Alexis de Tocqueville’s The Old Regime and the Revolution is in vogue in China.
Written by de Tocqueville in his later years, you can find the characteristics and causes of the French Revolution in this book.
This title became widely known when the Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Wang Qishan, directed all the communist party members to read the book. Since then, the publication has become so favored that many bookstores have gone out of stock on the item.
Alexis de Tocqueville must have been a precocious genius.
Equalization of positions will continue as well as bloody civil wars like the French and American Revolutions…with these thoughts in mind, de Tocqueville visited America in his mid-twenties and he crystallized his ideas in a volume titled Democracy in America.
Looking back through 700 years of history up until the French revolution, Alexis de Tocqueville regarded each and every event as a contribution to the equalization of positions such as decline of the nobility by the Crusades and the expansion of Protestantism. He regarded this trend as a ‘divine providence’.
Despite having aristocratic roots, he did not resist the trend and transformed himself in keeping with his age. He also pursued the conditions with which democracy could prosper, and tried to bear responsibility for democracy in future. Thereby, he was a visionary.
The Chinese reason for the popularity of The Old Regime and Revolution, which was written by de Tocqueville in his later years, is that he depicted conditions very similar to China’s modern day situation.
For example, de Tocqueville described how people’s feelings of jealousy toward the aristocracy flared up because they had been tax exempt even after they had lost their spirit of noblesse oblige.
The reason why Wang Qishan, who is in charge of eliminating and investigating corruption, recommended this book may have been his sense of urgency or crisis. Wang might have speculated that if the government continues to show indifference to the high employment rate and the gap between haves and have-nots, then a French revolution could happen in his country.
Even President Xi suddenly started to campaign for the eradication of corruption.
However, where separation of power and the rule of law do not exist, there will be no political freedom. For that reason, Xi’s campaign should be just pie in the sky.
The Communist Party leaders must recognize that the root of their people’s dissatisfaction lies in China’s system of one-party rule that does not allow for the freedom of expression.
The fact that the thought of Alexis de Tocqueville, who was acclaimed as the guardian god of democracy (Love, Enlightenment, and the Earth written by Ryuho Okawa in 1995), is beginning to become popular suggests that the eve of revolution will come soon to China.
The world is closely watching whether or not President Xi Jinping will make a bold initiative to embrace democracy. Will he recognize the trend towards equality is a divine providence before his people riot and start to topple his regime?
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