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Guangming Daily Commentary: (We) Must Be Alert on the Velvet Revolution


Guangming Daily is one of the five biggest Communist Party newspapers in China. The recent democratic movement in Central Asian countries, referred to as the "velvet revolution" or "color revolution," has caused great concerns and worries to the Chinese communist government. Chinese state-run media have followed the events very closely and have published numerous articles both as commentaries and as news reports. A Guangming Daily article "(We) must be alert on the ‘Velvet Revolution’" on May 27, 2005, was a typical one and was one of the most widely posted articles of its kind on Chinese websites.

"Recently, one ‘velvet revolutions’ (a.k.a. ‘color revolutions’) after another took place in Georgia, the Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, attracting attention all over the world. The so-called ‘velvet revolution,’ which is directed by the United States to overthrow incumbent governments, requires us to be on high alert.

"Firstly, the so-called ‘velvet revolution’ has it own characteristics for us to trace. In fact, it is not a revolution, but a coup d’etat to subvert a political power by means of peaceful ‘street politics.’ (Sometimes it does not necessarily exclude use of violence, but mostly it does not resort to violence). Certainly this is not something new. During the end of 1980s and the early 1990s, the dramatic political changes in the former Soviet Union were called a ‘velvet revolution.’ Afterwards, it happened in the former Yugoslavia. Nowadays, these same old tricks have been used in some countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) again. The ‘velvet revolution’ can be put into two categories. One is to change the nature of a regime in a socialist country from the socialist proletariat regime to a capitalist bourgeoisie dictatorship. The other is to change the ruling power in capitalist countries to be pro-U.S. (or more pro-U.S.) ones. For China, it is somewhat more important to learn our lessons from the first type of coup d’etat.

"Although two types of ‘velvet revolution’ are different in nature, they have something in common and they have some characteristics to trace. For those ‘velvet revolutions’ that have taken place already, they roughly followed these steps:

"The first step was to create public opinion favoring subversion of the government. Comrade Mao Zedong had said, to overthrow a government, you must always create public opinion first and then do ideology work. The revolutionary class must do so and so does the counter-revolutionary class. This is an undeniable truth. The same is true with the ‘velvet revolutions’ covertly orchestrated and supported by the United States.

"The second step is to establish a political organization. An opposition organization is then set up on the basis of creating public opinion to confuse people’s thinking. With the organization, you may influence more people. At first, it is an informal organization and the next step is to establish an oppositional party. In a socialist country, to allow the establishment of a so-called ‘informal organization’ is actually to permit the public to carry on anti-communism and anti-socialism activities in an organized manner. And, to go along with the establishment of an oppositional party is to implement a multi-party political system. However, to adopt the multi-party political system will inevitably bring the end of communist party’s leadership, which will create an opportunity for a bourgeoisie political party to take over.
"The third step is to look for an influential person, who is liberal and pro-America with a certain commanding ability, as leader of the oppositional group to bring together those who try to overthrow the ruling power. Once the time is ripe, he can lead the public to attack the ruling power and organize a new regime under his leadership. Preferably, this person is trained by the United States government, or has close contacts with American institutions, and must have a pro-America tendency, and therefore be reliable.

"The fourth step is to use an unexpected event or the election, under the banner of democracy and freedom, to organize activities of ‘street politics,’ such as demonstrations, parades, rallies, worker strikes, student walkouts, taking over public squares, attacking governmental agencies and so on, pressuring the government to give up power. The ‘street politics’ is like a ‘one-way street’ that cannot be negotiated with reason. Whatever the oppositional group does is democratic. For the government not meeting the satisfaction of the United States, whatever it does is against democracy. Then, if the oppositional group receives a small number of votes, they would claim election fraud. A re-election must be held or it is not democratic. If the oppositional group carries on illegal activities, including attacking the presidential office and the congressional building, it is democratic. If the government tries to stop them, it is not democratic. In a word, they use ‘democracy’ to tie the hands of the government that the United States is unsatisfied with, and to set free pro-American oppositional groups.

"It can be said that, for the so-called ‘velvet revolution,’ the ideology work is its foundation, to organize important figures to lead the opposition group is the key and unexpected events are opportunities they can use. And their goal is to establish a pro-America regime.

"The United States has a deep understanding of the regularity of success in each ‘velvet revolution.’ After the success in Georgia, the Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, the United States could hardly wait to do it in Belarus. At the meeting with Belarus oppositional leaders on April 21, 2005, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared, ‘It is the time for Belarus to change now.’ She proposed four main directions: supporting independent media and establishing new public media, speeding up the development of the mass movements, organizing an opposition union and electing single presidential candidate [for the opposition union] to compete against incumbent President Lukashenko in the 2006 presidential election.

