tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN May 29, 2012 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT
i think the problem is with walter cronkite people see him as a friendly man which he was to everybody but there's another side of him that wanted to be the best. he was obsessed with ratings, the report every might yet he is probably the fiercest competitor ever written about, and i've written about presidents and generals and the desire to be the best was very pronounced.
>> former national intelligence officer on his biography of chinese leader. this is a little more than an hour. >> welcome to the cambridge forum discussing deng ziaoping and the transformation of china. i am michael professor of chinese history at harvard and i will serve as the moderator. it's a pleasure for me to introduce ezra vogel the henry ford second professor of the social sciences emeritus at harvard and expert on both japan and china he's visited asia every year since 1958. over his career he's offered or co-authored 50 books and many articles through academic and popular journals. the japanese edition of the book japan is no. what lessons for america is still the all-time
best seller in japan of nonfiction by a western author. 1987 he began studying the transformation of china spending eight months at the invitation of the provincial government exploiting the economic and social progress of the province since he took the lead in pioneering economic reform in 1978. the result was his book one step ahead in china under a reform which appeared in 1989. the professor retired from teaching in 2000. i arrived at harvard in 2007 and i truly grateful for the mentoring and the encouragement and the friendship ezra has offered a junior colleague since his retirement but befriending junior colleagues hasn't been his main focus in the years since his retirement. rather he has devoted his time to completing his book on deng ziaoping and his era. the book was recently awarded a lionel prize for contributions
to international understanding. i'm sure it is going to be the first of many awards for this extraordinary book. the masterfully a comprehensive study, calls the rich and intricate career from his birth to 1904 at the end of the dynasty to his death in 97 only a few months before the return of hong kong to the mainland. his life to the most century of changes in china as experienced of the war, revolution, the nellis era and finally the economic boom of opening and reform. and deng played a major role in the nation's politics and development over the period. helpless deng ziaoping find a way to turn china into a wealthy and powerful member of the international community? what personal and cultural factors contributed to the success? what obstacles did he face? how did vogel go about researching and writing the study of deng's live in legacy? welcome to the cambridge forum
ezra vogel. [applause] >> thank you very much, mike. it's a pleasure to be introduced by mike szonyi one of the young studies around the world having gotten a ph.d. at oxford and coming from canada originally and harvard is very lucky to have him as a professor of chinese history. when i was retiring from harvard in 2000i was trying to think what could i do that would make americans better understand what was going on in asia, and i did -- des moines need to get a little closer? i decided that china is the most complicated problem that we face in the future. the transformation that took place in china that set off on the past that it's going having
formed a the country that would be a very good basis so current china was shaped by deng ziaoping. he came to power in 1978 and was a dominant person right up until 1992 for period of 14 years. but i thought i would do in the brief time today -- i was told not to talk more than 20 minutes, would be to talk about some of the forces that shaped deng and made him what he was and what he did to transform china because 1978 the country she inherited had a per capita income of less than $100 per capita. now it's estimated somewhere around 6,000 it's on the path that he is headed on. there was almost no migration
from the countryside to the city and since he came perhaps to hundreds of people have moved from the countryside towns and cities. when he became in the power the country was still involved in the cultural revolution and people were full committee toward each other and he worked to unite the country. what are some of the forces that shaped him? one, when he was 15-years-old she was in the county high school at that time the year 1919 just after our dever site treaty there was an outbreak of student movements in beijing where people -- was the first budding of chinese nationalism,
and at that time he was a youth in high school but a few joined in the demonstration and he joined the demonstration. they talked about how certain use at a certain time when they had their identity formed with a movement or with an institution that becomes very basic and central to his whole life and so his dedication to the national purpose really began already at age 15. the second thing i would mention is his experience and france from 1922 25. after world war i a lot of the chinese students wanted to go abroad. they didn't have the opportunities they have today to study the united states and europe and australia and canada and get scholarships.
the idea was of some leading chinese business people is they would send students abroad that would work part time, and then they would earn money and study at the universities can't come back and bring with a have in china build up the new strong shy net. at that time, deng ziaoping was 16 and he was one of the youngest and the group to pass the exams to go to france, and of all the countries the chinese students wanted to go to at that time, france was the main one. during world war i, about half a million chinese workers went to the soviet union to work, and about 150,000 went to france. so there were a lot of work opportunities in france and the chinese felt that that was a great civilization and so a group of youths went to france
in 1920, 1930, and from that group came the communist league. what happened was, to get their first of all they had to be pretty well-educated, and that meant their parents had to have money so they were not from the worker class for the present class, they were from the british law class. but when they got there what they found was that there were no jobs for them. the french that survive the war had come back. france was suffering an inflation depression and there were not any jobs come and the jobs that were available went to french men and they felt that the cactus were looking very lavish and living a very luxurious style of life. and yet the workers were very poor and at best the chinese that were over there could get dirty and greasy jobs to
ordinary french workers didn't want to get. so, when they formed to study groups and tried to think of what is a broad explanation of what's going on, what just happened several years earlier in 1917 made a lot of sense that seemed like the people were exploring the working-class and that the country was already a fairly well-developed were exploiting those in the poor nations and so that a group that had gone to france was so disappointed they couldn't study in the universities receive enough money to get in the universities and so they just continue to work in the factories. there are very disillusioned with with their own country not coming up with scholarships when they had been encouraged to go
there. the leader in the scriven france was joe was about six years older than deng and later became the premier foreign minister and was the one that read henry kissinger. it was critical in shaping deng's the character and his point of view was in the wartime from 1937 to 1949. it was an active wartime, so his job as a political commissar in one of the leading have units and later as the front commander for the largest bottler in the history of the reality of the
troops. now that deng a lot of other leaders were way back in the 1940's which is a lot are protected from outside areas and they have room to talk about fear the and philosophy and training in the generations. deng laws on the front lines for years. his job was to get ready for the next battle. she had to be pragmatic. he didn't have time to talk about theory and philosophy. he had learned the fury in moscow after france where he was for a year but he didn't have the time to engage in the battle to engage in the theoretical discussion he was so busy in the battle. another important influence should have mentioned about the year in moscow is that when he was in moscow from 1926 to 1927 the soviet union had the new economic policy. the economic policy was in
charge but to have the markets open to foreign trade, open to investments and the communist party was able to provide leadership for that he had this experience from 1949 to 52 when he was in charge of the southwest bureau provinces of southwest china which had about 100 million people because the laws before they had with the >> caller: socialist transformation before they built. so he had lots of experience in leading the communist party and yet having an open market economy. so after 1978 when he began to develop that pattern leading an open economy it wasn't new to him. he already had that experience. another important experience that helped shape him was his experience as the general secretary to the party.
he had liked mao in the early 30's when he was criticized and purged for leading the mao for action. he was an the province and down there he was accused of falling to closely and he was purged for that so that endeared him and he conceded that he was a very capable person, very bright, very able, and so conveyed on the very early. so from the mid-1950s until 1956, he had the experience of being the general secretary of the party supervising all party activities, so while mao was the chairman of the board as the chairman of the party and the chairman of the country, deng
ziaoping had the responsibility of dealing with practical issues. i think another thing that shaped deng that is important shaping him was in 1959 and the great leap forward was really devastating the countryside people were starving large numbers and the latest estimates are that perhaps 40 to 50 million people died prematurely because the famine that was caused by the commune system and remove to believe to move rapidly. wasn't based on realities and it wasn't based on what was going on in the hillside world. mao had never been abroad but deng had a better sense of what
was going on. let me move from those influences to what deng did when he came to power in 78. he had died in 76 and mao was still pursuing to the end. he wanted to shake up the country and have people attack those who are going on the capitalist road who were too free and independent so most of the senior leaders of the party were criticizing and purged by deng ziaoping. one of the first things he did when he took -- came back after being purged again in 1975, one of the first things he did was to start working on education. he took over the responsibility for foreign relations and education science technology in
august 77 when he came back to work. mao purged him at the beginning of the cultural revolution but he always wanted to think of speed and as somebody that might learn a lesson in the long run so while some other people were purged in prison, he was sent off and to the hope was that he would come back and work for the good of the country and help the place to grow. well, when he came back in august 17771 of the first things he did was to open the universities and require entrance examinations. the universities had been closed from 1966 of the beginning of the cultural revolution and deng felt that for the country to progress of all of the modernizations the industry, agriculture, national defence, science technology education was the most important.
