Friday, April 09, 2021

The End of the Official Castro Era--The 8th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party Announcement and Theme (The Party is the Soul of the Revolution)

 


 



This post begins is the first of a short series considering the 8th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (VIII Congreso del Partido Comunista Cubano). This Congress is particularly interesting, and potentially important, as a result of the convergence of several factors.


1. Raul Castro appears ready to retire from his role in the all important post of first secretary of the PPC. "Raúl Castro is to stand down as the party’s first secretary, the true source of power on the island, and armed forces commander after serving two five-year terms. He succeeded his brother Fidel, who handed power to him several years before his death in 2016." (Exit of Cuba’s last Castro brings curtain down on revolutionary era). That is a momentous event--from the perspective of history (people love to mark historical events, it is perhaps the way that societies tell time). But is is also important from the perspective of politics as a relatively untested and unknown generation will be given freer (but not free rein) to move the state apparatus forward under considerably stressful times.


2. This marks the first Congress immediately after the roll out of what might be potentially the most significant set of changes to the economic model of the state. The changes include grudging liberalization of the conditions for non state economic activity, a more robust engagement with the contemporary flows of global trade, and the unification of Cuba's currency. That it was done as a technocratic rather than an ideological exercise is also significant. That produces a tension that the 8th Congress may seek to resolve--the development of some sort fo ideologically sound imprimatur, grounded in traditional Cuban Caribbean Marxist ideology--to support the profound changes.

3. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a series of challenges and opportunities that the Cuban state has sought to exploit (in the one case) and overcome (in the other). This is the moment for the triumph of Cuban medical diplomacy now augmented by a strong tech sector. The success of its COVID-19 vaccine, if handled correctly, will produce a substantial amount of political capital abroad that Cuba might be able to exploit, even if Cuban authorities receive very little by way of financial compensation for the effort. One might expect this sector of the 2030 Economic Plan to be an important element of the pageantry if not the work of the Congress. 

4. This set of political and economic changes are occurring at a time of social unrest. While Cuba had been relatively successful in managing its intellectuals since 1961, that efficient management (as brutal as it was some time to time) appears to be breaking down. The Movimiento San Isidro, a collection of artists and others that have captured the imagination of the liberal democratic camp and its intellectuals) is likely the tip of the iceberg. And yet the traditional mechanisms of suppression are likely to be less available than they were. The PCC's ability to meet this challenge in ways that preserve stability will be among the first real tests of the new leadership. Indeed, the incoming leadership's pointed reference to Fidel Castro's 1961 speech and the construction of a propaganda campaign around it suggests the nature of the battles that lie ahead (Cuba President Recalls Fidel Castro’s Historic Speech to Intellectuals :That speech became the founding platform of cultural policy of the Cuban Revolution). An English translation of that speech, well worth reading for its overtones to much of the global conversation about speech today, may be accessed HERE.

5. The theme of the VIII Congress suggests its discursive challenges. "El Partido es el alma de la Revolución"--The Party is the Soul of the Revolution--is a semiotic meadow (perhaps a minefield as well. There is a sense built into the proceedings of both promise and danger. Like elites in the rest of the world, it has become clear that a control of the way in which the masses are led to the understanding of the world is essential for the project of both managing mass behavior and of directing it toward preferred objectives. Guiding ideology remains a powerful weapon and its contestation around the world has posed problems for vanguards from the United States and China to those of Cuba. Each, of course, utilizes quite distinct tools for the construction and maintenance, and for the naturalization of its guiding ideology within their respective political cultures. But especially in periods of transition, control of the guiding ideology (its construction, elaboration, contestation, rejection or replacement) is the key to power among those who seek to assert it, guide it or use it. Here there are two great objects at stake. The first is control of the meaning of the term "Revolution" which had been carefully curated since the 1959 establishment of the current political-economic model. The second is the legitimacy of the naturalization of the product of that control deeply within the way that the masses approach and understand the world. The "soul of the revolution" then suggests both a normative perspective and the legitimization of the mechanics of its development and deliverance. All o this may be up for grabs now.

