To see a note from the editor, click here.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Sino-Gist will be on a hiatus for the next few days.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Best of the Blogroll 21/10/2010

Two links for this week:

You Can’t Make an Omelette with Only One Egg
: At the China Beat, Vignesh Pillai reviews Denise Chong's 'Egg on Mao'

A Conversation with Edgar Snow: Mark's China Blog covers the chance to meet the best-selling author.

The Legacy of 1911

As Xinhua reported yesterday, the Standing Committee of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) has agreed plans for the commemoration of the 1911 Revolution next year. The event, 99 years ago, saw the overthrowing of the last emperor of China to bring the Qing Dynasty to a close. The end of imperial authority also saw the end to (in Xinhua's words) “thousands of years of Chinese feudalism.” The credit for instigating the revolution is given to Dr Sun Yat-sen (later founder of the Nationalist Kuomintang party), although some historians have tended to ascribe 1911 to a more general desire for change in China.

It was never really in doubt that the People's Republic would look to mark the 100th anniversary of such a key point in China's modern history. Although the Chinese Communist Party only came into being a decade later, Chinese communist history sees the spirit of 1911 as being the start of the political and social change that it would then carry through to 1949. The CCP is thus extremely keen to align itself with the name and persona of Dr Sun, as doing so gives the government today increased credibility. It becomes harder and harder for the CCP to identify itself with China's revolutionary past, making key anniversaries like this one chances that cannot be passed over.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

An Unwelcome Contribution?

Recently, English-language Chinese state media sources have been airing some quite outspoken views on China's place in the world and Liu Xiaobo's Nobel peace prizee. The latest addition to this trend comes in the form of a comment piece written by People's Daily Online writer Li Hong. The central purpose of Li's argument is a refutation of the view that sees China as an irresponsible superpower, still too “trigger-happy”. These latter ideas formed part of a recent column in the New York Times by Professor Paul Krugman (a Nobel prize winner himself), in which he was critical of China's decision to block exports of rare earth deposits to Japan during the Diaoyu Islands controversy.

The tone of Li Hong's writing shows that both he (and by logical extension aspects of the Chinese government) have taken grave exception to Krugman's reading of China's attitudes to world diplomacy, saying that they went “too far”. Of course, both have the right to air their views. However, one cannot help but think that such intense criticism of China at a crucial point in international relations will not help (from the tenets of Krugman's point of view) bring the People's Republic into the fold of responsible players on the world stage.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

More Than One Distortion

Chinese ardour over Liu Xiaobo's Nobel peace prize continues, with the China Daily website today airing the view that the award is 'politically distorted' (to read the full editorial, click here). Almost as soon as the Nobel committee had made its decision, China claimed that it had not acted in the spirit of Alfred Nobel's original reason for creating the prize.

Effectively, today's China Daily piece is a reiteration of these points, though they are written with more of a sense of a rational case rather than simply appearing as a knee-jerk reaction to the recent international praise for Liu's achievements. According to the state newspaper, Nobel conceived the peace prize to mark the effort of those working for world peace, through the convening of conferences and a constant striving for international and domestic friendship. As the article goes on to allege, today's Nobel committee (composed of members of Norway's parliament) has replaced this criteria with its own politicised agenda, making the award merely a “tool of some Western politicians” to further their own agenda.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait...

The identity of the Chinese politician who will succeed Hu Jintao in the top job of Chinese politics is not as clear cut as previous successions have been. Hu is due to step down in 2013, and there are several contenders for his 'throne'. However, many analysts have been putting their money on Vice-President Xi Jinping to be the future leader of the People's Republic.

At the close of the Central Committee's Fifth plenary session, Xi's odds dramatically improved. The fact that he was not elevated to the Central Military Commission (CMC) at the last plenary session was came as bit of a surprise to those who were predicting his rise to power in Beijing. However, to much expectation, this month's proceedings have seen Xi appointed as Vice-Chairman of the CMC, a sure sign that the Vice-President is on the way up. In much the same way as North Korea's Kim Jong-un was recently given senior military and political positions to signal his new status as Kim Jong-il's heir apparent, so Xi Jinping has been given more authority to prepare for a handover of power.

