• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 8:32am
Xi Jinping

Scepticism rife after Xi calls for Communist Party to accept criticism

Microbloggers are suspicious, likening Xi's call to Mao Zedong's Hundred Flowers Campaign

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 9:01am


  • Yes: 21%
  • No: 79%
9 Feb 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 272

Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping's call for the party to accept "sharp criticism" from non-party members has evoked a flurry of online commentary - most of it swiftly deleted.

"The Communist Party of China (CPC) should be able to put up with sharp criticism, correct mistakes if it has committed them, and avoid them if it has not," Xi told a Lunar New Year gathering that included non-communist parties and businessmen on Wednesday.

After state media reported Xi's remarks on Thursday, the mainland internet community was abuzz with debate over whether Xi really meant what he said. A Xinhua posting of his remarks was shared 20,000 times within hours on Thursday.

But most comments were quickly deleted. Many compared Xi's remark with Mao Zedong's Hundred Flowers Campaign in 1956, when Mao encouraged people to openly express their opinions about the party. The campaign quickly turned into a massive purge of those who had criticised the party and became known as the "anti-rightist movement".

Mao said he had deliberately encouraged dissent to help him identify "rightists" and called the tactic "enticing the snakes out of their caves", a phrase invoked by internet users over the past two days to express their scepticism.

"What was the result of speaking out freely? It resulted in a storm of persecution. 500,000 intellectuals were tricked … enticing the snakes out of the caves and then wiping them out is an old trick," one microblogger wrote yesterday.

Zhang Ming , a political scientist at Renmin University, wrote on his microblog: "Since the anti-rightist campaign in 1957, I haven't seen any democratic (non-communist) party criticise the ruling party, let alone sharply criticise it … there are no democratic parties in China, only 'fawning' ones."

Other internet users wondered whether Xi would live up to his words and stop censorship.

Venture capitalist Kai-fu Li, the influential former head of Google China, asked: "Will you stop silencing and shutting down microblog accounts?"

Economics professor Xu Xiaonian wrote: "Willyou stop censoring books and media reports?"



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This article is now closed to comments

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a sharp critic of Soviet Socialism and though such activities had negative consequences for him, the gate of truth stayed open.

SCMP will never get it...as in HK people learn Chinese history up to 1911 only (this situation will not change as they blindly rejected national education last year...so cool!!). Mr. Mao's Hundred Flowers movement (executed by a certain Mr. Deng...) was on balance a sucess in hind sight, actually a huge success. No one should doubt Mr. Mao's genuineness to respect dissent, which unfortunately came at a very sensitive historical moment when our Soviet friends were helping China industrialize, as in-kind retribution for China's sacrifices in the Korean War (repayment of a debt in blood), a 10-year historical leap-frogging opportunity which advanced China by half a century. Unfortunately, the dissent was anti-Soviet in nature which could not be tolerated so Mr. Mao had to slap the "rightests" on their wrist - this was the so-called "anti-rightest" movement. It effectively delayed the China / Soviet split by a precious 3-4 years, without which China would not be a nuclear power today (Mr. Mao conned Mr. Krushchev in 1957 to give China 2 nuclear reactors to China in 1959...). If the anti-Soviet dissent had been unleashed in 1960 or 1961, it would no doubt have been tolerated by Mr. Mao. Such sensitivity does not exist today...today's China which has fully benefited from the 1950s industrialization with Soviet help can live with far more dissent than people (minus SCMP...) can imagine!
-Considering that so many of Hong Kong's population is made up of families of Chinese migrants to Hong Kong since the 1945 (including escapees from the Mao regime), and considering that Hong Kong still remember the Tiananmen Square incident, I sincerely doubt that people in Hong Kong don't know a thing about Chinese history.
-The Hundred Flowers movement enabled authorities to root dissidents easier. Mao disliked dissidents even when the movement started.
-The so-called 'Great Leap Forward' was a disaster that exhausted the country's manpower and led to a famine that killed tens of millions. Sure it improved some industry but the plans were so overambitious that it devastated the economy.
-'Slap on the wrist' is an odd way of saying 'imprisonment, hard labor and death penalty', don't you think?
-Yes, Mao conned his Soviets friends for nuclear power. That must be really righteous of him.
-I can't decipher your last sentence. Are you trying to say that with the help of the Soviets China can live with more dissidence? Or are you saying that BECAUSE of the Soviets China can live with more dissidence. Either way, the Soviets have been brutal against dissent, and current Russia is gradually declining back to its Cold-War era habits.
Very enlightening, thank you. Yes, it was all the Soviets' fault, as was the Tiananmen "incident" (who asked Gorbachev to be there to make the CCP lose face?). The CCP has always respected the people's rights -- after all, isn't the country called "The People's Republic of China"? (like "The Demorcatic People's Republic of Korea"?)
People here need to learn Chinese history.

That will not happen unfortunately as people like thung01 thinks they already know e/thing...Happy Lunar Chinese New Year!


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