and she wanted the students to come back to the universities. and in order to do that, he wanted to have entrance examinations. under mao, political considerations were always very important in getting into universities for a higher education. mao wanted people that were well read. deng felt that in 1977 there were no longer any landlords. they'd been wiped out in the early 50's. there were no people that had been wiped out in the 1950's and therefore the country could go strictly by merit so the entrance to the universities were strictly by marriage and in 1977 when he decided to open universities he made an entrance examination into those that pounced but in. so the people that first passed the tests were like 7 million who took the exams and a few hundred thousand with entrance into the universities but that group of talented people many of
whom had worked in the countryside or had been involved in other labor when they wanted to study or extraordinarily thankful for letting them come back to the university's. another thing that deng did that was basic was send people abroad to study. when frank press, president carter's science adviser who was an mit professor went to china in the summer of 1978, the had just begun talking on normalization and he said to frank press we want to send hundreds of students to the united states to utilize relations and we want tens of some sense to go. are you ready to accept them? he didn't know what to do. he phoned jimmy carter in the middle of the night and i interviewed jimmy carter about
his role in relating to deng. he was awakened at 3 a.m. and he said sure, go ahead. so, deng was ready to go ahead and send all of these students abroad. now over 1 million have been abroad and deng's students achieve what he wasn't able to achieve in the 1920's, the opportunity to learn from worldwide what was going on. one of the biggest reforms made the collectivization and to manage this politically was quite extraordinary. many people who were dedicated communists and many of those that work in the countryside felt that the commune system -- and the collectivization was a basis what they were trying to do. he managed to handle this politically and beautifully. he didn't do it like an american
politician standing up in the campaign saying i'm going to be collectivize, not at all. what he did was to try to allow one of his best friends to go to the province which had some of the biggest starvation and retold them if people are starving you've got to let them do whatever they can to find a way to earn their own food and survive and even the conservatives couldn't oppose that. so they decided what they could do to get ahead and sure enough a lot of them began forming their own family plots and broke off from the big collectives, then what he did is he said some journalists to observe for happened in the report and the
report in beijing that there was a lot of progress and production had gone up in those areas where they had tried it and then deng announced that if people really wanted to in which areas where there was a serious famine they should be allowed on a broad scale to find a way to produce goods on their own, and within a year or so over 90 present of the country d collectivized. it was a brilliant way in which he had supported the conservatives. he didn't go out on a limb and he let it develop readily so that many people supported it. and in the fall of 78, one of the reasons why i mentioned his fall in the cultural revolution as being so important is because it led him to think the chinese could go a very different path,
and one of the important things was also of forming a good relations with the major countries with which they would learn. he had already been to europe and 74 and 1975 as well as 1920 to 25 triet so in the visit to the united nations to france in 74 and france in 75 and to southeast asia in early 1978 he had a good idea what was going on the outside world but he wanted others to get that same message. so the summer of 1978, sorry, 1978 he encouraged the delegation led by a prime minister likes deputy minister to lead a group of people from all the major economic units, all the major economic mission planning commission's,
construction commission and the torch ministries concerned with the various kind of industries to take a five week tour of europe. when they came back it was led by a man when they came back some people felt that they would have a meeting the last couple of hours. they started at 3 p.m. and finished at midnight. with the group reported is that china was far behind the west, much further behind than they thought. also, however, the european countries are ready to lend money for and help with their technology so rhetoric and being discouraged by being so far behind europe they were very excited with the could do as a result of that visit. so in the 1980's another thing he did is to begin to open up markets to the al-sayyid world, and here he played a very key
role. he knew that if he immediately set the whole country has markets that the conservatives would be infuriated and there would be a lot of polarization. but he did was to say let's try some experiments. if they work in some place we will see. and he allowed some of these special economic zones down there in hong kong and along the southeast coast areas from which a lot of chinese had migrated overseas to begin to open up its zones and he also knew the people that had migrated overseas often had been successful businesspeople and willing to invest in their own local area. so he let them begin to bring because the government was so short on money they relied heavily on these outside investors to provide the funds for necessary to get those
experiments started. and once the experiment started, then he encouraged the high level leaders to go visit to see the progress and they were stunned by the industry and construction that the salles and the build a broad base of support so those were experiments that were not successful and began to spread on the localities. in 1989, he faced a very serious problem of student demonstrations. the students -- let me back up. in the beginning of 1989, gorbachev was invited to beijing to bring back to good relations. they've been broken off in 63 by deng himself when he went to moscow to argue, that in 1989, he invited gorbachev and his
wife to come on the conditions that they pull out of afghanistan and pull the troops back from the northern chinese border and the vietnam would pull out of cambodia and gorbachev accepted the conditions. so they invited the news people from all over the world to come to beijing. but when they got there what they found was some student demonstrations. they started out over the death of a very progressive open leader who suddenly died, and the students were so upset that their beloved leader had died she wanted more dhaka see and he wanted more openness so they began to demonstrate. there was still a lot of political control over students and ordinary people. that upset them and so there were a lot of urban support for this did in-store demonstrating
and they had huge demonstrations after gorbachev left they still demint quieted down and so deng and warned them if they didn't quiet down he would have to take some stir in the steps. on may 20th of 1989 he brought in the troops to try to get control but they couldn't get control. they ran into all kinds of obstacles and the people who didn't want the troops coming into the city. said he supported what other leaders decided to do to allow the trips to do what was necessary to lead an order and the entered the city and the best day that we have is as many as 800 people were killed on the streets of beijing. i think if i had written my book 20 years ago nobody would have
paid attention to it because people were so upset at what deng did to crack down on june june 4th that nobody would want to think about his historical role. in my book i try to be clear about what he did cracking down on june 4th and there's still a lot of kids that feel there was a terrible thing. but i think as we look at the chinese history, we have to recognize his historical contribution. if we look at people like thomas jefferson and george washington the own slaves, lots of slaves. there was a terrible thing. it was an and humane thing. if we were to think about the role in history just on owning slavery, we would have missed a lot about what they did to form their country. and as a complicated character he did crack down. she felt that they needed to to
keep the peace and allow the country to grow. but he also led the country to modernization. since he came to power perhaps 300 million people had come out of poverty and are now living very comfortable lives. the countryside has turned into an open eris. he's brought modernization technology, raised the standard of living and they join the world inventor organizations. students that come across and come back to china bringing new technology, new ideas so that it's really transformed the country. i think if you personally start to think which leader of the 20th century did more to change the shape of history i think there's a strong argument that maybe it was deng ziaoping because several hundred million people out of poverty, people
got much wealthier and raised their standard of living and changed the balance of world power because 1978 china was a weak country. it wasn't considered an important country and today china ranks up in the united states in terms of its influence in world affairs. so i think in short we have a very remarkable man and wife tried to do is as objectively as i can record what people consider good points and bad points and to recognize the extraordinary role that she's played in three making history. thank you. [applause] the acclaimed biography of
china's transformational leader deng ziaoping. when you were talking about his life in the military and the army you mentioned that he was pragmatic and too busy for theory given that he's the author at deng ziaoping's theory that students what to study and one of the interesting things i found in the book is the suggestion some of the reforms for which he's famous for actually done on his predecessor leader the transfer of practices that had been tried out in places like south korea and taiwan was he a good learner were said just on the conclusion of the book a competent manager.
it wasn't unique to deng ziaoping, and even he was criticized the successor one that now chose to be the successor who turned out not to be a great strong leader was in favor of a lot of those reforms and a lot of the more in favor of a lot of the reforms. to some extent, she did have a very long perspective and whether visionaries' a rightward but when you think about hong kong, he said for the years you can keep the system if you ask obama what do you plan to do for the next 50 years for this country, that would hardly be a serious question. i mean, no american leader -- for years as a long-term for the end of the term to the next election so she did have a longer-term perspective.
devotees same time he was experimental and he didn't have the fixed notion and used the expression crossed a river by groping for stones and again that term was attributed to deng but it wasn't unique to him he didn't invent a. he used the ideas and he was a manager that put it all together and provided the deduction on a firm hand that made it all happened. >> you talk about the skill of the politician pushing the collectivization reforms. we've seen from one of the leading stars of the young leaders in china that personality politics and factional politics remain very important in china. what enabled deng to be so successful what managing and reconciling the fractional interest? >> i think that he had the
authority that came in very closely with mao and worked closely with both of them learning foreign relations and 73 come 75 he worked with france as a young man and he also worked very closely with mao. but i think it was also he was smart. he remembered things and have a perspective of history. when i interviewed him he'd met many of the world leaders and thought he was as great of a leader as he met because he was able to recognize that what he had learned and put in practice wasn't working and he was ready to try something new but step by step in a way people could accept can it wouldn't add to the polarization that would help
resolve the polarization. >> the skill that many politicians could benefit from having. >> welcome to the forum as we continue the discussion on the transformation of china if the dean of harvard scholar. what role did he play in bringing china to the places points today as a powerful player in the pacific rim and the international economy crux of the spread in the program will take questions from the audience please line up at the microphone and asked one question we want to get as many of you as possible chance to ask your questions. >> thank you. i'm wondering if you'd care to go off from this chronological history about what he did to develop the country into its cultural anthropology and its political philosophy as the great chinese miracle was blooming there are tens of thousands of chinese particularly in africa and other parts of the world about our gathering resources to feed the great dragon if you want to call it that.
and how well the chinese people better in these foreign countries and absorbing information education whether they want to stay within the countries that they have visited or pledge your dedicated to return to read to talk about the tibetan buddhists, stuff like that in the scheme of this development of china for 30, 40 years out for us. >> the associated senator paltry i'm happy to make a few comments. first of all, although mao was revolutionary in theory he blocked mobility. he led the people in the old countryside to stay in their common. they couldn't move to the city and people that worked in a certain units in the city were bonded to that unit and they couldn't move easily to other units and the housing was owned by the state.
so what deng did by opening up the migration, allowing people to move from the countryside as they had enough food to feed the city population completely transformed the society that had been really rigid and locked in to one that was mobile. the old family system and a lot of the rural areas is not preserved when you moved so rapidly and the people in the city only had one child. as for the chinese going overseas there are many different kind of reasons and different kind of changes going overseas. some are diplomats who want to keep good relations. some are working for a private capacity to try to find out what's going on and pass it up through the leaders of their well informed of what goes there. some are companies that are out there to make money and look at investments.
some are energy companies% by the state to try to establish solid sources of energy that will continue to fuel china as it continues to have more automobiles and more steel plants and remake china. so, maybe that is a quick answer to some of your concerns, but i think that is a very quick overview. >> i just have one comment and one question. the comment is what underlines what you just described. that is the ability to seize power. ferc said, in short after she started a restructuring accord of the leadership if.
to fund german of the communist party and eventually it had fallen out of the leadership, so without the ability to seize the power in the chinese communist party nothing would be possible just very recently there has been allegedly been within the core of the chinese communist authority the proposal to at least read the decision of the ambassador but highly controversial in the core of the communist authorities so i want
you to comment on the impact is that stabilizing impact under the chinese communist party under the turning the table around on this issue. >> first your assumption general comment, first anybody had to have a firm grip on power to carry out his activities and that is true that two years after the vietnam war but i don't think that they are related and i talked to and i talked to many others and went through the records of the war,
and what he was concerned about in 1979 when he invaded vietnam was that the soviets and vietnamese are cooperating the united states pulled out of vietnam he was very worried that the imam were going to circle around in circles china used by the soviet ships and there was a real danger of encirclement, and that was the reason why he went to the war in the vietnam. and he didn't have to do any of the pushing. it was done by the others basically it was done in november of 1978 by the seniors. while ezra was in the southeast asia that they basically began to push him aside. on june 4th it is true that
there are a lot of people in china who feel that those that were assessed for forming the demonstrations and so forth should be considered patriots and other cases should be reversed. they should no longer be considered people who challenge the order but who helped the order because there are certain people living who were deeply involved thinking also of the successor who wasn't there but succeeded after that. i think it is on - trend to note the inside power in china suggests that would probably take many more years and to respect that there would be the reversal of the verdicts, but probably not during the lifetime and perhaps not during his lifetime. thank you.