6. The United States continues to dominate this Congress as it has virtually every other one. It is a pity but hardly to be avoided that even as the PCC declares its autonomy, it does so only by reference to and in the shadow of the United States. That has proven to be in some respects its greatest protection. But increasingly it may become the greatest weakness of this Party and its ideological apparatus. A state cannot control its people on the basis of negatives (e.g., we are not the United States). That effectively gives the other party control over your own destiny, a result that is becoming increasingly apparent int he case of Cuba. Cuba can no longer afford to build its ideologies as a function of its contests with the US). This is a lesson that is hardly ever learned, certainly it remains unlearned in politics that sees in the construction of difference (internally or externally) a quick, dirty, and expedient way to elaborate administrative power in the hands of a controlling group--whatever their political inclinations).  Intellectuals, especially, are good are seeking to deride the construction of otherness in power relations but then use it precisely to rearrange the allocation of power among the categories of otherness constructed. A great pity but perhaps the fate of society as currently understood by those with the power to control. 
 
7. For all that, the United States does remain a wild card.  The Biden administraiton does not yet appear to have developed anything like a robust coherence to policy going forward--it is still working against the shadow of the Trump Administraiton. This also poses dangers and opportunities for the Cubans. This is especially so now in connection with relations to Iran.
 
8. Yet the VIII Congress does little by way of confronting the real threat to Leninist parties: exclusivity that ultimately provides the greatest contradiction between Marxism and Leninism. The establishment of a communist society (whatever its conceptual gymnastics about the ownership and allocation of capital and the role of planning or markets) ultimately requires that the vanguard and the masses become indistinguishable.  That is the success of the establishment of a communist society requires that everyone be a member of the vanguard.  But the vanguard as a Leninist revolutionary party  (and then a party in power)  is grounded in the notion that the masses are not ready, and later that external threats require a Leninist organization to serve as a techno-bureaucratic force to lead the masses toward whatever is defined as victory in any particular era of historical development. But a Leninist party that fails to expand and to embrace an ever growing  number of mass elements runs the risk that it will become corrupted.  So corrupted it runs the danger of becoming a ruling clique mired in either left or right error.  The failures of the PCC to more actively address this issue of working style may in the end pose the greatest threat to its long term survival.

These are the themes that the the object, in the usual discursive tropes of the PCC, that are meant to give meaning to the words elaborated by the Central Committee pf the PCC in its Announcement of the Holding of the VIII Congress (Convocatoria al VIII Congreso del Partido Comunista de Cuba), the text of which in the original Spanish and with my own crude translation, follows below. 



Wednesday, April 07, 2021

"Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems': Essays from the Year that Transformed the Hong Kong SAR (June 2019 – June 2020)--Preface Essay Summaries and Table of Contents



 

For the last several months I have been sharing sneak peeks of a book to be published in early 2021: Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems':  Essays from the Year that Transformed the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (June 2019 – June 2020)  (Little Sir Press).  The essays are presented in the form of a diary that marks an intellectual progression that matches the march of events. Each was written as events unfolded (each essay is dated to the time of its initial writing) and lightly edited for the book.  The object is to capture not just the strategic and normative developments that produced the new order for Hong Kong in June 2020, but also to give a sense of the uncertainties and anticipations as the events themselves unfolded during the course of the year.  The process of ideological genesis over the course of the year  is best captured from a state of anticipation without the benefit of foresight. The essays , then, do not look back on events after the fact, but speculate, discover, and captures moments that from June 2020 look inevitable but which from the perspective of June 2019 appeared far less so. 
 
In an effort to avoid the prohibitive cost of hard copies, the book will be made available first as an EPub (iBook, Kindle, Amazon) (ISBN: 978-1-949943-03-0 (ebk). My thanks to the Coalition for Peace & Ethics for making this possible. I have previously shared an early drafts of the preface (here), and chapters 2 (here; June 2019), 9 (here; August 2019); 12 (here; August 2019); 20 (here; November 2019);  25 (here; May 2020); and 28 (here; 4 June 2020). .   

