THE CHINA CANCER: A Taiwanese Physician’s Remedy (Namiki Shobo) No.4
By Lin Kenryo,
CHAPTER 3: CHINESE ALSO TORMENTED BY CHINA CANCER
LAND TORN APART BY CANCER CELLS
Great Wall: Monument to desertification
Death is the endpoint of insatiable greed. Cancer cells, the epitome of greed, proliferate ceaselessly. To maintain their bulk, they rob their neighbors of nutrients; they also kill other cells. Since they must rob to survive, they ruin the balance of the organism in which they dwell, and eventually expire.
Cancer cells are ruled by instincts that stimulate them to covet and plunder.
China cancer, whose instincts drive it to death, has marred Mother Earth beyond recovery. The speed of that destruction has accelerated over the past 30 years. Our planet is now in danger of extinction.
China’s territory measures 9.6 million square kilometers; its land area is about the same as that of the US, but habitable land is at most 10% of that amount, compared with 75% in the US. Since China’s population is four times that of the US, we can imagine the crowded conditions in which the Chinese live.
Since China has little habitable or arable land, the Chinese decided to appropriate land from their forests. But when they cut down the forests and began cultivating vast areas, the result was severe erosion and accelerating desertification. Undaunted, they persisted with their reckless deforestation.
A report issued by China’s State Forestry Administration tells us that 18.2% of Chinese land area (1.74 million square kilometers) has been desertified, and that each year 3,436 square kilometers is lost to desertification. Other data shows that half of China’s territory has been desertified.
Desertification due to deforestation in China is not a new phenomenon. The destruction of China’s mountains and waterways dates back several thousand years. For instance, to build the Great Wall, the construction and maintenance of which began in the Qin (221-206 BC) and Han (206 BC-221 AD) dynasties, a large amount of iron tools was required. Thousands of trees were cut down to make the charcoal needed to produce those tools. We might say that the Great Wall is a monument to the desertification of China.
If we were living in ancient China, when the population was no more than several 10 millions, Nature could have recovered faster than the Chinese could destroy it. But in the face of today’s huge China cancer with its 1.35 billion Chinese, Nature can only surrender.
Chinese outlook: humans can conquer Nature
The Japanese and Chinese perceptions of Nature are different. The Japanese consider themselves as part of nature. They live close to Nature. They respect Nature. But to the Chinese, Nature is in a different dimension. Nature’s only purpose is to serve humans.
There is a popular Chinese proverb that expresses this perception quite clearly: (Human determination conquers Nature (Ren ding sheng tian). This saying is even more frightening because it is often used as words of encouragement.
Chinese psychology prefers to train Nature to be humans’ slave, but if that isn’t possible, they view it as an enemy, and abuse it until they defeat it. With such a mentality, it would be strange if the Chinese didn’t destroy Nature.
Chinese must destroy Nature to survive
In 2008 China’s State Forestry Administration published statistics concerning the main human factors causing desertification: (1) felling of trees for firewood (31.4%), (2) clearing land for agriculture (21.2%), (3) residential construction (15.1%), (4) indiscriminate deforestation (13.4%), (5) indiscriminate mining (10.7%), and (6) overgrazing (8.2%).
But these causes cited by the Chinese government all conceal political motives. It publishes data that show it in a good light, but omits or alters unfavorable data. In China statistics are not intended to convey the truth, but to use as propaganda.
There is a Chinese scheme behind these statistics, too. The PRC government doesn’t want the world to know that desertification is the result of indiscriminate development, so it manipulates public opinion by maintaining that the people cannot survive without firewood and farmland.
But this scheme is on target, in a sense, about the truth of desertification. Indiscriminate development resulting from economic progress is certainly accelerating desertification. But it’s easy to overlook the fact that the Chinese, simply by existing, are facilitating desertification. Here we see the difference between the Japanese and Chinese. The Chinese cut down trees, but they don’t plant them. It takes some 20 years for a tree to mature after it is planted, so that the person who plants it doesn’t reap the benefits. Once they’ve cut down all the trees in a forest, the Chinese simply move on to the next forest.
There is one and only cause of desertification: Chinese selfishness. As long as the Chinese are there, desertification will continue.
Peach Blossom Land becomes an inferno
China’s plains have undergone desertification because of indiscriminate deforestation; mountainous regions from which forests have disappeared have lost their grassy areas, and become bare mountains covered only in pebbles. This is called rocky desertification. Not only does it turn the once lush green mountains into ugly, bare peaks, but also causes avalanches of soil and rocks, which are transformed into sinister weapons.