>> professor vogel, i appreciate you commenting on the experimental nature of deng and his reform going through the long history of reform without blueprints come and i also wonder -- i haven't read the book. i'm sorry, but i'm just curious when you said that he had a long-term vision of hongkong, did he have a similar vision on taiwan, the sovereignty of taiwan and tibet and so. thank you for your help at the service center to have your own
troops but unfortunately he was unable to resolve the issue and what he thought was most critical is that america was still sending arms to taiwan, and therefore taiwan was not willing to begin to negotiate and they felt that as long as the united states was behind the didn't have to negotiate. so now we have a very complicated system. one of the tensions between the united states and china over taiwan because as america sells arms to taiwan, then tie one does not want to have the integration. they feel they can remain independent. and that is very disturbing. he had hoped that in his lifetime he would achieve the unification of taiwan. the most bitter disappointed he had with his achievement is he wasn't able to bring them back into the mainland. >> it's hard to see the business
in taiwan becoming inevitable. >> is certainly would. >> i have a question about the current and the new administration. china is going through changing of guards and the recent scandal seems like there's comment that china is going to go backwards and is going to be less open and i wonder about the new administration following the path of deng ziaoping becoming more open market reform and do you think that this kind going backward? >> there's a lot of things we don't know. the united states before a person takes office we have election campaigns of the constant exposure to the press conferences.
now he's going to be the new successor keeps quiet as possible. he knows that if he speaks out it may disrupt things, and it's very difficult there for to analyze but he would do. he's not stating his policy. one can say a few things from his background. i think it gives some clues. one is when he was there is the party secretary he was very open. second, when he met forerunners in australia and japan they feel he's a very open man they can deal with in a very frank and direct way and that he's very bright. the third thing i would say judging by his father who was very unusual, he was one of the leaders of this new opening and the special economic zones out on the front doing it and also
was criticized and thrown out in january 87. he was known as the most liberal and open minded of all of the chinese leaders. there's only one leader that stood at that time and that's his father so i think there is reason for hope that it will be a more open leader and continue reforms more than the present leader is doing. >> many people see the transformation of china is not yet complete and the leaders of the transformation of china is not yet complete and then he has done most of the political transformation is predicted to be more difficult and may
involve more interest so what do we learn from the leadership skills and the strategies that he's used and how much can we apply those experiencing in the political transformation? >> as you know there was the expression in the continuous revolution, and i think when you use the word continuous reform it's not just one stage that's all done forever. i think the reform and opening will continue and i think for example the rule of law will become more important however i don't think we should expect them to file for western-style democracy. it's not clear to me that is the vision for the i think the need to find a to have broad public representation so the leaders
have a broad base of legitimacy in perpetuating the communist party and they are experimenting with various means and the party of the voting and the national people's congress where more voting is more dissent. there are more cases where your select a group of potential leaders and choose which of that group. these experiments will continue and reforms are many kinds for many years to but i think particularly now they've become so widespread in such a serious problem that she has to take firm steps for corruption than the current leader does. >> thank you, and i think what
reader. he's a good leader but not a good reader. in his spare time played a part for the people and he promoted to the high position in a lot of ways of people's time i would argue i would ask your progress and i appreciate this my comments to your talk. >> thank you very much. i think he did play bridge often once or twice a week but it's not true of all the people that were promoted i was able to interview one or two, one of
them was a brilliant bridge player when he played bridge he often got in his bridge playing start he thought was a good mental exercise to think about bridge. he often had a partner who was a bridge playing star and the other star also had one so that would improve his skill and he also liked to play pocket pool billiards he often employed that also. >> for a time we had brought chinese students here to learn about aids i think it was the basic sciences. the students were all very
bright and they knew their facts, but the teachers and the professor road that down. they never questioned anything is one of the chinese american professors deliberately gave the lab experiment and when the lab experiment didn't work he said and you believe to be? my question is is this still true? are they learning to question even the learned professors? >> since china has 1.3 billion people, there is quite a bit of. but i think that there's a jury strong a kernel of truth that is still true that in the better high schools the key point is to get ready for the university exams and that is learning fact of mastering the information and they do that very well. the critical judgment is not something that half as much a
part of the education as part of ours. however, they had 1.1 million people a half from abroad. they had more critical - and over 200 have now gone back a lot of them at universities. so there is an attempt in many universities to try to develop critical thinking in a bigger way. but still, i think the dominant pattern is to learn the facts, learn the information and as he who is the brightest to get the information, to get in the next level of examinations. that's still very dominant, and china now wants to become a world leader in science technology and i think it's not only that the party has trouble tracking the world's best scholars because of some
clamping down on freedom of thought and free expression but it's also this fundamental issue to bring attention to and that is the people are not taught to think critically. >> in some ways we are the beneficiary of that here at harvard because we have students that have rejected that and demand political thinking those are some of our brightest the first pass exams and beyond that they also do fun of critical thinking. >> i imagine would be ten or 20 years before another biography about the level of years is going to be written. when would you like to see it cover that your book wasn't able to cover? that is a great question. when i was writing it all is
afraid somebody might beat me to it. [laughter] but there is nobody else that has done anything comparable, and would take a few years to get anything comparable to the i had a lot of good luck some of which was having so many chinese students here that had developed connections that i could interview a lot of people that ordinary people could not interview. when i hosted the amendment in 1998i was able to interview him about deng ziaoping and i don't know anybody else that has interviewed him. one source of information of course is going to come out and that is a lot of stories in the meetings and a lot of rich deutsch held discussions and records of meetings will come out and give a rich picture in the process because he didn't keep notes.
it's tough for a biographer but i think what i would like to see is -- i may not be around to see ten, 20 years the new biography to come, but i hope they would make full use of records to get a rich picture of the actual decision making process in the consideration of what happened i could sort of guess but i couldn't nail it down. thank you.
>> he brought him on to take charge of propaganda for the committee. the second time, of course, was purged was in 1966 by mal himself as the beginning of the cultural revolution as one of the two leaders in authority taking the capless road. the third time was at the end of late 1975, early 1976 when he was purged for fear he would not continue the path of revolution and continue the respect for what was done. i think those were all the kinds of things that were set backs, but i think in terms of things
that you might call errors or -- i think another error he made was in 1988 when he was an heir, and he was in a big hurry, and the person he was paired with worked closely with him, and he was in some respect much more cautious person, and when they worked together, they accomplished much, much more. 1988, he was in such a hurry to release prices that he knew he was going to end his career soon, and that he wanted to finish that off before he retired, and so he released all kinds of prices at the time when there were inflationary pressures. that made inflation sky high and that's part of the reason people in beijing are no longer enthusiastic about dung as they had been before.
>> professor, thank you very much for presenting this history to american people and i'm from beijing, and this is not only the history of its person, but the history of a lot of people of my generation, and i grew up with his policies, and i think this is a great to -- let more american people know better about what he did, in fact, in china, but not just through all the superficial events, reportings from the newspapers so this is my first book already so i usually give them as gifts to americans or other people, those wanting to know better about chinese history in the past 0 years.
my question will be very simple. this is the history. for the future and for the near future, what's your point of view between -- i mean, what's your point of view of the china's rise and the american relative decline? will they be punished or will they be enemies 1234 -- enemies? >> i think there's going to be a lot of tensions between china and the united states. as kissinger pointed out in his book, you know, for eight presidents, beginning with nixon, all of them felt we must be engaged with china and must work with china so even though there's a lot of tension and competition, in the end, i think it's in leaders' interest, leaders of both countries recognize that it's in their interest to contain the pressures for competition and
for, particularly for the disstressed. the critical single problem we refer to now as a team of strategic mistrust, and i think it's that we are not sure of military chinese intentions, and we say, of course, we want to engage in china, but they suspect maybe we really don't, and we -- we hear the chinese leaders say they want a peaceful rise, but then in the south china sea, they have many patrol boats that are coming in conflict from other countries so i think it's going to take a lot of determination on the part of a lot of leaders and much more open discussion of military goals and much more transparency and military preparedness on both sides in order to achieve the cooperation and peaceful
future that we all want. >> china faces a lot of challenges today, not just internationally, but many challenges created either by the policies dung implemented or circumstances that occurred on his watch. china faces a looming demographic challenge both in terms of declining number ofs -- numbers of working as a result of a gender imbalance as a result of the one child policy and expansion challenges, driven in part by the economy, political challenges created in part by the creation of the middle class demanding new rights and so forth. dung, had he gone to meet marx, were he on the scene, what would he be doing about the challenges? >> that's a brilliant summation
of the issues they are facing. i think if dung were alive today, the biggest issue he'd think of is corruption because dung thought of political support as key to power, one of the most fundmental things he was concerned with, and with so much corruption, there is a danger that people will no longer support the leaders and communism party, and when he was stepping down in 1992, he said, you know, we must use two fists. we must grab reform with one first, and we must grab illegal behavior, corruption, with the other fist, and i think he, of course, is a much stronger and had a stronger base of power than the leaders do nowadays, but if he were alive, he'd attack that vigorously, but i think in terms of openness and relations -- i think also he would work very hard to deal with that strategic disstress with the outside world. he felt the soviet union made a
terrible error by having enemies, spending so much on the military, and exhausting the nation on trying to maintain a small military when they didn't build up their own country, and he would slow down the growth of the military and work to have better relations for all major powers, including japan especially, but i think eyed also want to make sure that they didn't spend so much on the military. >> thank you, ezra vogel. [applause]
incredibly lucky to shoe horn into the book at the last minute because otherwise it would have been outdated as others came out. this is a little different in tone compared to the rest of the book, but i like it, and so i'm going to read from it. the book is called, "a week in december." snow is late this year, and the city feels like it's plunged into a permanent darkness. excessive lighting on the 8-lane road does little to change the feeling, but i am struck by a giant illuminating structure. some call it a poster or billboard, but neither description suggests the scale of the thing. it sits on top of a 2-story
building from the 18th century, appears taller than the building. it has round edges. inside the frame, putin, one wearing a red tie, the other blue, looking at each other over a giant caption, united russia. tomorrow is the following election. that makes today, by law, a day of silence, meaning all campaigning is banned, outdoor advertising is included. i take a picture with my cell phone and upload it to facebook. within an hour, the picture collects 17 comments, no world record, but more reaction than i thought on a saturday night. those comments are not my usual politically engaged friends.. a markets manager, you think you've seen worse, but it makes you want to throw up, doesn't it? another who gave up journalism
14 years ago, i have not voted in more than a dozen years because putin's laws rendering elections are meaningless. parties can't get on the ballot, parliament not elected directly, and it's rigged by election officials anyway. a couple months ago when a group of well-known liberal writers, artists, and political activists were told to write an obscenity on the ballots, i criticized it as a losing tack -- tactic. we needed a meaningful alternative, like, perhaps a reason to vote. in the back and forth that followed in various publications, some chimed in with actual reasons to go to the polls. make sure the parties of crooks and thieves, did not vote in your name. to vote for an opposition party on the ballot so united russia was not the majority in judicial
parliament. amazingly, these things went viral. having written her dissertation on elections, she woke up the other day and asked, was that a dream, or are you going to vote? yes ring i'm going to vote. why, she asked? i can't explain it. i said this because over the last few days, i had several discussions with my friends., who are also going to vote. we have been trying to decide for which so-called party to vote. thousands of people including my friends registered in elections, and it was part of the effort. we will be spending tomorrow at the polls trying to avoid falsity cation.
