This is a time of doubt for the democratic and pluralistic countries of the world, as weak leadership on the one hand and populism on the other, lead to disillusion with many Western values like globalism and multiculturalism. Discontented people look at Vladimir Putin in Russia and Xi Jinping in China and ask if these authoritarian systems are more stable and perhaps even superior to Western democracies. Is it not likely, that China will overtake the USA during the course of the twenty first century, and that the United States and European Union will go into decline?
This will not happen – at least with the existing political system in China.
China in the Early 20th Century
After the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty in the revolution of 1911, a new republic was formed in China, but in subsequent decades this immense land was in chaos as warlords, nationalists and communists struggled to assert control. With the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 the Communist Chinese leader Mao Zedong formed a loose alliance with the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek, and fought the Japanese to a stalemate, but after the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, bitter civil war ensued, which ended in the flight of the nationalists and the establishment of an exiled government in Taiwan.
As this chaotic and bloody struggle reached a crescendo, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was proclaimed with Mao Zedong as its leader on October 1st, 1949. There is some doubt about the actual time, which is attributed to astrologer Charles Carter, but it is appealing, because the Moon in Aquarius conjoining the Aquarius Ascendant does seem appropriate for a “people’s republic”.
China. 1 Oct. 1949 15.15 Peking. AS 5.56 Aquarius
Communist China is a young nation formed on the ruins of a vast and rich cultural heritage, containing almost a quarter of the world’s population. Mao Zedong was something of a hero to the sixties generation in the West, which just shows how little information escaped from China in the years after the 1949 revolution. At least, people seemed unaware that although Mao had been a brilliant military leader, his brutal leadership resulted in extreme suffering for China.
The Great Leap Forward, instigated by Mao Zedong, which took place between 1958 and 1962 and was designed to create rapid industrialization, resulted in the deaths of between 20 million and 50 million people – nobody knows exactly how many. To meet industrial targets for steel, peasants melted down their ploughs and other equipment, and this, along with other insane events, resulted in mass starvation.
This led to party criticism of Mao, who responded in the mid-sixties by launching the Cultural Revolution, which basically turned life upside down for the average citizen. Teachers and doctors (and critics) were sent to the countryside for re-education – if they were not thrown out of buildings by their students. Young Chinese waving The Little Red Book of Mao Zedong’s quotations created chaos in the mid to late sixties, reflecting the Uranus/Pluto conjunction on China’s Saturn. This historical period, when Uranus/Pluto in Virgo opposed Saturn in Pisces, was the time in the West when young people said, “Never trust anyone over 30”, whilst in China, almost two million over-thirties actually died in purges.
Mao Zedong. 26 Dec 1893, 7.30 LMT, Shaoyang, China (AS 13.42 CP)
Mao Zedong (26 Dec 1893) was born at the time of the Pluto/Neptune conjunction, which takes place approximately every 492 years. (Note 1) As his Mercury in Sagittarius opposed this conjunction, he was a bit of a maniac, with exaggerated and unrealistic ideas that caused immense disruption. His Mars in Scorpio opposing Jupiter and square Venus also suggests a ruthless bully with unshakeable principles. Furthermore, his Moon in Leo, which was exactly square Uranus in Scorpio (which is in a loose conjunction with Mars) showed that, although he was worshipped by the people as the Great Leader, he was unpredictable and vain.
The secret to understanding the chaos and madness of these post-revolutionary decades lies in the position of Mercury in China’s chart. This planet is in close conjunction with Neptune, which itself conjoins the asteroid Ceres (connected with farming) and the South Node in Libra (all sextile Pluto). If the birth time is accurate, then these planets, along with the Sun, are actual intercepted in the 8th house, which might well explain the complete secrecy of Chinese Communist Party congresses and much of the governing style. This emphasis on Libra and the South Node may well reflect the aesthetic cultural heritage of China, with its emphasis on grace, harmony and balance.
The conjunctions of Mercury reflect a tendency to be completely unrealistic or over-idealistic, and it is quite likely that the conjunction with Ceres reflects communist ideals and agrarian roots. In the civil war, Mao controlled the countryside, but not the cities. As Mercury moves retrograde during the decades of madness, it goes back and finally moves stationary direct in exact square to Uranus, completely dominating the period from 1956 to 1964. The activation of the Sun/Uranus square by Mercury lasts until the Cultural Revolution, and clearly shows a leader, who in the name of The Party (Sun in Libra) executes completely irrational policies.
Mao died in 1976 exactly as China’s progressed Descendant conjoined Saturn and progressed Mars moved into Virgo. Transiting Uranus in Scorpio was square China’s Ascendant. In the early seventies progressed Mercury had finally moved beyond its natal position, which coincided with the dissolution of Mao’s power – he had grown senile – and the ascendancy of his wife and the Gang of Four. After considerable power struggles, more pragmatic leadership prevailed.
After the death of Mao, and a period of destabilization and social unrest, Deng Xiaoping came to power in December 1978, precisely on China’s Saturn return and initiated a series of reforms, opening China to foreign investment and creating a market economy. It was a total transformation for China and since these reforms, the economy of the country at a phenomenal average of 8% per year. Pluto, which had conjoined China’s Sun just prior to Mao’s death, at had just transited China’s Mercury-Neptune-Ceres-South Node conjunction, eliminating the erroneous idealism of the past.
