We recently discussed China’s new Red Nobility Class that rules the purportedly Communist nation as friends rake in billions in profits from businesses assisted by local party leaders in land seizures and non-enforcement of environmental laws. The inherent conflict with Communist values was brought to a new level with the disclosure that the granddaughter of Mao, Kong Dongmei, and husband Chen Dongsheng ranked 242nd with personal wealth estimated at five billion yuan (£524 million) on a rich list released this month by New Fortune, a Chinese financial magazine.
Kong, who is in her 40s, is the granddaughter of Mao and his third wife He Zizhen. She studied at the University of Pennsylvania. Her first business was a Communist book store in 2001. However, she had a 15 year extramarital affair with Chen who owns an insurance company, an auction house and a courier firm. Over the course of that affair (and their marriage in 2011) the couple had two daughters and a son. That may seem strange in a country that often cruelly enforces a one-child policy. However, this is not the first time that the Chinese ruling elite lives by a different set of rules than the masses. Besides, that new Chinese aristocracy is not going to replicate itself.
The Chinese continue to enforce a one-party authoritarian system purportedly based on Communist ideals. Notably, this week in 1966, Mao warned:
Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into the Party, the government, the army, and various spheres of culture are a bunch of counter-revolutionary revisionists. Once conditions are ripe, they will seize political power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Some of them we have already seen through; others we have not. Some are still trusted by us and are being trained as our successors.
My problem is not throwing off the yoke of Mao or his blood-soaked legacy. However, the Red Aristocracy in China has now retained the authoritarian controls and repression of the Communist regime while allowed the enrichment of a small ruling elite. That makes the entire country more like the pre-Revolution French nobility. They may want to take care however. On August 8, 1966, the party’s Central Committee proclaimed that “our objective is to struggle against and crush those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road.” Mao’s granddaughter appears to have taken a different road since she started selling Communist books in Beijing.
In my visits to China, I was told by many Chinese privately that no one is really a Communist anymore. Everyone is out to make a buck. However, the ruling elite is not about to let go of its control of production — and profits — simply because of the contradiction of a few Maoist millionaires.