i go to a the polls a half hour before they close so that i can catch the election thieves red handed if they already used my name to vote, but, no, neither norly 91-year-old grandmother recommendation steered to vote, nor do i observe any other violations. i cast my vote, photograph it, and post it to facebook. i 2k3w0 to a former colleague's 40th birthday party. it's a mixed crowd. my friend is one of the people who seems to know everyone, and everyone is talking about the election. 30-somethings come in declaring i voted for the first time in my life. it's predictable that they utter the phrase within minutes of walking true the door. a couple guests worked as volunteer election observers had
tales of violations. young people who were paid to hide ballots under their clothing. they removed observers when the counting began. many officials forced their time tally with no regard for the ballots. none of this is news to me. what is new is the fact we're talking about this at a party late into the night and that we all voted, and something else too. the election observers tell us their fellow observers including a schoolteacher who arrived in a range rover and others who are not like us. something has shifted. not only for us media junkies on our facebook pages. what does it take for people to take to the streets? one asks those gathered in the kitchen, i'm not sure, i say, but i feel something is in the air. monday, december, the 5th. driving the kids to school, i
listened to reports on the radio. united russia supposedly has just under 50% of the vote. i know this is not an accurate figure, but it is considerably lower than the similar falsified results of the previous parliament election when united russia supposedly got 66%. perhaps the turnovers are so low some local election officials thought they could take the lie only so far. as i would also find out later today, some precincts resisted all together the pressure for the numbers. citizens observer 500 election observes posted at 170 precincts in moscow so now major results. when the results from those were tallied, united russia was second with just over 23% of the vote, trailing the communism party. assuming the selection was representative, it would appear the official count more than doubled the real one. citizen observer reports that 49% of eligible voters took
part, far more than any other recent russian election. the protest is planned for tonight, and i plan to go. i do not want to protest in moscow in dreary or dangerous or both. anyone planning to stage a public rally or dmop strags has to notify the authorities 10-15 days in advance. the city can deny permission or grant it for a specific location and number of participants. if permission is denied and it goes on anyway, you will be arrested and roughed up in the process. if granted, the police set up coordinates and mark space for the number of participants and metal protecters at the perimeter. protesters have to undergo a search procedure and hold their rally talking to themselves. i dislike the legal gatherings more than the illegal ones. i feel i must go. this is one of those times. my friend, anna, messages me with a quote from today's "new
york times" article in the russian election. anna who i met in kosovo who i met a a correspondent says democracy is an action where both were there and adds if it was not so sad, it would be funny. yeah, i respond. something's afoot, but it's not going anywhere. i go to the protest. it's unseasonably warm meaning it's cold and miserable. temperatures around freezing and pouring rain. who is going to brave this weather to fight the hopeless fight for democracy? everyone. at least everyone i know. i approachedded the part where the protest is slighted to take place with two friends, and as we walk, people attach to our small clump. one of the younger brother and another, two of my former reporters, those who took turn calling in from the theater disaster years ago. one is now a radical arts activist spending a fair amount
of time in jail. the other recently quit his editorial job in a dispute over precensorship elections. we can want make out the detectors through the crowd. word spreads. the area filled up, the police will not let more people through. this means there's at least 500 people in the park, and that, by moscow standards, is huge. we walk in the street along the park looking in over a low fence. there are not hundreds, but thousands of people in the park. we find ourselves in an informal group, and parkedded are busses that brought the police here and waiting prisoner transport vehicles. we're blocking traffic, they'll detain us. the police look on indifferently as a dozen climb over the fence to join the dmop straiters. the rain keeps coming. my hair is soaked and feet feel like they are falling off.
i'm happy to be standing there freezing saying hello to friends. in every direction. there's my friend, the photographer, who traveled war zones in the 1990s. there arriving separately is his son, a college sophomore, born a year after the soviet union collapsed, and my editor more than 15 years ago. i lost it, you know, she tells me. remember how we used to count the number of people in a demonstration in the 1990s by breaking the crowd into quadrants. i can't do it anymore. either can i. i can't remember the technique nor distinguish anything in the crowd in the dark. i'm certain there's more than 5,000 people here. estimates range up to 10,000, and that makes this the largest protest in russia since the early 1990s. i invite the group to my apartment, just down the block. the women accept invitation, but the men are going to join the march to the center election committee building. the march is clearly illegal, an i fear they will be arrested. indeed, about # --
300 arrests and violence. there's going to be something else too. in an hour when i'm cooking a late supper as people warm up, there's a tweet that they pulled the two younger brothers out of a transport vehicle by the coat collars. six young men and two brothers and two men i have not met will be another the apartment disheveled and self-satisfied in a row mappic revolutionary way telling the story of the prisoners' rescue. i think i have seen this before. this is the moment the fear lifts. someone enters a prisoner transport vehicle to rescue his brother, and the police and riot gear let him. it's a tiny moment of great change. the young men eat and recount the police where their less fortunate friends are held. i'm going to fast forward a couple days from monday to the following saturday. saturday, december 10th. driving in from where the
children are well in the proat the, i listen to the radio and fret. so what if 35,000 people stated on facebook they are going to the protest. i heard of people getting 700rsvps and not a guest. it is the weekend, after all. people will be feeling lazy, want to sleep in or stay, and they will figure someone else goes to the protest. as i get closer to the square, i see people flowing to it from every direction, in groups, in couples, young, old, middle aged. people wearing ribbons, white hats, trousers, carrying white balloons and carnations. it has not snowed. the white they wear and carry has to compensate. i meet up with a group of friends including andre and two brothers. the police are calm and polite. inside, we wander into the square. scanning for familiar faces. monday's protest, i knew
everyone was there because i could see them all. today i know they are all here because i can't see them through the crowd. texting is impossible as the volume exceedses the capacity of the moscow's networks. there's banners people brought. one features a graph of the official results recorded by the central election committee. it shows what normal distribution of support for united russia would look like. we don't trust you says the poster. it refers to the mathematician who gave the world a bell curve. i did not vote for these assholes proclaims another banner. i voted for the other assholes. [laughter] i demand a recount. there's so many people here a very young man shouts, and they are all normal. i heard like a million joke, and they were all funny. if you have spent years feeling your views were shared with a few of your closest friends.,
being surrounded by tens of thousands of like-minded people feels like millions of jokes all at once. there's a stage. i can't see it and hardly can hear the speakers. there's a trip one remembers from the early 1990s with they brought radios to listen to the speakers. she turns the root orn the cell phone. the public square that has free wireless, and gives us the speeches. we look around and join in chants. new elections, freedom, russia without putin. the speakers include a best selling writer, made it from the south of france in time, and a well-loved, long blacklisted television anchor and dissorted activist. speaking about election fraud, and noun of nose who pass for opposition parties are not here. they have not yet gotten the message that power shifted away from the kremlin.
app anticorruption blogger is in jail, so one reads the address to the protesters. the billionaire who suspended his political career two months ago is silent. on monday, he'll announce he's running for president, but by then, it's too late to win with the crowd. he'll immediately be branded a pity. i'm wearing thermal underwear, two socks, and moon boots. we decide to leave. other people are arriving. walking away from the protests, i stop on a pedestrian brimming to look back at the crowd. there are a lot more than 5,000 people there. later, estimates will range as 100,000 to 150 ,000. we take a large table at the restaurant where many order mulled wine to warm up. they shout the latest news across the tables. there's a couple lines from a radio station's website. the protest is drawing to a close.
the police representative mounted the zag and says, today we acted like the police of a democratic country. thank you. there's applause. at our tail, there's a moment of silence. this is great, all of us start saying looking at one another. this is great! how long has it been since we were able to say this is great about something happening in our city? i leave my friends. at the restaurant to return to the family. i go over the big stone bridge, the largest over the moscow river as the police leave the square. there's hundreds upon hundreds of them moving on the sidewalk, four and five across, the length of the bridge. for the first time i can remember, i do not get a knot in my stomach looking at the police in the riot gearment i'm stuck between a snowplow. it still has not snowed. i don't know what the truck is doing in the street, but there's a white balloon tied to the corner of the plow. protests were held today in 99 cities in russia and in front of
consulates in more than 40 cities around the world. in the evening, putin's press secretary tells journalists the government has no comment on the protests and promises to let them know if a comment is formulated. later, the television station taken away ten years ago airs an excellent report on the protest. i watch it online, years since i had a working television in the house, and i recognize something i have observed in other countries when i covered their revolutions. there comes a day when you turn on the television, and the very same touting propaganda at you yesterday in the very same studios with the same backdrops start speaking a human language. in this case, this gives me head an extra spin because i remember the journalists before when they lost about a dozen years ago. as i approach, it starts to snow. by morning, the countryside will be covered in white.