China advanced rapidly with its booming economy, but control of the population was still absolute. When students demonstrated at Tiananmen Square in June 1989, transiting Pluto was square China’s Mars, and Uranus was opposite radix Uranus. This was not perestroika (which signaled the dissolution of the Soviet Union) – the elimination of revolutionary tendencies amongst the younger population was brutal and extreme, and hundreds, probably thousands of people were killed. Nobody knows. China’s progressed Moon conjoined Uranus at this time – and the progressed IC was exactly on Uranus, which does seem to confirm the accuracy of PRC’s birth time. The progressed Sun was at 17 Scorpio – exactly square radix Pluto.
China in the Early 21st Century
Here in the 21st century, things are looking good for China. Technological advances have brought high-speed trains, ubiquitous smartphones and general prosperity. Whilst there are about 500 dollar billionaires in the USA, there are already over 300 in China, if that is a relevant measurement. In other words, people can acquire private wealth, own property, travel and communicate in a way which was not possible in the last century.
China is experiencing a boom, because it has a compliant (controlled) population, and because it has been able to do so much catching up from a disastrous start. But it will not overtake the USA or the EU for one simple reason – it cannot tolerate the kind of innovation, welcomed in the West, which threatens existing Chinese systems. China’s answer to the freedom represented by the Internet is to completely and utterly control it, by what is called the Great Firewall of China. One of the great freedoms of America is that its president, currently Donald Trump, can be ridiculed by comedy shows, newspapers and a variety of websites. He hates it, but he cannot do anything about it. In China, you cannot even find Winnie the Pooh on social media, because President Xi Jinping, being rather plump, has been compared to him. Xi Jinping understands that to maintain Party control of China, all dissent must be quashed at the outset, and under his rule, social media and the Internet have been subject to stricter and stricter control.
There is another reason China, under its existing political system, cannot continue its expansion. This is because it is an extractive monopolistic system (Note 2). In recent Western history, citizens overthrew elites and created a society in which they elected their own representatives. Individuals could advance secure in the knowledge that their individual rights would be respected. In China (and most African countries, most South American countries, most Middle-Eastern countries and Russia) the state can easily disenfranchise its citizens. In China and Russia, voting is an exercise which has no real meaning.
A favorite saying in Silicon Valley is, “Move fast and break things” – which is an expression of the need for creative destruction as technologies advance. The industrial revolution which started in Britain well ahead of other nations, broke everything, and made Britain great. But the last thing China wants is the kind of innovation that breaks down the Party’s control of its citizens, and ultimately this will lead to stagnation.
President Xi Jinping was born at the Saturn/Neptune conjunction in 1953, like Putin, and this is “communist” signature evoking an idealized belief in society serving humanity. His Sun in Gemini is trine this conjunction, so he is a true believer with great ideas about how this belief can be realized. Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are both Geminis, one born on the 14th and the other the 15th June, which could account for their apparent attunement, and perhaps even shared ideas. There is none of the brutality of Mao Zedong’s horoscope here, although both Xi and Mao share a Moon in Leo conjoining China’s Descendant. Xi married a famous Chinese singer and artist, Peng Liyuan, which may reflect his strong Venus in Taurus, which is incidentally in exact conjunction with Mars and Pluto in the 7th harmonic (Mars is at the midpoint of Venus/Pluto), This probably gives enormous personal magnetism.
Xi Jinping. 15 June 1953. Time Unknown. Peking.
Xi has coined the phrase “Chinese Dream” – probably alluding to the American Dream – which aspires to economic and military supremacy. He asserts that the West is experiencing a crisis of confidence, and that Chinese can offer the world an alternative. To achieve this, Xi knows he must combat corruption, because the major flaw in extractive political systems like communism, is that they create elites and oligarchies, which accumulate money and power through favors and local politics. The current Pluto transit through Capricorn – in square to China’s Libra planets – has therefore seen an unparalleled campaign against corruption with many arrests of key economic, political and military figures. He has set an example himself by eating and traveling as an (almost) normal citizen, instead of indulging in luxuries.
Whilst things are looking good right now, trouble lies ahead for the People’s Republic. In December 2020, a new 200-year cycle of Jupiter/Saturn conjunction begins at 0 degrees Aquarius, on China’s moon, heralding far-reaching changes well into the future. It could be argued that this is a good sign for Chinese supremacy in the 21st century, but from 2025 to 2026, Pluto makes its way around to China’s Ascendant in Aquarius, simultaneous conjoining the Moon. At the same time, Uranus moves into Gemini in trine to Pluto, bringing a dynamic activation of the consciousness – and revolutionary spirit – of the Chinese people. Even though Xi Jinping may be something of a genius – a Gemini, with Mercury conjoining Uranus in Cancer – it is unlikely that he will be able to control the release of exuberance and liberation that will arise at this time. Certainly, the kind of control of technology and social media which is currently being exercised, will disintegrate, and the people will take power. With a population of 1.4 billion, that can be an alarming prospect.
Adrian Ross Duncan. November 17th, 2017.
Note 1. Mao’s birth time is 7.30 a.m. but speculative.
Note 2. Extractive political systems are comprehensively described in the Book, Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.