Xia Xueluan is a professor of Sociology at Peking University
1, The unbalance of social psychology during transformation is because of the reality of the increasingly sharp social contradiction. Compared to the overall poverty during planned economy, market economy leads to huge gap between the rich and the poor, which is intolerable for those who were used to live in planned economy. They have felt this unprecedented loss. This is the loss from planned economy to market economy, from an organized society to anarchism. Those who have never experienced this kind of transformation can’t really understand this kind of social psychological unbalance.
2, The arrangement of social structure, system stratification, job opportunities and social mobility could all cause anxiety and become the source of anxiety. To be more specific, residency, housing, education, social insurance, health insurance, wealth, employment and consumption could all become the focus of social psychological anxiety.
3, Since the social anxiety and psychological unbalance during transformation is mostly because of the society, it is appropriate to use some social psychology to deal with this problem. Social issues related to people’s livelihood leads to social anxiety. For example, social anxiety like huge social gap, employment difficulty, high prices and food security, real policy solutions are required to seriously change these situations.
Zhang Qianfan is a professor of Law at Beijing University’s Law School
1, The control on thoughts and economics level is “soft violence”, which is how totalitarianism is different from authoritarianism. Thoughts control (ideology control) firstly controls people’s mindset and make people wholeheartedly embrace and worship power without any hard violence. This is the supreme state of authoritarian control. Economic control is to make business institutions rely on state power through public ownership. If there are any problems with ideology or speeches they will have to shoulder the possibility unemployment or other economic consequences. For example, if they published a banned book, the whole publish house will have to close and all of its employees will lose their jobs.
2, I divide China’s ideology after 1949 into three phases. The first phase is the “nationwide brainwash” period in 1950s and 1960s; the second is the phase of “elites’ retrospection” since 1978, marked by the debates of standards of truth; right now we are in the “nationwide enlightenment” phase, which is largely due to the development of the Internet. Marked by the Sun Zhigang incident in 2003, since then every Netizen could reflect on history and the current situation, which hugely increases the strength of retrospection on the legitimacy of the system and criticism. It is under this backdrop that there is a new battle of ideology. Though official media has tried hard to brainwash people and the Ministry of Education has recently restressed political ideology work in university, these measures might be effective in the short term. However, in the long term it is definitely futile.
3, Compared to outside the system, the conditions within the system (for systematic political reform) are less fertile. The conditions within the system also has different phases. First, there should be the public appearance of the reformists. Also, the force of reformists should be stronger than the conservative. However, currently who are the “reformists” within the system”? This question is difficult to answer. During Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao’s time, there was Wen who publicly advocated the universal value. No matter it was a show or not, right now there are no people like him. Though there might be different divisions of belief within the party but they don’t really publicly announce anything, at least the outside lacks information about that. This kind of closed and secretive fights within different Party divisions do not provide any momentum for the positive transformation of the state.
4,Generally speaking, the current situation in China is that the hardliners outstand the reformists, and they also have the absolute loyalty from the military.
5, Since the past three decades of China’s reform and open up, though social forces in China have grown much stronger, but generally speaking there is still “no religion, no organization, and no consensus”. There is no element of religion in traditional Chinese culture, and Confucius generally highlights on the elite class, therefore has limited influence on the majority of people. The lack of moral resources make most people become passive onlookers, which makes it worse for the already difficult transformation in China. Chinese people’s tolerance towards grievances is higher than people of any other countries.
6, Under this background, there are three possibilities of China’s future. The first is the long-term coexistence of totalitarianism and social crisis - don’t underestimate the possibility of this scenario. China indeed is already a country of frequent crisis, and there are an increasing number of crisis on the aspects of economics, population, morality and environment. But we don’t have many reasons to believe that these crisis will overthrow the whole regime. The second is the explosion of crisis, which leads to social disorder and collapse of the regime. This prospect is worrisome. No positive fruits will come out of evil soil. Power emerged from crisis is generally worse than the previous one. The third possibility is partial dysfunction of the authoritarian government. Reformists within the system will actively consider political reform and there will be a new round of positive interaction within the system. The prospect of this possibility is the brightest, but so far we haven’t seen any clue for this one.