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Imperialism hails Chen, attacks Bo as Wall Street gains in China-U.S. talks

Published May 12, 2012 9:15 AM

The capitalist media worldwide have given a resounding show of support for the cause of Chen Guangcheng, a sightless dissident activist and pawn of U.S. intelligence who was smuggled into the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on April 27.

This is in sharp contrast to the universal media condemnation of Bo Xilai, formerly the Communist Party of China’s secretary for the provincial city of Chongqing, who was purged because of his left-wing challenge to the course of China’s economic and social development.

Chen appeared in the U.S. Embassy on the eve of scheduled negotiations on economic and political matters between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, on the one hand, and top Chinese government officials, on the other. Whether this was engineered by a Republican Party-oriented faction of the CIA to embarrass the Obama administration, or was a failed attempt by the Obama administration to make a showing in defense of so-called “human rights” in China, is hard to determine.

In any case, this carefully worked out plot to get Chen to the U.S. Embassy must be seen in light of the timely defection in early February by the police chief of Chongqing, Wang Lijun, to the U.S. Consulate/CIA station in Chengdu, in Sichuan province. Wang showed up at the consulate and handed over alleged evidence of crimes by Bo and his spouse, Gu Kailai, to U.S. officials. Wang’s visit to the U.S. Consulate set the stage for the purge of Bo, who was at that time a strong candidate to become a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the CPC. In both these incidents, U.S. intelligence officials and diplomats were central to the events.

Chen’s escape was carefully planned and orchestrated. It included a 300-mile drive to Beijing, safe houses and a closely choreographed transfer of Chen from the getaway car to a U.S. Embassy car, which then raced to the Marine compound inside the embassy. (New York Times, May 2) However the Chen affair was organized, it shows the underlying aggressiveness of Washington in its campaign to subvert the People’s Republic of China.

While the purge of Bo has far greater significance than the case of Chen, the details of the Chen case are revealing. Chen is a sightless lawyer who brought a class action suit against the government opposing alleged forced abortion. The Chinese government policy seeks to limit the number of children a family can have to control population growth in order to ensure its ability to feed the 1.3 billion people already there. It is a complicated issue.

Whatever one’s position on this, the fact is that counterrevolutionaries in China make it a practice of wrapping their anti-communism in popular grievances. Some are legitimate — like workers’ rights and peasants’ rights. Some are not — like bourgeois political reforms to empower the growing middle and upper classes who have prospered under the capitalist reforms. Whatever cause they take up, the goal is to undermine or destroy the institutions of Chinese socialism that have survived the capitalist reforms.

A counterrevolutionary network

The issue here is that Chen is part of a counterrevolutionary network that conspired to get him to the U.S. Embassy. It swung into action, from Washington to Texas to North Carolina to New York University, in a coordinated effort to fan anti-China flames.

The cheerleaders for Chen include “Pastor” Bob Fu in Midland, Texas, who “found God” after being part of the failed attempt to overthrow Chinese socialism in 1989 during the Tiananmen Square counterrevolutionary uprising. He settled in Midland, surrounded by oil wells and cattle ranches, and founded the Christian “rights” group China Aid to reach out to other counterrevolutionaries inside China. In his office is a photo of George W. Bush posing with Chinese exiles. (Washington Post, May 2)

Fu turned up at a hearing of the House of Representatives’ China Commission on May 3. The hearing was interrupted as Fu translated for national television a conversation between Chen and the chairperson of the commission, Christopher Smith, a Republican from New Jersey. Chen was telling Smith how “disappointed” he was in Hillary Clinton, among other things.

The Obama administration suffered another setback when Chen changed his mind about staying in China, saying he wanted to go into exile in the U.S. Chen held a phone conversation while in the hospital with his lawyer, Teng Biao, who allegedly talked him into changing his mind.

Teng Biao is a lawyer at the China University of Political Science and Law. He has been the legal representative for the anti-communist group Falun Gong and for pro-imperialist Tibetan separatists. Teng was also a signer of Charter 08 in December 2008. This document was modeled on the anti-Soviet Charter 77, a counterrevolutionary manifesto signed by Czechoslovakian reactionaries that helped pave the way for the destruction of socialism in Eastern Europe.

