Home > Analysis > What would the Chinese government do or fail to do for the Chinese to revoke their loyalty and support?

What would the Chinese government do or fail to do for the Chinese to revoke their loyalty and support?

Several blogs have summarized two of the key findings from the 2008 Pew Global Attitude Survey in China . 1. The Chinese are overwhelmingly satisfied with the direction of their nation, its economy and its government’s handling of issues critical to their lives (often with consensus in the upper 80 percents). The Chinese satisfaction with the state of the nation has improved significantly since the last time they were surveyed a year ago. 2. Compared to their sanguine and optimistic view of the nation, the Chinese are far less satisfied with at least two critical aspects of their personal/individual lives, i.e., their career/financial situations and family lives. Their perception of their personal lives has not improved since the last time they were surveyed.

How would you explain the disparity between the Chinese attitudes toward their country on the one hand and their individual lives on the other? What do you make of it?

The data suggest that the Chinese personal/individual lives have been decoupled from China ‘s national life to a significant degree. The citizens’ personal success and satisfaction in material possessions and social relations are determined by factors that have little to do with the government in particular and the nation’s political/economic situation in general. Chinese personal lives are no longer mobilized and organized in a common cause imposed by the government (with exceptions like the Olympics. But the Olympics affect only Beijing’ers, who are too dumb to mind anyway.) The authorities’ control and constraints on the society have a light footprint with minimal intolerable impact on the citizens’ personal successes. The average Chinese tells the surveyor that “I am poor and lonely but it has nothing to do with the Chinese nation or government”. The Chinese society does little to prevent individuals from achieving their personal goals, and provides the resources that the Chinese can reasonably expect for their personal pursuits.

This picture demonstrates the paramount importance of “stability”. When your environment is stable and predictable, it becomes a constant factor (instead of a bunch of volatile variables). You develop routines and strategies to effectively cope with such an environment, work around the hurdles and contain the impact of the stressors in it. You can effectively navigate and negotiate with the environment.

This decoupling is far from sufficient, with striking exceptions. People still violently blame the system, especially the authorities for their personal misfortunes. The Weng’An riot in Guizhou is a recent example. A teenager’s tragic death is perceived as inflected by official corruption and cruelty, instead of a result of difficult personal development. Although the veracity of people’s perception in this particular case is open to discussions, the fact remains that in many segments of the society the authorities are still viewed as the burden and problem, instead of resources for individuals’ lives. Forceful evacuations and illegal land grabs fall in this category. I hope these salient problems are the exceptions, reflecting uneven development in the various regions of a complex and diverse country, and the flashpoints can be defused by improving the authorities’ compassion and administrative skills.

A question the data have not asked is “what exactly do the Chinese want from their government?” What is the average Chinese’s vision for a good Chinese government? What kind of a deal have the Chinese citizens made with the Chinese society, including its authorities? Although the survey was not designed to answer this question, I think it is interesting. To find out the intended purpose of a deal (a social contract), one needs to look at the deal-breaking condition, the threshold for a relationship breakdown. What is the deal-breaking condition for the relation between the Chinese citizens and the Chinese authorities? I would like to ask the following question if I could conduct a survey. “What would the Chinese government do or fail to do for you to revoke your loyalty and support?” Honest answers to this question should tell us what the Chinese authorities need to keep or start doing to stay in power.

The boundary conditions may very well be one or more of the concerns identified in the Pew questionnaire and confirmed by the Chinese respondents if further exacerbated, such as economic hardship (inflation, 96% of respondents were concerned), rich poor gap, government and business corruption, pollution and etc. The fact that these problems are currently not deal-breaking is probably because their severity is just enough to cause concern, but not enough for panic or hopelessness. These are perceived as “problems we encounter in development and progress”, and can be fixed without systematic changes.

The boundary condition is the tipping point for a phase change where the laws governing a process’s behavior in one phase are switched off, and replaced with laws governing a different phase. The mechanics governing the behavior of H2O change as a function of temperature, with zero degree Celsius as the boundary condition or threshold. Mechanics governing water as a fluid are switched off when the temperature gets below 0 degree C.

I thought about other scenarios as candidates for the boundary/threshold condition that would lead to a system collapse.

1. Taiwan declares independence and CCP does nothing. Would this be a deal-breaker? My personal answer is no. The Chinese can live with that, despite us emotional Fenqings.

2. Taiwan declares independence, CCP goes to war, shedding a large amount of Chinese blood, crippling the economy, but still fails to reign in the “renegade territory”. Would this be a deal-breaker? My answer is yes. The Chinese social fabric and collective resourcefulness are not strong enough to withstand a Taiwan Trauma. Every Chinese should send the Taiwanese people a thank you card for ditching Chen Shuibian in favor of Ma Yingjiu.

3. Another boundary condition for the viability of the Chinese society deserves more elaborate discussion because it has received a lot of attention from the outside (when will China become a democracy?), an abrupt implementation of the one-person-one-vote elections. This procedure will collapse the Chinese system. The CCP will not survive an election, not because the Chinese will have a better alternative to choose. There are no alternatives. The current authorities assimilate and co-opt all the political talents in the Chinese society. They are the cognitive elite and the only game in town. Even David Brooks at NYT knows that. The colorful dissidents do not have the raw intelligence, the academic and practical training, or the integrity to be viable alternatives. The current Chinese authorities will fail in an abruptly introduced democracy/election not because they will be voted out, but because the entire society will disintegrate and breakdown. The old Soviet Union has already done that experiment. Do we need a replication just to test the reliability?

Talking about the Chinese society’s boundary conditions, it would be interesting to look at the United States as a comparison. The American system’s boundary condition is exposed for intimate observation by the threat that terrorist activities can get out of control and destroy the pervasive, dis-embedded trust among the members of the society. This “basic trust” in the random other’s benign intentions is the foundation of modern societies(per Anthony Giddens). The American society will stop functioning in its normal way when many Americans refuse to travel by air because the next passenger cannot be trusted for not being a terrorist intending to kill himself and everyone else, and when many Americans refuse to take packages from the mailman for fear of bombs or anthrax. At this point fear will persuade Americans to turn the society into a “police state”. The current American social institutions are not designed to function as a police state. Dark spiritual/intellectual forces kept latent under normal circumstances will now be activated, and thrive by filling the vacuum, feeding on the fear and hunger for an ideology that helps them make sense of their current situations (justifying the police state). The most potent of all dark forces is America ’s own religious fanaticism, led by the right-wing religious groups. These ideologues will be radicalized and may even join force with the fringe groups exemplified by the Davidians, Jim Jones’ People’s Temple and the religious polygamists like Warren Jeffs. If you cannot trust other humans, you must find a power of a higher order to place your trust. The religious right who now would be content with banning abortion and homosexuality and forcing “intelligent design” into science classes will demand a full theocracy. Dramas like erecting a 10-ton stone tablet bearing the Ten Commandments in a federal court houses (in Alabama?) will become deadly serious. Once this process kicks in, its effect will not be contained within the border of the United States . The entire “free world” will go down with it.

The Chinese-American comparison is interesting in that the processes share the same mechanism. It is not the triggering event (Taiwan Independence, Elections or Terrorism), but the system breakdown due to overload, that will cause the demise of the society in question. In the American example, particular terrorist attacks will never directly overthrow the American way of life. Terrorism becomes fatal to the American way of life when the inconsistencies within the American society become intolerable contradictions and tear the system apart from within. In the Chinese example, elections in themselves will not collapse the society. The fatal blow will come from the underpinning cultural values, traditions, habits, tastes and preferences that are not designed to support that political system.

It is comforting to realize the probability for the boundary/collapse conditions for both China and the United States to materialize is as slim as the likelihood of an ET invasion.

  1. MoneyBall
    July 28th, 2008 at 19:40 | #1

    He’s exaggerating the power of religious wingnuts. They may still control the so called heart land, but in important places where truely pump the veins of the country like CA or NY, they will have no say no matter what happens.

    On the other hand, where there are more chicanos than whites in this country, it will break down, as simple as that.

  2. wuming
    July 28th, 2008 at 19:49 | #2

    As an old Beijinger and now a New Yorker, I strongly resent your questioning of our intelligence. I was told that when I moved from Beijing to New York, there was a tiny but measurable increase in the average IQ in both cities.

  3. Netizen
    July 28th, 2008 at 20:00 | #3

    BXBQ, a feedback, you lost me in the middle of the post.

  4. bianxiangbianqiao
    July 28th, 2008 at 20:12 | #4

    Moneyball,
    I was envisioning the collapse scenarios. The “right” condition is everything.

    Wuming,
    Compared to what standard? Everyone else?

    Netizen,
    Yeah. I always make things more complicated than necessary.

  5. Daniel
    July 28th, 2008 at 20:12 | #5

    I also was a bit lost, but sort of comprehend.
    I’m not sure what the comment about the chicanos is related to this but although CA and NY are major players in American society, there are other places with a significant amount of “leverage” such as Texas and pretty much the Southern States and the Midwest, believe it or not. Not everything is revolved around the West Coast (which many refer to as California) or the East Coast.

  6. wuming
    July 28th, 2008 at 20:30 | #6

    @BXBQ

    I just couldn’t resist a dumb joke, via Prairie Home Companions

    I think your analysis was stellar, especially about co-opting of political elite into the ruling political party.

    I also come to believe that it matters less in what particular political system is adopted in a country, more in whether the current state of the country is revolutionary or not. Revolution is almost always too high a price to pay for a society, since there is high risk of end-up with something worse, and the inevitable destruction is unacceptable. Chinese history clearly demonstrate that

  7. July 28th, 2008 at 20:53 | #7

    No mention of the economy. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘social contract’ before, the social contract in China is that the people sacrifice certain freedoms for continued stability and economic growth, it is only the fact that the government continues to deliver these that keeps the people content to allow them to remain in power. What is currently being delivered by the CCP could just as easily be delivered by another party – this is what makes the talk of ‘one party democracy’ so ridiculous. What is the point of allowing factions to arise within a party which has pretty much nothing in the way of unifying ideology? What is the essential difference between groups of people who all call themselves communists competing for power and multi-party democracy if the word ‘communist’ is essentially devoid of meaning?

