Wednesday, 28 August 2013

China's Plan 9 from outer space....


In the "Oh my God, here-we-go-again" category: China's own version of "Plan 9 from Outer Space", Ed Wood's cult classic, often voted the "worst movie of all time".  (Do have a look at the trailer above; it's a hoot).
China's version is titled "Document 9" and issued by senior party leaders, endorsed by by none other than China's new supremo Xi Jinping, and sent out to all Chinese officials "for study" (read: to hew to the line of).
So, shattered are the vague hopes that Xi, who has spent congenial times in the US, would be a liberalising force. Quite the opposite, it now seems.
We now have zombie ideas, the shop-worn cliches of the early days of communism.
Oh, dear.  This can't be good for China, for China's people, for the "China Dream" that Xi talked of earlier.  It also can't be good for Hong Kong, if Document No. 9 hardens China's leadership against such bourgeois things as universal suffrage, for which we are now fighting in Hong Kong.
So the Bo Xilai trial showed up not so much fissures in the Party between Left and Ultra-left  -- as I'd suggested earlier --  but rather between Ultra left and Ultra-ultra left. Not between, say, Leninists and Maoists, but between Stalinists and Maoists.
Stanley Lubman writes about China's Plan 9, er, Document 9, here.  I met Stanley a few times during my so-called "China watcher" days in the Australian Embassy in Peking, back in the late 1970s.  Stanley is a knowledgeable and safe pair of hands on this issue:
The headline-grabbing trial of Bo Xilai should not be allowed to divert concern from a forceful attack on the rule of law by the Party leadership that began this spring and became public earlier this month.  As articulated in Document No. 9... the threat of Western democratic ideals to Communist ideology and the principle of Party leadership is being taken more seriously than any time in the recent past....
It identifies seven threats in a “fierce” struggle, and the first threat on the list is “[A]dvocating Western Constitutional democracy. Seeking to negate the current leadership and the government system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
The document describes the offensive Western ideals as “the separation of three powers, a multiparty system, a system of universal suffrage, independent judiciary, a military belonging to the nation, etc.”... [some] threaten the system by "holding up the banner of 'defending the constitution' and 'governing the country in accordance with the law' to attack the party leadership..."
Quotes from the Plan 9 Trailer above, seem apt:
"They came from the bowels of hell..
A transformed race of the walking dead...
Zombies guided by a Master Plan, 
for complete domination of the earth..
Plan 9 from Outer Space!
Starring the most nightmarish cast ever...
What earthly power can stop this terror?"

It's too perfect a fit.  It's also too scary a scenario. For it's real. They come from the bowels of hell! These Zombies guided by the Master Plan, Document 9!  These "appalling old waxworks", these pusillanimous apparatchicks, these Ultra-ultra lefties stuck with stale ideas and staler policies, their only vision the continued power of the Party.... What earthly power can stop this terror?
Oh dear...  Come back, Ed Wood, all is forgiven!
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LATER: Summary of the five days of Bo Xilai's trial.  Good read.  From South China Morning Post, Mandy Zuo and Li Jing.
LATERER (30 August):  Dissident Artist Ai Wei Wei Wei's in... "Ai Weiwei on China's Trial of the Century."