This does not mean that he will definitely be the man to succeed Hu in three years time. The composition of the future leadership is still uncertain, although it is likely that Xi will have a major role in it. But, there seems no other candidate now as well positioned to push for China's highest political office (General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party), especially as Xi also has a positive public image in China.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Best of the Blogroll: 17/10/2010

Sino-Gist's top posts from other blogs for this week:

The Gao Brothers' Artwork in Kansas City: Mark's China Blog features a look at a fascinating exhbition.

China’s Communist Party: Two Glimpses Inside: The China Beat compares two very different books on today's CCP.

The Unbearable Lightness of Nobel Prize Jokes: Xujun Eberlein looks at the lighter side of the Nobel peace prize controvery.

China’s Communist Party Prepares for a Showdown
: Over at China Real Time Report, Russell Leigh Moses predicts a political 'showdown'.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The People's Daily: "Gradual political reform good for China"

Amongst China watchers, all eyes are on the annual plenum of the Chinese Communist Party that has just begun in Beijing. When a couple of months ago some would have dismissed it as a more routine affair designed to continue the transition of power to the next leadership generation, things are now different. Liu Xiaobo's Nobel peace prize has driven discussion of political reform right to the top of the political agenda, both in China and internationally. Many are watching the moves of Wen Jiabao, a known enthusiast for some level of change, to see if and how he will push the cause further. Over at the Wall Street Journal's China Real Time Report, Russell Leigh Moses has even suggested that the plenum will witness a “showdown” within the Party.

Today's Global Times features a stand-out editorial that is eye-catching for its content. Entitled “China has to pursue gradual political reform”, the piece not only features a reference to Liu Xiaobo that is free from the standard criticism of his activities, but also argues that China must proceed at its own pace while learning from the Western democratic experience.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Pressure Builds

With relations between Beijing and Tokyo at their worst for quite some time, one would have thought that Japan would be looking to keep a low profile in the case of this year's Nobel peace prize winner. China's decision to lay blame for the giving of the award to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo at Norway's door has added an international relations dynamic to what is an independently judged honour. As the BBC has reported, Naoto Kan (the Japanese Prime Minister) supposedly told a parliamentary committee in Japan that he welcomed the Nobel committee's decision to recognise Liu's commitment to political reform. He also went on to describe the dissident's release as 'desirable'.

While no formal request for Liu Xiaobo to be freed has emanated from Tokyo, Kan's comments will not be welcomed by the Chinese. Making a comment about Liu's case in a legislature is almost akin to a diplomatic appeal for the same, especially as the Japanese Prime Minister must have known that his words would be picked out and transmitted by the world's media. Of course, Japan is not the only country to have expressed unhappiness with the Nobel winner's detention, with the United States and the European Union urging Beijing to release him.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

An Alternative Take

Today's edition of People's Daily Online features an interesting piece entitled 'West risks its own downfall with arrogance.' Rather than being an editorial, the article is a comment by Professor Zhang Weiwei, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Asian Studies, Geneva (linked to the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations). According to Zhang, the recent decision to award dissident Liu Xiaobo the Noble peace prize is another example of “western prejudice against China”. This is based on a fear of the rise of China- a phenomena which the author sees as an inevitability.

Certainly, Liu Xiaobo's has drawn strong criticism from various quarters in China, but Zhang Weiwei's strongly-worded condemnation of the award particularly stands out as representative of the differing opinions surrounding the actions of democratic reform campaigners like Liu. Here, in this People's Daily piece, we have a notable academic defending his government's policy and simultaneously attacking Western attitudes, with arguments that some his international colleagues would dispute. Clearly, it would be foolish to ever assume that intellectual support for the Chinese government is only found within the People's Republic itself.

Zhang also urges the West to question “its own assumptions about economic and political modernity”. This is an interesting point. Democratic government is naturally enough set up by the liberal democracies as the ideal political system, yet many forget that the Western value judgement on this form of government is not universally shared across the world. This is not to argue that the Chinese political system is superior to those of Great Britain or America, but the fact that Liu Xiaobo and others have their opponents as well as their supporters in China means that Chinese progress with political reform will have a different dynamic to past developments in other countries.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Words of Encouragement?