On August 8, 2010 a huge mudslide occurred in Zhouqu county, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous prefecture, Gansu province. More than 8,000 Tibetan villagers were killed. Zhou Pinggen, director of the CIGEM’s (China Institute of Geo-Environment Monitoring) Geological Risk Survey Office, indicated that the disaster was caused by infrastructure improvement projects, such as dams, roads and railways.
An infrastructure improvement project called Peach Blossom Land turned Gannan into purgatory. For whose benefit, or for what reason, was this project conceived?
Incidentally, there are as many as 200,000 locations in China like Gannan where geological disasters like mudslides are likely to arise. Among them are 16,000 areas at risk for major geological disasters.
Our poisoned planet
Then, are places that have not undergone either type of desertification safe? Unfortunately, they are not. Other areas are also being poisoned.
In China pollution from toxic chemicals and heavy metals is expanding from industry to agriculture, from cities to farming villages, from the earth’s surface to the underground, from the upper reaches of rivers to the lower reaches, and from soil and water to food products.
Currently the major contributors to pollution are cadmium, mercury, lead, and arsenic. China produces 200 million tons of rice each year; 10% of that contains an amount of cadmium that exceeds recommended limits. The hardest-hit areas are in Hunan, Jiangxi, Yunnan, and Guangxi; the acidic soil there is polluted over a wide area by cadmium, and more than 60% of the rice harvested contains cadmium exceeding the maximum limit.
Soil polluted with heavy metals now constitutes one-sixth of China’s arable land (approximately 20 million hectares).
I am convinced beyond any doubt that there is no place in China that is not polluted, and there is no food in China that has not been poisoned. Then why do the Chinese, who should know better, trample Mother Earth? The answer lies in the Chinese mentality.
According to this mentality, the Chinese are the center of the world, and the world is there to serve them. Conquest and control are the only concepts they know; give and take involving the spirit of cooperation and coexistence are foreign to them.
Neither recognizing the finiteness of the Earth’s resources nor combating pollution is on China’s list of priorities. The Chinese are convinced that the world is theirs to do what they like with. They do have one priority: monopolize all natural resources before anyone else does. And now that deplorable Chinese mentality is driving every inhabitant of this planet to the brink of disaster.
Living here is hell; leaving here is hell
Nor are the Chinese immune from that mentality; they too are victims.
If economic growth continues, pollution will worsen to keep pace with it. If economic growth stalls, the number of unemployed will balloon, and massive riots may break out. The result will be the same, either way.
No one can check the greed of Chinese who want to become rich. China has experienced rapid economic growth, but the distribution of wealth is completely skewed. Less than 1% of Chinese are reaping benefits from that growth. But every Chinese is hell-bent on getting rich. Ninety-nine percent of the people are awaiting their turn. But only death awaits them at the end of their vain struggle for wealth.
We see how much injury present-day China has inflicted on this Earth. If such mutilation continues unabated, what will happen to our planet?
NUCLEAR CONTAMINATION RENDERS CHINA UNINHABITABLE
Earthquake exposes true Chinese character
When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck in March 2011, the Japanese won praise from all over the world for their orderly behavior. And conversely, the disaster brought the true nature of the Chinese out in the open for all to see.
Right after the earthquake erupted, Chinese online forums were plastered with messages like the following:
“Let’s celebrate! Japan will sink!”
“Serves them right!”
“Let’s send the PLA over there to occupy Japan!”
The Chinese government soon shut down the websites, but not before they had shown an unpleasant aspect of the Chinese to the entire world.
The posts in question express Schadenfreude, a German word that means deriving pleasure from someone else’s misfortune. This is a typical Chinese attitude.
But the Chinese reaction to the 2011 earthquake revealed not only Schadenfreude, but also another Chinese attribute: the tendency to cling to life and fear death (tan sheng pa si).
The Chinese are the dirtiest people in the world. They can live contentedly in the worst squalor. Anyone who has seen a Chinese toilet will know exactly what I mean. The Japanese, who are proud of their divine country and who prize cleanliness, could not bear to go near one, not for even one second. Perhaps one needs nerves of steel to survive in filthy China.
