By Bai Yu
Everyone is passing the buck, and corruption and the abuse of official power have become further intensified and are getting worse and worse. I still remember that day, when patriotic students poured onto the streets in their thousands and tens of thousands, staging sit-ins, shouting slogans, and opposing corruption. As they did so, they were given money and water by tens of thousands of citizens, who were very moved by them.
Taking a look at the last 60 years of history: For the first 30 years, we had Mao's "communist revolution" and "collectivization," the suppression of the landlords, and the transformation of the capitalists.
For the last 30, we have had Deng's "privatization" of ownership and "reforms": the farmers have lost their land, and the workers have been laid off. They took political power through the barrel of a gun, and then they got rich by embezzling public money on a massive scale.
First, "collectivization" and then "privatization" gave rise to a redistribution of wealth throughout society. First they let their own families get rich, because "if it catches mice, it's a good cat."
Deng Xiaoping said: "Let a few people get rich first." Zhu Rongji said: "We must cast off the burden of history."
Along the road to reforms, 30 million workers in state-owned enterprises were laid off. And none of that huge number of people now had the money to see a doctor, attend university, or buy a home. Ninety percent of the nation's wealth had been snatched away by the 10 percent who were in positions of power.
Ninety percent of China's millionaires are the sons and daughters of high-ranking officials. The commercialization of public health care was carried out because people wanted to embezzle more money. The industrialization of public education led to the collapse of "tofu" school buildings.
Officials squandered without restraint the money they had collected from taxpayers, their own blood, sweat, and tears. Every year they spend 300 billion yuan of public funds on food and drink, 300 billion yuan of taxpayers' money on expense accounts, and 300 billion yuan of our money taking trips. Is that not corrupt enough?
And officials are robbing the till and stealing money to feather their nests wherever you look. They buy fancy cars and palatial homes. The incomes of high-ranking civil servants in China have long since outranked the middle-class status of their counterparts in Western Europe, America, and other developed countries.
Recent reports have shown that 90 percent of the families of high-ranking officials in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou have assets of more than 10 million. And yet they refuse to publish details of their families' wealth because, they say, it would destabilize the government.
Only in China can an official can become rich just by virtue of showing up for work. They understand only too well Marx's teaching that the "accumulation of raw materials" leads to cruelty, barbarism, and plunder.
The officials think that they should govern for the people. The people think they should govern from the people. Should the officials treat the people like their personal slaves? Or should they be chosen by and accountable to that people? Who is really in charge here? Who is keeping whom?
Things have become a little topsy-turvy, it seems.
The Jiangshan Analects say: "The rivers and mountains and land belongs to whoever is able to seize them." As a result, state reserves have become Party reserves, state property has become Party property, the media have become a mouthpiece for the Party, the army and police have become Party hit-men, Party power is placed above the Constitution, and sovereignty is placed higher than human rights.
In using guns against the students and persecuting dissenters, the Chinese Communist Party has rejected supervision by the people. The result was that official corruption has grown worse and worse. Its roots lie in the "system of authoritarian rule," which is now terminally riddled with corruption.
The reality of today's China is that there are no honest officials. It proves just how right and necessary that student-led anti-corruption movement of 20 years ago was. Sooner or later, the verdict on June 4 will be overturned. As for eradicating corruption, the fate of China's people lies in their own hands.
RFA’s Mandarin service asked its listeners in China to submit essays of up to 500 words related to the Chinese government’s deadly June 4, 1989 crackdown on protesters in and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing. These are some of their recollections.