    But I digress – without economic growth unrest would certainly surge up, the government would have to fall back on the army for support, and that might well lead to civil war.

  8. deltaeco
    July 28th, 2008 at 21:07 | #8

    @wuming

    Revolution = One year of fire, 100 years of smoke.

  9. bianxiangbianqiao
    July 28th, 2008 at 21:11 | #9

    FOARP,

    “…without economic growth unrest would certainly surge up…”

    Fully agreed. However, what is the biggest contributor to the Chinese economy? I am no economist but I think it is the Chinese people’s motivation, their desire for consumption and their willingness to work for it. The things that the Chinese need from the government for their prosperity (including personal freedom) are already available in the Chinese system. This is why the Chinese are NOT blaming the government for their lack of personal financial success.

    “…pretty much nothing in the way of unifying ideology”?
    I disagree. The unifying ideology is quite clear, i.e. development, better lives for the citizens and restoring the glory of the Chinese nation/cultural (the last one sounds gratuitous to me).

  10. July 28th, 2008 at 21:28 | #10

    Is there much difference between one-party monopoly and two-party oligopoli? Remember Dem/Repub used to be one party.

  11. July 28th, 2008 at 21:54 | #11

    @BXBQ- Development is not an ideology, unless you believe that every sane government on the planet follows the same basic ideology that is – it is pure pragmatism.

    When people see themselves failing, but others around them succeeding, then they will not blame the government for that failure. When people lose their jobs en mass, the only thing that will stop them from blaming the government is if there are jobs elsewhere which they can take up. When everyone in the country see their nation in a state of stagnation, then they blame the government. Freedom of religion, assembly, the formation of independent trade unions and genuine collective bargaining, due process of law in political cases, all of these freedoms are denied, and those who demand them are the only ones outside the party who have even part of the degree of organisation necessary to challenge the party.

    This said, please don’t get the impression that I am hoping for an economic down-turn. Anyway, it may well be that the linkage between the Chinese economy and that of the outside world is not such that a world economic down-turn will necessarily lead to anything but a 2-3% slowdown in Chinese growth for a year or two.

    @Charles Liu – but there have always been challengers for the elections. In competition law there is a great debate about whether ‘collective dominance’ is actually the same thing as dominance of a market by a single corporation. But in politics I think there can be no question of it unless the opposition party is in fact a ‘yellow’ party – i.e., a puppet of the ruling party. Many people accuse the various factions aligned with United Russia of being such parties, but you will not find any takers for the idea that either of the main parties in the American system are ‘yellow’. What is perhaps annoying about the US system is the degree to which both parties have ensured that no third party can challenge them. Perhaps this inevitable given how elections must be fought nation-wide, it is simply not possible for a party to rely on regional support to propel them into national politics – elections must be fought at all levels everywhere or not at all.

  12. Nimrod
    July 28th, 2008 at 22:30 | #12

    FOARP, there are factions in the CCP, too. They’ve just made sure that you need to join the Party first to participate. (And even that’s not always true nowadays.) So what’s the difference? I think if intra-Party democracy is actually implemented, there will be no difference.

  13. Buxi
    July 28th, 2008 at 22:50 | #13

    “What would the Chinese government do or fail to do for you to revoke your loyalty and support?”

    Hmm, it’s hard to talk about specific events or policies. The Taiwan example, for example, you broke down into two different scenarios… if we were to look realistically at that, we could probably sub-divide even further into 100 different scenarios on the basis of other variables: casualties in Taiwan, casualties on the mainland, etc, etc…

    I think it’s more practical to talk about the “social contract” definition. And for me, the social contract with the Chinese government is an institution that unemotionally, logically implements policies that allows “everyone” in Chinese society to advance: economically, socially, intellectually.

    @FOARP,

    I still believe you are over-stating the risk of low GDP growth. It’ll clearly cause difficulties, but I legitimately don’t believe that if GDP growth drops to below 5% the Chinese government will immediately or inevitably collapse. It depends a) on the reason behind the slow-down, and b) GDP slow-down doesn’t necessarily mean slow-down in income growth.

    I think a) is obvious, so I won’t bother talking about it. But a quick word about b), income growth versus GDP growth.

    If you look at the numbers, over the last decade income growth in Chinese cities has been SLOWER than GDP growth. And much faster than both has been government tax revenue growth; government tax collections are growing at something like 30% a year. This, by the way, leads to a lot of complaining amongst Chinese who’ve looked at the numbers. This is happening due to intentional policy… it’s no accident. A very large component of GDP has been in infrastructure investment, which means instead of putting yuan into the pockets of average citizens, it puts roads at their feet. And GDP growth has also come partly by encouraging low-paying export-driven businesses.

    The opposite model *is* possible, at least on the short-term: income growth can be maintained even if GDP growth slows down. Instead of building infrastructure, do the equivalent of a tax cut. More services, more pensions, more welfare… these are all options available and affordable to the Chinese government when it becomes necessary.

    So, a short-term slow-down in the economy is absolutely not some sort of death-knell. I think the Chinese government could handle slow growth for close to a decade without collapsing.

  14. MoneyBall
    July 28th, 2008 at 23:50 | #14

    One party or two parties, or dozen parties; Democracy or Autocracy, is not the point.
    The point is Checks and Balance, so a system can correct itself without an overhaul.
    CCP’s problem is they dont really have a checks and balance mechanism, you cant really expect your left hand to oversee what your right hand is doing or vice versa.
    If somehow a genious within CCP can develop such a mechanism, then they can start to call themselves a second working model along with the western one.
    But the trade off is, checks and balance makes the system less efficient, so instead of thugs and goons, you have a bunch of whining and bickering bitches.

  15. deltaeco
    July 29th, 2008 at 00:00 | #15

    @MoneyBall

    Agreed!

  16. K
    July 29th, 2008 at 01:12 | #16

    @BXBQ – One quibble with your analysis: “The entire “free world” will go down with it.” Why? All of us in the rest of the ‘free world’ know that America has plenty of crazy religious types with guns who see terrorists around every corner, but that doesn’t mean we’re like that too….

  17. pmw
    July 29th, 2008 at 02:27 | #17

    What would the context of a Chinese economy slowdown? Would China’s growth drop to 4% while the world grows 5%, or would the world grows at 1% or even -1%? How much would the average Chinese complain in either scenario? And which one is more likely?

  18. BMY
    July 29th, 2008 at 03:55 | #18

    haha, “Yeah. I always make things more complicated than necessary”

    every of your posts is too academic to me. I have to read over few times. But It’s a good way to practice my English.

  19. JL
    July 29th, 2008 at 06:06 | #19

    @BXBQ:

    I don’t really agree with your reasoning that one-man-one-vote will lead to a system collapse.
    It’s true that Russia looks to have done worse than China in the last 20 years. But there are other places that have made successful transitions away from one party rule, like Taiwan, South Korea, Poland, Mexico, Spain. Surely they were all the same, in that the governing single party managed successfully to co-opt the support of society’s best and brightest. Was there a ready made democratic opposition party in Taiwan when single party GMD rule ended?
    Your idea that system collapse will follow the introduction of democracy is a common one. And I can see why people would be afraid– nobody wants another period of Republican-era style chaos. But all this talk of ‘China’s not ready for democracy’ leads one to wonder: how do we know China’s not ready? What standards can we use to measure its readiness? Is there any way of knowing that a country is ready?

  20. July 29th, 2008 at 06:15 | #20

    [This “basic trust” in the random other’s benign intentions is the foundation of modern societies (per Anthony Giddens).]

    The Giddens analysis includes “ontological security” and “internal referential systems” both of which, in the Chinese context, situate in the family. I speculate that recent “political movements” were all about breaking down old family networks and building a modern nation state. What we see today is the aftermath, with family ties still strong but elements of the nation state (for better or worse) now in place. China moves to a new state of “internal referentiality” and its “up for grabs” (or is it?).

  21. Charles Liu
    July 29th, 2008 at 06:45 | #21

    Somehow I have the feeling if the CCP split into two parties, people would still be unsatisfied.

    In another word, as others have said before – China can’t win.

  22. July 29th, 2008 at 08:43 | #22

    @JL – The ‘Dangwai’ movement started more than ten years before the end of the martial law period, and centred mainly around journalists, lawyers, intellectuals and other activists, but it would not have happened if the government had not allowed elections for a few of the seats in the Legislative Yuan. The DPP was founded by Dangwai members in 1986, five years before the end of the martial law period.

  23. werew
    July 29th, 2008 at 08:55 | #23

    @JL
    First, a large portion of Chinese are discontent poor. When China turn into a democracy, politician will go first for their populist support and create policies that benefits them but hurts the overall development of the nation, such as redistribution of wealth. Second, at least from what I perceived online, many Chinese right now are not really independent thinkers. They will easily get into a mob mentality and become overemotional, either too angry or overarchingly supportive.

    The main reason that I don’t like to see China get turned into a democracy is because I would like to see China walk its own path. I think much of the idea that democracy will solve everything that some Chinese have had not been come up with independently without unfriendly external influence. If the Chinese desires democracy, they have to have a good understanding of it first. Of course, ccp isn’t helping them, but their understanding right now is really naive. The idea of democracy sounds good, but communism sounds good as well. They don’t seem to know that “western” democracy really work a whole lot different than the ideal version.

    China will become dysfunctional as a democracy like all other democracies in the world, where people think they have power, but in fact only a few elites control it and popular support had actually became a limiting block to change. Had China transform to a direct democracy tomorrow, all the exciting political reforms and model building will stop. Who needs anything else when you have a democracy? Perhaps democracy is not the best form of government, but if everyone turned into a democracy, no one would have a different model to look toward.

  24. Wukailong
    July 29th, 2008 at 10:19 | #24

    @JL: “how do we know China’s not ready? What standards can we use to measure its readiness? Is there any way of knowing that a country is ready?”

    A short answer: No, there are no such standards. Most of these ideas are just based on very subjective judgement. There is no way to measure “素质”, “readiness”, stability etc. One possible standard for stability could be how many violent protest actions there is in a country during one year, but then you have the problem of defining violent.