But I recall that right after the 2011 earthquake, Chinese residents, nerves of steel notwithstanding, thronged the airports, determined to escape from Japan. There were so many of them that the Chinese government chartered planes for them. Among the “escapees” were Chinese who had lived illegally in Japan for more than 10 years.
Why did they flee? What were they afraid of? They were terrified at the thought of radiation released by the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The owner of a Chinese restaurant in Hongo, Tokyo, closed his restaurant for nearly two months because “I have a hard time getting vegetables.” His Chinese employees had fled to China and failed to return. In marked contrast was the noodle shop across the street, which was open the day of the earthquake, and every day thereafter.
The US also evacuated American citizens, but their reaction wasn’t nearly as hysterical as that of the Chinese. Why did the Chinese fear exposure to radiation more than the Japanese, who have a healthy aversion to radiation? The Chinese have become inured to life in a poisonous environment, so why were they so afraid?
Here another Chinese characteristic comes into play: a paralyzing fear of death. All humans fear death, but they go on with their lives resigned to the fact that death will come someday.
The Chinese are willing to accept death, but to the extent that others might someday die. But they absolutely refuse to concede that their lives too will end someday. Their willingness to consume polluted water and food notwithstanding, they react intensely to invisible radiation, because it might kill them.
This hysterical reaction is not limited to Chinese living in Japan. When the rumor that iodine can protect humans from radiation, people trying to buy up iodized salt created a huge furor in China. It was like a war zone; in a flash, salt disappeared from the markets.
Silk Road polluted by nuclear tests
Ironically, China’s nuclear pollution is worse than that of any other country in the world, although the Chinese have not been informed of this fact. There are four types: (1) pollution from nuclear testing, (2) pollution from nuclear waste, (3) pollution from uranium mining, and (4) pollution from nuclear power plant accidents.
Between 1964 and 1996 China conducted 46 nuclear tests (surface, atmospheric, and underground tests) in the region inhabited by Uighurs. Sapporo University Professor Takada Jun has been studying nuclear pollution caused by Chinese nuclear tests for many years. He has found that “190,000 persons residing in the vicinity of the test sites have died from acute radiation poisoning. The area affected by radiation is 136 times larger than Tokyo Metropolitan. An estimated 1.29 million people have received high doses of radiation.” I have heard that classified CCP documents state that 750,000 deaths have resulted from the tests.
The Chinese government continues to conceal this information, but in 1998 Death on the Silk Road, a documentary produced by Channel 4, a British television station, aired; it describes the plight of Uighurs suffering from nuclear pollution. The documentary was later shown in 83 countries, and in 1999 it won the Rory Peck Award for features.
The Uighurs who appear in the film suffer their entire lives. They breathe air polluted by radiation, drink polluted water, get cancer, and give birth to deformed children.
In one village 80% of newborn babies were born with cleft lips and palates. In another, there was a preponderance of babies with congenital abnormalities due to impaired cerebral development; they never learned to walk or talk. Even in the face of these challenges, the Uighurs continue to cultivate soil polluted by radiation. They have no other options.
Death on the Silk Road moves everyone who views it to tears. The human activities that cause nuclear pollution continue; there is a real risk of the Uighurs becoming extinct. Anyone watching the documentary is certain to acquire more than the necessary understanding of Chinese cruelty. It is available online.
Meanwhile, Japan’s NHK network broadcasts any number of programs that glorify the Silk Road. This makes Japan an accomplice of China’s nuclear pollution cover-up. Also noteworthy and regrettable is the fact that Japan is not one of the 83 countries that have broadcast Death on the Silk Road.
Tibetans suffering from nuclear contamination
Uighurs are not the only victims. Tibetans have also been exposed to nuclear pollution.
In the 1960s China built a nuclear-weapons plant in the Haibei Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Qinghai province; it is still in operation. Nuclear waste from the plant flows into Lake Kokonor (Qinghai Lake in Chinese).
Since the plant was built, an increasing number of humans and animals have died from unexplained causes in this region. Fish have disappeared from the lake. This information was revealed at the World Uranium Hearing held in Salzburg, Austria on September 14, 1992.
Perhaps because China didn’t dare conceal the truth any longer, on July 19, 1995, the Xinhua News Agency acknowledged the existence of a dump for radioactive pollutants near the banks of Lake Kokonor in the Haibei Tibetan autonomous prefecture.