[applause] >> thank you. thank you. >> today is march 8th. march 10th looks to be a major rallying time. can you speak about your anticipation recording that? >> i wish i were there. that's my strongest feeling about it. i'm worried because what putin clearly thinks that the election on march 4th was his final word with the protesters, and so he expects it to fizzle.
i think he expects the police to break up the administration although the administrations on march 10th is legal, but there was a legal demonstration in moscow on march 5th, three days ago, which was rather brutally broken up towards the end. that's part of the concern. the other concern is that i'm worrieded that some people have been very demoralized by the election on sunday. we don't expect any bet eric -- better, and it's still depressing. >> okay. any questions from the audience? we'll come back again. i have a bundle myself. i wonder if you could talk a little, too, about the making of this book and actually the timing it because, indeed, you've been working on this for
awhile. you hadn't completely an tis paletted -- anticipated that you'd segue so simply and elegantly with the timing of an election. >> well, actually, the book's publication was planned for the election, but we just didn't realize it was going to be such an eventful election. i assume putin would run for president again this year, which was not clear when the book was being scheduled, so that assumption proved correct, but i did not plan on the protests. >> okay. all right. i meant to ask you this before, and this is slightly off topic, but i wonder if you would care to comment about the cultural organization we encountered
around here, or do you want to just set that aside? >> i'd like to set that aside. >> okay. >> thank you. >> questioner here, and if you can just stand. >> there's a book about the russians -- i just read a book about the russian revolution, and it appeared from the book it was the bolshiveks that was the force of the revolution, the czar was the enemy, but there was the political force. do you see the possibility of a political force coalescing in russia that would, indeed, change the situation where at least it would be a democratic country? >> it's a lilts early to talk about a political force because we don't yet have a political space in which this force could exist.
what happened over the last 1 years 1 that all -- over the last 12 years is that all media has been taken over by the state, and there's been no public conversation, so as a result, there's no politicians. what we need is a transitional government for at least a year or two after putin leaves and before new elections can actually take place. now, that was needed in 1917 as well, and it didn't end as well. the transitional period began in february, but by october, the bolshiveks revolution began. i'm hoping it works here. >> question here, and then another slightly further back. >> what's the relationship between the police and fsb, and how far do you think the police will go going forward in the
protests? >> the police and the fsd are two separate entities. they do not have armed force of its own, so putin will have to rely on the police and the interior troops, part of the same ministry, but a separate agency from the police in order to call the demonstrations. he clearly doesn't trust the police in moscow and st. peters berg. they gave every indication of being too cooperative with the protesters, and last week, interior troops were brought in to control moc cows because the -- moscow because the troops were not trustedded. >> follow-up question. are you worried about your own safety when you go back? >> i worry sometimes. i don't want to overstate it
because there are people, and there's people i know who actually have. attacked and threatened in the last couple years, and i'm not one of them. >> please. >> do you think the protesters might at some point turn violent? one of the protesters speaking in front of them sort of threatened to take the kremlin, you know, we have enough people to take it. >> has a way of getting away from him, and it was very clear that he couldn't believe he was saying what he was saying, and he was rather remorseful
actually. there's always a risk, and one thing that has happened is the protest woman has been radicalized significantly in just since the beginning three months ago. two months ago, people came out for fair election, and it was clear in the first large protest i described on december 10th, that there were people willing to chant along with re-election or new elections than people who chatted with putin. putin made the remark that the white ribbons the protesters wear remind him of condoms, and you could just feel the mood change. you could -- and at the next protest on december 24th, there were just as many people willing to shout down with putin as there were people just coming
out for fair elections. that process of radicalization is continuing and the brazen way in which the lexes was stolen on march 4th crickets to that, -- contributes to that, and even though the loss of the movement has been consistently peaceful and that's all we've ever talked about is using peaceful politics, i worry that i may be underestimating the radical potential among the very many, very young people involved in the movement whose patience has started running out. >> okay. >> what do the protesters expect of the united states government? the obama administration has a back record when it comes to providing at least vocal support to protesters in other countries
so what could they poly expect from the u.s. government today? >> nothing. actually, it's -- putin accused the protest movement of being funded by the state department, which is not true. the protests are funded domestically, and, you know, i covered protest movements funded by the state department, and this is not one of them. at this point, it's extremely important for the protest movement's celt to -- credibility to be perceived as domestically funded so, in fact, i don't see that we need the united states government to do or say anything in the foreseeable future. >> i noticed your use of social
media in your talking about it. has that changed how communication between groups are going, and is that limited to the cities because that's where most of the wi-fi might be? have you been disappointed or pleased with how news media across the world has reacted to the russian citizens meetings and has that been a true and accurate representation in your view? >> social media -- well, first of all, the city's question, and russia is an urban country so russia is in the cities, and russia is 80% urban, but, in fact, the rural population is so dispersed and so for the most
part, in a drunken stupor and so most of the people where there's broadband and internet at this point. social media's at this point as a tool, but i don't -- i think, you know, there's this sort of romantic notion that social media creates something where nothing existed before. it holds people connected where people are already connecting. it makeses the connections more effective and more efficient, but it can't create connections where it didn't exist before, and that's been one of russia's problem. the systematic destruction much public space over 12 years. it's the destruction and information has not been flowing so people have wanted to broke through those information
barrier, and that's one social media can hand it. the second question was? >> the news media. >> the news media. and i've been happy that the british woman has been covered wisely and has been taken seriously, largely the consequence of the recent example of the arab spring where movements were dynamic and so successful, but i think a lot of the reporting has been lazy and there's been stereo types with no relationship to reality, and the most destructive of the stereotypes is the middle class revolution which is actually a stereo type advanced by the kremlin, and that was the first reaction to the protest, not putin, himself, but his right hand man who said this is a protest of urbanites, and it's
not, unless you count the fact we're all urbanites. it's really a broad based movement, and surveys have shown it involves people of all income level, all education levels, becauseically people of working age all over the place, and there's also the stereotype that the protests are limited to the two capitols which is not at all true. the protests were in 99 russian cities in december, went down by a couple in february. they did things like stage purchases, and i don't know if you saw pictures, but they -- people put out that poisen puppets and had tiny banners in the toy arms, and planted them on the lawn in front of city hall which they were denied
permission to demonstrate so since then the city has banned toy purchases. [laughter] there's also the example of a town like the top that's -- when i say "99 cities," russia has few large cities, just a dozen large cities, the rest are small tops, and so places like the town outside moscow, population 125,000, a back water town because moscow sucks out everything from the town, and 120 people came out to protest, and in a town like that, these people expect to be personally known by the people who pass them in the street; right? this is either an extreme courage or extreme confidence that their sentiments is shared by the people around them.
>> we'll come around. the gentleman there. >> you might have answered this, but i was going to ask if you could speak about the people of the interior, those willing to be busted to show support for putin and those who don't join the protests. what is the mood or motivation? >> what -- sorry? >> their mood or motivation or what do they want? >> right. >> well, that's actually great big potential for the protesters because these are mostly people who have been forced to take part in the rallies or putin as we call them. they -- they are state employees or they are college students at
state universities and they have been threatened with firing if they don't take part. the putin victory rally outside the square in moscow on sunday that at some point they were trying to breakthrough to get out of the rally at one point they broke through and a large group headed for the subway so i think the general mood is that they've been humiliated and forced to do something against their wills and this is an extremely short sided strategy like most recent strategies. >> question right back here. >> hi. i have two questions. one about russian -- based on your knowledge and experience,
what do you think in the current circumstance, how far he's able to go to become a really independent politician? what is your feeling about him? how honest he is. that's one question. the other question would be even more difficult is how long putin's power may last in the country? 12 years, 20 years, 25? >> a few months to a couple years. not more, i think, but putin's interesting. he's an example of the super rich who is been humiliated. it's a good example of that. he was in politics last year, asked by the kremlin, to take over the dormant regulatory
party. this is the standard of the kremlin practice to get some parties together for the election and then sort of let them wait on them for awhile and just in time for the next election. he was handed one of those parties called the new ideal, and he got serious very, very quickly, he's a guy with a lot of trouble doing something halfway. he was holding policy meetings every weekend, calling local people, local leaders to join the party. he was warned by the kremlin this was more activity they expected of him. [laughter] he didn't listen, and sure
enough, in december, he found himself locked up. the party had been -- the government handed him a party and had taken it back. he organized a ternal party congress of his party, and he gave a passioned speech saying he would fight this, fight the kremlin puppeteers, go all the way, and he promised to come back in ten days with a specific plan for the fighters, and then he disappeared. he disappeared from public eye for two months, and during that period, we have to assume that he was threatened sufficiently to do something that is, i think, would be humiliating for any public figure, but especially humiliating for somebody used to having his way and to just be forced to disappear, must have been extreme humiliation.
then when he fell back into line, he was yankedded out again and told to run for president, and he's run a very subdued campaign for president. what's interesting is that despite the fact that it's been anything but a vigorous campaign, polls show that he came in second. second to putin. i think he feels that he has real potential to take putin on. he, in testing the water, sunday night, he conceded very quickly, but then on monday he said that the election had not been fair, and then on monday night, he actually spoke at the demonstration. if he keeps going like this, he may -- if he feels that he can without extreme risk to his life and fortune, keeps going like
this, i think he has agreed potential, and he clearly wants to. >> over here, yeah. >> would you comment on a relationship between the kremlin and u.k. and as well as several other people who seemed to escaped with millions of dollars and seem to have no problem with it with the u.k. government or russian government? >> actually, it's another interesting case in point that he is putin crony who accumulated extreme wealth in the early putin years. putin did not feel safekeeping that money in russia or keeping himself in russia. despite his happy relationship with the kremlin, took his money and moved to london where he's been living for the last nine
years. he was recently in court with his former business partner who is suing him for billions of dollars alleging that he, with the kremlin's help, was forced to. the testimony in court has really been his only public statement ever. he's one of those guys who doesn't have a face. his testimony was incredible. he confirmed everything that was ever heard about kremlin corruption. it was very assumed and that
russia where people were following the trial closely, that his audience was prepared to hear how corrupt the putin system was, and it's also clear he was probably not going to be coming back to moscow soon after having made those statements. >> up front, yes, right here. >> an interview last night with charlie rose, talked about being a good journalist in moscow is not only dangerous, but frustrating and what it's like to be in the absence of a freedom of information agent, something here journalists to a degree take for granted. how did you tackle the story at book length knowing what the obstacles would be and how you tackled that as a writer? >> it's a trap because what the
system that i'm trying to describe is a closed system that doesn't let information escape, but, of course, it doesn't let information escape, and it's a difficult system to describe and so ultimately i do a lot of interviewed, a lot of reporting for the book obviously, but i don't think that's the most valuable part of the book. the kernels of new information are of interest to some russian geeks, but what i think was much more important thing to do was take information that had been out in some some or another, some published in russian, some had not been published or was available in russian, and it hasn't been systematically analyzed. the story had not been told, and that's what i tried to do.