    As for using the Soviet Union as an example, there are so many factors that have to be weighed in, especially economic ones. One of the most important ones was the decision to change to a market economy in less than a year, something China never attempted. I’m pretty sure such a decision would have led China to chaos too, democratic or not.

    @werew: Do you mean that all democracies in the world are dysfunctional? What is it more specifically that doesn’t work in these countries?

  25. JD
    July 29th, 2008 at 11:37 | #25

    It’s terrific that Chinese citizens are wonderfully happy. Still, polls in China are worthless because the opinions of the citizenry don’t matter and can’t be trusted, or so goes the official view.

    If there are concerns that “abrupt” one-person-one-vote elections would make China collapse they are easily resolved. Start with an open debate and move to a clear and fair referendum on democracy. That may be a naive suggestion, but an open and healthy debate within China would come up with some pretty amazing solutions. It would be a very exciting national project, far more so than the Olympics.

    In any event, CCP factions – if unable to resolve their differences – would seem to offer a pretty feasible spectrum for political parties. In the end the “CCP”, in some form, would win as would China and its citizens.

  26. BMY
    July 29th, 2008 at 13:43 | #26

    @werew
    “such as redistribution of wealth” might not be a bad thing under current huge rich/poor gap.
    I can’t agree more “many Chinese right now are not really independent thinkers. They will easily get into a mob mentality and become overemotional, either too angry or overarchingly supportive” . The Chinese internet forums are full of angry youth from both sides trying to shout down the other side and many of them are well educated university students. The less educated people are even less independent thinkers. mob mentality are easily out of control under democratic elections. we’ve seen too many chaos in other countries.

    Then this comes to JD’s ideal

    @JD

    I totally agree with you of “start an open and healthy debate within China ”

    First of all , open and healthy debate would let citizens get used to open debate and get used to and tolerant to different even opposite ideals. It’s one of the preparation for democracy without violent/chaos

    Secondly “an open and healthy debate within China would come up with some pretty amazing solutions”
    the current Chinese think tanks already have many amazing ideals and should bring them up and let more people get into the debate

    @wukailong,

    Soviet Union’s problem was not only a shock therapy if we look at Caucasian mountains. Yugoslavia was not a quick economic change but a too quick political change in a country divided by ethnic/religion.
    . It could happen to China as well if we let political change go too quickly

  27. bianxiangbianqiao
    July 29th, 2008 at 15:32 | #27

    Denis Wong

    “The Giddens analysis includes “ontological security” and “internal referential systems” both of which, in the Chinese context, situate in the family.”

    I think you are right. But I would replace the word “family” with “relations”. Family is just one prototype. Friendship is another, exemplified by Liu-Guan-Zhang of the Tri-State (San Guo) era.

    In traditional Western societies “ontological security” was derived from a connection to God. I think this is still the case even today at least in the United States (despite Giddens’ analysis of dis-embedding). “In God we trust” is still printed on the American money. “God bless America” is still the mantra of American politicians. Turning to God for the security and legitimacy of their existence is far from merely symbolic in America. The American referential system is derived from their privileged link to God, therefore it is suffused with terms associated with monotheistic morality like “evil”, “liberation/salvation” etc. On the other hand, the Chinese still derive their sense of ontological security from connection with other people (which I personally find more gratifying and reliable). The Chinese inferential system still consists of obligations to relations (which I personally find more trustworthy). Can such a culture support a one-person-one-vote system?

  28. Wahaha
    July 29th, 2008 at 15:32 | #28

    “for many Westerners, what the Chinese people want indeed matters not. What matters is that they want the Chinese to have one-person-one-vote. It did not matter that the Qing government and its Chinese subjects did not want Opium. As long as the British want the Chinese to have Opium, they are going to push it down the Chinese’ throats, or nostrils, or blood vessels, however channel you use to consume the substance. ”

    Bravo, BXBQ,

    some Westerners have realized that,

    Dont be a alarmist knee jerk

    http://www.ftchinese.com/sc/story_english.jsp?id=001020613

    China and the progression of rights

    By Geoffrey Howe
    ….
    Ultimately China, the Chinese government and the Chinese people, will determine the level and scope of the rights and freedoms to be enjoyed. We in the West can support dialogue and offer encouragement. We can certainly continue to hold China to account for the promises it has made – and, in particular, the promise of the Beijing Olympics officials that the games would be “an opportunity to foster democracy, improve human rights, and integrate China with the rest of the world”. But equally, I believe, we have a duty to inform ourselves of what is actually happening in China – rather than relying on alarmist knee jerk reactions to China’s growing role – political as well as economic – on the international stage.
    ……

  29. July 29th, 2008 at 15:54 | #29

    @bianxiangbianqiao,
    Actually, from the perspective that you just presented, I’d wonder how could a culture that looks to a connection to God for ontological security could support a one-person-one-vote system. There is nothing democratic about theocracies or most religions for that matter.

    On the other hand, where the sense of ontological security comes from connection with other people, why wouldn’t a democratic process evolve out of that?

    Connection to God vs Connection to people. Frankly, I’d expect more from the later than from the former.

  30. wuming
    July 29th, 2008 at 15:59 | #30

    @BXBQ

    In my opinion, one of the most damaging parts of a revolution is the whole sale displacement of the ruling elite. As you have argued, given sufficient time, any government tends to co-opt most of the political (and economic, cultural) talents of the country to form the ruling elite. Unfortunately, this ruling elite is often the target of a revolution against the government. Therefore when the revolution succeeds, it cleans the country of its ruling elite, and paralyze the country until a new ruling elite is formed. To see the effect of such an action, consider several historical cases when dramatic revolutionary changes occur in a country:

    The negative examples:
    1. China: when Chinese communists defeated the nationalists, the economic, political and cultural elites escaped to Taiwan and Hong Kong. Combined this with the fanatic politics of the communists, China suffered through 30 years of turmoil and further decline
    2. Tibet: When Dalai Lama escaped to India after the failed rebellion, he brought with him probably the entire ruling class of Tibet. The former serfs, though the perfect new ruling class according the communist doctrine, were also perfectly incapable of managing Tibet, even as proxies. Through my participation in various discussions about Dalai Lama’s accusation of “cultural genocide,” it became clear to me that the most threatening factor to Tibetan culture was triggered in 1959, when the Tibetan elite was separated from Tibet itself.
    3. Almost any post colonial African country

    Positive examples:
    1. Postwar Western Europe and Japan: the most magnificent thing America did in its history was America’s post WWII policies in Western Europe and Japan. In both cases the victor didn’t take revenge on the losers by cleansing those countries of their ruling class (except for a few war criminals.) With the aid of Marshall Plan and the hard work of people in those countries, Western Europe and Japan recovered quickly to become premier developed nations in the world today.
    2. Hong Kong after returning to China: this is familiar story to readers of this board, I don’t think I need to get into it.

  31. bianxiangbianqiao
    July 29th, 2008 at 16:02 | #31

    K
    “The entire “free world” will go down with it.” Why?

    It is because capitalism is global in its nature from the day it was born (Karl Marks). It is also because Monotheism is literally “universal” in its nature. Beijing’s slogan for the Olympics is “One World, One Dream”. The Monotheist’s slogan for everything is “One God, One Truth”. I didn’t make this up; it is in the Bible.

  32. bianxiangbianqiao
    July 29th, 2008 at 16:37 | #32

    I had to edit the following comment from myself. In the original comment I mistook JD as a non-Chinese and criticized his dismissive attitude to the opinions of the Chinese in the Pew Survey. Now I realize that JD was probably our own JD and a Chinese. So I took out that part of the rant. But I still think the Pew survey used solid data-collection methods.

    I would like to thank all the commenters for your insights. You remind me that I am a green new soldier on this intellectual front and there are many issues I have not thought through. It has been a great educational experience. Scale keeps falling off my eyes and I am beginning to see things more clearly. Here is my first try to systematize the insights I have gained from your comments.

    “Should China adopt one-person-one-vote democracy?” Two questions need to be considered.

    Question 1. A benefit and risk analyses of the change. Question 2. Who needs it and who wants it, Chinese or foreigners? In other words does the momentum for the revolution from within or outside of the Chinese society? In Wuming’s words, is the state of the Chinese society at this moment revolutionary in itself?

    Revolution is the nature of the change that will be brought upon the Chinese society by a one-person-one-vote “democracy” (which I think is a well-dressed myth even in the US but anyway). Revolution carries great risks, as Wukailong pointed out, for ending up with something far worse. The risk arises from the game-changing nature of a revolution. The rules and laws governing the current Chinese social/political lives will be switched off. It will be like leaving a Newtonian universe and getting into the realm of Quantum mechanics. Unpredictability will be the rule. This is what I mean by a “threshold” and “boundary condition”. Will the cultural values, preferences, tastes and habits that have made the current system work be able to support the new foreign system? Will the turbulence and chaos brought by the change give the Chinese society enough wiggling room to work out a new culture compatible with the new political system? It is easy to Westernize politically, but far more difficult to Westernize culturally. The other side of the benefit-risk analysis is what we gain from the new foreign system. Is the current system so broke that it must be replaced, instead of polished, fine-tuned and gradually upgraded? Every indicator tells us this is not the case. More than 80% of the Chinese population sampled by the Pew Global Attitude Project in China does not feel the urgent need for a revolution either. They believe the Chinese system is working “adequately” (for lack of a better word) as far as they are concerned. This brings us to my thoughts on the second question. Who wants the one-person-one-vote system in China, if not the Chinese people, and what are the motives behind this desire? What do they stand to gain? At this moment there is no internal momentum for a revolution in China, but great pressure from the West. What I still need to figure out, with your help is why? What is their purpose and motive?

  33. bianxiangbianqiao
    July 29th, 2008 at 16:45 | #33

    MutantJedi

    “…..how could a culture that looks to a connection to God for ontological security could support a one-person-one-vote system. There is nothing democratic about theocracies or most religions for that matter.”