Radioactive waste from the nuclear plant is not the only cause of Tibetan suffering. Uranium mines are located in several areas of Tibet. The largest of the mines is Gya Tersada, located in Thewo (Diebu in Chinese), the Gannan Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Gansu province. Liquid waste from this mine is discharged into the same rivers that provide residents with drinking water. Several reports have been issued describing how the deleterious effects of radiation on the health of residents of Thewo.
The effects are felt far beyond the area near the uranium mine. Since Tibet is an important source of water for most parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia, nuclear waste in the headwaters is bound to affect the lower reaches of the Mekong River as well. The Chinese government has shown absolutely no concern about this alarming state of affairs.
Plan to build 102 new nuclear reactors by 2030
In the first place, the Chinese do not consider Uighurs or Tibetans human beings. That is why they continually and casually implement policies harmful to those ethnicities. They are committing genocide, a heinous crime that violates international law.
But in the end, the Chinese will be forced to pay for their misdeeds when their nuclear power plants cause nuclear pollution.
Along with economic growth, China’s consumption of energy is expected to increase. But its dependence on coal-fired power generation for most of its energy exacerbates air pollution. China must now generate more nuclear power.
China’s current power generation capacity is approximately 400 million kilowatts. The breakdown is 77% coal-fired power generation, 16% hydroelectric, 2% nuclear, and 1% wind-power generation. To lessen pollution caused by coal combustion and increase the supply of electric power, China plans to build 102 nuclear reactors by 2030.
China got a late start on nuclear energy in the 1990s, more than 30 years behind Japan. To make matters worse, the Chinese have no strategic consistency as far as types of equipment are concerned. Some of its reactors are made in China, others in France, Russia, and Canada. Since so many types are used, there are concerns about a steady supply of fuel, spare parts, and about replacement equipment, as well as the training of maintenance personnel, and adherence to safety regulations, which differ for each type of equipment.
For the planned expansion to be completed by 2020, the Chinese authorities will use some state-of-the-art AP1000 nuclear power plants made by Westinghouse (a member of the Toshiba Group). For the other plants (the majority), it will use the old-style CPR1000, which is not as safe.
Incidentally, the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province is an old-style reactor; three accidents have occurred there since 2005.
There is another problem: Can Chinese workers perform nuclear power plant maintenance adequately?
China is known for the mass production of inferior goods. But when we look at the delicate workmanship of traditional crafts, or the sophisticated knockoffs (are they traditional culture as well?!) that have created problems in recent years, we know that the Chinese are not necessarily clumsy. Still, they seem to be very poor at maintenance work.
In other words, they are good at making things, but terrible at maintaining them properly.
Since public construction projects generate bribes and inflated invoices, which in turn yield profits, the Chinese will tackle them eagerly. They love large projects because they bring in more profits. When it comes to building nuclear power plants, they approach with great seriousness. But once the project is completed, maintenance is required. But maintenance doesn’t generate much profit, so they lose interest. After all, the Chinese are motivated by money.
There are concerns about nuclear power plant accidents. On August 28, 2008 a fire broke out after an explosion at the Tianwan nuclear power plant in Lianyun’gang City, Jiangsu province. The first report of the accident appeared in a Hong Kong newspaper, but not until September 18, more than two weeks after it occurred! Before that no mainland media had carried the news. But the day after the Hong Kong report appeared, September 19, a mainland source reported a “minor fire.” The report did not mention that the minor fire was caused by an explosion.
There have been official announcements of three accidents involving radiation leakage since May 2010 at the Daya Bay nuclear power plant, in east Guangdong province, 50 kilometers east of Hong Kong. But these reports were not issued until the story had been covered by the mass media.
Chinese nuclear power plants are expected to be more vulnerable to accidents than plants in developed nations because of shoddy construction (due to a shortage of personnel and huge bribes). But there are very few reports about accidents. This is Chinese secretiveness at work.
More dangerous than nuclear weapons: China’s nuclear power plants
It is not at all ridiculous to think that China’s nuclear power plants are more dangerous than its nuclear weapons. For instance, even dictatorships exercise strict control over their nuclear weapons, and there are multiple processes that must be completed before they are deployed.
However, human error can give rise to nuclear accidents and the pollution they cause at any time. And in China once an accident occurs, the damage it does can very likely spread in a chain reaction.
Most of China’s nuclear power plants being constructed at fever pitch are clustered in coastal areas. Unlike the areas where Tibetans and Uighurs live, the population is dense in coastal areas, in the hundreds of millions. An accident at one of the new plants would claim an unimaginable number of victims.
