rumours that the US Marine Corps arsenal in Tanggu Xinhe was robbed.  After the looting, the fire was set off, detonating ammunition in the warehouse. 

At that time, the US military in China was like the Supreme Emperor. The Kuomintang government’s attitude toward the United States was like son to father.  Who could be so bold and daring as to attack “American Dad”?  

The next day, the answer was revealed by a local newspaper.  According to a report in Tianjin’s Ta Kung Pao:

Hundreds of people from the Communist Army’s Wuhong Unit, armed with four mortars attacked the US Marine Corps ammunition depot and the ammunition depot immediately caught fire. The U.S. Army killed five of the attackers and wounded 16 others. A small part of the munitions were taken away, and two large gunpowder depots exploded. The explosion shook Tianjin city 30 miles away.

Wu Hong, the leader of this attack, was born in October 1923 in a poor peasant family in Shaanxi Province. When he was very young, his father passed away, and his mother took him and three brothers to survive. When he was nine years old, he was sold to the landlord’s house.  In January 1937, the 14-year-old Wu Hong encountered the Red Second Front. Wu Hong joined the Red Army without notifying his family. Although Wu Hong was not very old, he was big, stubborn, able to endure hardships, understood things, and was actively responsible for his work, so he made rapid progress. In August 1938, Wu Hong, who was only 15 years old, joined the Communist Party of China.

Wu Hong as a young man

Wu Hong as a young man

After the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese War, Wu Hong came to Jidong with the troops and served successively as squad leader, platoon leader, and company commander. There is still a folk song circulating in the local area: “Da Wuhong, ride a horse, kill the enemy with white helmet and white armour…”. The local Japanese troops were frightened when they heard Wu Hong’s name. Even more cowardly enemies heard that Wu Hong was coming, so scared to ‘pee their pants’ (sic).  There was a saying among the enemies that “I would rather suffer three years of poverty than meet Da Wuhong”. 

After the victory against the Japanese, the U.S. troops landed in eastern Hebei under the banner of accepting the Japanese surrender. But they also helped the Kuomintang troops seize the territory. Old photos of the 1st US Marine Division in China Old photos of the 1st US Marine Division in China.  

The U.S. military was rampant and domineering in this area. The common people were very angry with the U.S. military and repeatedly demanded that they be driven away. At that time, the armed forces of the Communist Party were only armed in some places and their numbers and equipment were far inferior to the US military.   All the commanders and fighters in the county brigade, district squads, and militias are locals, and they hated the American soldiers with their teeth and claws. 

When they heard that the US military arsenal was going to be attacked, they were very happy to say:

The Yankees became our transport team and opened the arsenal. We have more bullets and explosives. We have more energy to fight the enemy and our victory is more guaranteed.

Then they heard beeping, rumbling ammunition explosions, and soon the flames skyrocketed. The loud noise of the explosion shattered the paper and glass of windows in nearby residents’ homes and went on exploding until the next day.  This battle destroyed the U.S. military arsenal, severely hit the arrogance of the U.S. military to help the KMT fight the civil war.  It demonstrated the might of our military.  

Xinhua News Agency reported promptly via telecommunications and published in newspapers in the liberated areas, which inspired the fighting spirit of the people in the liberated areas.   U.S. newspapers such as the “New York Times”, “Tribune”, and all the morning and midday newspapers in New York, all published news about the attack on their front pages. It was said that Americans suffered a loss, and they would certainly not let it go. 

But the subsequent reaction of the US government was quite puzzling. 

At the time, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Acheson, told the press in Washington that the State Department had not yet taken diplomatic steps regarding the CCP’s attack on the U.S. Marine Corps. It also said that “the Marines will take their own steps.” Translated into the vernacular, Acheson’s speech means: ‘This matter, the US government will pretend did not happen.’

So, how did the US Marine Corps “take steps on its own”?  According to the US Information Service in Tianjin:

General Howard, Commander of the First Division of the US Marine Corps, announced that the US arsenal in Tanggu Xinhe had been handed over to the Chinese National Government on April 21.

But this move was more than a handover.  The U.S. gave up the arsenal due to the communist army’s premeditated attack.

1st US Marine Division in China
1st US Marine Division in China

The First Division of the US Marine Corps had all withdrawn from China by September 1947.   But the arsenal was robbed, American soldiers were killed, and the Americans endured a huge loss. This was a rare thing at the time.


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