Here I wanted to share the portion of the book Preface with  the summary of the essays in the book, along with a detailed table of contents. The Preface, Table of Contents, and the Chapters that have already been shared, are available on the Little Sir Press Website for the book: Hong Kong Between "One Country" and "Two Systems."  Please click on Access Preface and Selected Chapters.

We are organizing a number of book sessions  to introduce the materials and speak with interested readers.  Stay tuned. 

Please let me know (offline) if you are interested in receiving a review copy.

 

Monday, April 05, 2021

On the Road to the New Democratic Dictatorship in Hong Kong it is Necessary to Control the Masses


"The Hong Kong government has no authority to dictate which passports foreign governments recognise as valid,"(Exclusive: Hong Kong tells foreign governments to stop accepting special British passport)

Recent news reports from Hong Kong suggest yet another diplomatic skirmish between old and new Empires over a site of imperial conflict--Hong Kong.  At the end of March Reuters reported that China sought to declare invalid (in accordance to the laws of China as applied in this context and in furtherance of Chinese interests) a form of passport issued by the UK to its overseas citizens (recognized as the UK determined in accordance with its own laws and in furtherance of its own sovereign interests).

The Hong Kong government on Thursday confirmed a Reuters report that it had told 14 countries to stop accepting a British travel document that many of its young people use to apply for working holiday visas in Europe, North America and parts of Asia. In a move seen by some envoys as a diplomatic affront, the government informed the foreign consulates in a letter that it no longer considered the British National Overseas (BNO) passport a valid travel document as of Jan. 31. The letter, seen by Reuters and confirmed by the Hong Kong government after the story was published, demanded that its Hong Kong passport should be used instead. "The UK will continue to issue British Nationals (Overseas) passports which remain valid travel documents." Almost 3 million Hong Kong residents hold or are eligible for the BNO document that was created ahead of Britain handing the city back to Chinese rule in 1997. (Exclusive: Hong Kong tells foreign governments to stop accepting special British passport (quoting a spokesperson from the UK Foreign Office))

Beyond the usual petty games that are the stuff of entertaining the masses by feeding the propaganda organs of empire, there is an important ideological element to the move that may be worth considering at some leisure. To some extent, it is possible to frame these decisions from the lens of Mao Zedong's germinal and still profoundly influential insights developed in his “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship” (30 June 1949) in commemoration of the 28th anniversary of the CPC.  Two insights are readily apparent.  The first is the notion of the value of people as critical elements in revolutionary struggle.  Controlling people (especially those who might be turned to counterrevolutionary purposes) is essential to the success of the work of a vanguard.

Revolutionary dictatorship and counter-revolutionary dictatorship are by nature opposites, but the former was learned from the latter. Such learning is very important. If the revolutionary people do not master this method of ruling over the counter-revolutionary classes, they will not be able to maintain their state power, domestic and foreign reaction will overthrow that power and restore its own rule over China, and disaster will befall the revolutionary people. (“On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship”)

Second, the work of the vanguard is critically hampered where it is unable to rectify counter revolutionary thinking. To those ends it is important not merely to ensure that foreign vanguards not have access to local potentially threatening popular elements, it is also important to maintain substantial control of the element oneself.  That, of course, is the essence of building a strong people's democratic dictatorship--what may be understood to be a work in progress in Hong Kong.   

You are not benevolent!" Quite so. We definitely do not apply a policy of benevolence to the reactionaries and towards the reactionary activities of the reactionary classes. Our policy of benevolence is applied only within the ranks of the people, not beyond them to the reactionaries or to the reactionary activities of reactionary classes. . . Here, the method we employ is democratic, the method of persuasion, not of compulsion. When anyone among the people breaks the law, he too should be punished, imprisoned or even sentenced to death; but this is a matter of a few individual cases, and it differs in principle from the dictatorship exercised over the reactionaries as a class. (“On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship”).

