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Jun 04

Six Four: Glad the student movement didn’t succeed

Written by Buxi on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 at 4:54 pm
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This article comes from a self-described moderate who wasn’t old enough to participate in the Six Four movement. Instead, he’s one of many of his generation who is “glad” the student movement didn’t succeed. Some “old generals” of the movement might refer to him derogatorily as “young” and “immature”… but keep in mind, this man is now in his mid-30s, and has lived in the United States for 10 years. It can be argued he represents the mainstream opinion.

I went to university in 1991; I’m not an old general or a young general.

1. Even as early as 1992, my opinion was that the Six Four student movement should not have been allowed to succeed. Primarily because of a comparison against the Soviet Union.

At that time, people still held unrealistic fantasies towards the remote West. “River Elegy” really suggests to me that if Six Four had succeeded, then it would’ve been a peaceful regime change perpetrated by the United States. We would probably have had an outcome similar to the Soviet Union; Tibet and Xinjiang would be independent, and the country would likely have been divided into pieces.

The 1990s was a time of “emigration fever”, as many in China did everything they could to go overseas. (I went overseas in 1998.) Most of the people that I know personally, after they went overseas, returned with a deeper conviction that Six Four should not have been allowed to succeed.

Deng Xiaoping said it exactly right: Six Four happened because of global political winds, and also domestic political winds. The bottom line, the party and government had its internal divisions. If the movement had succeeded, there would still be “old generals” here complaining they had been used.

2. Of course, I’m not like the “little generals” who are applauding the government’s violent suppression. Of course, the best result for Six Four would be if there hadn’t been any blood shed. I don’t have any personal experience, and I can’t pretend to really understand the pain of those who lost their loved ones, of those who lost their confidence in the government.

So, I again express my deepest regrets to all those who died. I’m also in favor of everyone remembering Six Four, remembering the passion, youth, and love for good things that were on display back then.

3. The only winners out of that movement were those who didn’t want to see China strong, who didn’t want to see China develop. Domestically, it strengthened the movement towards corruption. After Six Four, society lost its conscience, and only money was glorious. A society without values will allow these corrupt forces thrive like a fish in water. Only this earthquake has helped again unite the hearts of some people.

The other winner would be American-led forces. You have to know many Americans see the end of the ’80s as being the end of the Cold War. They should realize that to the Chinese people, this was also a war. Although they might regret China didn’t split apart like the Soviet Union… but regardless, after 1989 they gained a lot in international politics.

4. Six Four really should be remembered and deeply considered every year. But if we remember alongside the dissidents, the independence seekers, and FLG… it will be an excuse for the elites in China who are opposed to a reappraisal of Six Four. So, I believe when the dissidents, the independence movements, and FLG disappear and become irrelevant… that’s when our country will allow new discussion and reconsideration of Six Four.


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137 Responses to “Six Four: Glad the student movement didn’t succeed”

  1. Phil Says:

    I hope this guy’s not dismissed by anyone as immature, because he doesn’t seem to be so to me. He shares the Chinese mania for unity, but there’s nothing wrong with that. This viewpoint is certainly one that serious advocates of political change must engage with: people like this writer are the key constituency.
    Unfortunately, that last paragraph does mess things up a bit. We can’t have mature discussion until everyone whose opinions we don’t like goes away? Not so good.

  2. Wahaha Says:

    My opinions about 6/4 :

    1) if students had succeeded, China would be more likely in chaos than getting better.

    2) The reason that started 6/4 was the corruption by government officers and their relatives, and students believed that West wouldve solved ALL the problems and made China better, there was saying at that time ” The Moon in West is rounder than the moon in China.”

    3) Students knew almost nothing about West, and naively believed that West really cared about China, that included myself. We knew nothing about problems caused by west democracy, even though India had showed us West system is far from perfect.

