Jiang's empty ideas are not something to quiz the kids
Meanwhile, examiners say Form Seven students who took public affairs and liberal studies exams this year failed to understand mainland political theory. For example, they say the students did not show enough knowledge of the 'Three Represents' put forward by former President Jiang Zemin.
SCMP, November 2
My congratulations go to these Form Seven students. Among the most important things they will ever learn in life is what they must treat as important and what they can safely ignore. Here is evidence that they are well on their way to knowing what they can safely ignore.
They are not entirely there yet, of course. If our report is correct, their supposed failing is that they did not show 'enough knowledge' of the Three Represents, which implies they have at least some. I would have thought that any knowledge of the Three Represents actually represents nothing so much as wasted neural cells.
But perhaps there is a role for education here after all. I would say it exists in kindergarten when teaching the kiddies how to count. Just follow the numbers up - the One China Policy, the Two Chinas Error, the Three Represents, the Four Cardinal Principles (the party is boss and you shut up), the Five Year Plans and on we go.
I'm sure that with a little hunting I could find the Six Foundations, the Seven Pillars, the Eight Cornerstones and the Nine Innings, all fundamentals of correct Marxist thought. What a wonderful way to teach kids to count, numbers and discredited ideology at the same time, two for the price of one.
But let's look a little more closely at the Three Represents, which popped up off the top of Jiang's head one day 11 years ago while pontificating to a crowd of flunkies on a tour through Guangdong. Here is his later cleaned-up version, in a speech to a party congress:
'In a word, the party must always represent the requirements of the development of China's advanced productive forces, the orientation of the development of China's advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in China.'
Pretty long word, wouldn't you say? I count 40 of them. But let us turn to the big question, the same one for each of the Represents - How does the party know, Mr Jiang?
How does it know, for instance, what represents the development requirements of China's advanced productive forces? The most widely known example of this advanced production in China at the moment is of the iPhone and iPad. Are you telling us that the party some years ago sent representatives to Steve Jobs in California - 'Pssst, Steve, we got a product idea for you'?
The fact is when the party had anything to do with advanced productive forces, it made the peasants smelt pig iron in backyard furnaces. China's productive forces advanced only when the party took its hands off the effort.
Similarly, and sadly, China's advanced culture over the past 60 years has too often been represented by party-approved forms of cultural expression, which most of the world regarded as plain silly. Fortunately, this is now changing. Please, Mr Jiang, do not let the party represent Chinese culture.
Most of all, how does the party know it represents the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in China? Has it ever asked them?
I would be the first to recommend that we abandon the entire democratic process if some more reliable way has been found at last of determining the people's will in detail. Do tell us, Mr Jiang, how the party has managed this miracle. You cannot in all consciousness keep this wonderful discovery from the world.
Let us be plain. The Three Represents is a poorly thought-out political statement from a man whose higher education was in electrical engineering. He had the right loyalties in the right place at the right time to become president of China and that's why the party still officially recognises the Three Represents. To question the previous ruling thought may lead to questioning the present ruling thought. Fortunately, it is a confused ruling thought. You just mouth the words. It doesn't mean anything. No one can hold against you what has no substance in the first place.
The consequence is nonetheless that school kids in Hong Kong must familiarise themselves with this blather in order to satisfy timorous notions of political rectitude on the part of the sycophants who set exams for liberal studies.
Have you ever heard of anything more illiberal?