Japan cannot shrug off such accidents. Most of the coastal areas where China plans to locate new power plants are upwind and up-current of Japan. If a nuclear accident occurs, radioactive pollutants would be carried like yellow dust by the westerlies to Japan. Japan’s water supply might also be contaminated.
But China, caught up in its own interests, will indiscriminately build power plants, which will pose a menace, a huge one, to Japan.
NO HEAVEN IN HELL
Wealthy have both money and power
The dispute between the PRC and Japan over the Senkaku Islands resulted in a huge decline in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan in 2010. But until then, I often encountered them enjoying sightseeing and shopping in Japan. Laden with shopping bags filled with luxury goods from Ginza shopping sprees, Chinese tourists provided a much-needed infusion of cash into Japan’s stagnating economy. They would scoop up expensive jewelry and wristwatches that most of us might purchase once in a lifetime as nonchalantly as if they were at a supermarket sale.
Spending lavishly at a foreign destination is not an unusual experience for Chinese tourists. They live lives of luxury at home as well. In the business districts of Beijing it is not unusual to see Ferraris, Rolls-Royces, Aston Martins, and other luxury automobiles costing several hundred thousand dollars each lined up on both sides of the street.
Affluent Chinese boast incomes equivalent to those of their counterparts in advanced nations. But the Chinese lead more luxurious lives. Since the average income in China is still only $4,000 (one tenth that of Japan), there is a huge disparity between the wealthy and the ordinary Chinese, from whose point of view the wealthy are living in paradise.
Most well-to-do inhabitants of the Western world lead very comfortable lives. But at the same time, they enthusiastically support charities. They acquire status through their philanthropic deeds. Not only governmental welfare agencies, but also private organizations, of which there are many, assist the less fortunate. There is a marked difference between the rich and the poor, but there are established channels enabling the haves to reach out to the have-nots.
China may have shifted to a de facto capitalist society, but it has not thrown communism into the garbage bin.
Therefore, compared with capitalist countries, the central government has considerable power, and is heavily involved in corporate affairs. To keep their businesses running smoothly, captains of industry must collude with powerful men. Consequently, all successful businessmen are connected with or related to influential officials. It is safe to assume that the wealthy are also powerful.
Operating within a system of this sort, a mere handful of people grow richer and richer. Then, to keep benefiting from it, affluent Chinese must protect that system.
Quite a few political scientists believe that as the Chinese become more comfortable, there will be a transition to a more democratic regime. Such a conviction is simply pie in the sky. The current socialist market economy, which buys power with money and uses that power to make more money, is the ideal system for China’s wealthy. But it is a warped system, one that allows a handful of human beings to become rich at the expense of thousands of millions of the less fortunate.
Nightmare of the rich
China is truly a paradise for the rich, who have the means to obtain anything they want there. But history has taught us that a concentration of risk invariably accompanies a concentration of wealth and power. It is an immutable truth that a clan that achieves dominance will eventually, and inevitably, wane.
As the powerful and the wealthy acquire more authority and more riches, they also become more apprehensive. They fear that they will lose both their power and their wealth, that they will be envied, and that they will be attacked. That is why rich Chinese, without exception, live in homes that resemble fortresses, surrounded as they are with thick walls. They also employ several bodyguards.
In Japan it would be unthinkable to keep large amounts of cash in one’s home. But wealthy Chinese always keep large amounts of cash within reach. They are afraid that if they deposited it in a bank, a situation might arise that would result in its being confiscated. Also, suppose a quick escape became necessary. They would certainly need cash. The Japanese couldn’t possibly imagine dread of this sort.
On June 29, 2012 Bloomberg News, a leading American media company, reported that Xi Jinping keeps $340 million in cash in his home. The mind boggles when we try to envision all those stacks of banknotes.
But it is likely that Xi Jinping feels uneasy unless he has that much cash on hand. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the dollar equivalent of renminbi, but actual US dollars, which can be used anywhere in the world. Now we know that he is prepared to flee from China at any time. Even China’s leaders do not feel safe in China.
Meanwhile in China there are still 240 million (twice the population of Japan) poor people who make less than $2 per day. Among their ranks are more than 10 million who don’t know where their next meal is coming from — they are starving.