    4) Government shouldnt send PLA into Beijing, at least PLA shouldnt open fire. When we are judging the government at that time, we must remember, that government was still controled by hardliners from 1930s, 1940s. They were still living in old times and only knew one way to solve any problem : Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

    5) I am very happy that Wen JiaoBao became prime miniser in the party, obviously he was not “selected” by Jiang Zemin. that proves
    (a) hardliners were gone. If you watch the video of mourning in Zhong Nan Hai, CCTV didnt show picture of Zhang zemin.
    (b) There is certain degree of democracy within the CCP,

    6) Those victims in 6/4 didnt lose their life in vein, they deserve lot of credits for the improvements of democratization in China now. What they did has made the government realize the power of people, and since then they started listening to the voice of people. Before 6/4, the policy was made bascially by a extremely small group of people, and it has changed dramatically since then. The southern tour by Deng xiaoping, Deng won the war within the party by the support of people.

    (7) Chinese government must learn from West media, there are lot of better ways than simply censoring the information. This caused the blindly believe of west system by students and people in late 1980s. Chinese government must realize that what chinese care most is a strong china; as long as its policy will make China better, it will gain support of most chinese.

    (8) Censor usually cause disbelief of government. Negative information and negative news may lead some bad image, but it will earn the trust of people. Like the protest by parents who lost their children, Government should report that and also show images of those people on major media. (I dont know if they did.) By doing that, it will convince people that government really care about parents, and earn trust of people.

  3. Phil Says:

    Actually, I’ve been thinking about this more, and I wonder if this writer’s last paragraph doesn’t reflect something of the triumph of government propaganda. Not only have they managed to shut rational voices of dissent out of the media by censorship; they have also managed to create an illusion of debate and dissent by including frequent references to dissenters who couldn’t possibly win large-scale support: FLG, who genuinely are a crazy cult, and independence advocates, who aren’t crazy, but couldn’t make any headway in the current climate.
    Thus we have no real debate, but the illusion that debate exists, and that the balance of reason lies entirely with the government’s position.

    @Wahaha – I accept 90% of what you say. Even where I don’t agree with it, I think it’s too hard a call to make (would China be better/worse off now if the students had succeeded? I find your blank no hard to swallow, but no-one can possibly tell for sure.) But this sentence – “what chinese care most is a strong china” – is pure propaganda, and it’s interesting how easily it slips into your arguments.

  4. Buxi Says:

    Phil,

    Government propaganda isn’t responsible for linking together FLG, independence activists, and the democracy movement overseas. At least, I don’t recall any articles arguing that relationship… I mean, what would it say? Only repeating that “there are anti-China people out there” without actual evidence isn’t convincing.

    But fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your point of view)… the democracy movement overseas is itself really responsible for connecting the dots. Look through recent coverage of protests overseas; look for Wei Jingsheng and Yang Jianli especially… these folks have shown up regularly at Tibetan and Taiwanese independence events. Yang Jianli and numerous other dissidents signed an open letter shortly after 3/14, in which they happily pushed the blame for the Lhasa riots onto the Communist Party’s lack of democracy. The former president of Taiwan Chen Shui-bian probably had Wei Jingsheng on speed-dial, the guy was down there so often. Wang Dan was also linked to Chen Shui-bian’s slush fund.

    Several other former dissidents who fled to Taiwan are also closely tied to the DPP, to the point that one of them recently encouraged the DPP to consider a guerilla war (maaaaybe he meant it in a political and not physical sense) in order to regain power.

    I don’t think the FLG has too much of a linkup with these other groups… but bottom line, we (Chinese) are fully capable of reading and interpreting what’s coming from these different groups. And objectively speaking, it’s hard to see their one-sided propaganda as anything other than exaggerations intended to weaken the Communist Party by any means necessary.

    It’s like Hamas, Fatah, and Hezbollah. The world has a better understanding now of how their beliefs and methods are dramatically different.. but I bet to many Israelis (at least a few years back), they were all Arab terrorist groups opposed to the existence of Israel.

  5. Phil Says:

    My ignorance is going to show now: I don’t know any of the names that you’ve mentioned. Like I say, I’m a casual observer only.

    My argument was not that the state press links these groups together; rather it was that in the state press the overseas democracy movement (and the in-country democracy movement, more importantly) don’t even exist. This should leave a gaping hole in the debate that even the dimmest of media consumers would ask questions about. To prevent those questions from being asked, the state media provides ready-made opponents. These are real people, but not credible.

    I rather disagree with this statement: “we (Chinese) are fully capable of reading and interpreting what’s coming from these different groups.” Dedicated observers like you are capable; casual media watchers (the vast majority) are not capable of assessing what any pro-democracy group says because it doesn’t appear in the media. Most people don’t go digging, nor should we expect them to.