The recent controversy with Japan over the disputed Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea caused a serious breakdown in Sino-Japanese relations, with the disagreement impacting at the most senior level of bilateral relations. However, after a couple of weeks since the affair was resolved, China has signalled a new desire to reach out to its neighbour again. Today, as Xinhua reports, Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie had a conversation with his Japanese opposite number at the 1st ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus conference in Hanoi. Liang apparently stated the need for Japan to properly handle relations between Beijing and Tokyo, especially on sensitive issues. This was expressed in the hope of repairing the damage caused by the Diaoyu Islands incident.

Of course, China was always going to place the ball in Japan's court with regards to strengthening bilateral relations again. To do anything else would be to admit some share in the blame for the recent trouble- such sentiments will never be forthcoming from the Chinese government. Liang's comments today are nothing more to test the water, in the hope of finding out Japan's attitudes to the same problem. There is going to need to be extensive work by both sides in order to heal the divide between the two- a process that will take years rather than months. However, today's news is at least a sign that the PRC is thinking about making a step in the direction of reconciliation, even if its tone is still very cold. Why this is the case is not totally clear, but the situation can be read as China attempting to repair the damage to its international image. Extending a very partly open hand to Tokyo makes the PRC look fairer and less like its being obstinate for the sake of it. Whether Japan will reach out or shy away remains to be seen.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Best of the Blogroll: 10/10/2010

Sino-gist's top posts from other China blogs this week:

Liu Xiaobo Wins Nobel Peace Prize: Early Reactions on Twitter: ChinaGeeks examines responses to the news about Liu Xiaobo's peace prize.

Amid Finger Pointing, Tianjin Climate Meeting Makes Scant Progress: The China Bystander comments on the Tianjin climate talks.

Was Liu Xiaobo the right choice for the Nobel Peace Prize?: The Peking Duck considers an alternative take on this week's big news.

Cultural Differences: Living In China Vs. Living In The US: CNReviews reposts a comparison.

Look out for more 'The Best of the Blogroll' next week.

A Unique View On a Unique State

Yesterday's post on Sino-Gist covered the preparations and celebrations being made for North Korea's (DPRK) 65th anniversary. The milestone has come at a time of intense political manoeuvring in the country, as Kim Jong-il attempts to gain backing for his son (Kim Jong-un) to takeover as leader when he dies. The North Korean leader had previously taken a visit to China in an attempt to secure Chinese backing for his succession plans.

For the first time in its history, the DPRK has allowed in foreign television crews to film the 65th anniversary celebration parade held in Pyongyang today. The BBC was able to broadcast pictures of military formations and the Worker's Party of Korea's (WPK) leadership- footage which is available on the BBC website. The remarkable pictures are certainly worth a look, if only because they present an extremely rare window into a very secretive state.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

All-Important Chinese Backing

China has been engaging in diplomatic pleasantries with North Korea (DPRK) this week in anticipation of the 65th anniversary of the latter, which falls tomorrow. There is currently a PRC delegation in Pyongyang (being headed up by Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang), and the DPRK's embassy in Beijing has been hosting receptions to commemorate the event.

These various exchanges come within the context of the recent leadership changes in the Worker's Party of Korea, which have seen Kim Jong-un (one of Kim Jong-il's sons) promoted to senior party and military positions. The senior Kim had previously made a trip to China with the intention (it is widely speculated) of securing the CCP's backing for his 'keep it in the family' succession plan, in the face of likely opposition to Kim Jong-un from some of North Korea's generals when the handover is implemented.

Friday, 8 October 2010

A Controversial Decision

Today saw the Nobel Prize committee announce that Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has been awarded this year's peace prize. According to the Guardian Newspaper's website, the awarding body praised Liu for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” Currently, the campaigner is serving an 11 year term in a Chinese prison for his role in the authorship of Charter 08, the controversial call for increased democracy in the People's Republic. As the Guardian suggests, it is unlikely that Liu even knows that he has been awarded such a prestigious honour- visitors to his cell are restricted in what they can discuss, though the information may will filter through in due course.