The following lines from an 8th-century Chinese poem provide a chillingly accurate description of present-day China:
Zhu men jiu rou chou
Lu you dong si gu
Behind the crimson gates wasted wine and meat rot
Outside in the streets the poor freeze to death
Then, are the Chinese who have become successful by figuratively trampling the corpses of others really reaping the fruits of that success and living happily ever after?
From heaven to hell
Exactly. Chinese who wish to become rich must collude with the powerful. After they have amassed wealth, the collusion escalates. However, with power come power struggles; this is true of every country in the world. There is never any guarantee that the powerful officials the rich associate themselves with will continue to stay in power. If they fall from grace, the businessmen who cast their lots with them fall with them.
The downfall of Bo Xilai gives us a glimpse of the struggle for power in China. Bo lived in a villa even more resplendent than most palaces. He had the bureaucracy, police, and judiciary wrapped around his little finger, and even the military at his beck and call. His dominance was obvious to everyone. Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, who ran a law office that made money hand over fist through a project involving officialdom. Their son, Bo Guagua, was playing hard at an American university.
When the Bo family lost their struggle, they were reduced to criminal status. Shock waves from the loser’s defeat reverberate all the way to the wealthy people who have colluded with them. It is not known how many affluent citizens Bo brought down with him, but a safe estimate would be a number equal to the Chongqing business leaders whose assets were confiscated, or perhaps even more. That would mean several thousands of people — several tens of thousands, if we were to count relatives and associates. One man’s power struggle lofted tens of thousands of people to heaven, and then cast them into hell.
Autocracies and dictatorships operate in the same way, but when power is concentrated as it is in China, efficiency improves. To get something done, one word from the top is all that is needed, and decisions are made promptly.
In the face of Chinese power Japanese corporate executives are overwhelmed. I can understand why they rave about Chinese efficiency. Everyone is humbled by power. And anyone would cower before the sort of power that Chinese leaders command. Such power not only runs a nation, but also is capable of making judicial decisions that determine whether someone lives or dies.
The Bo Xilai story provides us with one universal truth. The higher the powerful climb, the more likely they are to fall. And when they fall, the scars are lasting. To restrain the powerful, a system called democracy came into being. It is not terribly efficient, but it is now possible to deprive someone of power when necessary by invoking judicial institutions and legislative bodies.
Growing resentment against the rich
Everywhere on Earth the poor resent the rich. But in China that resentment enters another dimension.
China’s economy thrived because the Chinese followed the “get rich first” dictum. This dictum favors a looting economy; those who get rich first do so by stealing from the poor. Not only do laborers working for low wages suffer, but also land development, which goes hand in hand with economic progress, depends on land wrested from farmers and poor people. The huge concessions obtained are divided up among bureaucrats and businessmen.
Whether directly or indirectly, affluent Chinese, without exception, owe their riches to the poor, whose assets they have looted. Since their success is achieved only through collusion with concessionaires, the wealthy are regarded with hostility by the poor.
Looting by the rich is not temporary. Even after they have become vested owners. They cause the prices of real estate and consumer goods, thereby further enlarging the proceeds of their looting. Meanwhile the poor, whose disposable income dwindles proportionately, become the ultimate victims of inflation.
The many kidnappings of the wealthy and their kin are evidence of the deep-seated resentment harbored by the poor. The rich may parade around flaunting their designer clothes, but all the while they are fearful of becoming crime victims.
The richer the wealthy get, the more the people at the bottom suffer. Because of the gap in income, the rich are filled with terror. For them, China is a good place to make money, but they can’t live in peace there.
Since they made their money through collusion with the powerful officials, the wealthy cannot dissolve these partnerships. If they refuse to cater to the never-ending demands of their “partners,” they might just get framed for a crime.
Consider the case of Wu Ying. This female entrepreneur from Zhejiang province was arrested and charged with illegal fundraising. Not only were her assets confiscated, but she also received a death sentence, not exactly a punishment that fit her crimes. But if she were executed, she could not name the corrupt officials who backed her. Apparently, Bo Xilai used the same tactics, arranging for the execution of many businessmen, and pocketing some of their confiscated assets.
The truth is that the rich who make their money by teaming up with the powerful suffer from a sort of “structural anxiety,” the fear of being victimized. They are not in paradise, quite the opposite, as they are constantly anxious.
There are several viewpoints about the reasons for the rise of China. Some are convinced that China is the savior of the world economy; others fear the unpredictability that lurks beneath its warped structure.