And thus its essence--democracy for the people (defined by reference to their patriotic loyalty expressed through the practices and behaviors indicated by the vanguard, for example through the National emblems and Anthem laws).  For the rest of the population there is only to obey and to rectify false belief and action--or be punished (for example through operation of the National Security Law).  There can be no middle way in this.  And efforts of foreign states to project their power through their power of citizenship and residence will be viewed necessarily as a gross interference in the establishment of a proper peoples democratic dictatorship in Hong Kong. From the perspective of the Chinese vanguard this must be both necessary and good; the result inevitable.  From the perspective of the liberal democratic states, the opposite is true; it evidences a gross violation of the rules of international comity and an interference with national authority to determine the character and availability of access to its own polity. This contradiction will not be easy to resolve. The contradiction is made harder to confront where the discursive needs of internal and external communicators--of performance of principle for inside and outside objectives are themselves incapable (for the moment) of rationalization.









 

Friday, April 02, 2021

Just Posted: Video Recording of ASCE Webinar--Luis Gil Abinader; "Scaling Up Manufacture of the Cuban Vaccine Candidates."

 


 

I am delighted to announce that the video recording of the next installment of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy webinar series, "Scaling Up Manufacture of the Cuban Vaccine Candidates" has been posted to the Coalition for Peace & Ethics YouTube Channel in the ASCE Webinar Series 2021 Playlist and on the ASCE website. The Webinar was held Friday 2 April 2020 from 10.30 am through noon.

Our speaker for this webinar was Luis Gil Abinader. He is is a senior researcher at Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a nonprofit based in Washington, DC, working on access to medicines and vaccines. Prior to joining KEI Luis worked as a Fellow with the Interdisciplinary Centre of Studies in Science, Technology and Innovation (CIECTI) in Argentina. He received his Law degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in the Dominican Republic, and a Masters in Intellectual Property from the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO), in Argentina.

Mr. Abinader raised a number of quite intriguing insights.  One was the intimate connection between politics and medical technology.  It is not for nothing that the vaccine developed was given the name "soberana"--or sovereignty.  The vaccine development project appears to  have the objective of being as potent a political medication as it is meant to be a potent response to COVID-19 itself.  Also quite interesting has been the politics of knowledge sharing and tech transfer.  Lastly the interaction--the coordination or lack of coordination between these efforts, especially between states whose political-economic models are different and sometimes adversarial, also raised some interesting issues.  Lastly, the human rights implications of Cuban approaches to vaccine development and distribution also raises issues with respect to the efforts by either liberal democratic or the larger Marxist Leninist states to comply with their responsibilities  within the international community under emerging human rights and sustainability (including the right to health) norms and standards.

The video recording may be accessed HERE:    HERE for the ASCE Webinar Series 2021 Playlist

Some of the PowerPoint slides of the presentation follow below. 

 

Thursday, April 01, 2021

A Brief Reverie on this April Fool's Day: An Homage to Sebastian Brandt's Daß Narrenschyff ad Narragoniam ("Ship of Fools") (1494) "Of euyl Counsellours, Juges and men of lawe."

 


 

Today is a time set apart for thinking like and playing the fool.   This is not the day for Plato's fool (Republic Book IV) --hardly the stuff of the merrie fool of the Stultifera Navis (Foucault, Madness and Civilization, pp. 3-25).  This is the day reserved to celebrate Lear's Fool, who is a fool for suffering fools and as a consequence whose foolishness causes us all to suffer the delusions of the fool. 

FOOL.
Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet one?

LEAR.
No, lad; teach me.

FOOL.
   That lord that counsell’d thee
     To give away thy land,
   Come place him here by me,
     Do thou for him stand.
   The sweet and bitter fool
     Will presently appear;
   The one in motley here,
     The other found out there.

LEAR.
Dost thou call me fool, boy?

FOOL.
All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with.

W. Shakespeare, King Lear; Act 1 Scene IV

 It s the day reserved for the exposure of folly, which is the great task of folly itself, and is in that exercise itself a folly, an extravagance. 