    Good question. Connection to God (a supernatural authority) provides you with the “room” to transcend the natural, i.e., the link between you and your relatives and friends. “Individuality” is dis-embeded from particular individuals (relative or stranger). A dis-embedded concept of “the person” is developed, with each person more or less interchangeable. This is a very useful psychological equipment in the one-person-one-vote system. One person’s vote is as valid as every other person’s. Your brother’s vote is as good as a stranger’s vote. If your ontological security depends on your relation with your relatives and friends (like in the Chinese system), you cannot have a de-contextualized conception of “personhood”. Individuals and their desires and actions are not interchangeable. Your brother’s vote will always be more valid and important than a stranger’s vote. This is my superficial understanding. Maybe Denis Wong can tell us more about it.

  34. bianxiangbianqiao
    July 29th, 2008 at 17:03 | #34

    Wuming #29

    I agree with your analysis. I would like to add that the elite class is a more important stabilizing factor in China than say, the United States. This is because in China the elites are mostly in the bureaucracy and administrative organs. The best thing that the Chinese system has now is administrative effectiveness, the ability for the society to mobilize its resources to upgrade infrastructures and provide massive relief for victims of natural disasters.
    The situation seems completely different in America, where the elite are not in the political system. I find the American political system admirable in that it is capable of making do with mostly dumb wits in the government and legislature. (Some of it might be feigned, to remain connected with their constituency.) Compared to the American intellectuals in natural and social sciences I have been exposed to, American politicians are a thousand miles from the top brains the American society has to offer. In China, you hit the talent ceiling when you reach the top bureaucrats.

  35. CLC
    July 29th, 2008 at 17:44 | #35

    @BXBQ

    Now I realize that JD was probably our own JD and a Chinese.
    Were you thinking of DJ? JD is not likely to be a Chinese.

  36. bianxiangbianqiao
    July 29th, 2008 at 18:04 | #36

    CLC,

    Yes. I was thinking about DJ.

    JD said

    “It’s terrific that Chinese citizens are wonderfully happy. Still, polls in China are worthless because the opinions of the citizenry don’t matter and can’t be trusted, or so goes the official view.”

    I hope people from outside China take the Chinese people’s views and opinions more seriously and with more respect, instead of simply dismissing and denigrading them as “worthless”. I always find it heart-warming and moving when a foreigner takes the noble position to speak on behalf of the Chinese people, about their suffering and their needs. It is particularly baffling to find the same foreingers dismiss and devalue the Chinese people’s own expression of their needs and preferences as “worthless”. Many things simply make no sense to me. I guess that’s why we are here.

  37. Wahaha
    July 29th, 2008 at 18:50 | #37

    @BXBQ

    It is particularly baffling to find the same foreingers dismiss and devalue the Chinese people’s own expression of their needs and preferences as “worthless”.

    They think they know what chinese want by reading west reports, they fail to realize that what they read in West is what West wants in China, not what Chinese want.

    _____________________________________

    China and the progression of rights

    By Geoffrey Howe
    ….
    Ultimately China, the Chinese government and the Chinese people, will determine the level and scope of the rights and freedoms to be enjoyed. We in the West can support dialogue and offer encouragement. We can certainly continue to hold China to account for the promises it has made – and, in particular, the promise of the Beijing Olympics officials that the games would be “an opportunity to foster democracy, improve human rights, and integrate China with the rest of the world”. But equally, I believe, we have a duty to inform ourselves of what is actually happening in China – rather than relying on alarmist knee jerk reactions to China’s growing role – political as well as economic – on the international stage.
    ……

  38. Charles Liu
    July 29th, 2008 at 19:44 | #38

    Wahaha, in our own eyes our country can do no wrong, even when we make up false pretext to invade/occupy another country.

    Americans may disapprove of what our government is doing, but loyalty and support is unconditional. Hate the war but love the troops right? Otherwise we are turncoat/MeiJian. Just go to PKD and wait for bigoted remarks like “American Chinese” – when you disagree with their agenda you’re no longer American.

    That’s right we by an large condone it and go along. My country, right or wrong, after all, is prvoiding for its citizens (never mind it’s at the death and deprivation of others.)

    Is it patriotism? Nationalism? Matters not, but once it’s framed around the Chinese psyche such debate is no longer valid.

  39. July 29th, 2008 at 20:58 | #39

    For the record, Richard from Peking Duck has been called a ‘Panda-licker’, and is not an extremist or China-basher. There are plenty of Americans who think that their country has been in the wrong of late – listen to their political leaders.

  40. hooper
    July 29th, 2008 at 21:57 | #40

    “America has plenty of crazy religious types with guns”

    Thank goodness for that!

  41. YoYoCeviche
    July 29th, 2008 at 22:08 | #41

    Richard from Peking Duck was a joke, he pretends to be neutral but he’s just another china basher deep down. Many chinese posters came to defend china have been banned for no reason while he’s peaching freedom of speech, on the other hand half a dozen pure china haters like not_a_sinophile continuosly use that place to spread their hatred and lies.

  42. Buxi
    July 29th, 2008 at 22:50 | #42

    I’ve posted on Peking Duck for several months, as many others here… I think that’s how DJ/CLC/I first got in cotact, actually. So, at the very least, we have to thank richard for putting in the work over the years, and establishing a platform for discussion. I also haven’t had too much of a problem with the way they administered the site in terms of banning users and deleting messages.

    But like many others, I did feel frustration with much of what was being said at Peking Duck. I think it became to represent a prototypical expat echo-chambers. It was mostly hand-wringing about China, and often from a position of superiority. (I have a hard time imagining a Chinese equivalent: a forum in which we rant in Chinese about the American inability to deal with Katrina + subprime mortgage crisis. The USANews board on MITBBS is pretty different; rather than self-righteous preaching, there’s more an attitude of “let’s understand why this is happening inthe US.”)

    I don’t blame richard or anyone else; it’s really because we Chinese hadn’t be doing enough to step up and make our own perspectives heard. Vast majority of expats (including those on PKD) are intelligent, well-intentioned, and willing to engage in informed discussion about China. I think this site is proof of that.

  43. Netizen
    July 29th, 2008 at 23:12 | #43

    I went to Peking Duck a few times. I counted more than half of the commenters spit diatribes, mostly against China. I didn’t understand whey they came to China in the first place. In my thinking, expats are supposed to building bridges between home and host countries. Those people weren’t doing that.

    As I said earlier, when the recent visa problem with expats occurred, not many Chinese netizens are sympathetic. The bad apples within the expats had it coming. The rest of them didn’t put a stop to the diatribes and got into the same barrel.

  44. Charles Liu
    July 29th, 2008 at 23:28 | #44

    @Forap: I didn’t say Richard. As to who made the “Amerian Chinese” comment, check PKD.

    @Buxi, exactly, imagine some Chinese blogger rag on about “waist cinching” or some other historical female body augmentation practice in the West.

  45. DJ
    July 30th, 2008 at 00:11 | #45

    BXBQ,

    JD is not DJ. 🙂

    Well this is my very first comment on this blog since leaving for China a week ago. Got back to SF bay area yesterday. It’s nice to see many new and exciting discussions going on. This particular topic is definitely something for one to pause and think through.

  46. Wukailong
    July 30th, 2008 at 01:15 | #46

    @BMY: The point I’m trying to make is that we must look at a lot of factors to understand why a country developed a certain way, not whether political reform was “quick” or not. I’m very interested in how countries develop as a whole, and I like to compare China’s story with other countries that did similar things. It wouldn’t make any sense to just make this into a question of the perceived inability of democracy (which is yet to be proved).

    As for China adopting a “foreign system”, it already has a foreign system and is led by a German philosophy. 🙂

  47. BMY
    July 30th, 2008 at 01:26 | #47

    @Charles

    Are you talking about “Hong” in PKD? He’s constantly insulting whoever dare to disagree with him in both English and Chinese languages. He used to be here as BaBaoLe/CaoCao/Fu(can’t remember) for a short time.He is always welcomed by Richard and Raj.

    sorry. I should focus on the main topic.

  48. BMY
    July 30th, 2008 at 01:38 | #48

    @wukailong
    point taken.

    you are absolutely right. China “it already has a foreign system and is led by a German philosophy(and badly modified by a Russian,a Georgian) 🙂

  49. Otto Kerner
    July 30th, 2008 at 04:45 | #49

    In the modal Western worldview, it doesn’t make sense to say that a country wants or doesn’t want democracy. Democracy is a system in which the public chooses the government. By definition, everybody wants what they choose. Therefore, nobody doesn’t want democracy.

    Now, I don’t think this logic actually holds together. It’s possible for a person not to want to make a particular choice. Moreover, in a democracy, it is not only me as an individual, but my neighbours as well who make choices, and I can certainly understand not necessarily wanting to live under the government my neighbours choose. Still, I don’t think it’s as simple as that “the West doesn’t care what China thinks” — on this issue, at least — since, from their perspective, democracy is what everyone wants.

  50. July 30th, 2008 at 05:07 | #50

    Once again, I’ve joined a thread too late. For what it’s worth, I think one of the more interesting parts of the Pew survey was the high percentage of Chinese who saw the gap between rich and poor at home to be a problem.

    The finding matches my experience. I’ve always found this consciousness of the inherent unfairness of “growth before all else”—a consciousness found even among the Chinese middle class, even among people who feel that a narrowly pro-growth formula is the only way to go—to be immensely encouraging. In comparison, the United States has a low appreciation for how damaging to a community income disparity can be, despite the fact that it has wrought considerable damage on the U.S. in the last few decades.

    In terms of democratization and deal-breakers, this concern about equality—expressed timidly under the slogans of “harmonious society” and “scientific development”—could serve as something of a bridge between nervous elites on the one hand and frustrated rural populations and the growing urban proletariat on the other, easing the interest clashes that can come with even gradual political reform… this is provided, of course that equality is held up publicly as a goal worth striving for, as a measure of the country’s progress alongside other measures.

    I suppose I’m in agreement with BMY on post 26 here, though I appreciate, too, Wuming’s thoughts on the importance of elite cohesion… I’ll need to think more about that.

