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U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman caught on video teased by Chinese at “Jasmine Revolution” rally at Wangfujing

February 24th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

As you all already know, there were calls on Twitter few days ago asking Chinese citizens to protest and overthrow their government. (raventhorn2000 weighed in few posts ago.) One of the rallying locations was a McDonalds at Wangfujing in Beijing. The video below was taken by a Chinese citizen catching U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman at the scene. It’s pretty hilarious actually. A Chinese man asked him: “Hi Ambassador, what are you doing here?” Huntsman replies, “Just joining the fun.”

The Chinese man then teased, “you want chaos for China, don’t you?”

Obviously, the “Jasmine Revolution” did not brew. It was interesting how this non-event was covered in the Western Media though. ESWN has a good sampling of this madness. (Might need to scroll down the page.)

Of course, this came at the heels of the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking Internet ‘freedom.’ And, after Jon Huntsman’s efforts to engage Chinese citizens through Sina and other Chinese internet services were censored by Chinese authorities.

The “anti-cnn” crowd is certainly not amused.

The 4th Media produced the video above, and here is their article in Chinese: 图文+视频爆料:美国大使亲赴王府井为“带路党”助威打气!

Apparently, this video was shot by a Chinese citizen who is aware of the call on Twitter for the protests. He went out to Wangfujing to protest against the protesters.

With Huntsman caught on video, a fizzed “Jasmine Revolution,” an government overthrowing tool Twitter, and an overzealous Western Media, they created a perfect toilet bowl to flush down whatever Hillary Clinton had to say few days ago about Internet “freedom.”

Indeed, “Epic fail!”

Of course, the Western Media is now very bitter about this whole affair, because it fizzled. Peter Foster at the UK Telegraph writes:

Why China’s tiny ‘protests’ actually matter

The Communist Party monopoly on power may have delivered rising prosperity, but living in China still requires a daily act of doublethink to make sense of the corruption and cronyism; the high-handed officialdom and the heavy-handed censorship; the rigged courts and the rubber-stamp parliament.

These, the party says, are the price that Chinese must pay for “economic growth” and “stability”, but the fact that the majority acquiesces to the system, doesn’t mean they don’t see that the system’s gaping limitations and aspire to something better – even if its not Western-style democracy..

As this blogger says, “No, the CCP DOESN’T say that. It’s a wholly unnecessary misrepresentation.” This is coming from someone who actually accepts the rest of the article. I don’t.

My view for people like Peter Foster is that they should try to brew a Jasmine Revolution of their own in their backyard. As I have said in the past, I think the Chinese people are in some ways lucky, because their government is strong enough to withstand these foreign meddlers. If China is much weaker today, I have no doubt she will become a playground for foreign “revolutionary” forces.

People like Peter Foster will continue to label the Chinese government “insecure.” Whatever. The lesson from 1989 is that when these type of things get out of hand, they become crisis. It is much better to nib them at the buds.

Below are couple of reader reactions at the UK Telegraph to Peter Foster’s article:


In another of his articles – to which no comments are permitted – Peter Foster writes as follows:

“anonymous overseas activists called for non-violent demonstrations ….The activists, signing themselves anonymously as “organizers of China’s Jasmine gatherings” urged people to shout, “We want food! We want work! We want housing! We want fairness!”.

Let’s be clear, therefore – this is not some indigenous popular movement inspired by local government corruption or contempt for the CCP – this is a populist mantra chanted by anonymous foreigners whose calls for food, work, housing and some nebulous concept of fairness are no more relevant to China than they are to the UK, sub-Saharan Africa, the suburbs of Rio, Detroit, a council estate in Dumfries or for that matter Imperial Rome.


Having travelled regularly to China on business for over ten years, I can honestly say that 99% of the Chinese population do not want a revolution! They want to make money, buy a house, a car and send their kids to university. The pains of foreign occupation, force-fed opium, the “great leap” famine, the cultural revolution are memories most Chinese will want to forget – and lessons to be learnt.

Whilst the system is by no means perfect, it does seem that the only ones wanting a Chinese revolution is the western media.

  1. SilentChinese
    February 24th, 2011 at 07:11 | #1

    Twitter and twitter like weibo are nice little tools.

    The problem is that 1) activist groups want to use them push for their own agenda, and 2) US foreign policy establish now specifically sees them and utilizes them as tools for pushing a pro-US foreign policy.