To those ends I reserve the day in homage to the folly of law and its counselors, that motley and rollicking collection of self absorbed (but that of course is the essence of their folly)  fools who perpetuate its folly. And who better to remind us of the ancient follies of law and its ship of fools, than Sebastian Brandt's Daß Narrenschyff ad Narragoniam ("Ship of Fools") (1494) in its roughly contemporaneous translation (1509) by Alexander Barclay (Project Gutenberg EBook #20179 (2006) from the 1874 edition). And in honor of this April Fool's day I provide a contemplation of the folly of the law and its counselor as set out in Vol I's "Of euyl Counsellours, Juges and men of lawe" which opens with a caption to the woodblock and text that follow below:


He that Office hath and hyghe autorite.
To rule a Royalme: as Juge or Counsellour
Which seynge Justice, playne ryght and equyte
Them falsly blyndeth by fauour or rigour
Condemnynge wretches gyltles. And to a Transgressour
For mede shewinge fauour. Suche is as wyse a man
As he that wolde seeth a quycke Sowe in a Pan. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Cancelling Western Human Rights: China Develops its Own Socialist Human Rights Path as it Moves on the Path of its Own Decoupling from the West


Image from the Chinese News Outlet Global Times as part of the Chinese de-legitimization campaign, "China's upcoming report on US human rights violations shows 2020 'a declining point' of American democracy"(1 March 2021)





The trick of pretending to be a "human rights teacher" in a few Western countries has long been unsuccessful, and the hypocrisy is well known in the world. These Western countries are advised to remove their pretense, abandon the Cold War mentality of using human rights as a tool for realizing hegemony, face up to their own human rights issues, strengthen dialogue and cooperation based on the principle of mutual respect, and truly contribute to the healthy development of the cause of human rights in the world.

So ends an "Opinion Piece" published 26 March 2021 in the People's Daily (The Trickery of "Human Rights Teacher" can't go on (bell ringing) [人权教师爷”的把戏演不下去了(钟声)] (my translation). 

This Opinion Piece summarizes, in a quite concise form, the character of China's response to months of push back by the liberal democratic camp and the organs of the United Nations, especially those tasked with the protection of its decades long project of developing a common framework for human rights (and now sustainability and climate change), for Chinese actions in Hong Kong and its Xinjiang policy.  It comes immediately after a contentious meeting between Chinese and American officials in Anchorage, Alaska in which both sides took to lecturing each other on the nature and state of human rights in their respective states, and from the respective perspectives of quite distinct human rights ideologies. 

If the Alaska meeting was a dress rehearsal of the central authorities new exposition of Socialist Human Rights in relation to the orthodox position of the liberal democratic camp and elements of the United Nations Human Rights apparatus, then this Opinion Piece provides a more derisive attack on the legitimacy of the human rights orthodoxies of the West and of its expression international human rights law.  And indeed, it appears that taking a page from the liberal democratic camp, the Chinese authorities have decided that the road to the construction of a narrative of legitimacy of its own approach to human rights must be built on a foundation of a narrative of the illegitimacy of the current orthodox principles of human rights. From the Chinese perspective it serves as a well deserved tit-for-tat for years of Western indifference to and rejection of its own approaches to human rights.   For the West it ought to raise alarms that the age when it could assume that it was the undisputed vanguard of developing human rights norms and consensus is now perhaps more meaningfully challenged.

But both the carefully prepared response of the Chinese delegation to the purported provocations of the Americans in Alaska and the "Opinion Piece" does more than indulge in a politics of illegitimacy. It also contains within it an equally concise window on the emergence of a Socialist approach to human rights--one that has been years in the making. The fundamental approach has already been endorsed by international human rights organs.  I have analyzed this in more detail in Backer, Larry Catá, By Dred Things I am Compelled’: China and the Challenge to International Human Rights Law and Policy (January 15, 2020), pre-publication version available HERE. At its center is the notion of mutually advantageous cooperation embedded in an approach to human rights founded on core principles of prosperity and stability and measured by collective needs and responsibilities.  Within this Socialist approach, the individual is de-centered, and political and civil rights are understood as a function of a responsibility to further economic, social, and cultural rights for the collective, to which the individual, like the state, has an obligation to further.

