Liu Yazhou, Censored by Baidu and in 2010, Promoted to Full General

On July 31, 2012, the state-sponsored China Daily reported that President Hu Jintao had promoted six military officers to the rank of full general.

Among the promoted was Lieutenant General Liu Yazhou (刘亚洲). Liu was formerly deputy Political Commissar of the People's Liberation Army Air Force, prior to his promotion to Political Commissar of the National Defense University.

As the screenshot shows, on August 5, 2010, Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊, a publication of Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV) published an essay entitled "Western Discourses" (西部论) under the heading "General Liu Yazhou Composes 'Western Discourses' and Talks Openly About Strategies for Marching Westward" (刘亚洲中将撰“西部论”纵谈西进战略).

On August 11, 2010, foreign media such as Australia's The Age began reporting on the article.

These screenshots, taken on August 12, 2010, show that, on that morning, searches on Baidu and for "Liu Yazhou Western Discourses" (刘亚洲 西部论) were returning a large number of results. Less than 12 hours later, the same searches yielded the following results:
  • Baidu: A notice saying "Search results may relate to content that violates relevant laws and policies, and have not been displayed." 
  • A notice saying that it was unable to locate any relevant results.

By August 13, 2010, Phoenix had removed the article from its website.

Baidu and are not currently censoring searches for "Liu Yazhou Western Discourses."

Excerpts From Liu Yazhou's "Western Discourses"
Besides the power of money, what power has China's continuing economic strength and increasing growth brought? China's unprecedented ability to throw financial resources at large scale governance plans continues to increase, to the point where the old brand-name developed Western countries are left staring in disbelief. But having a lot of money only shows the growth of a nation's hard power. It does not show there has been any corresponding increase in soft power, because there are many problems that cannot be solved with a pile of money. Today, one thing that leads people to be anxious about Chinese society is that from top to bottom, anything is possible if you have money. There is a sense of enthusiasm that money can take care of anything. It brings with it a desire for instant gratification, a manner of believing and behaving as if it is acceptable to use money as a panacea, at the expense of ignoring the crucial details and improving how we are perceived. By using money to grease the wheels, you lie down with dogs, and you get up with fleas. You don't end up with people who share your values. In the end, often what you get is people scrambling for their own personal gain, and the price just keeps going up. An is example is the investing that China is doing in Africa. The way that Chinese businessmen use money to bribe officials at home had become endemic. But the ability of African governments to administer and control their societies can never compare with ours. The money makes life better for the officials, but it does not do anything for the average person, and it is common for local tribes of guerrillas to toss a bomb or send a letter to blackmail someone. In addition, using money to get things done not only makes the officials' appetites ever greater, it also makes the average people have an extremely negative impression of China's government and Chinese enterprises.
Relying solely on the power of money will not further China's national interests abroad over the long term. On the contrary, it cannot further domestic safety and stability. A people that blindly worships the power of money is a backward and fatuous people. No matter whether it is used to pacify domestic affairs or expand influence abroad. Only a people that has both cultural and ideological superiority, in addition to economic power, is a truly strong people, a people worthy of admiration, a people that can inspire others.
It is certainly not military and economic power that decides the fate of a people. Rather, it is decided by their inherent culture. Our survival dictates that we must institute structural reforms. A society can see alot of ups and downs in its government over the span of decade, a lot of ups and downs in society over the span of a century, and a lot of ups and downs in its culture over the span of a millennium. Within ten years, an authoritarian government will transform into a democratic government. This will inevitably happen. China will see great changes. Reforming the political system is our manifest destiny. We cannot retreat from it. We have picked off the low-hanging fruit of China's reforms long ago. What is left is the difficult part, and every step will be like charging through a mine field. The Soviet Union's reforms went from hard to easy. They have already been through the hard part. But China has not yet addressed its greatest difficulties. The lessons of the Soviet Union will always be a mirror for China. The Soviet Union's failure arose mainly from internal causes. It was not defeated in a world war, it was defeated by a competing system. If a system does not allow its citizens to breath freely and to release their innovative energies on a grand scale, if it cannot put people in leadership positions who best represent the people, then it must perish. The Soviet Union's problems were all systemic issues. The haves could not continue to live as before, and the have-nots could not continue to be dominated. The Soviet Union once stressed stability, and made stability a goal. It hoped to realize stability by maintaining the status quo. Stability overwhelmed everything else. Everything was done with money, and the result was contradictions were exacerbated, and everything worked to overpower stability. A people that is possessed of broad ideals and aspirations should not blindly worship the power of money. It must first and foremost put its faith in the power of ideas. China's traditional government has its roots with Shangyang, it was formed by the First Emperor of Qin, and found its apex in Han Wudi. To esteem Confucian learning is to esteem imperial power. It is precisely because of this background that for a century China has repeatedly failed to fully implement the lessons of Western political reforms.
The secret of America's success lies neither in Wall Street nor in Silicon Valley. Its real secret is it has long possessed rule of law and a system that underlies that rule of law. People boast that the American system was "designed by geniuses so it could be run by idiots." A bad system can make good people do bad things, and a good system can allow bad people to do good things. I fear that democracy is essential. Without democracy, long term growth is impossible. Democratic ideals cannot be restricted by national borders. And of course it is not subject to historical restrictions. For the sake of future generations, China's best and brightest must have the courage to seek out a system that is both practical and suited to China's situation. They do not have to be martyrs, but they must be pioneers. It can have faith in the power of truth. Truth leads to knowledge, and knowledge leads to power. China is not lacking in truth, China is lacking soil that can tolerate the existence of truth.




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