    Issue of Free-dom of whatever aside, one can not get around the fact that the above two factors are 1) real and substantial and factual, and 2) effectively destabilizing alot of countries around the world by exploiting wedge issues, and 3) the fundamental wedge issue will long existed and will persist long after the destabilization events are gone. (exploding demographics, shortage of jobs brought about by dependence on oil economy and retarded industrialization, shortage of food, religious radicalization, etc etc)

    bottom line: twitter-and-twitter revolution do not bring about meaningful, fundamental change in the underlying forces that caused these destabilizations. and these they merely enabled interest groups to exploit the underlying forces for their own gain much cheaply and effectively.

    I hate to say it.
    if the situation persist.
    the commies prob do a service to the short and mid term interest of china to block twitter and facebook.
    just as they jammed VOA and PR broadcast back in the 50-70s.

  2. SilentChinese
    February 24th, 2011 at 07:15 | #2

    Now, just like The Chinese man in the video teased, “you want chaos for China?”
    if the answer is yes and you calculate that they have much to gain from chaos in china.
    then my above comments do not apply to you.

    have a nice (jasmin) revolution! best of luck!

  3. r v
    February 24th, 2011 at 07:33 | #3


    I started a small blog back a few weeks ago, for listing “Activist Trolls”.

    In my opinion, most modern Activists today are Trolls who want to make a name (and some money) for themselves.

    Having a strong opinion about an issue is one thing. Devoting that much time for a “cause” is plainly indicative of some ulterior motive.

    Even for a strong opinion, if one is not vested with HUGE amount of self-interests in such issues, why would one have very strong opinions?

    I mean, I may feel very strongly that I want the economy to improve, but what would possibly compel me to believe that one group of people is to blame for bad economy? Or one group is more deserving of criticism?

    Frankly, Vested ulterior self-interests behind all the strong opinions is a good reason to ban all “Activist trolls” from public forums.

    “Activist trolls” like to blame someone for their cause.

    I say, blame the blamers, $billions per year are spent on their blaming-around game, and we have nothing to show for it in the world.

    They are pure waste of money and internet bandwidth.

  4. SilentChinese
    February 24th, 2011 at 07:44 | #4

    @r v

    my take differs a little bit.

    there is an element of altruistic do-gooder impulse in the motivation.

    but unfortunately altruistic do-gooder impulses do not translate to good final material results for a particular situation. that’s where pragmaticism comes in.

  5. Bob
    February 24th, 2011 at 07:58 | #5

    Too bad, the video was not wisely made. Cut out all that artificial audio and visual crap and it would be awesome. The way it is presented makes it look like a piece of angry CCP youth propaganda.

    BTW, Dude’s first name is Jon, not John.

  6. silentvoice
    February 24th, 2011 at 08:14 | #6

    What I don’t get is why there are so many anti-China posts on the youtube page? Most of them from ROC I presume, since those posts are in traditional characters. Can’t they see that if PRC falls, it will negatively affect ROC as well?

    *shakes head*

  7. February 24th, 2011 at 08:37 | #7

    Thx for the correction, Bob. And agreed about the video embellishments. But it’s a difference in taste I think.

  8. Charles Liu
    February 24th, 2011 at 11:54 | #8


    IMHO there are factions in ROC politics that accepts US agenda, that its interest is aligned with US rather than PRC, especially some in the green camp and overseas Taiwanese (check out your local Yam Vines 蕃薯藤 social group if you are in US).

    As to Huntsman, I’m more willing to give him the benefit of doubt. Watch the video, he’s got his daughter with him. Also read here that his folks were in town, waiting in the car near by. He could’ve just as well sent some embassy attache who’s trained for this kinda stuff, or done the “emperor incognito” thing without his kid. He could be just looking around, or looking to buy soy sauce, I don’t know.

    Plus, this guy might be the next president, you don’t want this on your FBI record 😎

  9. February 24th, 2011 at 14:23 | #9

    I think Jon Huntsman didn’t think much would happen. When he responded “joining the fun” I think he knew what was going on there.

    The White House has come out to say that he was in that area by coincidence with his family.

    The most plausible to me is since his family was in the area, they decided to check it out. Huntsman also knew before hand this Twitter call for a protest in Wangfujing.

  10. SilentChinese
    February 24th, 2011 at 14:42 | #10

    plausible deniability.

  11. Kai
    February 24th, 2011 at 19:54 | #11

    LoL, ex-blogger really.

    What is there to not accept about the rest of the article? The first seven paragraphs are fairly balanced with plenty of qualifiers added in. It certainly doesn’t shy away from admitting the failure of the “Jasmine Revolution”.

    Paragraph 10 is just the author’s own opinion about strolls being a “fitting kind of protest” relative to TAM 89. I don’t find that particularly disagreeable since strolls have been repeatedly used by many mainland Chinese for a variety of grievances that aren’t of a political nature. What’s disagreeable about non-violent civil demonstrations?