The twin pillars of the current Chinese campaign, then, are based on a two thrust approach.  The first is the campaign to de-legitimate the construction of human rights as they have been developed since 1947 through the instruments and policies of international organizations reflecting the constitution traditions of liberal democratic states.  This is nicely illustrated in the Opinion Piece--a very clever provocation. The second, and more positive thrust is the effort to put forward a Socialist alternative that expresses a Marxist Leninist conceptualization of human rights. This is still very much a work in progress, but progress is being made  (e.g., By Dred Things I am Compelled’). Wang Yi's exposition in Anchorage provides a hint at what may be coming--assuming that the position was not merely a propaganda stance. It contrasts U.S. and Chinese style democracy, and then frames core concepts around that conceptual chasm. When Wang Yi declares that "Our values are the same as the common values of humanity. Those are: peace, development, fairness, justice, freedom and democracy" he means that from the perspective of Chinese style democracy. That points toward building a moderately prosperous society and the elimination of poverty for a community firmly behind the vanguard party.

There is no doubt much more to come.  In the meantime these are worth careful study, a study enriched within the discursive contexts of contemporary American and Chinese internal conversations. Both point to efforts at transformative change; neither state will be the same five years from now; but they seem to be moving in opposite directions. It may be small comfort to note that these movements appear to move both back to doctrinal and ideological positions with more affinity to the 1970s than to the 2010s. But of course it is far too early to tell.  The danger for both is that the transformation  in which both states find themselves will prove more self destructive than positively transformative. 

The Opinion Piece follows below (in the original and with my crude translation) along with the transcript of the contentious opening of the U.S.-China Meeting in Anchorage, the transcription of which was published by Nikkei Asia on 14 March 2021 from the original transcript posted to the U.S. State Department website.

 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

ASCE Webinar: "Scaling Up Manufacture of the Cuban Vaccine Candidates" 2 April 2020

 


 

I am delighted to announce an upcoming Webinar hosted by the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy: "Scaling Up Manufacture of the Cuban Vaccine Candidates."  The Webinar will be held Friday 2 April 2020 from 10.30 am through noon.

Our speaker is Luis Gil Abinader who is is a senior researcher at Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a nonprofit based in Washington, DC, working on access to medicines and vaccines. Prior to joining KEI Luis worked as a Fellow with the Interdisciplinary Centre of Studies in Science, Technology and Innovation (CIECTI) in Argentina. He received his Law degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in the Dominican Republic, and a Masters in Intellectual Property from the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO), in Argentina.

Registration is free but required. 

Registration Link


The American Agenda in China: CECC Report--“Hui Muslims and the "Xinjiang Model" of State Suppression of Religion”

 


 

 The Congressional-Executive Commission on China was created by the U.S. Congress in 2000 "with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress. The Commission consists of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President." (CECC About). The CECC FAQs provide useful information about the CECC. See CECC Frequently Asked Questions. They have developed positions on a number of issues.

CECC tends to serve as an excellent barometer of the thinking of political and academic elites in the United States about issues touching on China and the official American line developed in connection with those issues. As such it is an important source of information about the way official and academic sectors think about China. As one can imagine many of the positions of the CECC are critical of current Chinese policies and institutions (for some analysis see  CECC).

For some time CECC has focused on the way that Chinese central authorities have sought to put their own normative stamp on the relation of religion to both state organs and to the ruling ideology from which the political community of which religious communities form a part, draw authority and measure the legitimacy of their actions. This is especially important both to CECC and to a similar and quite contentious normative discussion in the United States.  That quite unique American discussion then informs the way that Chinese actions and their justifications are approached, analyzed, and judged.  It also serves as the baseline against which, having measured the distance between the operation of U.S. and Chinese political values,  the U.S. can fashion its response to those differences.  In a sense, then, one can learn as much about American values and the state of the American discussion about the role of religion within the organization of political communities, as one can learn from and assess the character of China's actions  in relation to its Muslim and other other minority religious populations. 

