Before you call that wishful thinking remember that when the Cultural Revolution was going on in China nobody would have thought someone like Deng would become the strong leader. But it happened. And not only did the party denounce Mao’s policies and what happened during the Cultural Revolution they also started slowly adapting market principles.
Deng Xiaoping with the help of reform minded party colleagues such as Zhao Ziyang and Hu Yaobang laid the foundation for the China we have today. Sure there were severe stepbacks thanks to fundamentalist communists such as Li Peng and Li Xiannian who regarded anything that questioned Chairman Mao’s philosophy as wrong. Zhao as a result ended up in house arrest for 16 years partly because he opposed Li Peng’s decision to crack down on the students at Tiannamen Square.
North Korea today and China during the Cultural Revolution have similarities Two countries closed to the outside world with populations that are petrified of the authorities and what could happen to them if they showed dissent. Am aware of how brain washed the North Koreans are, but so where the Chinese during the Cultural Revolution.
Visitors say there are open expressions of defiance by North Koreans. Apparently illegal DVDs showing South Korean soap operas gave northerners a taste of the better life their former countrymen enjoyed, helping to destroy the myth of South Korea as a downtrodden Yankee colony.
There must be people like Deng in North Korea who realize that instead of starving like they do, and the Chinese did under Mao, they have to do what Deng Xiaoping did in China? For the North Koreans, like it was for the Chinese, it’s simply a question of survival. If China hadn’t gone down Deng’s way the People’s Republic would, like the Soviet Union, no longer exist.
Deng didn’t call it market economy but Chinese socialism. The “North Korean Deng” could use similar tacticts so that he, like Deng, can avoid challenges to his power. Deng was far from perfect. His talk about political reform was, for instance, just talk. He had no intention of China ever becoming a democracy. But he was definitely a step in the right direction.
Am sure that the Chinese authorities are tired of North Korea, even though they wouldn’t say so in public. Kim Jung-il is a relic they inherited from Mao that can no longer be of any interest to today’s Chinese rulers. If a Deng surfaced the Chinese would most likely be more than happy to assist him to do what was done in the 80s and 90s in the People’s Republic. Even if Kim Jung-il turned himself into a Deng I’m sure the Chinese would be delighted to help and eventually be able to wash their hands of North Korea.
There are speculations that “The Dear Leader” have already lost power to the North Korean military. If so, it isn’t farfetched that someone like Deng Xiaoping could surface. But first, of course, they have to get rid of Kim Jong-il. The world media and the financial markets actually enable the little dictator to stay in power by paying attention to him. If he was ignored most of his power would be gone. That would facilitate for change to take place. Maybe even China could make it happen?
The Chinese know what must happen in North Korea, so let’s hope they step up to the plate and make it happen. Now that South Korea has cut all support, North Korea is surviving because of China. So time has come for the Chinese to act behind the scenes to pave way for a Deng in Pyongyang. To ebable such a step, the world community must, however, refrain from making China lose face for doing so.
(Photo: Kanigma – Flickr)