    Paragraph 11 I find difficult to deny. How do we argue that the government’s reaction doesn’t exhibit a measure of fear?

    Paragraph 12 is also true.

    Paragraph 13 likewise. Sure, “Orwellian” is a value judgement but I’d go as far as saying that recent speeches aren’t even that recent. The government has been doing this for years now.

    Paragraph 14 is a opinionated judgement but its also hard to deny that impression, right? Certain parts of the government apparatus does work towards democratic notions of greater popular involvement but it is still a government apparatus that insists that it be the sole apparatus of power. Characterizing that as a desire that others have “‘no opinions at all’ when it comes to the question of how you are governed” is at worst a bit of dramatic flair but ultimately hard to disagree with.

    Paragraph 15 is an expression that he thinks authoritarian autocracy is a state of affairs that cannot last forever. Well, that’s just his opinion and no one can actually predict the future. I guess it sounds like he’s saying “it’s just a matter a time for you!” as he shakes a fist ostensibly against China but eh…kinda numb to that now. Overall, though, what is there to “not accept” with the rest of the article? For an editorial, I don’t begrudge him for stating an opinion, and I actually found the article to have acknowledge what needed to be acknowledged. I don’t think he actually directly elaborates on his title “why tiny protests matter” but I think most of us here know he’s basically saying change often happens slowly and every effort counts. Well, that’s true.

    Now, I’m just referring to this particular piece. I don’t actually follow this Peter guy so I don’t know what other stuff he writes that might annoy me but judging the piece on its own, I’m not sure why you, yinyang, find the rest of the piece unacceptable. Shrug.

    P.S. – Don’t hate me if I forget to come back and check for responses. Cheers.

  12. February 25th, 2011 at 00:41 | #12


    I’ve been wanting to ask – why quit blogging? It’s too bad.

    I don’t have time to unwrap that Peter Foster, but, fine, let’s look at paragraph 10:

    A glum stroll through the streets, it seems to me, is a fitting kind of protest for China’s political stasis since 1989: no chanting of wild, threatening slogans just a quiet, thoughtful statement against the limitations of one-party government, and the expectation of change.

    You said:

    Paragraph 10 is just the author’s own opinion about strolls being a “fitting kind of protest” relative to TAM 89. I don’t find that particularly disagreeable since strolls have been repeatedly used by many mainland Chinese for a variety of grievances that aren’t of a political nature. What’s disagreeable about non-violent civil demonstrations?

    Nothing wrong with non-violent civil demonstrations. But why must the Western mindset be of demonstrations as a panacea for all grievances with the government? Western journalists cannot imagine other ways for a society’s problems to be solved?

    “political stasis since 1989” – is this guy retarded? Within these twenty years, China’s political reforms are abundant.

    “limitations of one-party government” – there is nothing wrong with that per se. Two party and many party systems are in fact invading and killing many more people around the globe. WE don’t want that! Since I am forced to defend ‘one-party’, then I’ll say look at the PEW survey results and look at how well China has weathered the global financial crisis as compared to the U.K..

    You can say these are the author’s own opinions or a general Western media mindset. And they are myopic.

  13. r v
    February 25th, 2011 at 06:09 | #13

    “Paragraph 11 I find difficult to deny. How do we argue that the government’s reaction doesn’t exhibit a measure of fear?”

    Show me one government that doesn’t fear protests leading to riots.

    Every time they have a World Bank meeting in US and Europe, they send out more cops than in Beijing.

    And please, that few number of cops as a “show of force” in Beijing?! (BTW, China has fewer cops per population unit than US and Europe).

    Have you seen the Seattle world bank protest of April 2000? Want to see some Government fear?


  14. r v
    February 25th, 2011 at 06:11 | #14

    Minor correction, it’s DC world bank protest of April 2000 above.

  15. pug_ster
    February 25th, 2011 at 08:29 | #15

    Looks like WSJ has quietly decided to implement censorship policy. I made some comments in http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/ and it seems that only 1/2 of my comments went thru.

  16. February 25th, 2011 at 08:31 | #16

    Yep, I saw someone else’s article got censored by WSJ, when it was initially cached by Google.

  17. raffiaflower
    February 26th, 2011 at 03:34 | #17

    ironic,isn’t it; it looks like stumping for the presidential primary might have begun in, of all places, the capital of Kom-mu-nist China!!
    If the planned protests had ignited what the schemers dreamt would be a national revolution, Mr Huntsman’s ticket to the nomination and probably even the White House would be assured.
    He was present, at history in the making, as the hunger of the Chinese people for democracy collapsed the repressive government and brought history to an end!! Not.
    It may be possible though that all future American presidents one day might have to add China hand to their resume to assure voters that they “understand” one of their biggest potential rivals.
    Bushie’s father took the China route to the White House. But look what happened to Iraq and Kuwait tho.