  51. EugeneZ
    July 30th, 2008 at 05:29 | #51

    I love the Geoffrey Howe quote, every westerner should read his words carefully and think it through. Why are not there more people like Geoffrey Howe’s in the west, especially in the media? I have heard, and believe it to be true, the media business in the west does not attract talent due to low pay, or a very tiny percentage of people who can get high pay, and the media talor to the lowest doniminator in the society, and caters to the fear and hatred elements of the society. It is quite common, although exceptions do exist.

    Perhaps because I am a Chinese, I have trouble understanding why so many people in the west struggle to accept modern China for what it is – the greatest story in human development in our generation, and be happy for our outstanding achievement over the last 30 years. Individually, there are sad stories, but as a society and nation, China is on the right track. The only thing to worry about is environment / resource / climate change – even that is solvable if human being as a species start to work together.

  52. K
    July 30th, 2008 at 09:33 | #52

    @BXBQ “It is because capitalism is global in its nature from the day it was born (Karl Marks). It is also because Monotheism is literally “universal” in its nature. Beijing’s slogan for the Olympics is “One World, One Dream”. The Monotheist’s slogan for everything is “One God, One Truth”. I didn’t make this up; it is in the Bible.”

    I’m sorry, I don’t really follow your argument here. Are you talking about capitalism or the ‘free world’? If you are talking about the collapse of the global capitalist system then China is very much a part of that system too. Saying that monotheism (do you also include Judaism and Islam here?) is a universalist philosophy doesn’t mean that it is universal in reality. I realise this whole collapse of public trust scenario in the West that you are talking about is a thought experiment (and an interesting one), but I still think you are really only talking about the US.

    This is going off on a bit of a tangent here, but I think part of the problem is the tendency (I’m guilty of this too at times) to compare China with the West, when it is not really clear that they can be accurately compared. ‘The West’ is a civilizational concept, so it is proper to talk about Western culture, values, institutions etc in very general terms, while remaining critical when specific examples from particular Western countries are claimed to represent ‘the West’ (I’m thinking about the common use of the US experience to criticise Western ideas about democracy more generally, as if the US somehow represents the essence of Western democratic practice). China is also a civilization, so we can also talk about some very general Chinese values, culture, etc. But there is a problem when we shift back and forth between China the country and China the civilization in an unreflexive way, or assume they are the same thing. There are, after all, two Chinese systems of government – one on the mainland and one on Taiwan. My point is that it doesn’t make sense to compare China the country with Western civilization, and although we can compare Chinese and Western civilizations we should be clear that that is what we are doing, not talking about particular countries and their systems of government.

    @BXBQ “If your ontological security depends on your relation with your relatives and friends (like in the Chinese system), you cannot have a de-contextualized conception of “personhood”. Individuals and their desires and actions are not interchangeable. Your brother’s vote will always be more valid and important than a stranger’s vote.”

    This is a good point and it is relevant to challenges in implementing a system where rule of law replaces rule of man. It could also be related to the different concepts of shame in Chinese culture and guilt in Western culture, In my (limited) understanding of this issue, guilt is based on the idea that God is all-seeing so if you do something wrong you will feel bad even if no one else knows about it but you, whereas shame is socially generated and dependent on the bad thing you did being discovered by people you have some sort of relationship with. This is probably a major simplification, but it is an interesting idea.

  53. July 30th, 2008 at 10:41 | #53

    @EugeneZ – Read the whole article here:

    http://www.ftchinese.com/sc/story_english.jsp?id=001020613

    Geoffrey Howe was Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary during the Thatcher government, and would, I’m sure, be condemned by many here as a ‘neo-con’ by many here if he were still in power. If you read the whole article, you’ll see that he is not without criticism of the CCP, especially on the subject of the imprisonment of dissidents:

    “Not unlike some other governments, China’s rulers are still unwisely unwilling to accept criticism of their rights record – all the more so when such criticism comes from overseas.”

    I fully endorse what he says though, where the CCP has succeeded in giving people greater freedom they must be praised, where it is failing they must be criticised. In the end, of course it is the Chinese people who will decide their fate – that should be the goal of liberalisation.

    Doubtless also, passages like this:

    “Freedom of expression and press liberalisation must, as we believe, be the way forward – and ultimately in China’s own interests. A more balanced account of the diversity of views about, for example, Sino-Tibetan relationships and related events would have been more likely to reach the outside world, if the media had had more and not less freedom to observe and report on such matters. Media independence is often the only force that brings incompetence or misbehaviour onto a nation’s agenda – a necessary process, if such misdeeds or misbehaviour are to be identified and corrected. For this reason, the training of Chinese journalists by the Thomson Foundation (and similar work by other UK organisations) on freedom of expression are important interventions. “

    Would have certain people here rushing off to see where exactly the Thomson Foundation receives its money from (and then, inevitably trying to connect it to FLG/Tibet/Taiwan/Whatever team the Houston Rockets lost to most recently), and accusing Mr Howe of ‘interfering in Chinese internal affairs’ through such supporting comments.

    Statements like this:

    “We can certainly continue to hold China to account for the promises it has made – and, in particular, the promise of the Beijing Olympics officials that the games would be “an opportunity to foster democracy, improve human rights, and integrate China with the rest of the world”. “

    Are also little different to what has been said by people who have been labelled ‘anti-China’ for attempting to exploit the Olympic games for their own ends.

  54. JD
    July 30th, 2008 at 12:35 | #54

    BXBQ, if polls meant anything in China, then one would expect the authorities to use polls – real polls as in an electoral process – to make some important decisions. Of course, they don’t. The official view is that polls are worthless, and possibly dangerous. That is not my view as I’m the one arguing that Chinese citizen’s views should be taken seriously. I take it you agree with me.

    Correcting for your confusion, you effectively raise the question: Why doesn’t the Chinese government treat the views of Chinese citizens with more respect? It’s the right question. Until there’s an answer, I presume you’re bafflement will be now correctly re-directed at China’s political system and away from foreigners.

  55. Wahaha
    July 30th, 2008 at 13:29 | #55

    JD,

    Most chinese leaders now have to get through training problem about how to “face” the questsions and complains on internets. More and more leaders get public reaction from internet. So where did you get this idea that polls means nothing to Chinese leaders ?

    the famous southern tour by Deng Xiaoping, Deng beat ChenYun with support by Chinese people who wanted the continuation of “KaiFang”.

    The struggle between “Shanghai Clique” and Hu JinTao was well reported by BBC, and it is clear that people in CCP from rural and poor area won out, if this is not people’s will, then what is it ? You think China’s destiny is still determined by several people who never step out of ZhongNai Hai ?

  56. July 30th, 2008 at 15:16 | #56

    @Wahaha – Because all these are divisions created inside the communist party and in which ‘public support’ played the role of “voices heard off-stage” and was not measured scientifically, the CCP does not allow public opinion to set the agenda.

  57. pmw
    July 30th, 2008 at 16:03 | #57

    Buxi,

    “it’s really because we Chinese hadn’t be doing enough to step up and make our own perspectives heard. Vast majority of expats (including those on PKD) are intelligent, well-intentioned, and willing to engage in informed discussion about China.”

    I don’t know how you can say that with a straight face.
    Anyone faintly attempting a Chinese perspective is quickly labeled brainwashed and/or a CCP apologist. If that person happens to live abroad, his perspective instantly becomes that of a privileged few who could afford to go abroad and has no bearing on what the true Chinese think. And if that person happens to be a US citizen, he would then only know of China by reading People’s Daily or watching CCTV-9. Tell me you know that I’m not making this stuff up.

    Intelligent, well-intentioned expats would have gotten quite a bit of Chinese perspective simply by living in China. Those that haven’t apparently lack at least one of the two qualifiers.

    And it’s exactly on the mod to maintain a site what he wants to be. Seeing how quickly the pro China posters get banned (SOME of them deservedly so) and how far the China/Chinese-bashing posters have to go to get banned (I’ve only seen the kebab boy getting that treatment, though much less frequent than he merits), it’s not a place where you can get your perspective heard without a lot of sing and dance along their lines first.

    P.S. It’s been months since I last visited PKD. Lo and behold what you can find on the first page.
    http://www.pekingduck.org/2008/07/sichuan-earthquake-report-recommends-buying-parents-silence/#comments

  58. July 30th, 2008 at 16:18 | #58

    @PMW – Check out website critical of the CCP for the opposite view on PKD – that Richard is a panda-licker who censors people who speak out against CCP propaganda. Believe me, it’s not just NHYRC who gets his posts banned off that site. The reason I don’t post on that site is that I don’t really like the way Richard writes – he seems overly sure of his opinions, but then if that’s what the public wants then they should have it. Myself, I like to hide my opinions where nobody is going to see them – on my blog!

  59. pmw
    July 30th, 2008 at 16:33 | #59

    FOARP,

    Richard may have been called a panda-licker, but so have Clinton and Bush (imagine that!) by the crazies. It’s really a case of the left end of one spectrum still lies right to the right end of another.

  60. Netizen
    July 30th, 2008 at 16:42 | #60

    pmw,

    To FOARP, Richard may be a panda something. You could image what he is. He don’t want to link this blog in his own blog even though he links to many other noname blogs simply because they are rightwing or China-bashing.

  61. bianxiangbianqiao
    July 30th, 2008 at 17:03 | #61

    K # 52, first 2 paragraphs,

    Yes, China is connected to the “free world” via capitalism but separated by ideology. Nobody is going to walk away unscathed if the United States falls.

    Monotheism as I know of includes Christianity, Judaism and Islam. My dooms day vision is these three ideologies constantly radicalizing each other, with everybody else caught in between (in the Middle East and elsewhere). I don’t know which of them is the most aggressive and provocative right now. They are all tough dudes (I guess Jerusalem is a tough neighborhood too). The escalation may or may not one day get out of control. Once it is out of control, you will not be safe in your corner of the free world minding your own business; somebody is going to come get you. You are right monotheism is not a reality but it does not matter; the believers have a different notion of reality than the infidels. They don’t believe in reality. They believe in truth and their truth only. One of the most important figures in the Monotheism world once felt a need to comment on the prospect of finding ETs and UFOs. He said (roughly). “I don’t know where they are from and what they are up to. But if they are really out there, they need to hear the word of God”. I read about this from a history book. Their truth is the absolute; no tolerance for heretics. Monotheism is logically contradictory to pluralism and tolerance of diversity. Slogans like “you are either with us or against us” “God is on our side” “My god kicks the ass of your God” flow naturally from monotheism.

