Dissident Liu Xiaobo, who has been in labour camp without trial as a result of speaking out on constitutional rights and Tibetans' right to self-determination, has written an article for a Hong Kong publication on how the Chinese ruling classes flatter and deceive the masses. He said TV programmes create an illusion of people happy with their lot. Liu said government officials and advisers collude in creating the impression that ordinary people and their welfare are taken as a first priority. Liu believed that the only interest of the ruling class is self-preservation. Liu noted that the ruling elite have already put in place their exit strategies to other shores: "As a matter of fact, tens of billions of dollars worth of assets are being transferred from the mainland to the West every year. Every year, members of the families of privileged class emigrate en masse to foreign countries. It shows that they have already made good preparations for abandoning the ship when the ship sinks." The following is the text of the article by Liu Xiaobo entitled: "Whither will this leaky Chinese ship head to?" by Hong Kong magazine Hong Kong Economic Journal (Hong Kong Hsin Pao) on 9 October; subheadings as published.

In the time of Jiang Zemin, the mass culture, coordinating with the forced indoctrination of the major themes of the times, bombards the populace with a soft assimilation campaign. The performance of the Jiang Zemin-Zhu Rongji leadership is praised to the sky through a number of highly popular television dramas on the life and exploits of ancient Chinese emperors. A string of soap operas in the style of the "Happy Life of Garrulous Zhang Damin" provide a seamless and sophisticated portrayal of people who are happy with their lots and who share the concerns of the Chinese Communist Party and of the State. Recently, the famous "Leaky Ship Theory" was once again advanced in the "Provincial Party Secretary," a prime time television series aired by the China Central Television's [CCTV]. The theory likens
today's China to a leaky ship that is on the verge of sinking. The "three representations" [Chinese: san ge dai biao; on the importance of the communist party in modernizing the nation - representing the demands for the development of advanced social productive forces, the direction of advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the greatest majority of the people] is an effort made by the third generation of the Chinese leaders to prevent the leaky ship from sinking. Despite the fact that the Chinese Communist Party wants to represent the interests of the largest numbers of the Chinese people, the cruel reality is that to rescue the people aboard the leaky ship, the elite class that represents the advanced productive forces will be charged with the task of taking the helm of the ship and of repairing it. Some people will have to leave the ship and make sacrifices. This means mass unemployment will really be unavoidable. It is a price that must be paid to fix the leaky ship. The party and the state promise that they will never forget the people who have been asked to pay for the cost. People who temporarily leave the ship will get compensation. Once the leaky ship is basically fixed, the party and the state will welcome back those who have been compelled to leave the ship and all the people will embark on a long trip of the great revitalization of the Chinese nation.

Leaders pretend they are receptive to advice

One cannot help but admire the elite class's level of sophistication in the art of flattering and indoctrination. They interpret the Jiang nucleus' "three representations" through the mouths of provincial-level officials on the television screen. They transform the "cost theory " and the "devotion theory" of the elite alliance into the "leaky ship theory." The indoctrination effect far exceeds that of a number of special television series produced before the opening of the 16th CCP National Congress to lavish praise on Jiang Zemin as well as that of the stiff propaganda on the "Three representations" broadcast daily in CCTV's News Hookup programme. Instead of staying on the leaky ship and of waiting to be buried at sea, it would be better to let a small number of elite stay on the ship and ask a large number of passengers at lower decks to leave the ship, thus ensuring the continued sailing of the ship. This "leaky ship theory" cannot help but make people think of the collusion between the elite class and the ruling class.

The elite class is now cooperating closely with the ruling class. Their relationship is like that between a benevolent emperor and loyal ministers in ancient times. Their match is made in heaven. The emperor pretends to listen attentively to the loyal ministers' remonstrance. He pretends to be able to put up with ear-jarring remonstrance with perfect equanimity. The ministers make a show of loyalty. At the risk of incurring the wrath of the emperor, they even dare to reveal the dark side of society and to speak about the crisis confronting the nation. The Communist Chinese leaders like to attend en masse experts' lectures. This has become a conspicuous mark in the time of Jiang Zemin. The media dutifully carry news of Chinese leaders attending such lectures. What the experts speak at the lectures is not that important. What is important is what remarks Jiang Zemin, Zhu Rongji, Li Peng, and others make at those lectures.

