Rome - Many people are betting that this sentence will "go
down in history": "We must do away with the mistaken idea that the happiness of the people
is a favor bestowed by the Party and the government". It was expressed by
none other than the party secretary of Guangdong,
Wang Yang (pictured), during a meeting with high level senior officials in the
richest region of China.
Wang Yang is known as a "liberal" and has for some time been pushing for greater political reform in Guangdong. Thanks to him, the inhabitants of Wukan have won their battle against the local authorities accused of corruption (see: 16/01/2012 Wukan celebrates: protest leader appointed Communist secretary) and Guangdong enjoys a more rapid economy market, many tensions between workers and entrepreneurs are remedied with dialogue which takes responsibility for the Party itself. Although Wang continues to reiterate that China "must not imitate the West", he is known for his opposition to the neo-Maoism of Bo Xilai, former secretary of Chongqing, now fallen from grace.
In the presentation of the Party Congress of Guangdong, which began yesterday, he said. "We must abandon the misconception that the happiness of the people is a favor bestowed by the Party and government." And again: " Seeking happiness is the right of the people" and that the role of government is to give "the masses of people" freedom to "boldly explore their own road to happiness".
Wang notes are detached from the deeply traditional rhetoric of the party seen as a deity, who gave independence, welfare, order, success to China. The young Chinese, right from elementary school are taught to thank the Party for everything from candy to books.
At the time of Mao this gratitude was also crossed by a semi-religious inspiration, with Mao Zhuxi (President) playing the part of the Divinity. And in fact the Party was concerned about the Chinese "from the cradle to the grave." Later, with the economic reforms, and subsequent scandals related to corruption of officials, the Party has always remained the largest employer in the country. Anyone capable of ingratiating himself finds a job, is protected if in has trouble with the law, has an above average lifestyle compared to other Chinese.
Wang's statements emphasize the pursuit of happiness as a personal matter, in which the State and the Party have no role. And secondly, that the State (and Party) must serve the individual.
Among the more than 70 million party cadres, many have long since discovered the way to happiness in other ways out of communism, at least one third of the members adhere to a religious community official or underground (see: 28/02/2006 Communist Party in crisis: 20 million members go to church or temple)
Wang Yang's statements are historical because they were spoken in public by a senior member of the Party, who probably will become a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the highest power in China.
Therefore, although not mentioned in the official media reports, his sentences are spreading on the Internet. Among the comments there are many words of support, along with a fateful "This sentence will go down in history."