The Unrelenting Du Daozheng Refuses to Retire

This is an update of a previous post about the journal Yanhuang Chunqiu.

Today’s Sydney Morning Herald published an interview with Du Daocheng.  Simon Elegant from the Time China Blog has also written a post to alert his readers about this report.

During the interview, Du confirms his intention to defy an order from the CCP leadership to force him to retire; he is determined to stay on as the Editor-in-chief of Yanhuang Chunqiu.

“I said the government’s official retirement age doesn’t apply to non-government enterprises like us; if I work until I’m 120 that’s got nothing to do with you.”

Mr Du said the matter had now become “a major issue” and might trigger intervention from senior party officials. “It seems like we’re playing chess. This is not the result they expected, and they don’t know what move to make next.”

Yes indeed, it would be very interesting to see how far the CCP leadership is prepared to go to harness dissent within the Party.

This incident is also a test of the tenacity of those in CCP who dare to speak a different voice to their party bosses.  So far, this group of veterans is holding the moral high ground.  The title of the Journal says it all.  It is by no accident that this Journal is called “Chunqiu”.   “Chunqiu” (the Annals or Chronicle) is more than just a history book genre; it is also an allusion to the great Confucian tradition of invoking history, as a way of admonishing the Head of State against undesirable influences.  “Yanhuang” is an allusion to both the Red and the Yellow Emperors 炎黄二帝 (or “Ancestors”, depending on how one interprets the word 帝), who are regarded as common ancestors of the ethnically diverse nation of Chinese people.  Hence it is an understatement to say that those who run the Journal want China to “dig into, and learn from, its real history”.  Yanhuang Chunqiu intends to do much more than that; it is using history, particularly the history of Party founders, to set a standard for governace.   Refusing to learn from history was traditionally a hallmark of tyranny.  In other words, history is not going to be kind to Hu Jintao, should he chooses to ignore his history lessons.

For next month’s issue of Yanhuang Chunqiu, Du said, he will run a 10,000-character essay on Zhao Ziyang by Hu Qili 胡启立, a former vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.  I am looking forward to reading it.

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