This morning, I was reading stories in Financial Times and the Economist about the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party taking place this week.
Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping are the most recognizable faces in modern Chinese political era.
Mao for being one of the original 13 members who attended the first party congress in July 1921. After the Communists gained power in the 1949 revolution, Mao led the country to initiate a series of disastrous economic reforms. The China you know today only began to take shape in the late 1970s after Mao’s death, when Mao’s successor, Deng, opened up its market to international investors and established private property rights. Today, China is home to the most amount of billionaires in the business world. Mao would be turning in his grave.
Before Xiaoping saw the light however he was Mao’s enforcer during the “anti-rightist campaign” of the 1950s. Half a million intellectuals were shipped to labour camps. Deng wasn’t proud of this.
During the disastrous Great Leap Forward of 1958–61, which led to at least 45 million deaths, Deng’s convictions would not allow him accede to several decisions taken by the Party as the Communists hold that the Party is supreme. Several times he created alibis for not taking Party actions. He once broke a leg playing billiards and used a sick note as an excuse for missing difficult meetings.
Fate played its part. Mao died suddenly. And Deng was enthroned. The rest is history. Deng did a complete turn around on Mao’s economic politics. The lives of billions of Chinese testify today.
Amidst these readings, I couldn’t help thinking: In an environment where subservience is the culture, deference becomes the basic requirement for any kind of reward.
Competence and skill is rarely acknowledged unless that talent understands the place of pliance.
There is the way the world is, and there is the way we want the world to be.
Good lesson? You decide!