China had previously warned the Nobel committee not to follow up on expectation that Liu would receive this year's peace prize, arguing that his example did not accord with the aims of the award. As analysts are predicting, Beijing's reaction to its 'advice' being ignored will be one of anger. The Chinese government has long been sensitive to other nations interfering with its political affairs, one of the main factors that makes foreign involvement in the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland so delicate. Despite the fact that the Nobel body is independent, China is bound to construe the commendation of a pro-reform activist as an attempt by the international community to undermine the position of the Chinese Communist Party and the structure of Chinese domestic politics.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Applying the Pressure

China's alleged over-valuation of the RMB is continuing to hit the headlines, with Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday urging European Union officials not to back America's calls for further economic appreciation for the Yuan. According to the BBC, EU finance ministers had already added their voice to the US' concerns before Wen made his speech. It seems that the Premier's fears over a 'chorus' of economic pressure on China (expressed in Xinhua's coverage of the issue) have already begun to be realised.

In his address, Wen was keen to stress the lack of a link between the value of China's currency and the its huge trade surpluses- the problem around which the entire debate centres. America contends that a cheap Yuan is artificially enhancing the business interests of Chinese exporters, at a cost to the job sectors and economies of other nations. 'Not so' says the Premier, who pointed out that previous exchange rate reforms in the PRC have not solved the problem of growing trade surpluses. He also denied that the Chinese government is using its currency as a 'policy weapon', by which it can exert pressure on a more general supranational level. Finally, Wen even went as far as to lay the blame for recent fluctuations in the value of the Euro at the door of the US Dollar, arguing that reform would also harm China's economic interests and (by a ripple effect) those of countries across the world. One only has to look to the recent global recession to see the damage instability in a particular nation's finances can inflict worldwide.

The Premier's arguments are unlikely to deter the European Union from pushing for Beijing to speed up the process of reform. As the world economic landscape changes, huge trade deficits with the PRC will become a less and less desirable state of affairs for nations to be in. The Yuan is set up to eventually become a major world reserve currency, and a global economy based on an overvalued currency would be extremely dangerous. It may be a disadvantage to attempt to burst the Chinese bubble in the short-term. However, the EU countries (like their neighbours) have little choice but to do just that.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

"With you in charge, i'm at ease"

In 1977, following the death of Mao Zedong, Beijing played host to China's first National Art Exhibition. According to the website Sinophilia, Chinese Literature (an official Chinese state literary journal) summed up the paintings by stating that “pride of place was given in this exhibition to the splendid achievements of our great leader Chairman Mao, our esteemed and beloved Premier Chou [Zhou Enlai]... as well as to Chairman Hua's [Hua Guofeng] revolutionary record...” Furthermore, the owners of Sinophilia have also uploaded images of the pictures featured alongside the text in the journal.

One of these is particularly striking. Follow this link and you will see at the bottom of the page a picture entitled 'With you in charge, i'm at ease'. This is a well known phrase in Chinese political history. As part of an effort to strengthen his claims to be the leader of the Party in the post-Mao era, Hua Guofeng claimed that the Chairman had written this message (in Pinyin: ni ban shi, wo fang xin) to him during a private meeting held a short time before he died. While Hua's opponents contested the validity of the story altogether or argued that Mao was referring to a a specific aspect of the government rather than to the whole thing, he attempted to portray the moment as Mao's symbolic handing over of power. To this end, Hua's regime commissioned (amongst other pieces of propaganda) this idealised depiction of Mao's faith in his successor. The Chairman is shown upright and attentive, and with his hand firmly on Hua's- quite literally a revolutionary 'laying on of hands'. Of course, there is little chance that the meeting transpired anything like this. In his waning years, Mao's movements were severely restricted, hence Hua's contention that he only just had the strength to write down those all important characters.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The 'Young Man'

In addition to its usual selection of stories on Chinese affairs, today Xinhua also published online an editorial-style reflection on China's rapid path of development, with particular focus on foreign perceptions of the People's Republic. Entitled “China: a developing nation with growing pains”, the piece commented that China is “still in its adolescence, developing rapidly and full of the vigor of a young man”. As Xinhua pointed out, compared to its industrialised contemporaries, the PRC is in good economic shape, recording growth of 9.1% last year in the face of the global recession. GDP in the same year stood at 34 trillion Yuan, a staggering figure when compared to 365 billion Yuan , being the figure for 1978.

