Wednesday, October 19, 2011

David Starkey on Monarchy, Hong Kong and China


  1. The final comment on the monarchical nature of the Communist Party in China is something I've though of. As we know, there has never been a truly Communist government. This is because the only governments and organizations that work are imitations or parodies of monarchies. And the most successful governments are the most like them. Of course duration is another thing, since that is also dependent on external factors, but the idea of one leader is omnipresent, and the more centralized and powerful the leader is, and the longer he holds authority, the more stable the country is.
    It's not the best thesis, obviously, but what have you, I made it up on the spot.

  2. I found that the most interesting part and Sir David Tang was rather taken aback from Starkey blurting out that the monarchy had never really gone away. In a way, it is absurd -of course the monarchy has gone way, the whole Confucian-based imperial system was thoroughly destroyed. However, in another way, he is right and I have heard others make the same argument, that what China has now is not all that different at heart, Hu Jintao is simply the current "Emperor" of the "Mao Dynasty". Further, Tang shouldn't have been so surprised by this as Starkey has made similar comments before such as the UK having "two monarchies" -the one at Buckingham Palace and the other at Number 10 or referring to the US Presidency as simply an elected monarchy.

    I was just thrilled to see someone in China asking the question, raising the subject, -how about a monarchy for China? I still hope that one day the time will come when the Chinese people look back at the republican period as a bizarre interregnum amongst their thousands of years of imperial rule.

  3. I've seen recently that the Communist Party has made an effort to rehabilitate Confucius and Confucian doctrine (which is deeply embedded in the Chinese psyche), only with themselves as the establishment which is worthy of familial piety.

    I wonder exactly how aware an average Chinese man is these days of his own history, and of what his country was like before the revolution. Or, heck, even before the mid-90s, considering that the Communist party itself has gone through several internal faction squabbles.

  4. All they know is it was "bad", "feudal" and "imperialist". Pretty much it. As for the return to Confucius, I am glad to see it, even though, as you say, they are perverting it somewhat. However, I have seen no more blatant proof that the Communist revolutionaries being aware that they have officially become the "establishment" than that.


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