Charter 08 called for many bourgeois rights in China. Demand number 14 of the charter begins with the following: “Establish and protect private property rights, and implement a system based on a free and open market economy,” including privatizing state enterprises and land. (foreignpolicy.com, Oct. 8, 2010)

NYU law professor Jerome Cohen, a long-time collaborator of Chen and the U.S. government, on signal from the State Department became Chen’s U.S. legal adviser during the embassy events and extended an offer for Chen to study at NYU. Wang Dan, leader of the Tiananmen uprising, now in exile in California, wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times welcoming Chen to exile in the U.S.

Boxun, a counterrevolutionary chat room run out of Durham, N.C., by Watson Meng, took up the cause. Meng tried to promote a “jasmine revolution” last February to start a Tunisian or Egyptian-style movement to overthrow the Chinese government. (Financial Times, April 22)

A true counterrevolutionary chorus sing the praises of of Chen reverberated from one end of the capitalist ­media to the other, inspired and led by the baton of the CIA and U.S. imperialism.

Clinton, Geithner & Wall Street

Alongside political subversion was the even more important pressure brought to bear by Clinton and Geithner in the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Geithner opened up the talks with an arrogant lecture: “China must rely more on domestic consumption rather than exports, and more on innovation by private companies rather than capacity expansion by state-owned enterprises.” (New York Times, May 4)

The U.S. delegation came with a plan for China to improve the “safety net” for the Chinese people and to build a consumer society: China should “rebalance” its economy and not rely on national development projects and exports. China should raise the value of its currency and allow more competition. It should reduce subsidies to the state-owned corporations and give private capital a better chance. State-owned enterprises should pay more dividends to the government to finance the safety net to ensure that people would spend more money.

In these demands, the predatory interests of Wall Street are couched in soothing words about improving the lives of the Chinese people. But the fact is — as the Chinese leaders know full well — the imperialist corporations are facing a world capitalist crisis and are desperate for markets, not only to utilize their overcapacity in the production of commodities but to expand their areas of capital investment.

The pressure to further open up the Chinese market is growing more intense with every report about the growing recessionary tide in Europe and the economic slowdowns in India, Brazil, Russia and throughout the world capitalist system. Capitalism is slowly buckling under the weight of its own productivity and the consequent stresses of overproduction.

Concessions on investment

Washington got agreement from the Chinese negotiators at the meeting to allow foreign firms to take up to a 49 percent stake in joint securities ventures. A hefty increase from the current limit of 33 percent, this gives American financial firms greater ability to invest in the country. China also agreed to make it easier for American firms to offer financing for auto loans. This permits U.S. finance capital to take more wealth out of China and to wield greater financial influence in the markets.

This is a Chinese concession to the urgent pressure of U.S. bankers and brokers to find new sources of profitable, secure financial investment, which is being called into question every day as the global debt crisis deepens.

The struggle over exchange rates seems to have ended in pretty much of a stalemate. The Chinese made soft, verbal promises to consider many of the measures put forward by the U.S. delegation. The U.S. side then emphasized in their briefings with the media that a new conciliatory mood existed among the Chinese negotiators. Whether or not the U.S. was spinning the talks is hard to say.

To be sure, the head of China’s central bank, Zhou Xiaochuan, said that the two countries agreed that exchange rates should ultimately be market-determined. “The two sides have some views in common. They both think that exchange rates should be determined by a market system.” (New York Times, May 4)

Zhou is in the right-wing reform camp, along with Premier Wen Jiabao, who has vowed to carry forward political and economic reform. But all these soft concessions can be pushed back by resistance from within the rest of the party, from the state enterprises, the state banks and the planning apparatus.

The concessionary attitude of the Chinese leaders, in spite of the political sabotage by Washington in the Chen case, cannot be separated from the victory over Bo Xilai and the massive campaign of political intimidation against the party grouping in China that wants to halt, if not reverse, the course toward further market reforms.

That is why the U.S. ruling class during these negotiations wanted to quickly take advantage of the political momentum to the right and get as many concessions as possible from the present leadership, before they retire and the tide turns against the new incursions of capital.

But all these leaders are looking over their shoulders. There is palpable anxiety among them that the attack on Bo could eventually backfire and openly pose the question of which direction China should take — further toward capitalism or back toward strengthening socialism. What they all dread is the day that the Chinese working class takes up the struggle to revive the political role of the working class in building socialism, as it existed during the era of Mao Zedong.

Goldstein is the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End.” More information is available at www.lowwagecapitalism.com. The author can be reached at [email protected].