[FOUNTAIN]China’s simple, bold agendaLao Tzu said that politics is like cooking a small fish. You need to keep the fire under control and add simple, moderate seasoning to make it into a good meal. Lao Tzu’s analogy was to emphasize the subtle power of inactivity.
Zhu Sheng took it a step further and discussed realistic methods of state administration. Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, met Zhu Sheng right before he established rule. Zhu Sheng had been a hermit scholar who founded a school in today’s Jiangxi and educated junior scholars. While traveling the region, Zhu Yuanzhang came across Zhu Sheng’s path and asked him for instructions on establishing an empire.
Zhu Sheng’s answer was straightforward. “Construct high walls, collect food widely and slowly proclaim yourself as the emperor.” Zhu Yuanzhang quickly grasped the key points of the teaching. Not long after the encounter, Zhu Yuanzhang founded the Ming Dynasty. Construction of high walls strengthens the nation’s safety, or national security, in today’s sense. Collecting foodstuffs stabilizes the livelihood of the people.
The teaching of Zhu Sheng is a famous advice widely used by political regimes throughout Chinese history. After founding socialist China, Mao Zedong rephrased the quotation and said, “Make deep shelters, collect food widely and do not speak of hegemony.” Mao found wisdom from the legacy of Zhu Sheng as he felt threatened by the imperial hegemony of the United States and the Soviet Union.
Simplicity and intense concentration are the core of the governing theories of Lao Zhu and Zhu Sheng. Perhaps because of the tradition, China is thriving today. Recently, China’s CCTV ran a documentary series entitled “The Rise of the Great Nations,” showing the country is having high hopes of joining the ranks of the great nations. The economy is growing rapidly, and the livelihood of the people is stable. The investment in research and development has surpassed Japan and is the second largest in the world, after the United States. It is all thanks to China’s simple yet bold national agenda that focuses on national defense and economy.
If Korea is a fish, it has been chopped up into pieces. The country has been in chaos because of ideological disputes and discords over the past. It is on the verge of crumbing, not building high walls.
The president is so involved in politics that he sends mail while visiting foreign countries. He is seemingly full of ideas and knowledge, but it is worrisome that he does not display the wisdom of control.
The writer is the Beijing correspondent
of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Yoo Kwang-jong