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I do not approve of reading so many books. The method of examination is a method of dealing with the enemy. It is most harmful and should be stopped" (Johnson 1992:552). Mao wanted control of China's destiny -- and he wanted that destiny out of the hands of the religionists, whose doctrine was not formulated by him but by an outside body. Thus, places like Sacred Heart convent in Peking were closed, the sisters expelled, the school children sent home. Not limited to Christianity, Mao's Cultural Revolution targeted "Moslem institutions and Buddhist sanctuaries" as well (Fitzgerald 1967:124).
The Cultural Revolution was, of course, fueled by Mao's own Romantic tendencies. Unable to accept reality on its own terms, Mao insisted on having it his own way. His pseudo-intellectual wife convinced him to leave Peking in 1965. They settled in Shanghai, where Mao nursed his "hatred of Soviet Russia and its leadership, and of the new class of bourgeois bureaucrats who had frustrated his Great Leap" (Johnson 1992:554). The exact trigger that sent Mao reeling into Revolution was nothing more than a personal insult in a theater play, in which he was clearly attacked for his agricultural policy. Mao vowed revenge, gained military support and attracted the ignorant youth with obnoxious statements like, "We need determined people who are young, have little education, a firm attitude and the political experience to take over the work…When we started to make revolution, we were mere twenty-three-year-old boys, while the rulers of that time…were old and experienced. They had more learning -- but we had more truth" (Johnson 1992:555). The only truth that Mao had on his side was pride and force. Philosophical or theological truth was no concern for him. He was the anti-thesis of the rule of law.
For that reason, the "three out of four main creeds" that were of foreign origin were marked for elimination when the Cultural Revolution began (Fitzgerald 1967:124). Mao was not out simply to eliminate foes who had insulted or resisted him in the past -- he was out to purge China of everyone and everything that did not bow down before him. Thus, while in traditional Chinese culture, Chinese people could choose from "Confucian ethics, Buddhism, and the ancient polytheism known as Taoism," in the new Chinese Culture sponsored by Mao himself, the brilliant mind behind the Great Leap Forward that fell flat on its face and took millions down with it, the Chinese people could choose from the doctrine of Mao and the doctrine of Mao -- there were no other alternatives. Indeed, the old ways of ethics and philosophies had been dissolving for decades and were of lesser account in the 20th century than they had been in the past centuries before the era of modernization.
Even Mao had stated the importance of looking into Confucianism -- but of course it had to be balanced against the all-important teachings of Marx. Mao stated that it was their task "to study our historical legacy and evaluate it critically with the Marxist method" (Zhang, Schwartz 1997:195). One big problem, however, was the fact that Confucian doctrine "contradicted socialism" (Zhang, Schwartz 1997:195). Mao had to decide whether he was for the old or for the new. Of course, he was mainly simply for himself -- but that automatically took him out of the old, so he had to come down squarely for the new. And that meant rejecting Confucianism. In other words, Communism "accommodated Confucius, but only as long as it accommodated tradition. When its cultural revolution broke with the past, Confucius had to be totally rejected" (Zhang, Schwartz 1997:197). The Cultural Revolution set itself against the past because the past rejected selfishness. The new was all about selfhood and selfishness. It was contrary to the old rule of law that religion offered.
Therefore, the Cultural Revolution's platform was to be against what it called the Four Olds: "old thought, old culture, old tradition, and old custom" (Zhang, Schwartz 1997:197). The Confucian way had to be suppressed along with the other religions of foreign origin -- for in Mao's mind it was foreign to his philosophy. Even though it was linked to Chinese civilization intimately, it was foreign to the new ideals of the China which Mao envisioned. For that reason, the media took Mao's cue and "condemned Confucius in the harshest terms" (Zhang, Schwartz 1997:198).
Mao's policies finally died with him, and out of the rubble which he left behind came the old Chinese spirit, malformed and decrepit thanks to the decades in which Mao mistreated it. But it was still alive. And it now was being wooed by the West and being tempted to join the world powers on the world stage. All it had to do was accept the bureaucratic doctrine of the West and its superficial propaganda. To fuel its economy, China did just that. Its new rule of law may, therefore, be categorized as an exercise in the efficaciousness of bureaucracy.
Understanding the Context for China's Rule of Law
The New Bureaucracy
Max Weber first established the bureaucratic paradigm in the early half of the 20th century. That paradigm caught on with business and government administration around the world, essentially transforming the way organizations and nations run themselves. China is now one such example.
As China embraces a new rule of law, it also embraces the modern machine of bureaucracy. Bureaucracy "is an organizational model rationally designed to perform tasks efficiently" (Macionis 2006:120). Following Industrialization, the German sociologist Max Weber wrote a seminal work in which the bureaucratization of society was viewed as a goal for the revolutionizing of public administration. Many of Weber's ideas have since come to be discounted, yet his ideas concerning bureaucracy still linger especially in nations that desire to make an impressive show on the world stage.
Weber's bureaucracy contained six points: 1) There must be a "fixed division of labor," otherwise known as specialization -- a concept in which "individuals [have] highly specialized jobs" (Macionis 2006:120); 2) it must contain a "hierarchy of offices, in which "each office [is] controlled and supervised by a higher ranking office"…"with few people at the top and many at the bottom" (Macionis 2006:120); 3) there must exist a "rational legal authority" that operates according to "rules and regulations…in a completely predictable fashion" (Macionis 2006:120); 4) it must be technically competent; 5) it must be impersonal; 6) all communication should be formal and written so that there is always a record of everything.
According to Weber's model, a bureaucracy "promotes efficiency by carefully hiring workers and limiting the unpredictable effects of personal taste and opinion" (Macionis 2006:120). Essentially what such means is that a bureaucracy attempts to take all of the unexpected elements out of organization, stream-line all angles, and drum up the most productive, accessible, and competent system under which work can thrive.
However, as China has learned in recent history, bureaucracy is not without its flaws. John Kilcullen (1996) observes that "the modern bureaucrat does not own his job…Bureaucrats do not own the 'means of administration'" -- which is essentially the case in rising nations like China.
The fact that the social engineering of the 20th century and the doomed Cultural Revolution of China (led by Chairman Mao) attempted to reduce mankind to a programmable device has not gone unnoticed by critics. In the end, the bureaucracy must fail because it is not self-sustaining -- and so the political culture of China and its so-called rule of law must face this fact. The collapse of Communism in Russia has surely had an impact on its neighbor China, and with India next door attempting to cultivate democracy as its many political leaders engage in shouting matches, both countries face a prospect of not getting their houses in order by the time a new colonial power enters in to wrest control from a weak bureaucracy.
However, agents for socialization and the rule of law in China today -- namely, media, parents and peers -- have a tremendous influence on the way law, politics, and the economy are perceived in the country. These agents help draw members of communities into economic decisions, such as establishing brand loyalty (Zaharah 2006), which in turn affects the economic and political state of the country. As more Western businesses attempt to find a way into China's consumer culture, its politics take on a greater and greater Westernized appearance. Yet, not all Western businesses will attest to the idea that China has grown laxer in its rule. Google is one example of a Western company that has found it difficult to break into the Chinese market.
Due to Chinese government censorship, Google found itself faced with a "conflict between its 'Don't be evil' maxim and its mission 'to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful'" (Mendelson 2010:3). Google eventually chose the latter option, and in 2006 willingly censored itself so as to be in compliance with the Chinese authorities. However, whenever the…[continue]
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