Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On the power of words

Four years ago this month, the Nine Commentaries on the (Chinese) Communist Party were published. It was and remains the most detailed account of the CCP's devious and brutal history. The editors of the Epoch Times (who published them) marked the anniversary today.

In a world where contests for power are seemingly dominated by stronger and more destructive weaponry, it can sometimes be forgotten how important words can be. Yet the First Cold War was won not in the jungles of Vietnam or Central America, but rather in the basements and abandoned buildings of Eastern Europe, as dissident authors spread their criticisms of Soviets and their lackeys throughout the old "Warsaw Pact" zone. In 1991, Boris Yeltsin scrambled atop a tank , read a speech, and won over at least some of the military detachment that was sent to occupy his city. Even the Communists themselves used words to build their path to power.

So, the CCP understands as well as anyone what words can do. This is why they have taken aim at song lyrics, anyone whose faith does not include reverence to the Party (Agence France Presse via Yahoo and the Epoch Times), and outside critics (Epoch Times).

Words can be dangerous to any tyranny, but they can be especially poisonous when the bread piece of bread and circuses runs low (BBC). In fact, the cadres are suddenly facing all of the roadblocks their Soviet counterparts and predecessors did in the 1970s - despite all the efforts to avoid Brezhnev's fate.

Thus the cadres are reduced to emulating the Brezhnev regime, by propping up brutal satellites (BBC and One Free Korea) and making more foreign nations dependent upon it (AFP via Yahoo). Trouble is, that didn't save the USSR.

It won't save the CCP either.

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