i tried to take information that demanded to be organized and interpreted and tried to organize it and interpret it in as convincing a way as poll. that's part of the regular work as a journalist in moscow. i sort of make this discovery last year that would be as most successful among my readers were long detailed stories of corruption stories, but they were familiar ones because it's like when don and i talked earlier today, don made this wonderful comparison to trying to make out shapes in a fog, and you sort of know what's happening to you. you have a general idea this is happening. you know, somebody lays it out and says, again, this is how it's done. this is the structure. this is the scheme of things.
that's first and that money goes there, and they do that, and it's all falling into place. in a word because it affirms your general impression of what is going on around you, and it also helps to understand whases -- what's happening. >> thank you. a question right over here by the post. >> thank you. actually, two questions. first, could you follow up on hoping you think putin's time is limited to two years you say, and second, what structural changes need to be made to the russian political system to prevent another recurrence of where he's at or where the country's at now. >> what's the first question? >> what structural changes to the political system in russia would prevent russia from being in the similar position in
another five years or ten years. >> the reason that i think putin is not going to be able to hold on to power for very much longer is that sort of the other side of what -- the flip side of what he's done to russia by destroying the democratic institutions is that he's trieded his own regime of any sort of legitimacy other than fear and the cooperation of the population, okay? and he's not accountable to the voters, but the voters' also not obligated to consider him a legitimate leader because they didn't vote for these assholes, but they voted for the other assholes. when a system like that begins to disintegrate, it actually happens pretty fast because
people lose their fear and people stop cooperating in the daily work that is the existence of the regime. journalism and state television stop reporting stories in the way they are expected to do it. the police don't follow orders that they don't think should be followed, and that's already started happening. you know, local bureaucrats don't do their part for the worse corruption, and it also starts to di sent grate which i think is going to happen in russia. now what needs to be done is democratic structures need to be restored. putin has, over the course of his eight years during the first two presidential terms, completely decimateed institutions, very
systematically, step by step, just destroyed them. in the first year of his presidency, he also basically allowed, enabled the executive branch to take over the judiciary branch. there's no independent judiciary. many others have been taken over by the state. all of that needs to be restored, rebuilt, built from scratch. is there a guarantee that those structures won't be able to be destroyed again? no. the reason he was able to do it is because he it the complete, full cooperation of the russian population for quite a long time. maybe this time we'll be wiser and we will not cooperate with another dictator. >> we'll have time for just a couple more questions. the gentleman here and one here.
thank you. >> what's the meaning of the button you're wearing? >> it says we'll come again. it's a white ribbon in the form of a chip sign meaning it eludes to the voting, and it's one of the popular chapters of the protest -- chants of the protests, "we will come again,," and we try to pin up as many buttons as possible in the hope that if -- there's always the counting problem so i have this idea to print up hundreds of thousands of these buttons, and we'll actually give them out one button per perp at the protest -- person at the protest, and that way we know how many buttons we get rid of, but there's not enough capacity in moscow to
print out that many buttons on that budget. handed out about 20,000 of them, and also we wanted people to leave the protests with something that they could then wear to show that they had been there, to signal to other people like other participants so that's why it says "we will come again" because this is the thing you can wear from protest to protest. ..
>> the infantry just can't keep up. it is ostentatious. that moscow has a number of classes in the world. not only are you sitting in traffic, in a little car, but you are also seeing all those mercedes with flashing blue lights which can be had for a lot of money. passing you by as they rush to do their important rich
business. >> if there is anything else, i think we will have the last question here. >> i am curious about, because i notice the protest in libya and egypt, or even here, occupy wall street, do you have -- they seem to spring up and then they kind of get -- they kind of disappear or they get kind of scrapped -- in egypt's case, the military, in egypt and tunisia come i am not sure what's happening there. occupy wall street kind of a beverage spread. in russia, do you have a political party that's a political party to a squire to? a traditional political party that the protesters would consider joining, or is it a kind of a vacuum at that level? >> there is a vacuum at that
level because the political party system has been destroyed. in the sense that offers something as an advantage over occupy wall street. there are no structures to co-opt the participant. it can't be swallowed up by political party because those political parties don't exist. obviously, the danger is there and i am scared of it. but the danger of politicians, not so much. >> okay. thank you. we wish you all good things. thank you all for coming. thank you, masha gessen. [applause] [applause] >> thank you again.
>> with the senate on great this week, we are featuring featuring some of book tv's weekend programs in primetime on c-span 2. tomorrow night, we will focus on the u.s. and world economies. at 8:00 p.m. eastern, travis smiley and cornell west and the economic divide. at 9:20 p.m., the administration and its performance on the book debacle. james gilberts and his findings on the world economy in the book and equality and instability. the book tv is in prime time all week on c-span 2. >> i believe in every book that i write. that is the first thought that i have. go to green bay to find out what it is like in the winter when vince lombardi is coaching there. go to arkansas and hot springs to find out what it was like for bill clinton. i have never been to vietnam before. how can i write about it without going to the battlefield? i have to go.
>> in his book they marched into sunlight, david has written about two major turning points in the vietnam war. much as 2003 interview online at the c-span video library. over the past four years, he has been traveling and researching his newest book, barack obama, the story could he will recount his latest world journey and take your phone calls on sunday, june 17, live on book tv. in a few moments, more of our primetime book tv look at world leaders with peter popham on the influence of aung san suu kyi on burmese politics and transport. "the lady and the peacock." and a little more than an hour, chinese leader and a re-air of the comments of masha gessen on vladimir putin. on "washington journal" tomorrow morning, jay koppel talk about his new book spoiled rotten.
his observations about the democratic party. we will look at finance reform and the losses at jpmorgan from conor kennedy. and we will be joined by new york daily news columnists read "washington journal" is live on c-span everyday at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> writing is a transactional process. writing assumes reading. it goes back to that question about a tree falling in the force, if there is no one there to hear it. if you have written a really wonderful novel, then one of the parts of the processes that you want readers to be enlarged and enriched by it. you have to pull on everything at your disposal to do that. anna quinlan will talk about her perspectives on writing and life, plus your guide to social policy at.
her latest rumination on like this lots of candles, plenty of cake. she will be ready for your calls, tweets, and e-mails. on book tv's in-depth on c-span 2. >> now, peter popham on the influence of aung san suu kyi. he talks about his book, "the lady and the peacock", for a little more than an hour. he is introduced by michael roberts. >> good evening, everyone come and welcome. i am michael roberts. asia society, and i want to welcome you all. it is a great pleasure to present an important and authoritative new biography of one of the most compelling figures of the last 25 years. it is the current embryonic transition and bringing that country back from its quarter-century of repression and stagnation and a great deal of the credit will be owed it to
aung san suu kyi. in 1988, as i'm sure you all know, she was propelled from obscurity in english academic life to become a leader in burma's democracy movement. her subsequent military crackdown, she spent most of the next two decades under house arrest. like mahatma gandhi and nelson mandela before her, her oppressors only succeeded in making her an even more potent an important symbol of her country. now that she is happily out of confinement and will compete in the upcoming elections, the whole world is watching to see what the next chapter of this extraordinary story will be. this excellent book, "the lady and the peacock: the life of aung san suu kyi", will remain in a indispensable part of that story. it will be on sale afterwards in
back of the hall, and i hope you all buy it. the author, peter popham, will be happy to sign up for you. we are happy to have him with us tonight. he writes frequently for the british newspaper, the independent commission has reported from albania, mongolia, and now italy. he is also the author of tokyo, the city at the end of the world. asia society has been able to make important contributions which continue to informing the policy dialogue in the united states and asia and to help directly through tracking and initiatives to bring about a democratic transition. we are delighted to have the architect of those efforts and global policy programs, suzanne dimaggion, to be with us today. she is advancing a way forward for u.s. policy, which i think you will find copies of on a
chair. i urge y'all to read it. it's an excellent and important piece of work. suzanne and her team are also doing important things in relation to iran, pakistan and afghanistan and other complex issue areas facing asia and the world. this summer they will release a new report led by our senior asia society visor, who has assessed the current state of pakistan's police forces and in a report that is co-authored by other pakistani and u.s. experts, they will present recommendations for enhancing institutional capacity within pakistani police forces. also, please come back on april 12, for another exceptional program on the same subject some of which is called the u.s. come in pakistan, and afghanistan -- untangling without unraveling. this is part of her hbo sponsored series on agent
hotspots. it will feature doctor vali nassar, and former adviser to asia psyd, richard holbrook. vali nassar will be speaking with a doctor and professor christine fair at georgetown university. this checkout asia society's website. they are also flyers and back. just a couple more housekeeping announcements. if you are not part of asia society already, i hope you will consider joining we present a great number of performance and disciplines in media in which asia society works. it is tremendous value for a very small amount of money. we hope you will consider joining. i want to remind you that we are live webcasting tonight's program, and i am also very happy to say that it is being recorded for c-span for later
rebroadcast. when we come to the question-and-answer come out be sure to wait for the microphone, and we may have questions from our online viewers. if we do, any of you watching, feel free to write in to moderator at asia society.org. turn off your cell phones if you have them. welcome peter popham and suzanne dimaggion. [applause] [applause] >> peter will read first, and then suzanne will join him on the discussion. >> good evening. lovely to see so many people here today. i have been thinking about burma and visiting burma for more than 20 years.
i have been writing this book -- i was in the process of research and writing it for five or six years before it was actually finished. certainly burma has never been as important as it is in this particular moment. i feel very fortunate to have found an american publisher with the energy and gumption to get it out at exactly the right moment. and to the asia society for having the kindness to welcome me to talk about it. i thought i would read a few pages from my book about the election of 1990. we are on the cusp of a by election on sunday the first of april. it is only the third such election since 1990, a multiparty election.