  62. Wahaha
    July 30th, 2008 at 18:49 | #62

    @ FOARP ——-“the CCP does not allow public opinion to set the agenda.”

    People never set the agenda, it is always the ruling “elite” that sets the tone. doesnt matter authoritarian or democratic.

    It is the credibility of government that matters. When government has high credibility, people will believe the agenda presented to them by their government; when government doesnt have much credibility, people dont buy the stories by government.

    For most people, the credibility of government is not built by “if the government treats them fair.”, but by “if the government makes them FEEL fair”. If a person doesnt like G Bush, and he sees some pictures on newspaper making fun of GBush, then he immediately feel much better, and think the society he lives in is a fair society. There was a report about election in Vietnam, some people were very happy that the candidates had to “beg” them for votes, they really didnt care that all candidates were from the same party in Vietnam. and In China, there is no process letting people feel better (question the policy).

    Also the legal system, Law is a clear line that determines right or wrong, white or black. But cuz of the pathetic legal system, lot of things in China cant be determined by law, as there is no law about lot of things, there is no text on the books that tells you what is right and what is wrong. So lot of decisions were made by judges or even governments. So even judges or governments are right, people still feel mistreated. All of these hurts the credibility of government.

  63. pmw
    July 30th, 2008 at 19:35 | #63

    Netizen,

    Well, I haven’t read enough of FOARP’s blog or comment to form an opinion either way. Thanks for the heads up though, I guess.

  64. EugeneZ
    July 30th, 2008 at 22:00 | #64

    @FOARP,

    http://www.ftchinese.com/sc/story_english.jsp?id=001020613&pg=2#ContinueReading

    Thanks for the link to the full article by Sr Howe. I read it, and I still love it, almost every single word of it. What a wise man he is! We need more of these kind of wise people on both sides (China and the west), we need to give their voice as much exposure as possible. If we can do that, the earth will be a much happier place …

  65. Wahaha
    July 30th, 2008 at 22:34 | #65

    @FOARP,

    Here is some talk by Jack Cafferty, yes the Jack who called Chinese goons and thugs.

    In his bestseller : It’s Getting Ugly Out There.

    …..
    “The bottom line is that our government no longer works for us. The government works for the lobbyists who have had a big hand in influencing (if not helping to draft) legislation favoring not the average American citizen but instead big business: health insurance, pharmaceutical and oil companies, and defense contractors, among others. These are the guys who can make the kinds of political contributions that are needed to finance today’s multi-million-dollar political campaigns.”
    ….

    Americans still believe their government, What do you think ?

  66. Wahaha
    July 30th, 2008 at 22:35 | #66

    BTW, Jack attacked China again :

    http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2008/07/30/would-you-want-to-go-to-beijing-olympics/

    How would you like to attend the Olympics starting next week in Beijing? Before you answer, consider the following:

    Foreign-owned hotels are being forced by the Communist Chinese government to install software that can spy on hotel guests. Republican Senator Sam Brownback got a hold of a government document calling on all hotels to use the spyware. If they don’t agree to monitor their guests’ web history, searches, etc., the hotels could face “severe retaliation” – including financial penalties, losing Internet access or losing their license to operate a hotel in China.

    …….

  67. JD
    July 30th, 2008 at 22:49 | #67

    Wahaha, I’d say China is run by a creaky, self-perpetuating bureaucracy which is increasingly more concerned about self-interest than national interest. The poor people in rural areas aren’t “winning” or they wouldn’t be relegated to the status of informal roaming migrant workers with no rights. Those who are winning are those at the top (the creaky, self-perpetuating bureaucrats) as the trends in income distribution and corruption clearly show.

    If the political system respected the views of the citizenry, it would find value in the most representative type of poll, an electoral poll. Electoral polls would bring legitimacy and accountability to the political process and demonstrate a due degree of respect for the views of the Chinese citizenry, urban and rural, poor and rich. Widespread training in the system would be a good start.

    As a final note, the Pew poll (blocked in China, I understand) was basically the views of a relatively small number of urban residents. The views of the rural residents were disproportionately ignored.

  68. July 30th, 2008 at 23:13 | #68

    @Wahaha – I cannot comment on Judaism and Islam, but I know that in Christianity Jesus tells us “Judge lest ye be judged”, and that his kingdom is in heaven, not on Earth, so we should not try to claim it here. He also says “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s”. This, no doubt, reads as the words of a fanatic to you, but I am not a Christian. The words of Jesus can be used to justify many things, but I cannot see how his words can be used to justify violence or domination if the people who follow them wish to be called true Christians.

  69. July 30th, 2008 at 23:23 | #69

    @EugeneZ – Geoffrey Howe is an intelligent man, but I believe the CCP must contain many men and women who are equally intelligent – when will we read their true thoughts? Howe was a clever man, but not as politically clever as Heseltine or Lamont, and certainly nowhere near the kind of leader that Thatcher was (I admit it, I am a great supporter of Margaret Thatcher’s reforms, even if I think she went a bit gaga in later years), but I’m very sure we could read more true impressions of what China’s true condition is from Chinese people, but I almost never see them. This blog reminds me that they are still out there.

  70. Buxi
    July 30th, 2008 at 23:42 | #70

    @JD,

    As a final note, the Pew poll (blocked in China, I understand) was basically the views of a relatively small number of urban residents. The views of the rural residents were disproportionately ignored.

    I don’t expect to “convince” you of anything with this reply, understanding that you’re unlikely to accept something so opposite your presently-held beliefs without some sort of concrete proof unavailable to any of us…

    But in my discussion with other Chinese + reading of online Chinese websites, most urban Chinese (including the harshest critics of the Chinese government) believe rural Chinese are more convinced by government propaganda, and more supportive of the government. And that shouldn’t be a surprise, since they of course only have access to government-media.

    And almost uniformly, first-person accounts on Tianya from farmers (or more likely, relatives of farmers) over the past 12 months has been positive about the government’s “three agricultural” (san-nong) policies implemented over the past 2-3 years.

  71. July 30th, 2008 at 23:47 | #71

    @Buxi – I have not hear of the 三农 policies – do tell.

  72. Buxi
    July 30th, 2008 at 23:57 | #72

    I’ve just finished reading the Geoffrey Howe editorial too, and I also enthusastically approve. Very well-spoken, and very well-argued.

    In terms of trying to understand “good” versus “bad” Westerners… perhaps the distinction lies in the extent of experience. Geoffrey Howe’s description of the China that he saw in 1978 resonates very strongly with me… although I’m not old enough to remember that specific year, I remember how China used to look in the early ’80s, the early ’90s, and now. I have a hard time imagining anyone with that perspective would be so harshly critical of where China lives today.

    On the other hand, anyone who’s continuously taking the perspective of comparing China 2008 with the United States 2008 can only be disappointed. I for one understand that as well, but I consider it fundamentally unfair. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and China will not be built in 30 years. The people born in the dark, isolated China that Geoffrey Howe first describes in 1978 are only 30 years old this year, for god’s sake… we need more time.

    @FOARP,

    I think it’s unfair to suggest that many Chinese would be knee-jerk critical of Howe’s foreign groups. I don’t think there are many universally anti-West people in China. And I don’t think there’s any shame in agreeing that there’s folly in government policy, especially when it comes to media and law (two topics we’ve repeatedly discussed here). Many senior Chinese officials are still being educated in Western universities, especially Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. There is a lot to be learned from the West, and that’s a position probably 99% of Chinese are willing to accept.

    But there exists numerous organizations in the West that, in my opinion, do not have the true best interests of the Chinese people in mind. They seem to have political objectives, often circling around the long-term goal of bringing down the Communist Party.

    There is a clear difference between constructive criticism of the Chinese government with the attitude of wanting gradual improvemen, and destructive criticism in hopes that there will be enough political pressure to force it into collapse. I might not be able to articulate exactly where the line between those two things lie… but I think we are all clear when they happen.

  73. Wahaha
    July 31st, 2008 at 00:08 | #73

    JD,

    After 5.12 earthquake, besides those pictures of vicims, there are two pictures maybe you didnt even notice : One was a picture of ruins in which there was an English book on top of ruins; the other is picture of students in poor rural area of XanXi province, they were standing on playgrounds after later earthquake.

    Do you know what that means ? Earthquake happened in the poor area in China, deep in mountain, and Students there studied English; the second picture was taken in the poorest area in China, and kids went to schools, not like 30 years ago, kids usually stayed home helping their parents.

    No offense, but your claim that this government doesnt work for people is nonsense (I wont deny that they also work for themselves). The comment by Jack Cafferty clearly proved that there is very little possibibility. that other party or system wouldve done better.

    Yes, some people in China are not happy, maybe 10,000, maybe 100,000, maybe 1 million. The only thing you can claim is that the current government doesnt work for those 1 million people, that is less than 0.1% of population in China. ( I didnt say the government make 99.9% people happy, I said it works for 99.9% of the people.)

    Now it is time for this government to solve the problem of its legitmacy and accountability. I think opening process of decision-making and legal system, plus much much more freedom for media are the keys.

    One serious question for you : is China now ready for “let people make decision.” ?

  74. Wahaha
    July 31st, 2008 at 00:15 | #74

    @FOARP, —-“I cannot comment on Judaism and Islam…”

    I dont know what you mean, in post #62 and #65, I didnt ask you question about religion.

  75. BMY
    July 31st, 2008 at 02:09 | #75

    @ BXBQ,

    ”The fatal blow will come from the underpinning cultural values, traditions, habits, tastes and preferences that are not designed to support that political system.”

    I am not convinced these culture difference stops China to adopt western style democracy/election system if we have a look at Taiwan and South Korea.

    I am much more convinced because of the poverty, the huge under educated population, the little awareness of the rule of law among the big portion of population, the lack of fully understanding of the practice of democracy among the population, the poor rich gap(among people and among provinces), the ethnic diversity, are the obstacles of the change(even not revolutionary change) which will be too scary and risky to my eyes under current situation. I see a democratic election in HaiDian has much more successful rate than it would do in Weng’An under current social/economic condition.