It is in this context that CECC continues to focus on Chinese engagement with its Muslim population. That engagement blends two distinct trajectories of approaches to  political constraints in defining the permissible scope of those iterations--religion itself, and ethnicity. As CECC noted in its 2020 Annual Report to Congress:

The Chinese government under President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping has further intensified the ‘‘sinicization’’ of religion—a campaign that aims to bring religion in China under closer official control and in line with officially sanctioned interpretations of Chinese culture. Authorities have expanded the ‘‘sinicization’’ campaign to target not only religions perceived as ‘‘foreign,’’ such as Islam and Christianity, but also Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, and folk religious beliefs. (Ibid., p. 107).

In line with that thinking, and those values, the CECC has distributed a new and very brief report:  Hui Muslims and the "Xinjiang Model" of State Suppression of Religion (March 2021). The Report is richer in citaiton than in text, and it is to a study of the citaitons that much can be gleaned--about sources, to be sure, but about the ideological predelictions of the authorites that led to citatn choices (inclusion and exclusion). Its central judgments, aligned with the thrust of its 2020 Report, are spelled out quite clearly in the abstract to the report:

Despite the relative freedom from Chinese government restrictions Hui Muslims experienced in recent history, official Chinese government rhetoric and policy has become less tolerant toward practice and expression of Islamic identity among Hui Muslim individuals and communities. The restrictions on Islam among Hui Muslim individuals and communities are increasingly similar to restrictions experienced by Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). In addition to being detained along with Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and others in the XUAR’s mass internment camps, Hui Muslims are subject to what some have called the “Xinjiang Model” of intrusive and repressive religious policies. This policy shift is due in part to Chinese officials’ conflation of Islamic identity and extremism and the Chinese government’s campaign to “sinicize” Islam. (Hui Muslims and the "Xinjiang Model",  Abstract).

Among its many striking elements, perhaps the most potent is the distillation of a quite distinct Xinjiang Model that appears now to have been developed with sufficient success to use it more broadly within China.  Hidden behind that revelation is the intimation that this model, well enough refined to project beyond its initial target community, might also be  projected outward along China's Belt & Road  into partner states facing difficulties in their national religious conversations  which to the minds of their leaders might benefit from the abandonment of the American or global model and the adoption of the Xinjiang Model.  

If for no other reason, then, it is quite useful to read through this report.  It appears, according to the CECC at least, that China is offering the world a Socialist Model for religious pluralism which is quite distinct from that developed among international institutions and reflected in the constitutional orders of liberal democratic states.  It likewise offers the possibility of a Socialist model that is in its own way an inversion of the theocratic model which has also proven to be quite autonomous of international discipline (for my consideration of theocratic constitutionalism, see HERE).  The threat here is real--especially for the post 1945 American lead project of universalizing an approach to the protection of religion (especially of religious minorities) made in the shadow of the barbarities of the Nationalist Socialist Regimes in Europe.  Yet China now, following the lead of theocratic regimes around the globe, offers a variation of the model, and in the process continues the fracture of the unversalization project which under the vanguard leadership of the United States came close to something of a success at least as narrative before the tumultuous events of the 21st century.  

The text of the Report follows.

 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Corriente Agramontista Boletín No 25 (La Habana Marzo 2021): Current Points of COntetion in Cuban Law(yering)





I recently noted the publication of the The Cuban Law Review (Revista Cubano de Derecho) which has just published its inaugural issue (see here). This post notes the publication of a set of essays distribuuted by Cuban oppositional figures. Together both issues provide a much clearer picture fo the state of debate within Cuba inw ays that are sometimes more difficult to detect. In the process  they provide some valuable illumnaiton of issues that are more generally relevant in global legal-political discourse. 