1990 election, then the 2010, and then this election, which was followed by another general election in 2015. i thought it would be worthwhile looking back 22 years. two in aung san suu kyi had a first appearance, but that first appearance of her party and what transpired. on sunday, may 27, 1990, aung san suu kyi, still under detention in her home, cast your vote in her country's first free general election or 30 years. the ballot paper was put into an envelope, which was sealed and taken from her home by a regime official. to most foreign observers, it looked like a futile gesture.
four weeks come in the international media had been scrutinizing burma's upcoming poll and concluding that it was bound to be rigged. the military ginger had done everything in their power to ensure a good result. a win for the national unity party, became proxy party, as the bs pp, the burma socialist program party. they had been herley rebranded. the top leadership of the party, the national league for democracy, had been put out of action. the retired general who is chair of the party come and who had been detained the same day, was sentenced to three years hard labor in december and taken to insane jail.
most of their closest colleagues had been jailed and would not reemerge for years. the party was now run by a skeleton staff of those who remained at liberty. led by ugi mao, aged 72, the wisecracking former colonel who had been one of the first people to join suu two summers before. in january, the regime sought to neutralize the threat posted by suu's marriage to a corner. it was a new rule. her image was everywhere. it was in the mlb's campaign, banners, t-shirts, posters, badges and scarves. cassette tapes of her speeches were sold for market source. the lady herself was firmly locked away.
the head of military intelligence and the second most powerful man, into long speeches, talked about how suu's party was a menace to the future. on august 5, he repeated the now familiar claim that the nld had been infiltrated. he made a diametrically allegation that suu and her party were at the heart of an international rightist conspiracy, involving powerful foreign countries. the speech was later published in a 300 page book with the catchy title, the conspiracy of treasonous minions and cohurts. emasculating be nld, however, was only part of the result of manufacturing a good result. the state state law and order
restoration council, now set about tackling the remaining challenges with military foreignness. other enemies of army rule were put under house arrest, including the former prime minister. the regime identified city neighborhoods with a high proportion of opposition supporters and broke them up. in the months leading up to the election, at least half a million people around the country were forced to abandon their homes and move to crudely constructed and malaria ridden townships far away. practically all conventional forms of campaigning, including rallies, portugal lobbying and interviews were banned. criticism of the military was a criminal offense. gatherings of more than five people remain illegal under martial law of rules. each party of the 93 registered for the poll was allowed to hold
a single rally, on condition that a single day's notice was given. each was given a single, preapproved statement on television, and 15 in its on state radio. to make sure that the heavens were on their side, the regime made sure to pick a good day. may 27, contained a plethora of lucky nines, two plus seven for the day itself, plus the fact that it fell in the fourth week of the fifth month. an offer from the u.s. to send election monitors was rebuffed, and foreigners were banned from the country for weeks before the election. on the e-book polling, the generals could be well pleased with the handiwork. [inaudible name] had been through the wringer in the past 24 months, since the class
decision to unionize the currency, and throw them into a constitutional arrangement by raising the possibility of multiparty elections. since the locking up of that woman, as no one referred to suu, he refuse to pronounce her name, the situation had improved all around. the socialist ideology which had conditioned policy for generation was consigned to the waistband, along with the bspp. some western countries may have found it awkward doing on normal trade terms with a country that had slaughtered thousands of its unarmed citizens in cold blood. thailand, singapore, and south korea had no such inhibitions. stepping up contracts to extract timber, jade, precious stones and seafood at bargain prices.
a south korean company, yukon, became the first one company to be allowed to explore for oil on the shore, rapidly followed by shell and petro canada, and amoco. when the army roared into downtown rangoon in september 1988, the foreign exchange reserve had been less than $10 million. now they were between 200 and 300 million. tight security prevented any significant demonstrations to mark the anniversaries of the great uprising of eight-eight- eight-eight-88, or the military crackdown of the following month. in a further sign of the softening approach, coca-cola signed a deal to bundle its drinks in burma.
to demonstrate to them the general public and the world at large, that they knew a thing or two about good governance, a major cleanup campaign was launched, reminiscent to the operation in 1958 under his caretaker government. rangoon's public buildings leaned with fresh paint. the governments of western europe and the u.s. remain dubious, unwilling to forget how he had come to power. an election run with military efficiency, producing a solid working majority for the nup. or the army would be fully justified in retaining control, surely it would bring them around. so confident were the generals, that they began to relax a little. they admitted a handful of foreign journalists and news crews to watch the bernie's lineup and vote. as polling day approached,
martial law restrictions were past. army and uniformed police disappeared from the streets it was the usual burmese vanishing trick, as seen on the day of suu's mother's funeral, the zero-sum attitude to power were the army is either over warming we present or totally absent. even if absent, everyone knows they are not far away. the nld took advantage of the pullback. to take to the streets in their pickup trucks, imploring the people of rangoon to be sure to give them their vote. in the end, the people needed no imploring. the lines began forming outside schools and government offices where voting was to take place early -- sorry, where voting was to take place, early on the morning of may 27.
the army, again, was conspicuous by its absence. the voting was overseen by civilians, as it burma's conversion to civilian rule had happen by magic overnight. people put on their sunday best to perform this important and extremely rare civic duty. as in india, every registered party was symbolized by an icon depicted on the voting slip. these included a beach ball, a calm, comb, a tennis racket, and an umbra love. powerful and evocative symbols, such as a peacock, which is now the nld's symbol in the present election, were banned. but the nld had chosen the farmer's straw hat to symbolize their party, making it easier for their supporters to indicate their preference while appearing to add to the rustic costume.
nationwide, more than 20 million people were eligible to vote. in seven constituencies where the army was fighting insurgents, pulling was canceled altogether. in many other border areas, only a fraction of registered voters manage to go because of the violence. in most of the country, the turnout was heavy. 72% casting votes in total. a late on the night of polling, the chinese news service was the first foreign news agency to report, the first result of burma's first election for 30 years. the nld candidate, a woman called san-san, the team have the book. to the shock and horror of the military, the overwhelming majority of results went the same way.
voters did not care for the evergreen young men's association, the national peace and comfort party, nor for the army's favorite, the nup. aung san suu kyi's party was sweeping the board. thank you. [applause] [applause] [applause] [applause] thank you, everyone, and welcome. thank you michael for the introduction, and thank you, peter, for joining us today. i have many questions, and i am going to be mindful of the time because i know you do, too, and i want to make sure that we get as many in it's possible. let's begin with the obvious, what everyone wants to hear about is this meeting. the first time was in 2002. aung san suu kyi had just been released from house arrest, and
most recently, march and 2011. there was a decade spanning between the first. was there anything that struck you in that time. map that changed about her? secondly, described the meeting in general, but also, when you told her you were writing a biography about her, how did she react? >> she wasn't remotely interested. she didn't want to know. in fact, to my surprise and disappointment, she didn't want to help. subsequently, after it was published, i got a copy of the book to her by the british embassy in rangoon. she wrote me a very gracious e-mail thanking me for my effort. as part of her un- egotistical character, she doesn't care if people write books about her and she doesn't want to read them, and she certainly doesn't want to endorse them. that was the message is i took
away. >> any difference between then and now? >> 2002 was a bit like last august when things started to shift rapidly. it seemed that things were really on the move in 2002. she was released, and then there was [inaudible name] who was facilitating negotiations between her and [inaudible name], we've had some imagination. we were keen to bring her into a dialogue. i run around ran to talking to lots of people, some very close, some close to her in the party, and the impression that i took away was that they were going to do a deal, a deal was in the offering, and that she and the party would come back into the
constitutional process, and the whole thing would start again. the thing was derailed in the 1990s, and it would start again. >> let's talk about [inaudible name] diaries. aung san suu kyi's diaries provided a key source. she was one of aung san suu kyi's closest companions incompetents who was turned by military intelligence, and many see her as a traitor to the nld. tell us how you obtain the diaries to the extent that you can tell us, and you have met her. how did she react it you had the diaries and you are using them as a source in writing this book? >> she was quite reluctant about it. i met her through the wife of one of my best friends who happens to be [inaudible name].
i had a privileged introduction to her. it was a person in london who gave me the diaries. i cannot reveal the person's name. when i told her that i got this book, she was pleased. the whole story is that she is a fluid english speaker. the divorced wife of a diplomat. and she was brought up in international schools, and she is a very good writer. she became suu's close companion during the first campaign tours in 1989 -- 1988 and 1989. she went everywhere with 10 -- suu. being with her all the time, and taking care of her needs and so on. the request of michael, suu's
husband, she was writing a daily diary of what happened. when i found this, it was absolute gold dust, because part of the problem of writing about suu is that we know that there are facts of her life. there was a great deal of human detail. interesting insights, humor, lots of charm, if anyone reads the book, you will find that it puts away a completely new and charming light. it brings out the human dimension of her. in july of 1989 when aung san suu aung san suu kyi is put in house arrest, oliver closest colleagues were taken to insein prison in the middle of rangoon, in northern
rangoon, and shouldn't out for three years. she told me that while she was there she had all-night interrogations, and i was informed by two sources, who i think are very trustworthy, that she was prevailed -- basically to change sides. since 1995 when suu came out of house arrest, she became a valuable critic of suu and a valuable critic of sanctions and she never missed an opportunity to talk to the likes of me. and the likes of [inaudible name], who wrote a piece about her -- part actually about her in the new yorker in which he said over and over again, the sanctions are wrong, she is stubborn and she must be
stopped. what happened and what had been a beautiful friendship turned into an ugly entity. >> has she read the book? >> i went to great trouble to make sure she had a copy. i received a number of very hostile letters from her. [laughter] [laughter] >> okay. one other thing i want to address is the mystique that surrounds aung san suu kyi's. i think a lot of the previous biographies and biographical accounts of her, all into one of two categories, either seeing her as this divine being, almost superhuman, and then the other is people who critique her for being like you said, stubborn, focused on the sanctions -- also coming under criticism for her, you know, so-called abandoning her family, her two young sons
and her husband to pursue a career in politics. your book really presents the complex picture as close to reality as we have seen. through this journey of writing this book, having access to the diaries, meeting her yourself, what are the key characteristics about her that you think people just don't know? >> well, i think that people have confused -- i think people have been confused by her. it is a fact that she was extremely and totally an experience when she first got into politics in 1988, and she made lots of mistakes as she evolves. it is also true that she's not a natural politician. she has never been involved in politics of any sort before 1988. i think one can look back on the
past 23 years of her life, the extraordinary life she has led, and see that she wouldn't be where she is today without some quite remarkable qualities, and the quality which i identified -- is from quite an early age, she knew who she was, and she knew what she wanted -- and she cultivated the willpower to achieve it. she came to england to study at oxford in 1964. there was a 10 year period between arriving in england and getting married. in that period, having been under the thumb of her very fierce mother, throughout her childhood -- she blossomed in various ways. she took all sorts of decisions, she came to study politics.
