How to End June 4, et al.
A Country That Controls the Internet Should be Able to Control the Calendar
A few years ago, it was reported in the Australian Financial Review that senior party members in the Chinese Communist Party were reading deTocqueville’s The Old Regime and the Revolution. This was at the suggestion of Xi Jinping, who apparently wanted to call attention to the fate of leaders who ignore the people in favor of corruption and the easy life. The end times of the French monarchy is a good model for what rulers should not do.
We now have the anti-corruption campaign and the tigers and flies and the framing of enemies by other Party members. And we have the mandate to remove evil western influence from China (free speech, free press, democracy, and the western books and teachers who are unfortunately a product of those ideas). This was the pronouncement from Yuan Guiren, the Chinese Education Minister.
An aside - Communism, you know, is a German import. What CCP should do about that is overlooked. No doubt this will be the subject of investigation. Someone, somewhere, within the CCP, at a very senior level, is protecting Communism, this western import, from being attacked. Is this more corruption?
Anyway, the French Revolution has spawned lots of interesting ideas, in addition to “liberty, equality, fraternity.” One of the more interesting was the French Revolutionary calendar. Those of you who can get access to the internet outside China can look at French Republican Calendar.
The rationale for the calendar was to sweep away the ideas, the habits, the customs of the old system – the ancien régime, as it is called. The concept was to erase the memories, the Four Olds of France as it were, and pave the way for a new France.
Sort of like a New China.
On October 23, 1793, the Revolutionary Calendar was adopted by the National Convention, acting as the government in France. The idea was to make the calendar rational, and modern.
In the spirit of the times the calendar was designed to do away with the old names of months, irrational numbers of days in the month and the week and hours in the day, and replace them with systematic, metric, and base-10 representations. Very modern.
The wiki article describes the months, days, and hours –
There were twelve months, each divided into three ten-day weeks called décades. The tenth day, décadi, replaced Sunday as the day of rest and festivity….
Names of the days, names of the months, and number of days in the month and hours in the day were all changed. Controlling the calendar was rational, and modern.
How the old New France can help the New China
There has been a lot of anxiety within China about the date of June 4. Many people think that June 4 is part of the modern calendar, and should come after June 3 and before June 5. But in New China, old ideas should be eliminated.
Others in China seem to fear the date of June 4, and would like to see it banned. Certainly, the Chinese Communist Party has taken that position, in action if not in policy statement. References to June 4, particularly if they include a year, such as 1989, are blocked by the Chinese government. References to related terms, such as May 35, or characters or words that could be generally understood as meaning “June 4” are also blocked by the Chinese government. Attempts to talk about June 4 can land people in jail.
Now we know that the Chinese government supports modernization of everything in China. Getting rid of the Four Olds is itself an old term, but still a useful idea.
In the spirit of modernization, and using modernist ideas from the French enlightenment to support the CCP, we recommend that June 4 just be eliminated from the calendar. This should eliminate the anxiety felt within the government about June 4, and make it possible for millions of Chinese to get back to the business of making money, which, after all, is what a society is for.
How to do it
There are many ways to eliminate June 4. Perhaps the easiest would be to simply print calendars that go directly from June 3 to June 5. The extra day can be added somewhere else, like February, which really could use another day in any case.
If this program were implemented immediately, then the calendar revision could be accomplished in conjunction with the map revisions that show dotted lines in the South China Sea and Taiwan as part of traditional China. Maybe include some proposed acquisitions, as well. Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin, and diaoyudao in the East China Sea. Mongolia? Surely some argument can be made for ports in Sri Lanka, or along the coast of Africa. With all those dotted lines, it would be easy to draw a dotted line between June 3 and June 5 to February 29.
Another idea - print calendars that call the day between June 3 and June 5, June X. There will be confusion with people thinking we are using Roman numerals, like the French Republican calendar. But we already have a June 10, so the confusion should be small, even if unavoidable for some people. We all have to pay a price for progress.
There are other ideas. June 3.99 has a nice look to it. Chinese citizens can come up with variations.
And the beauty of that sort of choice is that there are an infinite number of variations. If some people don’t like June 3.99, then they can try June 3.999. Or June 3.1. Lots of choices.
Some people – looking at you, CCP - get so anxious about June 4 that they try to eliminate June entirely from the calendar, or at least eliminate internet use during June. We can fix that, too, by eliminating the word “June” from the calendar.
Early June in the French Revolutionary calendar would be Prairial, from the French word for prairie, or pasture.
And senior Communist Party officials who are reading deTocqueville should really have no objection to naming a month after a French prairie. So Prairial 3.99 could be just what is desired, for all Chinese people. So the sequence could be, Prairial 3, Prairial 3.99, Prairial 5. So much more modern feeling. And the internet doesn’t have to go down, again, for maintenance, every year during May and June. There is no June.
As a final solution, we could just replace June 4 with nothing. We would write June , 2019, or 2019 – Prairial - . That way, the people who want to eliminate June 4 will have done so. Everyone else can just remember what goes in front of the comma or behind the dash.
And then, on Prairial , Chinese web-users should show their solidarity, and go silent. Post nothing on Prairial , and show your support for June 3.99. This might be the most effective way to deal with the June 4 problem. Post nothing on that date.
If enough people comply, government will be flustered. What does it mean to protest when no one shows up? What if they blocked the internet and no one complied by being blocked? And how about all those millions of Chinese who failed to post anything on June 4? Which side are they on?
Think of Tenzin Gyatso. the Dalai Lama, suggesting that if CCP demands that there be a new Dalai Lama to succeed him at death, then perhaps there should not be a new Dalai Lama. Atheistic CCP is insistent that there be a new leader, so CCP can control; the religious faithful are not so sure. What is the sound of one internet not buzzing?
Now I know it will be difficult to get hundreds of millions of people to adopt a system like this. Sometimes when something is very difficult to do, we say it would be like murder to accomplish. But that is what we suggest. Not posting would to be thinking of murder.
Even if it is like murder to not think about June 4, take up the banner for June X or, if you wish, for June , or Prairial 3.99. Your choice. Then we can completely forget June 4, and maybe that day, the internet can go silent, while millions remember.