    After the economic, the education, the rule of laws have been developed cross the country to a certain higher level(I am not able to say a figure of what level) and enough experiments have been carried, and the implementation of the democracy has been carefully planned/designed then it’s time (I don’t know when) for the political switch(gradually) even “the underpinning cultural values, traditions, habits, tastes and preferences” has little change.

  76. totochi
    July 31st, 2008 at 04:08 | #76

    Speaking of polls and Taiwan (since it was used as examples in the original post), can someone explain to me why Taiwan independence is such a big deal in China? Taiwan is a de facto independent political entity anyway. What would be the real difference, other than hurt feelings in China, if Taiwan declared independence overnight? Why could it potentially topple the CCP? Seriously, I really don’t understand.

    Also, has there been an independent poll of Chinese on the mainland about the Taiwan issue? Do a majority support attacking Taiwan? With 10% civilian casualties in Taiwan? 50%? 100%? Does the opinion of the 23 million people in Taiwan matter?

    Thanks.

  77. K
    July 31st, 2008 at 05:14 | #77

    @ totochi – ‘Also, has there been an independent poll of Chinese on the mainland about the Taiwan issue?’

    As far as I know, this is one of the questions that is still not allowed, even though polling has become much more widespread in recent years. In its polling in China the Pew research didn’t ask “does the government of China respect the personal freedoms of its people?”

    @ BXBQ – I think what you are talking about is extremism rather than monotheism, and if that is the case then I agree with you. There are plenty of monotheists who believe in tolerance, dialogue, turning the other cheek etc, and there are plenty of non-monotheist people who have engaged in this kind of extremist thinking – the CCP killed more of their own people in internal purges than the KMT ever managed to, and the first suicide bombers were Tamil Tigers.

  78. totochi
    July 31st, 2008 at 05:23 | #78

    @BXBQ #61
    What exactly is your doomsday scenario and who is coming to get you? Is there a secret battle between Christians, Jews, and Muslims for world domination and the winner will force you to convert?

    You make very broad and negative stereotypes about religious people in your comment. For many Christians, their religion is personal and guides their personal decisions. Not everyone allows their personal beliefs and politics mix together; believe it or not, the separation between church and state is very important to many Christians in the US. I can make the same argument you made about the cult of personality that surrounds communist leaders (Mao, Castro, Kim Il-Sung) and how anyone that does not embrace their “truth” is branded a counter-revolutionary. Looking at picture and footage from the Cultural Revolution, some of the events have a lot more “religious fervor” than any church service I’ve been to. What does that tell me about the average person in China today? Nothing.

    #34 “Compared to the American intellectuals in natural and social sciences I have been exposed to…”
    Are these intellectuals all atheists? If they are Christians or otherwise religious, they don’t believe in reality, so they can’t be intellectuals, right?

  79. BMY
    July 31st, 2008 at 05:26 | #79

    @totochi,

    I guess the hardliners in CCP and PLA are the best qualified people to answer your questions.

    My understanding of the example in the original post, the author says”The Chinese can live with that, despite us emotional Fenqings” most of people here are not fenqings in my view

    I personally always against aiming hundreds of (or more I don’t know) missiles at Taiwan or attacking Taiwan for the declaration of independence.

    From my understanding , one of the reasons I think is CCP has not mentally 100% got of the civil war . If you have a look at the 50s and 60s both side of the straight calling for liberate the other side by force. KMT has dismantled the ideology long time ago but CCP has not 100% done that.

  80. JD
    July 31st, 2008 at 05:39 | #80

    Wahaha, polls are useful and the most important and reliable polls are electoral polls. I made no claim that government doesn’t work for people, though I do argue that self-interest is increasingly driving government decisions. Why else would corruption be such a high and growing concern?

    A broad participatory political process could be part of a solution to reduce corruption, in addition to other benefits. Is China ready? Certainly it is ready to consider options for a democratic future and take concrete steps forward. A planned democratization would likely be preferable to chaotic big bang, but such planning is not part of the current reforms.

    Buxi, I’m not arguing anything about support in rural areas, only pointing out that the survey was both limited and urban. Improving the lot of rural residents is an admirable objective though steps to date have been disappointing. Eliminating hukous and bringing migrant workers under the formal system would be a good start, as would liberalizing food prices.

  81. totochi
    July 31st, 2008 at 05:52 | #81

    Sorry, what’s “fenqing”? 分清?

  82. July 31st, 2008 at 05:54 | #82

    愤青=愤怒青年

  83. Wukailong
    July 31st, 2008 at 06:32 | #83

    More specifically, “愤怒青年” or “angry youth” describes excessively nationalistic youngsters who call for hardline solutions and brand people who protest them as “traitors.”

  84. EugeneZ
    July 31st, 2008 at 06:38 | #84

    @Buxi #72, “There is a lot to be learned from the West, and that’s a position probably 99% of Chinese are willing to accept.”

    To follow up on this point, I want to point out that the problem today existing between China and the west is not that Chinese people are anti-west. No, in my interactions with hundreds of people in China over the years, I can say very very few people habor some sort of intrinsic anti-west attitude. Most people realize that although China had the “4 innovations” in the history, today modernization means westernization in terms of technologies, products, and even many ideas about how society should be organized. Chinese people do not feel uncomfortable with Americans, for example, as a general rule of thumb. Chinese are only offended when ignorant westerners try to interfere in China’s internal affairs, try to show off their sense of western superority, or try to impose their idealogy upon them. The problem is on the side of the west, where a ton of people are very uneasy with the rise of China (and Chinese people) on the world stage, competing effectively for resources and economically (taking their jobs away, etc.), and where wise men (and women) like Sir Geoffrey Howe is squarely in minority, a tiny minority, unfortunately. Mr. Howe has got the right information, right analytical skills, which translated into right kind of mindest in understanding modern China, he has got it down – mutual understanding and mutual respect. We need more of that on both sides, but particularly in the west. And we need to do it rather quickly, so that the world can come together and solve common challenges. – Put behind us old grudges, say goodby to war forever, and work together to make the earth that has sustained civilization last. One milestone to achieve is to make this blog meaningless.

  85. totochi
    July 31st, 2008 at 09:07 | #85

    @FOARP/Wukailong

    Thanks. Indignant anger indeed.

  86. July 31st, 2008 at 10:40 | #86

    @EugeneZ – I can’t help but think of the man who was the subject of that New Yorker story – the man was a doctorate student who worked as a translator, but obviously had no understanding of the west whatsoever. I am not saying that he was wrong just because he did not see the west in the way that most westerners see themselves, I am saying that his lack of understanding was such that the only way he can interpret a set of unconnected events is to imagine a vast conspiracy against China by ‘the forces of reaction’.

    In light of this I simply cannot understand how you can support this statement:

    ” Chinese are only offended when ignorant westerners try to interfere in China’s internal affairs, try to show off their sense of western superority, or try to impose their idealogy upon them. The problem is on the side of the west, where a ton of people are very uneasy with the rise of China (and Chinese people) on the world stage, competing effectively for resources and economically (taking their jobs away, etc.), and where wise men (and women) like Sir Geoffrey Howe is squarely in minority, a tiny minority, unfortunately.”

    Even leaving aside your conflation of the USA with a British politician, I simply cannot see how you support this.

  87. K
    July 31st, 2008 at 14:11 | #87

    @Buxi # 72 “But there exists numerous organizations in the West that, in my opinion, do not have the true best interests of the Chinese people in mind. They seem to have political objectives, often circling around the long-term goal of bringing down the Communist Party.”

    I think that it is important for Chinese people to be able to differentiate between these groups. I think the latter type are more likely to be people working for governments (I won’t say which ones) who would benefit from China being chaotic and weakened. However, I don’t think most democracy advocates, for example, fall into this category. If you think about multi-party democracy (I know not all democracy advocates are talking about this, but it’s just an example), in a way it could be said to “bring down” the ruling party, but only in the sense that it makes them contest elections. The democracy reforms in Taiwan brought down the authoritarian rule of the KMT, but it didn’t exactly put an end to the party itself.

    I also think that often people in the West who criticise the Chinese government, but are fairly ignorant about the country in general (I’m thinking mainly about activists or members of the public, not professionals involved with China as part of their job), do actually have good intentions towards the Chinese people but make the mistake of not actually asking them what they think.

  88. Wahaha
    July 31st, 2008 at 15:56 | #88

    JL,

    I dont think the corruption in China is worse than any other developing countries. Look, the money lost in corruption is proporional to the amount of money invested. China has carried out numerous projects nationwide and locally in last 15 years, which also gave people who had power in their hands numerous opportunities to be corruptive. As infrastructure building slows down, the problem of corruption will be less severe.

    About “A broad participatory political process”, just imagine what would happen in America if there was no social security system in America. Can you imagine the situations ? There would be only two possible outcomes : Mumbai, city of slums; or 1992 Los anageles riots.

  89. bianxiangbianqiao
    July 31st, 2008 at 16:26 | #89

    totochi # 76

    Protecting territorial integrity is considered the mission of the Chinese government. Historically Chinese governments that allowed Chinese territories to be taken away by foreigners have not survived (Qing and KMT). But I think things are changing.

    I listed watching Taiwan Independence without actions as one of the potential catastrophe scenarios because some people in the Chinese authorities are misguided by a myth, that the Chinese people will abandon them if they allow Taiwan to break away. This myth is very easy to bust. You are right; the decision of the people of Taiwan is the only thing that matters. The Chinese can perfectly live with an independent Taiwan. They perfectly understand that Being Chinese is not tied to physically living in a particular territory. Foreigners without a genuine Chinese identity will remain non-Chinese even if they are forced to relocate to Beijing (like the historical Jewish people in Egypt). Don’t you think we already have plenty of violent problems from keeping groups in the Chinese territory who would rather be somebody else? On the other hand, the Chinese have so many patriotic individuals (like me) who worry day and night about not being Chinese enough. Aren’t us good enough? These are my personal understandings and may be totally out of touch with reality.