she didn't like it. she tried twice to change subjects. once to english, and once 243. both times she was refused. she ended up getting a poor degree. nothing to be proud of, but she has never shown any sign of being ashamed of it either. she said she only studies when she's interested. she fell in love with a student who was a pakistani. the relationship continued after she graduated, and it ended in tears. then she fell in love with the man who became her husband. i see her mother back in rangoon. i can envision her getting these letters from suu and the mounting anguish that she sought
when suu made different decisions. she was the beautiful daughter of the family, and she would graduate with a good degree, fly back to burma and marry a mary a suitable boy. or something like that. instead, what it should do? after graduating end up mucking about in london, she flew to new york to live with a friend who was an older lady who was a former pop singer in rangoon before the war. she stayed in new york for only three years and worked at the united nations. she was very much doing what she wanted. she decided i want to do this. she was sorry that her parents -- that her mother wasn't happy about it. but it was her life. i see this early on. she got her own compass, and that is what she has followed since. >> another key point that you make in the book is she is so
important to burma for many reasons, but one of them is her insistence, even from the first days of involvement in the uprising in 1988, of nonviolence. without her insisting on it, using perhaps the burmese revolution may have taken a different course. up until now, we have seen a different course for burma. then we go on and make a point that because of this, she is not only important to burma, but important to the world. this value or this -- this point of view or philosophy she has found of nonviolence approach to democracy. talk a little bit about that. >> i think that she -- well, she lived in india for three or four years in her adolescence when her mother was the burmese ambassador in delhi. she absorbed a lot from the
indian environment. particularly the writings of d&d and to board. this actually only surfaced in her scholarly world many years later. she was very much into nonviolence, which was a gambian point of view. it was very important because the students who were the cutting edge of the uprising, were by no means nonviolent. there were terrible atrocities committed in the early months of the uprising. a lot of people had their heads cut off. there was a lot of very nasty bloodshed. the role model for many of the students at the time was what was happening on the borders. the insurgencies that were raging and the burmese army. many of his students thought
that is the way to go. she insisted that -- that nobody in her party could use violent means. she successfully prevailed. her mass meetings in 1989 became famous for their completely good-humored and lack of any disturbance in him. >> now, i know you wrote this book, you finished it before her reemergence into the political world. and certainly before she announced her candidacy for parliament. as you mentioned, the election will actually take place on sunday. throughout the course of studying her life, did you ever imagine that it would take a turn like this? with the elections to be held on
sunday, how do you see her future unfolding? >> i don't think that one road out the possibility that things would change again. it seemed unlikely, but in 2002, there was an opening. in 2004, negotiations started with her. really, we needed to get [inaudible name] out of the picture, and then because he could not stand her name or anything about her, -- >> do you think he's really out of the picture? i believe so, yes, we were discussing this before and i thought it was hard to believe that he is in countenance with what is happening now. he decided to assassinate her in 2003, and he did not succeed. one did not see her coming. everyone was stunned and amazed and delighted when things started to move in august of
september last year. i can't say it was a shock. it was a delightful surprise. >> now, i think in terms of her rejoining politics and as an opposition leader, it is clear that she is taking a bit of a calculated risk by joining the very system and people who can find her in the first place. making a leap of faith, that by being on the inside, she has a better chance of pushing democratic economics thomas social reform in the country, then working from the outside. do you think that that is the right decision in this decision has led many to criticize her? something she should stay outside of government and remained a staunch critic that she can be. how do you fall in this
argument? >> considering her goal in life is not to be an icon of democracy, but to change your country, at the age of 66, i don't think she has any serious alternatives in plunging in. certainly there were people in her party, senior people, who thought it was a very poor idea. many people in burma would say the same thing. i think she was confronted by the desperate need to get things actually moving in burma. she said this was particularly with the president is a person who i can trust. however flawed, however limited, this was the opportunity to beat grabbed, and this was right to do so. >> okay. i would like to take a quote from an op-ed by thomas fuller. he writes by entering politics at this delicate stage, aung san suu kyi is imparting legitimacy on a government run by the same
generals who she battled for two decades. if the reform falters, aung san suu kyi could be held partly responsible. that seems a little bit harsh, to put the weight of the world on her shoulders like that. but i guess the bigger question is, in terms of the reform itself, you have written recently in "the new york times" a piece, and you expressed some skepticism, saying mostly at this stage, things are still symbolic, although of course welcome. but still needing to go. i wanted to get your thoughts specifically on what you think needs to happen to make those reforms take deeper root and become your reversible. what would be the key
prerequisites in your mind that you say oh, this is something different. >> well, i think that the key thing that needs to happen is constitutional reform. the election of 2010, the election of this week is on the basis of the constitution, which gives the military 25% seats in parliament without an election, and puts a military council with enormous powers above parliament, able to declare martial law at any time. suu herself has declared constitutionally, and i think one can see that it is likely to happen because there are too many powerful people that have a vested interest in the constitution. but who knows. crazy things have happened.
perhaps she knows something we don't and that is the next stage. >> have there been any reforms that have come as a surprise to you? clearly the political reforms, the fact that opposition politics is back on the scene in burma. but even economic reforms seem to be signaling a change with new investment laws, the currency, i guess one criticism people have is that their forms have not extended into the fields of human rights or addressed significantly that ethnic conflicts. has anything surprised you and what you see as most significant and the biggest challenge? >> i think that human rights is certainly been given a promise. you have a human rights commission which is doing some work.
the economy is absolutely critical. some who returned from burma the other day, a few friends of mine, you can say what you like, it's like a different country. the economy is still dead in the water. there are no new jobs, and perform -- reforming the economy is an enormous task. of course, that is where lifting sanctions comes in. then we enter very delicate territory. as i'm sure any people here, are aware of sim, sanctions are the only leeway that we have on burma. so we must take care. it is clear that for the burmese to get behind the reforms, they need to see improvement in their
standard of living. that has not happened yet. >> let's talk a little bit about sanctions. obviously, in washington, people will be watching this election very closely. many people have argued that if the election is conducted in a reasonably open and fair way, and i say reasonably because there probably will be some instances of the regularities or already have been. some advocate that once we get over this election and she is in parliament, but this is probably the time to start lifting trade and investment sanctions. what do you think? do think that goes far enough? you think more prisoners need to be released? or is this a process that has to unfold gradually? >> the friends of mine who came back, the great majority of prisoners have been released.
some operate for strange reasons, including members of the entourage who were locked up in 2004. those sort of things have been done to allow this extent. anyway, these are relatively easy things to do. once you decide to make these stressors and people come out into the street, the hard thing, as i said, is to change the constitution, which the government has shown no interest in doing. it seems to me that the most important and significant sanctions should remain in place until there is some indication of movement towards a more genuine and thorough constitution for burma. >> let's stay on u.s. policy produced for just a second. some critics have said the u.s. policy is just too dependent on
aung san suu kyi and what she says and what she thinks, and that the time has come for the u.s. to reach out to others in opposition movement and civil society, to help inform that decision. what is your take on that, in terms of the fact that it does seem that she has extraordinary and rightfully so, extraordinary influence on how lawmakers in washington decide what and what not to do on burma policy? >> it does seem a little bit anomalous. a singular person should, in that sense, hold the fate of her country in her hands, while there are plenty of other opposition politicians with plenty of experience. who are around. i think that in the last nine months, since her release in november 2010, she has justified
the faith that western leaders have put in her. her statements and her moves have been very measured and prudent, carefully calculated. i think that she is proving an extremely useful and effective intellectual between the western world. which is certainly the map that he mapped out for her. and the world of the west is actually happy for her to perform. as long as she retains this enormous support from the burmese masses, i think that she still has a pretty good claim to play that role. >> i still have many questions, but i want to make sure that we get the audience involved. even our online viewers come if they have any questions. if you have a question, raise your hand.
i see a question in the back. wait for the microphone to come get you. >> if you don't mind introducing yourself as well. >> hello, my name is shawn king. sorry if i miss pronounce his name, but i have heard the former singapore at ambassador to the u.n., i think on this very strange, say that sanctions against burma were a tragedy of the west, but they made us feel better about ourselves but didn't result in any change. in light of current events, how do you think his comments stack up today? >> many people who would like to do business with burma have been camping at the bit for many years. one of the last remaining, corners of asia. people have been dying to get their hands on it for a long
time. as we saw, companies had very little concern for the human rights situation when they started onshore explorations in burma. i think one simply has to decide whether the human rights situation in the country is significant or not. when you have this appalling human rights situation that we have seen in burma ever since 1988, and arguably, long before that, does the west have a duty to stand up and try and change that behavior are not? it is a crucial kind of debating question. the fact that we are where we are and the burmese can now read
the newspaper that they want, they can vote for who they want in the elections, they can go in and out of the country and with a bit of luck in a year or two, they will even have some jobs. this is all partially, thanks to what the west has done, no, i don't think it is a mistake. >> wait for the microphone, please. >> amy stone, i am a writer. i wanted to get your take on why you think the generals are making this change at this time. it just seems too good to be true. >> it is extraordinary, isn't it? i think that there are various reasons. the most interesting one is that burma, in the absence of a trading relationship with the west, has been -- it is found itself in a closer embrace with china. which has been becoming too
close. there is a burmese proverb that reads, when china spits, burma swims. they are prone to feeling, like other southeast asian countries, in danger for china, in danger of being colonized and taken over, and the project crystallizes those fears. this is a chinese dam on the river which is a symbol of the country. the chinese were not going to build the dam, but import 20% of the electricity back into china. of course, burma got an appalling electricity provision. i was wondering if the president
had his head screwed on right when he suspended the project in the middle of last year. that is a very significant factor in what is happening. >> yes, you in the blue. >> hello, my name is dave. i'm wondering what you think in the near future access to this country will be as far as foreign journalists? it seems in the last few months, foreign reporters have not been able to pretend to be tourists, but have actually been able to go in with a journalist visa for a few weeks. they go there for a few weeks and then get out and file their story. as far as having resident journalists who can stay there, do you think the government will allow that anytime soon? >> yes, and it is happening already. ..