The Corriente Agramontista is an organization of independent Cuban lawyers who on occasion  engage in the most interesting ways with the organs of Cuban government.  Their relations with the state and its political ideology is dynamic, to say the least, and in large part oppositional. At the same time they are organized more along the lines of political opposition rather than either  a revolutionary cell or the local face of foreign designs. That said, the state has from time to time has reacted sometimes harshly against some of its members for "crossing the line" and violating the political taboos of the political system. Reading their essays gives one a good picture of the state of issues that are boiling just beneath the surface within Cuba.  In some instances these issues touch on matters that have significant relevance to political and legal theory generally, and for this reason alone are worth reading. 

I have reposted here a very interesting set of articles and short essays (in Spanish only) published as their Boletín No. 25 (March 2021). They include articles on the state of the Guantánamo Naval Base, the recent economic reforms and in particular their effects on the conditions of lawyers in Cuba, pension rights, the elimination of Cuba's dual currency system, and the state of law in Cuba.

Base Naval de Guantánamo: Derecho y geopolítica
Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces…………………………………………………… 4

Tarea Ordenamiento: Los abogados como los grandes perdedores
Lázaro Giraldo Godínez González…………………………………………………… 6

¿Es ciertamente libre el ejercicio de la abogacía en Cuba?
Julio Alfredo Ferrer Tamayo………………………………………………………….. 9

Ordenamiento monetario en la planta baja y realidad en la azotea
Maybell Padilla Pérez………………………………………………………………… 16

Una pensión es un derecho; no un acto de caridad
Amelia Rodríguez Cala………………………………………………………………. 30

Consideraciones generales sobre la Ficha Única del Ciudadano
René Lázaro López Benítez………………………………………………………….. 33

El Estado de Derecho en Cuba
Yuniesky San Martín Garcés………………………………………………………… 35

Un juez que se apartó de la regla
René Gómez Manzano……………………………………………………………….. 38

 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Sneak Peek Chapter 28: "Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems': Essays from the Year that Transformed the Hong Kong SAR (June 2019 – June 2020)--"The SAR Government Passes the National Anthem Ordinance (國歌條例草案) Reinforcing the Architecture of Two Systems WITHIN One Country"



 

For the last several months I have been sharing sneak peeks of a book to be published in early 2021: Hong Kong Between 'One Country' and 'Two Systems':  Essays from the Year that Transformed the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (June 2019 – June 2020)  (Little Sir Press).  The essays are presented in the form of a diary that marks an intellectual progression that matches the march of events. Each was written as events unfolded (each essay is dated to the time of its initial writing) and lightly edited for the book.  The object is to capture not just the strategic and normative developments that produced the new order for Hong Kong in June 2020, but also to give a sense of the uncertainties and anticipations as the events themselves unfolded during the course of the year.  The process of ideological genesis over the course of the year  is best captured from a state of anticipation without the benefit of foresight. The essays , then, do not look back on events after the fact, but speculate, discover, and captures moments that from June 2020 look inevitable but which from the perspective of June 2019 appeared far less so. 
 
In an effort to avoid the prohibitive cost of hard copies, the book will be made available first as an EPub (iBook, Kindle, Amazon) (ISBN: 978-1-949943-03-0 (ebk). My thanks to the Coalition for Peace & Ethics for making this possible. I have previously shared an early drafts of the preface (here), and chapters 2 (here; June 2019), 9 (here; August 2019); 12 (here; August 2019); 20 (here; November 2019); and 25 (here; May 2020).   
 
Here I wanted to share a draft of Chapter 28 ("Thursday 4 June 2020)-- "The SAR Government Passes the National Anthem Ordinance (國歌條例草案) Reinforcing the Architecture of Two Systems WITHIN One Country."  It concludes in part with this:
Western academics will continue to interpret the Sino-British Joint Declaration, perhaps in the hope that if they study it hard enough, the parties will be convinced that it is something worth considering going forward. China will invest substantially more effort into singing its way to unity--an effort that is likely to be far more effective than the high level discourses of those great doctors of international law interpreting a document made effectively inscrutable by the necessities of politics.
As we get closer to publication summaries of each of the 31 essays will be posted along with the table of contents.