Secondly, the United States orchestrated all of them from behind the scenes. The ‘velvet revolution’ which implements the United States’ interest has taken place in various countries. On the surface, their purposes were to pursue ‘democracy’ for the people and to change the ruling regime, but there was a black hand behind it all manipulated them. What they have implemented was totally in the U.S. interest and to serve U.S. strategic needs.
"The United States is an imperialist country ruled by monopolistic bourgeoisie. Its fundamental interest lies in overseas expansion to promote hegemonies. After the Cold War, the United States gained the position of ‘the super power’ and accelerated its steps in a plot to implement hegemony in the world and to build a uni-polar world. International political powers became severely unbalanced. As a result, the American hegemonies appeared aggressive and reckless. ‘To protect the world from past disasters, there must be one leader and only one leader,’ and the United States is ‘most capable to lead this world,’ said former U.S. President Clinton. After the ‘9.11 incident,’ U.S. President Bush said, ‘around the world, all the nations must choose. They are either with us, or they’re with the terrorists.’ These statements fully demonstrate the bullying and overbearing character of the United States. The United States’ position as the super power will not have a fundamental change in a short period of time, and this kind of global hegemonism will not change either. As to the nature of the U.S. imperialism, we should have a clear understanding. Don’t have any unrealistic wishful thinking. As to the danger of a U.S. manipulated ‘velvet revolution,’ we should be highly vigilant and should not lower our guard.

"There was one thing in common while the United States carried out the ‘velvet revolution’ — all under the banner of democracy. The United States would first brand those regimes, which it was not happy with, as ‘being undemocratic,’ ‘dictatorship,’ ‘anti-humanity,’ ‘violating human rights’ and so on. Then they would instigate the opposition groups to stand out for democracy. This is most deceiving. Is there anyone who doesn’t want the democracy? Between the end of 1980s and early 1990s, when East-European countries in the former Soviet Union experienced dramatic political changes, the United States just used this trick. In the beginning of this century, the same trick was still utilized in Georgia, the Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. For example, on October 7, 1989, in Berlin, the capital of democratic Germany, demonstrators who gained support from the United State shouted loudly outside the Republic Palace where the ‘National Day’ reception was held. Their slogan was to demand ‘democracy.’ On October 9, 70,000 people attended the parade and protest in Leipzig. What they demanded was ‘democracy.’ The socialist regimes in East-European countries in the former Soviet Union all collapsed under the impact of ‘democratic street politics.’ After entering the 21st century, the United States also used the tricks of ‘democracy’ and ‘fair election’ to force the rulers of former Yugoslavia Milosevic government and previous regimes in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan to step down be replaced with obedient pro-U.S. regimes. In the Ukrainian election incident, for instance, while supporters of the opposition group were asked: ‘Why did you support Yushchenko?’ Many people replied: ‘Supporting Yushchenko is to support democracy.’ This trick has never failed in each case. The United States wanted to use this trick toward China as well.
‘China’s progress toward democracy should have a time table.’ Rice shouted recently prior to her visit to China. It seemed that she couldn’t wait any longer. Having learned from this historical experience, we must widely educate vast members of the Communist Party, officials, and the public about Marxist democracy ideology, to distinguish the boundary between the proletariat democracy and the bourgeois democracy, to righteously criticize the bourgeois democracy and to expose the real nature of the United States to promote ‘democracy.’ At the same time, we must adopt realistic and effective measures to enhance and glorify the socialist democracy and to truly manifest people being the master of their own country. This is an urgent task while we are confronted by the United States with its aggressive attack of promoting the ‘velvet revolution.’

"To realize the ‘velvet revolution,’ the United States will not hesitate to provide financial support. As long as the ‘velvet revolution’ has taken place in a country, the oppositional groups in that country will have financial support from the United States. Anti-government activities, including ideological propaganda, ‘street politics’ and organizing elections, need a lot of money. But most of the oppositional groups don’t have enough funding. They cannot help but depend on the United States for disbursements. In this aspect, the United States is extremely generous and not concerned about how much it will cost. In the Ukraine, while the opposition groups, led by Yushchenko, organized large-scale demonstrations which needed to gather people from every region to the capital Kiev, the United States provided, through NGOs, such as the Soros Foundation, the money for charter buses and labor. (It is said they paid every person US$10 per day, which is far beyond the local daily wage.) Also, tents were set up on the Square for overnight stays. During the process of the ‘velvet revolution’ in Georgia, in the name of assistance from NGOs the United States had done all the preparation work beforehand, such as how much money they would spend, which anti-government organization should be subsidized, whom they would cooperate with, etc. In 2004, to subvert the Belarus Lukashenko administration, the United States allocated US$89 million to support Belarusian independent media, oppositional groups, domestic organizations, and business groups. In 2005, the U.S. Senate announced that they would allocate special funding of US$5 million to subsidize the opposition groups in Belarus. It is said the funding that the U.S. government allocates to ‘promote democracy’ is as high as US$1 billion.

