To denounce one’s past is to doom one’s present; and when one’s present is doomed, one’s future is ruined.
That is not something from Confucius or from a Chinese fortune cookie. It is the battle cry of a fierce war on “historical nihilism” being waged by the Chinese Communist Party under President Xi Jinping, who has a doctorate degree in “scientific socialism” from China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, the intramural rival of its next-door neighbor, Peking University.
Professor Liang Zhu, the deputy provost and immediate past vice president of Peking University, has authored a hard-hitting article that has gone viral on China’s Internet, claiming that Chinese youths’ indulgence in sex and the pervasive decadence among government officials are the products of an elaborate U.S. government-sponsored plot to undermine communist rule.
And that evil U.S. plot manifests itself in something the author calls “historical nihilism,” defined as “rejecting the [communist] revolution; claiming that the revolution led by the Chinese Communist Party resulted only in destruction; denying the historical inevitability in China’s choice of the socialist road; calling it the wrong path; and [arguing that] the history of the Party and New China is a continuous series of mistakes.”
According to Mr. Liang, such historical nihilism was precisely the reason the Soviet Union collapsed: “The beginning of the dismemberment of the Soviet Union started with [Nikita] Khrushchev‘s denunciation of [Joseph] Stalin,” he wrote, adding that “among many reasons for the Soviet Union’s demise is this primary one: the denunciation of Soviet history, which made people aimless. Khrushchev denounced Stalin, [Mikhail] Gorbachev denounced Lenin. … Such historical nihilism played a leading role in causing the Soviet Union to collapse.”
Why is there such an evil “historical nihilism” in today’s China? Mr. Liang points to, inter alia, a malicious U.S. plot called the “peaceful evolution,” a plot being carried out by the CIA.
Mr. Liang then drops a bombshell in his article:
“Various U.S. administrations have never avoided talking about [peaceful evolution against China]. They have always been open and frank about this plot … that calls for methods to make China’s young people morally decadent, make them only interested in playing, only interested in sex, and make Chinese officials become shameless. This is what America’s so-called democracy is all about.”
The article points as proof to books by Carter administration National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and political scientist Francis Fukuyama praising capitalism as “the best system in history.”
“But the U.S. was wrong in calculating that socialism in China would collapse too after the Soviet Union,” Mr. Liang writes. “China did not collapse, China upholds socialism, which has made the U.S. focus its target on China.
“At present, the U.S. is not only completely besieging China on the ideological front but also on the military front,” Mr. Liang warns. “In recent years, Mongolia has gone over to Japan, the troops of the U.S.-created and U.S.-led NATO have already moved to our doorsteps.”
Mr. Liang charges that those who may disagree with him in Chinese academe are guilty of treason. “The actions of the U.S. have also exerted impact on some of our nation’s officials and scholars,” Mr. Liang writes. “Let me be frank here: In today’s China, within our party, among our officials and scholars, there may have already existed an American Fifth Column.”
If you think Mr. Liang is singularly paranoid, you would be wrong.
Mr. Liang’s article is a follow-up to the Communist Party Central Community’s call for a war against seven “perils” in the ideological struggle: constitutional democracy, universal values, civil society, neo-liberalism, a free press, historical nihilism and Chinese socialism, which are collectively denounced in a 2013 Party directive called Document No. 9.
“The modus operandi of the U.S. is to use various [nongovernmental organizations] and many foundations to influence China,” Mr. Liang writes, closely echoing Document No. 9. “The reason why there have appeared in our country beliefs in neo-liberalism, universal values, social democracy and historical nihilism is because our country is under a focused, U.S.-led peaceful evolution attack.”
⦁ Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @Yu_miles.