Gorbachev and China’s Central Committee

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China’s Central Committee is meeting for the first time since Mikhail Gorbachev’s death.
Chairman Xi presiding.
Committee members will be identified by numbers for confidentiality.

Chairman Xi – The last president of the Soviet Union has died at the age of 91. His rise and performance in office must be studied by this committee to learn from his mistakes.
He was an eager man, full of hope and dreams but not grounded in reality. I urge all of you to study his decisions in detail so we can be stronger. I have said this before but it needs repeating.
Any comments?
Member #3 – I fully agree with the chairman. Mr Gorbachev rose to power in 1985 at a time when Russia was going through serious financial difficulties. Rather than study in detail the reasons for the economic slowdown he chose to emulate the West and came up with the notions of Perestroika (restructuring) and Glasnost (opening). It was a horrible decision that opened the door for the end of the Soviet Union. And so he presided over the rupture of a great empire.
Member # 5 – Nothing of what he said was right. He wanted to be like Ronald Reagan. He is a symbol of decadence and gullibility. He may have been an agent of the CIA. Agree that we should study his horrible decisions.

The room is quiet.

Chairman Xi – Any other thoughts?

Member # 7 – I disagree with my comrades.

Grumbling in the room.

Member # 7 – Mikhail Gorbachev was a great man.
(louder grumbling in the room)
He had the courage to say ‘the system is not working because it’s too centralized’. And he was saying that in the mid 80s… precisely at the same time when we were opening up to the West… when we were inviting the West to come in and start businesses here… inviting them to get rich by using our people to work for them and then to sell in our large market… but we were also saying to the West… as you get richer we will get rich too… and so it happened.
In the mid 80s, we were starting to do here what Gorbachev was asking Russians to do there…
but the reaction against his ideas was too strong and their centralized system was replaced by a narrow market system dominated by just a few people – who become known as Russian oligarchs – people with ties to Boris Yeltsin and then to Vladimir Putin, to the exclusion of the majority of Russians.

At the same time, here in China, under the wise leadership of Deng Xiao Ping, the economic opening was less restrictive, so more people benefitted… and our economy leaped to now be the second largest in the world, while Russia’s is number 11, according to figures of the IMF (International Money Fund).
Gorbachev had to deal with internal dissent, just like Deng Xiao Ping had to deal with the student protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989.
But times have changed.
China is now a mighty nation. We made it happen in an incredibly short period of time. No nation on earth has accomplished so much in so little time. But we did not do it by ourselves. We have done what we have because we had the West to copy, steal and draw from.
That in no way diminishes our great achievement… but it reminds us to not lose perspective.
Member # 8 (interrupting) – We should put a time limit on the speaker, we get what he’s saying.
Chairman Xi – Let him continue.
Member # 7 – Thank you, Chairman.
We are now at a different stage in our political and economic development. Covid has taught us some important lessons. Though our quarantine system helped us keep the number of deaths to a minimum, continuing to rely on this system has slowed down our economic growth. We need to adapt and emphasize vaccinations more, and we should import Moderna and Pfizer vaccines which have proven superior to the ones we make.

Grumbling in the room.

Chairman Xi – Silence, please. Continue Member # 7.
Member # 7 – Thank you.
With the astonishing development of some of our industries, we have seen a lot of businesspeople grow very rich… and now are seeing this as threatening the party.
Therefore, we have begun to meddle with those companies.
I don’t think that is a good strategy.
What the tremendous growth of some businesses is telling us is that we have to change.
The Communist Party has to change. Our system has to change.

Loud grumbling in the room.

Chairman Xi – Silence, please. Continue Member # 7.
Member # 7 – Dear Chairman… I think China can change the world.
Chairman Xi – We have already done so.
Member # 7 – I mean, politically.

Dead silence.

Chairman Xi – Continue.
Member # 7 – Rather than suppress it, we should adopt Perestroika and Glasnost.

Wild cries of dissent from other members.

Chairman Xi – Silence!

The room quiets down.

Member # 7 – Chairman… I ask that that the Chinese Communist Party hold free elections in our land.

Uproar runs through the room.

Member # 13 (standing, irately) – I ask that Member # 7 be immediately removed and taken to a reeducation camp. Out of this chamber now!
Member # 20 (standing too) – This is unacceptable. Leave this room now!
Chairman Xi – Silence! Everybody sit down! Continue Member # 7.
Member # 7 – I understand that we would be giving up some of our privileges… but please consider the enormous benefits we would be getting.
Member # 18 – Traitor!
Member # 7 – And you, Chairman Xi could run for president, and I’m sure you would become the first democratically elected president in our long history.
Member # 13 – Traitor, leave this room now!
Member # 7 (unfazed) – Chairman Xi… it’s in your hands to change the world as we now know it. What an honor that would be. And the mighty energies of a great China would be released and the entire world would be the better for it.
Imagine, Chairman Xi, if we began to work with the West rather than against it. And if we did that, Taiwan would consider joining the mainland of their own accord, say by becoming one of our independently run states.
Without a shot being fired. Without a life being lost. Without a person sent to jail.
Imagine, Chairman Xi, what that would do for the war in Ukraine. What it would do for Russia.
Mr Putin would be forced to realize the errors he’s committed… and countless lives and property may be spared. The world would start a new era of cooperation and petty tyrants everywhere would not be tolerated. Human suffering would decrease sharply.
The spirit of Mikhail Gorbachev tells us that the fate of the world should not rest in the hands of the few, but in the hands of the many.
You can make it happen, Chairman Xi. Thank you, sir, and thank you this distinguished chamber for allowing me to express my opinions.

Silence.

Chairman Xi – Security officers… please escort Member # 7 to my office and remain there with him until I arrive.
This meeting is concluded.

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