But judging from the fear in the hearts of the winners, China’s wealthy, we do know one thing: heaven cannot exist within hell.
CHINESE OFFICIALS SEEKING REFUGE ABROAD
Most successful officials are leaving China
In the age of the global village, more and more people are moving to other countries for a multitude of reasons. It is quite a challenge to acclimate to a country with a different lifestyle and a different language. Life in the new country will undoubtedly present difficulties to overcome eventually, or perhaps never. But that is what it is like to live in a different culture. People who have achieved success in their native land don’t usually leave unless a pressing reason presents itself. After all, it doesn’t make sense to burn your bridges behind you and start all over again in another country.
But the most successful Chinese are the ones who most want to go elsewhere. The Japanese may have a hard time understanding their psychology.
As stated earlier, the standard for success in Chinese society is the possession of both honor and wealth. Therefore, the models for success in China are high-ranking officials and obscenely wealthy businessmen backed by those officials.
Officials are special because they have acquired knowledge, honor, power, and money; they are the highest form of human in China. The Analects tell us that “the student, having completed his learning, should enter into government service.” Reading between the lines, we see a particularly Chinese calculation here, i.e., scholastic achievement is the dragon’s gate that must be climbed (the dragon’s gate being a metaphor for the examinations that those who seek a civil-service position must pass).are fleeing
If the Analects were trustworthy, then China’s officials would be extremely erudite men. But the common people have their own saying they use to make fun of the officials: The higher the official’s rank, the more he boasts about his wisdom. This saying rings truer than the words of the Analects.
Once a Chinese is given an official rank, he makes a mad dash for his next goals: a promotion and wealth; this is the shortest path to power and riches. This is the Chinese model for success.
From the ordinary person’s viewpoint, China’s officials lead charmed lives. Confucius taught us that the penal statutes do not apply to officials. Nor does any law apply to powerful Chinese. This means that not only can officials get away with being arrogant, they can also accumulate money and do what they please, without having to answer to anyone.
In fact, high-ranking officials starting with central government bureaucrats and going all the way down to the officials of tiny villages all give and receive bribes. And worse things can happen: they may also get involved in human and drug trafficking. China is a paradise for officials.
High-ranking officials take their riches and run
However, China’s high-ranking officials are saying goodbye to paradise, and fleeing overseas in great numbers. Since the 1990s more than 20,000 government officials have escaped to other countries (there may be more; this figure represents only known cases). They have taken more than $100 million with them. This is a surprising amount because it means that on the average, each escapee has taken $3,000,000 in public funds or other ill-gotten gains with him.
Yang Xiuzhu, former deputy mayor of Wenzhou, reportedly fled China with $34.35 trillion, and possibly more that she had gained through corrupt dealings.
The CCP’s response in January 2010 was to establish the Conference on Preventing Corrupt Officials from Escaping to Other Nations, under the joint aegis of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There policies for preventing flight were formulated. China is the only nation in the whole world with such an organization. The problem is so serious that the Chinese were forced to hang out their dirty laundry by forming it.
The fleeing officials all use the same tactics. Here is the procedure they follow: (1) accumulate wealth illegally, (2) send their children abroad to study, (3) transfer their assets overseas, (4) move their families overseas, (5) travel abroad themselves, and (6) use the laws of the destination country as a shield against extradition.
Therefore, when officials send their children to study abroad, they are taking the first step toward overseas escape, and creating a safety valve. Incidentally, the children or grandchildren of at least five of the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the foremost policymaking entity, are studying in the US. Among them is Xi Jinping’s daughter, who is currently enrolled at Harvard.
In a normal nation, this would be an alarming state of affairs because it seems that the children of China’s leaders have been taken hostage by another country. But to China’s leaders, securing an escape destination is more important than their country.
Statistics current in March 2012 reveal that blood relatives of 187 out of 204 (92%) full members of the 17th National Congress of the Central Committee, the CCP’s highest administrative organization, have acquired citizenship in the US or Europe. Additionally, relatives of 142 (85%) out of 167 alternate members of the Central Committee, and relatives of 113 (89%) out of 127 members of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection reside overseas.
According to US government statistics, 75% of the offspring of provincial-level officials have permanent-resident status in the US or US citizenship; 91% of the next generation (their grandchildren) have US citizenship.
All Chinese leaders share one ambition: escape from China.