  18. Charles Liu
    February 27th, 2011 at 00:22 | #18

    Can you guys post the difference found on Google cache or web.archive org?

  19. Pete Jones
    February 28th, 2011 at 01:14 | #19

    That does sound like it was fun, although it’s hard for me to be sure, as I live in China, and Youtube, web.archive.org, etc are all barred by the Firewall. However, it seems that it’s not only the western media who are over reacting to this non-story:


    What on earth are they all so worked about? The last time I strolled down Wangfujingdajie, back in August, the most exciting thing that happened to me was being propositioned by a prostitute (I declined, given that I was with my girlfriend at the time). This sounds much more fun; I might go there for a stroll when I’m in Beijing on Sunday.

  20. February 28th, 2011 at 01:23 | #20

    @Pete Jones

    This is what the BBC article said:

    Otherwise you have to ask, what explanation is there for sending the thugs to drag away and beat up journalists looking to take a few pictures of people strolling silently past McDonald’s on a Sunday afternoon?

    So, nah, I think the Western media is desperate. This is trash, but what bemuses us is how well this stuff sells in the West. 😉

    What is truth seems like the Western journalists are still capable of making news.

  21. Pete Jones
    February 28th, 2011 at 01:38 | #21

    I agree, it is a non-story. Sometimes I agree with the ways news is reported, sometimes I don’t. That’s called being open minded. But, given it’s a non-story, why the hilarious over reaction by the security forces (which IS a story)?

  22. February 28th, 2011 at 06:21 | #22

    “why the hilarious over reaction by the security forces (which IS a story)?”

    Because some reporters (vultures) were circling, and someone said there might be a dead body.

    Then, it turned out to be Jon Huntsman’s campaign. 🙂

  23. deldallas
    March 2nd, 2011 at 01:42 | #23

    1. So what if Huntsman, who lives in Beijing, shows up in a very neutral manner at Wangfujing with his daughter? I think he just wanted to know firsthand what was going on just like many other normal Beijingers. That said, it was a clearly a very stupid thing for him to do, because in Beijing, even appearing in the most low profile of manners at Wangfujing to see what is going on ends up being perceived as being part of some revolution conspiracy. Do you think there were no high ranking CCP members who showed up at Wangfujing with a desire to know firsthand what was going on?
    2. The Egyptian government wasn’t simply overthrown by Twitter, there was substantial on-the-ground door-to-door rallying of people. I honestly doubt that many Egyptians even use Twitter — only 8% of Americans use Twitter so it’s probably a much lower % in a lower-GDP-per-capita, foreign market like Egypt. And the Mubarak gov’t hadn’t been improving the quality of life for its population the way China has over the last 20-30 years, so I think its fear-mongering to label Twitter as a “government overthrowing tool” — what next, are text-messaging cellphones “government overthrowing tools” too? At some point, the benefits of control are outweighed by the costs to social/economic growth.

  24. Pete Jones
    March 2nd, 2011 at 23:37 | #24

    ‘what next, are text-messaging cellphones “government overthrowing tools” too?’

    Of course they are. I was in Urumqi during and after the riots of July 5th 2009. All text messaging was blocked for six months after the event, and is still subject to restrictions (no attachments in/out of province). Full internet access (as opposed to a strictly controlled and curtailed provincial intranet) was suspended for about nine months.

    The reason given for this was that the security forces needed to prevent an exterior ‘clique’ fomenting revolt. Complete nonsense of course; the Han Chinese I knew all said it was to stop them complaining online about Wang Lequan, the incompetent and corrupt Provincial Party Secretary who was widely regarded as responsible for the whole mess. They told me that internet access would only be restored once he’d been moved to another post during the CCP’s annual Spring shindig – which is exactly what happened:


    The people detested Wang Lequan, leading to tens of thousands protesting in Urumqi in September 2009:


    Oddly, this didn’t get much coverage in the Chinese press, but I have video footage I’m quite happy to upload to Hidden Harmonies’ favourite website, Youtube (when I’ve left China, of course, because remember, it’s blocked here).

    Fortunately for Wang Lequan, he was a university contemporary of Hu Jintao, and has simply been shuffled sideways rather than subjected to a politically expedient judicial killing. The Han I know in Xinjiang say he’s worth about 3 billion renminbi as a result of his racketeering over the last decade and a half, but his ties with Hu Jintao mean that killing him would be far too embarrassing for the Party.

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