The article also picked up on the questionable nature of China's status vis a vis the issue of whether it is still a 'developing' nation. There is some worldwide concern (both popular and political) over the shape the China of the future could take, especially if its economy continues to grow at a similar astonishing rate for the near future. According to analysts interviewed by the news agency, China should be be looking to expand its efforts to introduce the world to aspects of Chinese attitudes and culture (as its Confucian Institute scheme is aimed to do). In addition, the PRC needs to act on criticism levelled at it by those without “purposely harmful intentions”, to avoid becoming complacent over its seemingly prosperous future.

For Xinhua to publish such clear sentiments is unusual. While the subject of China's attitudes to its own development and foreign perceptions of the same has been tackled before, today's piece is perhaps reflective of a realisation in Beijing that the PRC needs to do more to slot itself into the international community. The Diaoyu Islands controversy with Japan has had a definite adverse effect on China's standing on the world stage, and this desire to alter foreign attitudes towards the Middle Kingdom can be seen as an attempt to overcome the recent setbacks.

Monday, 4 October 2010

The On/Off System

The matter of China's very complicated holiday schedule has been subject to much comment online recently, with the Peking Duck describing the whole system as a “complicated mess”. Essentially, it is being summed up as: one day off, three days on, three days off, six days on, seven days off, two days on, one day off. The weird layout of working and vacation days stems from the one week workers have off as part of the National Day celebrations, although they are required to work additional days in the preceding and succeeding weeks to make up for this (only three days are official holidays).

According to Chinese law, those who work during the holiday week (1st-7th October) are entitled to receive triple-time for statutory holidays, and double-time if they are working at the weekend. Recently, as reported by the China Daily, Beijing News conducted an online survey which found that over half of respondents had been required to work during the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday period, but the majority had not yet received the overtime pay they are entitled too. The poll also revealed that most people work on one or two holiday days, but some industries (for example transportation and catering) see their employees having much less time off.

It seems that many employers are not meeting the state's requirements on overtime pay as they should be. Some Chinese analysts put this fact down to a lack of harsh penalties for those who underpay their workers, and also highlighted the reluctance amongst individuals to resort to legal mechanisms to force the issue. The same Beijing News survey found that only a small percentage of those polled take the issue of overtime up with their managers, preferring instead to “slack off at work” in order to make a point.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Best of the Blogroll: 3/10/2010

There are many great China-related blogs on the internet, and a glance at the 'Other Blogs on China' section in the right-hand column reveals some of Sino-Gist's favourite regularly updated sites. In the form of a weekly 'The Best of the Blogroll' section, we bring you a selection of what some other people have been posting this week:

That's all for this week. Look out for more 'The Best of the Blogroll' on forthcoming Sundays, and suggestions of blogs worth a look are always welcome.

A Double-Edged Sword

On Sunday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was in Greece for a second day as part of an 8-day tour that sees him paying visits to four nations, having already attended an EU-China summit. No doubt, economics was the principle item on the agenda when Wen met Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou- Greece has been in severe financial difficulty in the last year as part of the global recession, to the extent that it has been forced to borrow from Eurozone governments as a temporary bridge to recovery.

Following the Chinese political habit of breaking every policy statement down into a number of distinct features, Xinhua reported today that the Premier has proposed a 'Five Point Plan' in relation to bilateral relations between Greece and the People's Republic. These include:

  • China's setting up of a special fund (which will eventually total 5 billion US dollars) to promote “cooperation in maritime transportation”.
  • PRC assistance in making the Greek port of Piraeus a centre for the distribution of Chinese goods to Europe.
  • An increase in Chinese imports from Greece, to double trade in the next five years (in the hope of reaching a target of 8 billion US dollars).
  • China's encouragement to its businesses to invest in Greece's economy.
  • Cultural exchanges between the two nations, as well as co-operation in international organisations.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Review: 'Revolution and the People in Russia and China' by S.A. Smith

Throughout the narrative of the 20th century, the histories of Russia and China are intertwined. Bolshevik support (both ideological and financial) was crucial in getting revolutionary movements in the Middle Kingdom up and running, and the USSR played no small part in bringing the Chinese Communist Party to power in 1949. Since that point, the People's Republic has gone through phases of co-operation and division with its Communist neighbour, and in the future it looks likely that Russia will now come to depend more and more on the PRC, rather than the other way around.