China’s central bank offers tips for money laundering
In many cases the money officials take out of China when they flee comprises not only bribes, but also public funds (for instance, money borrowed from financial institutions or embezzled from national construction projects).
The officials resort to several money-laundering schemes. They may use underground banks or overseas connections. Or they may establish a dummy corporation in a tax haven like the Cayman Islands, and transfer their Chinese assets there. As a matter of fact, the website of China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, offers detailed instructions on money-laundering methods under the heading “How corrupt elements transfer assets overseas.” It is easy to imagine China’s officials diligently absorbing the instructions on the bank’s website.
The destinations preferred by fleeing officials are the US, Canada, Australia, and Southeast Asia. Lower-ranking officials choose Southeast Asia, while their higher-ranking colleagues opt for advanced Western nations like the US, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands.
Why does rank play a determining role in the destinations of absconding officials? Since high-ranking officials have more illicit income, as one might expect they would, they can live comfortably in the advanced nations, where the cost of living is high. Moreover, the more illegal income an official garners, the more likely he is to receive a death sentence in absentia. In advanced nations with independent judiciaries, fugitive officials can always use human-rights violations as a shield, thus avoiding extradition. They then proceed to live in the US, or wherever they have settled, in luxury for the rest of their days. Officials with less illicit income must be satisfied with a life of luxury in Southeast Asia, where the cost of living is lower.
Why officials flee China
But why must officials, despite their success, leave their native land? The primary reason is that China is not governed by the rule of law, but by the rule of human individuals.
This may be difficult for the Japanese, who live in one of the best nations as far as the rule of law is concerned, to comprehend. In nations where the rule of law prevails, people who lose a power struggle are not thrown into jail. But in China, where humans rule, a power struggle is a life-or-death situation: the loser is executed or goes to prison. There is no other scenario.
Chinese laws are used as tools for extortion or in competitions for power. Not only the losers, but also everyone associated with them, lands in prison. This is a feature of China’s peculiar culture of revenge. As the saying goes, “Kill everyone in the clan.”
And what happens to the winners? The higher officials rise, the more power they have, but along the way they make a lot of enemies. In that sense, the higher they rise, the more danger they face. For an example, we need only look at the tragic ends met by Lin Biao and Liu Shaoqi when they lost to Mao Zedong.
Bo Xilai, who was defeated in March 2012 is another example of a steep fall from power. His downfall would have made a good feature film, but vicious power struggles like his are not at all uncommon in China. The position of high-ranking official requires nerves of steel. Officials must be ready to eliminate anyone who is in their way without a second thought. The moment they acquire power, they must begin preparing for their eventual escape to a foreign land.
Nobody wants to live in poisonous China
In China all food is contaminated, as is every drop of drinking water. In major metropolitan areas the skies are always overcast; it doesn’t take a specialist to know how severe the air pollution is. As I mentioned earlier, there are farms that serve officials (and only officials), who also have access to super-sized air cleaners, which have become one of life’s necessities. Their drinking water is imported from overseas.
But there is a limit to how much protection these solutions afford. After all, officials know better and sooner than anyone else that the situation in China is worsening day by day. They live in fear of rampant soil, water, and air pollution, along with nuclear pollution, which is bound to widen sooner or later.
The two primary reasons for the flight of officials from China are: (1) the fear instilled by power struggles, and (2) the fear of a poisonous environment, which includes creeping nuclear pollution. The first fear is peculiar to officials, but the second is shared by the common people, who would like to escape from China as well. The only thing keeping them in China is their lack of the funds needed to go elsewhere.
There are other reasons, too, many of them. To cite a few, there is the worsening crime rate and the dysfunctional educational system. Responses to a survey of wealthy Chinese shows that 60% of them would like to move overseas. But these figures seem very conservative; the correct figure is more likely 100%.
If Japan were to offer Japanese citizenship to Chinese with no strings attached, the majority of Chinese would probably accept. Anyone who thinks I am exaggerating is welcome to consult statistics published by the Civil Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Justice.
Over the past 10 years, more Koreans (both North and South) have become Japanese citizens than nationals of any other country, with Chinese applicants right behind them. In 1988 10,359 persons were awarded Japanese citizenship. Among them 5,656 (54.6%) were from North or South Korea, and 3,259 (31.5%) from China.
Readers may wonder about this phenomenon, thinking that Koreans and Chinese hate Japan. But these facts show that anti-Japanese sentiment has been exaggerated.