Hu Jintao's address celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party is a turgid document It is rendered further opaque by the need to balance between various currents within the party.
On the one hand we have those who would like to stage an ideological revival and restore some of the fervor of the Maoist era. They are balanced by those who feel that perhaps Mao's lunacies, such as the Cultural Revolution (1965-1969), need to be addressed openly and not obliquely as appeared in Hu's address:
We made mistakes and even suffered severe setbacks in some historical periods, and their root cause was that the guiding principles of the Party at the time were divorced from the real conditions in China. It was only by restoring and upholding the line of seeking truth from facts that the Party was able to correct its mistakes."
What Hu did was to credit Mao and his generation with
1) "Transition from a feudal autocracy that was several thousand years old to a people's democracy."
2)The transition from New Democracy to socialism, therefore creating a socialist society for a quarter of the world's population.
The second generation of Deng XiaoPing is credited with "starting the great march toward reform and opening up, sounding the bugle of the times for building socialism with Chinese characteristics." This was the privatization of agriculture that created surpluses and investment capital as well as encouraging foreign investments.
Deng has effectively eclipsed Mao as the most important thinker in the Chinese Communist pantheon.
If Mao is included, it is because the party is still afraid to completely jettison one of its trademarks, but Deng objectively is responsible for China's economic and military advancement to the rank of a great power.
T the third segment of the Chinese Communist pantheon is more of a surprise. There was a great deal of press speculation over the fact that Hu's predecessor as party general secretary and China's president, the 84-year-old Jiang Ze Min, was absent from the festivities.
While he is reported to be ill, in communist politics, illnesses are frequently political and therefore one interpretation that arose was that he had lost his political clout. This is an important development as next year the party undergoes a wholesale leadership change.
Yet here was Hu, 10 years after Jiang's departure from power praising him effusively for
"Steadfastly carrying out reform and opening up, advancing with the times, guiding reform and opening up to move in the right direction, and successfully ushering the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century.
Jiang Ze Min's "Three Represents" elevated him to the pantheon of all time party greats with Mao and Deng. This concept was first introduced by Jiang in the year 2000. According to this slogan, the Chinese Communist Party now represented the advanced productive forces (party jargon for the urban middle class of businessmen, professionals, and high-tech personnel).
This meant that the Communist Party, that originally started out ideologically as the party of the workers, could accept into its ranks millionaire capitalists and absorb the personnel leading China's economic breakthrough.
The justification for this policy is the view that these capitalists were originally workers, peasants and intellectuals who when they went into private business did not forfeit these traits. They continued to think of the proletariat (in their mansions and Maseratis) and therefore were still members of the working class and finally
"Like a big furnace, the party can melt out all sorts of non-proletarian ideas and unify its whole thinking on Marxist theory and the party's program and line."
In other words, there is no danger in accepting the newly rich.
While Hu has tried to moderate the approach of rewarding the successful with an approach emphasizing social harmony, the persistence of Jiang's thinking shows that the Chinese Communist Party will have a hard time turning back.