Criticism of political system must be responded to through candid discourse

-- In relation to awarding of Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced on October 8 that it awards the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo “for his long non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”

In response to this announcement, the Chinese government issued a statement that said, “Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who has been sentenced by Chinese judicial departments for violating Chinese law. Awarding the prize to Liu runs completely counter to the principle of the award and is also a desecration of the Peace Prize.” It also expressed that, by supporting “the wrong decision of the Nobel Committee, the Norwegian government has moved to hurt bilateral relations,” and, “There is every reason for the Chinese people to be unhappy.” The Chinese government has cancelled fishery meetings with the government of Norway.

On several occasions, the Japanese Communist Party has clearly presented to China and to the international media its position that regardless of the socio-economic system, it is important to acknowledge freedom of speech by responding to any critical remarks of the political system instead of banning such criticism.

At the same time, it has stated that how to choose and develop a nation’s political and social system is up to the citizens and political forces in that country and thus it is inappropriate to interfere in this process from outside. Based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations, the JCP has made clear its following position:

Talks with Hu Jintao (July 1998)

On the occasion of the first meeting between the JCP and the Communist Party of China on July 20, 1998 since the normalization of the two parties’ relations, then JCP Executive Committee Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo made the following remarks in his talks with Hu Jintao, vice state president of China and CPC Standing Politburo member at the time:

Following the 1989 Tiananmen Incident, the JCP made clear that suppression of a peaceful movement by force is outrageous and that it is incompatible with socialist democracy. Although there are differences on this question between the JCP and the CPC, we are not here today to have a debate on this question.

We believe that the more fundamental question is how we view the future. In order for a socio-economic system to have taken root in society in the true sense of the word, regardless of socio-economic system, it is important to envisage a development into a political system that makes it a rule to respond to any critical remarks of the political system without banning such criticism. In Russia during the Lenin era, various rights were restricted, but Lenin made it clear theoretically as well as in practice that they are only transient restrictions imposed at a particular revolutionary phase and that these restrictions would eventually be removed. We would like to see this type of development taking place in the future"

(“The 21st Century World and Socialism ? Theoretical discussion with CPC delegation”)

Theoretical meeting with CPC (December 2005)

The following is the statement made by Fuwa, who was at the time the JCP Central Committee chair, during a theoretical meeting with a CPC delegation led by Zhang Ximing, deputy-director in charge of theoretical affairs in the CPC Publicity Department, in response to a question raised by the Chinese side:

Having referred to this historical experience [Russian revolutionary government did not outlaw opposition parties in a certain period of civil war], I said that outlawing opposition parties is not what a socialist revolution must take as a principle and that in the long run, with the development of a new society in mind, even those countries that have won a revolution by way of non-parliamentary path should recognize the existence of more than one political party, including opposition parties, and their right to political activities, instead of outlawing them. I added that that is more reasonable and advantageous for the future development of the revolution and for the development of socialism worldwide. I gave the following three reasons for thinking that way.

First, it is useful for strengthening the system of popular sovereignty under socialism.

Second, it is useful for establishing the political path towards socialism in a more stable form.

Third, it is also useful for expanding the international influence of socialism as well as support for and trust in socialism today as competition between different socio-economic systems is entering a new stage worldwide.

(“The 21st Century World and Socialism ? Theoretical discussion with CPC delegation”)

Speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (March 2009)

In his speech delivered at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on March 3, 2009, JCP Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo gave the following answer to a reporter’s question:

The JCP has no intention to interfere with China’s internal affairs regarding its political system. It is, however, a general rule that any social system can take root only if it adheres to the principle that criticism of the socio-economic system based on freedom of speech must be responded to through candid discourse. The JCP in talks with the CPC raised these issues as matters to be dealt with in the future in China.

The JCP views China as a country making earnest efforts toward achieving socialism. This does not necessarily mean that he JCP unconditionally supports everything that takes place in China during that process. For example, regarding the “anti-Japanese demonstration” or the “Tibet question” that caused international condemnation, the JCP published its critical views.

(“Why Is the JCP So Vigorous?”, speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, March 3, 2009)

- Akahata, October 15, 2010

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