  90. bianxiangbianqiao
    July 31st, 2008 at 16:35 | #90

    BMY 75

    My reference to “the underpinning cultural values, traditions, habits, tastes and preferences” is unsatisfactorily vague. I am not knowledgeable enough to pinpoint the specific key factors. Poverty is one of them. I am not sure about education. It must be less tangible than that. The Chinese population is definitely NOT less educated than Americans at the elementary and secondary levels.

  91. Jane
    July 31st, 2008 at 17:35 | #91

    @FOARP,

    “I can’t help but think of the man who was the subject of that New Yorker story – the man was a doctorate student who worked as a translator, but obviously had no understanding of the west whatsoever. I am not saying that he was wrong just because he did not see the west in the way that most westerners see themselves, I am saying that his lack of understanding was such that the only way he can interpret a set of unconnected events is to imagine a vast conspiracy against China by ‘the forces of reaction’”

    I agree with your observation. Some Chinese are paranoid because they don’t have an in depth grasp of the full picture. Their accusation of western conspiracy seems indeed silly to us.

    But I think your observation could be applied to some non-Chinese observers of China as well (in fact I would say the majority of non-Chinese observers from western Europe and the US) — due to their lack of understanding of China, the only way they can interpret a set of unconnected events is to imagine China as being an overwhelmingly politically repressed dark place, out there to take over the free world. This is also paranoia due to a lack of understanding of China.

    So really, China and the “West” have more in common than they think.

  92. Wahaha
    July 31st, 2008 at 17:45 | #92

    @Jane,

    “Their accusation of western conspiracy seems indeed silly to us.”

    What do you think US sell nuc technology to India ?

  93. July 31st, 2008 at 21:01 | #93

    The nuclear deal with India is indeed foolish. It rips apart existing non-proliferation treaties, challenges China, pits India and China against each other… The U.S. turned India the cold shoulder for too long (preferring Pakistan) but this was the wrong way of mending things: building a grand nuclear alliance.

  94. Buxi
    July 31st, 2008 at 23:19 | #94

    @K,

    However, I don’t think most democracy advocates, for example, fall into this category.

    I don’t know about the term “most”… we can definitely agree that not all democracy advocates fall into this category.

    For example, the Carter Center Democracy Program is clearly pro-democracy, but *not* anti-Communist Party. And I fully support the Carter Center’s projects in China, including this website + related work it has sponsored in China:
    http://www.chinaelections.org/

    But if you take a look at most of the programs supported by the National Endowment for Democracy… it’s hard to be so sanguine. Most of the programs supported aren’t remotely interested in democracy, but rather in activities that weaken the Communist Party and its government. There’s a long list of democracy advocates, many of whom came out of the 6/4 movement (now 20 years ago!), who have really “left the masses” and become sponsored pets of anti-CCP forces.

    I agree with you thought that the existence of these anti-CCP programs in the West is no reason to blindly reject all programs affiliated with the West.

  95. Buxi
    July 31st, 2008 at 23:21 | #95

    @FOARP,

    I can’t help but think of the man who was the subject of that New Yorker story – the man was a doctorate student who worked as a translator, but obviously had no understanding of the west whatsoever.

    Did you talk about this in that thread?

    I honestly don’t remember anything from that article that leaped out at me as proof of “no understanding of the West”. If you have a contrary point to make on that, I’d be interested in hearing that.

  96. August 1st, 2008 at 08:23 | #96

    @Buxi – Simply the accusations in the video. I cannot see how anyone with the vaguest understanding of how western societies operate could imagine such a conspiracy could A) actually be planned and carried out and B) be kept secret. Now, there’s plenty of people out there who believe in UFOs, Elvis, that the WTC was destroyed through a controlled demolition, etc. – but they do not achieve over-night fame by making a video and publishing it on Youtube. He appears to be a reasonable enough person, but the video was a pure work of fantasy, the only way of explaining it is that he has the west totally wrong.

  97. Netizen
    August 1st, 2008 at 10:20 | #97

    @Jane #91,

    I think you have a balanced view. Paranoid is a human condition. Chinese have it and Americans have it and Europeans have it. FOARP, a neocon, thinks Chinese have it, intentionally forgetting to mention themselves have it too. I will add that’s neocons’ style.

  98. August 1st, 2008 at 10:43 | #98

    @Wahaha – Do you think that the nuclear technology was given to India specifically to be used against China? Which country is India’s main opponent? For myself, I think it was a bad deal, supplying a state outside of the NPT with nuclear technology – even of a peaceful kind – sends the wrong message. But close realtions between India and the US are important.

  99. August 1st, 2008 at 10:53 | #99

    @Netizen – For myself, I always try to remember George Orwell’s comment that bias due to background is inevitable, and you should try to be aware of it and compensate for it. I do not imagine China as being some all-encompassing threat to western countries, but I do not believe in simply forgetting principles like democracy, human rights, and the rule of law simply to have better relations with China. Therefore, I am entirely in agreement with moves like the recent motion passed in the US House of Representatives, but I also agree that there is no point in boycotting the Olympics simply for the hell of it. I think that Gordon Brown was acting entirely within his rights to meet with the Dalai Lama, but I do not think that he should not meet with Hu Jintao also. I favour moves towards stronger relations with Taiwan, but not at the cost of irreparably damaging our relations with the PRC. I favour PRC membership of international organisations, but only as long as the PRC fulfils its obligations as a member of those organisations. If this makes me a ‘neocon’ (which, by the way, used to simply mean ‘someone who wishes to renew right-wing politics through the use of traditionally left-wing methods’) then so be it.

  100. Netizen
    August 1st, 2008 at 11:04 | #100

    @FOARP,

    I don’t care what you believe. And don’t correct my oppinions. Obviously you neocons think you can do fear-mongering but others can’t refute it. Just get out of my sight. And ya, go back to your fear planet, you will be all on your own there.

  101. August 1st, 2008 at 12:19 | #101

    @Netizen – It is very strange to read someone criticise my opinions and then say “I don’t care what you believe”. This website is Tang Buxi’s, it is for him to decide who may and may not comment here, as long as I am permitted, and as long as this website remains a place of polite and respectful debate, I will continue to comment here.

  102. Wahaha
    August 1st, 2008 at 14:18 | #102

    @FOARP,

    yes, I firmly believe that nuclear tech sold to India is specificially to balance growing influence of China in Asia, Think of that, 10% of population India are Muslin.

    ____________________

    Also give some other examples when lot of Chinese believe the conspiracy theory, I post again in case you didnt see my post :

    Lot of Chinese believe China IS singled out, here are some reasons :

    Example 1, the spy cameras in Beijing becomes a huge issue. why didnt West complain about that 4 years ago in Greece ? Why do West reporters complain about some facilities they dont need for reporting Olympic ?

    Example 2, Police mistreat dissidents. I believe it is true that chinese police mistreat dissidents, but they also mistreat other prisoners, sometimes they even beat innocent people, Chinese hate it a lot. Guess what ? West politicians and media dont give a damn, all they care is how several dozens of dissidents are mistreated. In the eyes of Chinese, it is like West media only care selling their agenda. So, few in China believe westerners really care about China and Chinese.

    Example 3, Brainwashed westerners the situation in Tibet, give a picture that Tibetans are discriminated by Han Chinese, which is ridiculous and ignorant. They dont need CCP’s propaganda to believe that West want to weak China again like they did 150 years ago, which of course leads some chinese to believe West has its own evil agenda.

    Example 4, Almost everytime you read a report about China, they used the word “communist” or “communism”, like it justifies their argument, which is bull. That really give lot of Chinese an impression that people in West are brainwashed, as you can hardly find a Chinese in China care about communism. Even when they talk about Marxism and Mao, it is almost 100% pragmatic, there is no idealism in it at all.

    Example 5, Try to push their idea down to our throat. China’s intelligentsia paid lot of attention to the situations in India and Russia, (plus the history of China) it is very clear to lot of them that the probability China will be in chaos under democracy is extremely high. So when West asks ” why cant you do this NOW? ” it is like ” Why is your country not in chaos yet ? ”

    Example 6, there is report by CIA on CNN, that there are about 15,000 to 25,000 dissidents in China, let us multiply it by 50, that is 1,250,000 people who want some change in China quickly, that is not even 0.1 % of population of China. How on earth can West convince Chinese that the government is evil when only 0.1% wants serious political change ? and Why west is so eager to push for the change when the current system still works economically for 95+% of people ? This contrast easily make Chinese doubt the sincerity of West.

  103. Netizen
    August 1st, 2008 at 16:05 | #103

    @FOARP,

    Great, Buxi and company have created a polite debating society here. (Note to Buxi, New York Times’s Mike Nizza calls you “a prominent blogger in China”, which I wholeheartedly agree.)

    Back to you, FOARP, you thank Buxi and company by refusing to link this blog, while happily linking to many rightwing noname blogs or sites. Many Chinese may be polite, but I’m direct. I call a neocon neocon. I can a fear-monger fear-monger. I call you out because you like the politeness on this side but you fear-monger on your side, that’s, on your blog. At least everyone should know.

  104. Smith
    August 3rd, 2008 at 16:26 | #104

    Maybe Democracy in china will mostly cause the collapse (or huge decrease) of corruption, and the huge increase of rules of law.
    The main prob in china is not the lack of human right, but the fact that it is not a country rules by law, but a country rules by local government will.
    If chinese law where apply the country will be much better.
    But how can china become a country rules by law when there is only one party ? The people inside the party can not accept that the law become above their own power.

  105. Smith
    August 3rd, 2008 at 16:37 | #105

    For this Taiwan question I never get the Chinese way of thinking:
    Whatever you like or not they are by the fact independent (independent government, different currency, different laws, different writing system, different army…) if they want to be officially independent China mainland threat them to declare war because china see them as Chinese.
    Thus it is the same that saying: “you are Chinese, we love you as our Chinese brother, but if you do not want to keep being Chinese we are going to kill you all”
    How can you think to kill the one you see as your own kind??
    Furthermore if there is a war Shanghai, Guangzhou, ShenZhen, Xiamen, and many other cities will be heavily destroyed… thus how can you risk a so dreadful war for declaring officially which exist already by fact? You accept the death of millions of people to not “lose face” ?

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.