No help at all for problem-solving

Pan Yue's "Political Report" was circulated among the elite class several years. The report was actually drafted by the elite class. In 2002, Zhu Rongji directed a play about a perfect cooperation between the emperor and the ministers that becomes an eye-catching political landscape prior to the opening of the 16th CCP [Chinese Communist Party] National Congress. First, Communist China's mainstream media unprecedentedly carried the news of Zhu Rongji asking advice from 12 economic experts (their market value rises with the news) on economic issues. It was followed by the publication of the experts' suggestions in the media. While some defended the current economic policies, others warned about the imminent economic crisis. Among the apologists were Fan Gang and others who refuted Gordon G. Chang's "The Coming Collapse of China." Kang Xiaoguang and others refuted the "Theory on Instability." Lin Yifu and others refuted Yang Xiaokai's "Theory on Late-Start Inferiority." Among the doomsayers were Hu Angang and others who issued stern warnings on the possible breakout of social crisis (corruption, unemployment, and polarization). Lastly, Communist China called high-level meetings on unemployment and social protection. At the first of such meetings, Jiang Zemin should have delivered a long speech on the serious problems of unemployment and of polarization.

In such a perfect cooperation, the Chinese Communist regime seems to convey an impression of assuming responsibility, of looking straight into crisis, and of trying to find ways to solve problems. And senior aides also seem to have the conscience and courage to expose problems. But for the elite alliance, maintaining the regime's stability has always been their top priority and it is where their greatest interests lie. The purpose of the elite class in studying social stability and social crisis is making suggestions to help maintain stability for existing order. They have never taken upon themselves the duty of seeking welfare for socially weak groups. Even if they call on the rulers to treat well people at the bottom of society, they do this out of the concern about the seriousness of social crisis. They proceed from the theory of "while the waters can bear the boat, they can also sink it." To prevent the people from "sinking the boat," they do a small favour to temporarily mollify the populace. From the bottom of their hearts, they still want to maintain the special privileges and interests of the elite alliance. They lack a genuine concern for socially weak groups. They are no help at all to solve real problems.

One of the characteristics of the Jiang's rule is the extreme opportunism that finds expression in the form of state behavior and personal behavior. For the regime's stability and for the greatest interests of the privileged class, anything can go. The second characteristic of Jiang's administration is the formation of an interest union between the social elite and the ruling class. That the "three representations" was praised to the sky by the elite class lies in the fact that it formally announced the change of its social basis on which the Chinese Communist regime has relied on - from impoverished class or proletariat class to wealthy class or moneyed class. The division of class in China today has shifted from political class to economic class and from revolutionary class to capitalist class. The broad mass of workers and farmers-nominally masters of the country in the past - are marginalized and become socially weak groups. The autocratic regime now keeps an eye on them, the group that was once the main stays of the communist revolution. And they (various religious groups, Falun Gong, farmers and unemployed workers who air grievances, present petitions and hold demonstrations) are the major targets of the autocratic regime's suppression. Capitalists and intellectuals, formerly victims of the dictatorial regime and targets of ideological reforms, now become the representatives of the advanced productive forces. Once the enemies of the Chinese Communist regime, they are now the major social basis of the regime. And the polarization of Chinese society evolves from one that was between an absolute majority of the populace with a handful of class enemies in the time of Mao Zedong to that of an antagonism between a very small minority of social elite bought off by the regime with an absolute majority of the populace that was abandoned by the regime to the bottom of society.

The privileged class has already prepared to jump the ship

The elite alliance knows very well that although the people at the bottom of the social classes are dissatisfied and resentful, they have not formed an organized interest union. As their resistance against the current order is scattered, it can easily be controlled. Following an outbreak of a large-scale resistance in a locality, the elite alliance would carry out brutal repression and block the news of the resistance. But they would also appropriately dole out small favours for pacification purposes. Put another way, as long as the elite alliance is united and as long as the civil society remains fragmented, the stability of the regime and the vested interests of the elite alliance can be ensured. This is because the Chinese Communist regime is capable of using both carrot and stick to quell any scattered and localized resistance put up by people at the bottom of the social classes.

If the leaky Chinese ship continues to navigate according to the strategy mapped out by the Chinese Communist regime, the elite alliance remain aboard the ship will, after using up the little remaining fuel, jump ship and flee to the other side of the Pacific. And from there they would look at the sinking leaky ship and at the desperate people that are stranded on the other side of the shore. As a matter of fact, tens of billions of dollars worth of assets are being transferred from the mainland to the West every year. Every year, members of the families of privileged class emigrate en masse to foreign countries. It shows that they have already made good preparations for abandoning the ship when the ship sinks. This selfish state opportunism, or the "apres moi, le deluge" mentality, represents the most destructive force in a stable order devoid of social conscience.

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