"It is worth noting that the United States usually accomplishes the preparation for the ‘velvet revolution’ through non-governmental organizations, and the same is true of doing the ideology work. Behind the façade of the cooperation and exchanges, scientific research and so on, various foundations carry on penetration and select candidates who could be of use in the future. This type of covert activity can change and influence quietly. Its impact will not be known until the right time comes. Thus, we must treat this kind of foundations and organizations seriously and scrutinize them carefully. Don’t hanker for a small gain, but forget one’s integrity.
"The United States emphasizes on training ‘backbone members’ who could lead the public. Ukraine’s Yushchenko was selected by the United States as the ‘leader.’ All of them have accepted the overt and covert help from the United States. Some of them also had taken ‘democratic education’ in the United States.

"We should take serious consideration of various methods used by the United States for promoting the ‘velvet revolution.’ We realize that the United States regards China (the only great country of socialism in the world) as a thorn in its eyes and wants to get rid of it badly. Just as what Deng Xiaoping pointed out: the U.S.-led Western countries ‘are engaging in the third world war without gun smoke— to have socialist countries peacefully transformed’ (‘Deng Xiaoping Literature Selections,’ volume 3, page 344). The United States stepped up its strategies of Westernizing and splitting China and tried to plot a ‘velvet revolution’ in China. Under the support from the United States, members of the bourgeois liberalization are also ready to make trouble. The best illustration was the ‘people’s amendment of constitution’ in 2003. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from the ‘velvet revolution’ hat have already happened and prevent them from happening (in China).

"Thirdly, the prevention of the ‘velvet revolution’ is system engineering. Under current international and national situation, the risk of the ‘velvet revolution’ is a reality. To prevent the ‘velvet revolution,’ we must enhance the national dictatorial tool. Under the situation that the political turmoil appears, utilizing law enforcement to keep the stability of the political situation and social order is totally necessary. Just as what Deng Xiaoping pointed out: ‘In a long period of time, the strength of the proletariat, as a newly arisen class to take the power and to establish the Socialism, is weaker than that of Capitalism. Without relying on the dictatorship, it cannot resist the attack of the Capitalism. To firmly insist on Socialism must firmly insist on the proletariat dictatorship, which is called the people’s democratic dictatorship.’ He added, ‘Using the strength of the people’s democratic dictatorship to fortify people’s political power is righteous thing. There is nothing unreasonable.’ (‘Deng Xiaoping Literature Selections,’ volume 3, page 365 and 379). The democracy and the dictatorship are united. Only by adopting dictatorial rule toward the extremely small number of enemies can we fully safeguard most people’s rights of democracy. WE should adopting a dictatorial rule toward the liberalization activists who created the troublesome ‘velvet revolution,’ by requiring them to be obedient and not allowing them to speak and act casually, and dealing with them righteously and reasonable through legal procedure when they violate criminal law. Doing so won’t damage our country’s reputation. We should not have any concern over this matter.

"However, in regard to the ‘velvet revolution’ that jeopardizes the stability of a political situation, it is far from enough if we rely on the law enforcement authorities to deal with it. We must focus our attention on prevention.
"First of all, we must strengthen the Marxist leadership in our mind and do the ideological work well. Comrade Hu Jintao has mentioned this issue many times. He said, ‘Ideology has long been an important battlefield where hostile forces struggle fiercely with us. Loss of control in this battlefield can cause social turmoil, or even lose power. The hostile forces want to turn a society into chaos and subvert a regime. Usually, they always break open a breach from the ideological domain first and start to confuse people’s thoughts. We may look at the lessons of the dramatic change in Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. At that time, Gorbachev proposed the ‘multiplicity of ideology,’ the so-called ‘openness’ and giving up Marxism in the instructional position of the ideological domain, which finally caused a clamor for the ideological trend of non-Marxism and the anti-Marxism. It became a very important reason for the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the Soviet Communist Party.

"Next, in terms of organizations we must ensure all levels of leadership are firmly held in the hands of Marxists. This is the key issue as to whether the Communist Party can strengthen its own ruling status and prevent a ‘velvet revolution.’

"Thirdly, the most fundamental issue is to consolidate and strengthen the class foundation of the Party. In socialist countries, the so-called ‘velvet revolution’ is actually an intense class struggle. The power balance of classes determines winner or loser."