With the above in mind, the decision by Steve Smith in 2008 to publish a study comparing the origins of the Communist revolutions in both nations was a decidedly logical one. In his 'Revolution and the People in Russia and China', Smith analyses particular aspects of the respective movements, including (amongst other things) their relationship to city workers and their affect on traditional gender identities. Taking into account recent scholarship, he poses a challenge to previous conclusions. An excellent example of this is Smith's discussion concerning the extent to which the CCP's ultimate success in China was dependent on its work with the peasantry. While not denying that the Party benefited from the links it forged with the countryside, he is also at pains to stress the role of workers in places like Shanghai in bringing the Communists to power. Those who subscribe to the notion that the Chinese Revolution was essentially a peasant-based rebellion are urged to reconsider their view.

China's National Day: Coverage

CCTV 1's coverage of the ceremony held in Tiananmen Square to mark China's National Day has already been uploaded onto Youtube by user sasalove2a2.  Both videos are embedded below:

There is a notable contrast with last year's 60th anniversary parade, with the ceremony being decidedly somber.  This is not surprising- as Sino-Gist mentioned yesterday, the activities in Beijing were focused on remembering those commemorated in the Monument to the People's Heroes.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Review: 'The Dragon and the Snake' by M.A. Gates and E.B. Geelhoed

From 1974 for five years, American diplomatic interests in China were represented by the United States Liaison Office (USLO). Established after Nixon's famous visit to the People's Republic in 1972 and the 'Shanghai Communiqué' that resulted from it, the USLO prepared the way in Beijing for the normalisation of Sino-American relations in 1979-1979. Between May 1976 and April 1977, the Chief of the USLO was Thomas Sovereign Gates Jr., best known for his tenure as Secretary for Defence under President Eisenhower. 'The Dragon and the Snake' is an account of Gates' time as USLO Chief, written from the perspective of his wife, who was with him throughout his time in Beijing.

May 1976 to April 1977 was, as the book jacket suggests, a time of much “turmoil” in the PRC. The death of Premier Zhou Enlai in the preceding February and the decline of Chairman Mao Zedong throughout 1976 sparked off an intense period of factional struggle, with radical and moderate elements in the Chinese Communist Party vying to to position themselves to take over on Mao's death. The Chairman's passing in the early days of September led to a month of political conflict between supporters of Hua Guofeng, the extreme Maoists (led by the 'Gang of Four') and those allied to Deng Xiaoping and other long-time revolutionaries. This eventually resulted in the Gang's arrest on October 6th 1976, sparking off a six-month period that would see Deng rehabilitation and the beginnings of his rise to prominence.

61 Years of the People's Republic of China

On October 1st 1949, Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People's Republic of China from atop the Gate of Heavenly Peace in Beijing. The event marked the culmination of the CCP's long struggle against the Nationalist Kuomintang (led by Chiang Kai-shek) and the Imperial Japanese Army, which had occupied vast swathes of Chinese territory in the years preceding its defeat in the Second World War. Since that point, the CCP's brand of Marxism has changed significantly, with the Party currently favouring increased interaction with Western 'capitalist' ideals at the expense of Maoist doctrines. China's reform process has in many ways been remarkable, although the current leadership is as committed to the notion of the Party's superiority as its predecessors were. Economic reform is coming on leaps and bounds- the same cannot be said for political reform.

Today thus marks the 61st anniversary of the PRC's inception- a fact that a visitor to China would have found it practically impossible to miss. Although budgetary pressure means that major ceremonies are now only held every five years (the next one due in four years time for the 65th birthday), the Tiananmen area was nonetheless witness to a lavish spectacle. The celebration activities revolving around the paying of respects to those who (in the words of Xinhua) “sacrificed their lives to build the nation”, with the top leadership laying flowers by the Monument to the People's Heroes. As Xinhua pointed out, October 1st provides China with a chance to remember its past as well as look to its future. The CCP's political legitimacy is founded on its past struggles, and an opportunity to look back makes the Party of Hu Jintao relevant to the Party of Mao Zedong in 1949.

 The Monument to the People's Heroes, Tiananmen Square

Contact Us

To contact Sino-Gist, please email