    I find your list of the supposed crimes of these democracy activists a bit bizarre as well. Like I say, I’ve never heard of these guys, so I’m taking everything you say at face value.

    1)”they happily pushed the blame for the Lhasa riots onto the Communist Party’s lack of democracy” As opposed to what? Are you going to tell me with a straight face that the DL ordered the riots? My reading of the riots is that they were caused by economic inequality because all government money in Tibet goes to immigrants from the rest of China. Building contracts, city maintenance money – they ship in workers from all over rather than training people in situ. This is not directly a democracy issue, I agree, but it’s pretty closely linked.

    2)”former president of Taiwan Chen Shui-bian probably had Wei Jingsheng on speed-dial, the guy was down there so often.” Going to Taiwan proves that you’re a bad guy? Eh?

    3)”Wang Dan was also linked to Chen Shui-bian’s slush fund.” Yet to be convinced that there was any crime there. All the Taiwan pols have personal funds.

    4)”former dissidents who fled to Taiwan are also closely tied to the DPP” People who advocate multi-party democracy in China have links with the only party in the Chinese world that has actually achieved a transition to multi-party democracy? Stop the presses! You’re presenting yourself here as a reasonable commentator on political events. Are you going to tell me that the DPP is evil? Even if you disagree with their (long-term) policy of an independent Taiwan, they represent an obviously legitimate and functional democratic organization. Talking to people whose political goals you disagree with is not a crime.

    I’m left with a sense that you’re saying something like: I’m open to what democracy activists have to say, but they’re not allowed to advocate that anyone have political views different to mine.

    If you don’t want democracy, just say it. Say you disagree with these people, rather than trying to demonize them with these odd non-crimes.

  6. FOARP Says:

    No country can rely on students to govern it, no student revolution has ever created a government by itself. That said, I find the comparisons with the Soviet Union rather far fetched, the Soviet Union collapsed because of the failed coup against Gorbachev, if Gorbachev’s programs had been allowed to continue the Soviet Union could have been preserved and might look much somewhat like China does today. In fact, the post June 6th crack-down might have resulted in the same kind of back-lash which brought down the coup-leaders. More than this, the Tiananmen square protesters had such vague goals that it is very hard to decide what would have happened if they had succeeded – if anything. It is only if you swallow the whole story about them being a ‘counter-revolutionary movement’ who were planning an armed insurrection that you can imagine them ‘succeeding’. Whilst the demonstrations continued they could be used as leverage by people like Zhao Ziyang, once they were stopped the pressure to reform the political system was removed – hence the almost total lack of change since then.

    @Buxi – Again with the phrase ‘anti-China’ – what does it mean? It seems this is rather a catch-all for everyone against the current government, similar to the phrase ‘un-American’ as it was used in the US during the 50’s. Given the way that pro-Tibet, pro-Taiwan, pro-democracy, pro-human rights, and pro-religious freedom groups all seem to get the label ‘anti-China’, one might get the idea that to be pro-China means being opposed to the things that ‘anti-China’ groups support.

    By the way, most Israelis I know fully understand the differences between the various Palestinian/Lebanese groups you mention, the problem is the American public doesn’t know the first thing about the middle east.

    @Phil – It seems that some people cannot see the difference between ‘debate’ and ‘strife’, ‘freedom’ and ‘chaos’, ‘democracy’ and ‘civil war’, and like to equate them to each other.

  7. Wahaha Says:

    FORAP,

    I went back to China and met my old friends over there. We talked about the oversea chinese dissidents, the attitude of my friends are “Let them mess up with themselves.” and “What do they want from China, another India or another Russia ?”

    In the eyes of Chinese, pro-tibet is anti-china; pro-democracy is not, but if a pro-democracy dissident supports pro-tibet organization, he becomes an anti-china.

    We dont think those pro-tibet protestors as human right fighters, they are jokes and separatists in our eyes.

    Religion is not restricted in China unless it wants political power, you can practice any religions in China.

  8. Wahaha Says:

    Phil,

    What chinese want most IS strong country, human right is not the first on the list NOW.

    Also, wee have different view of human right from West. There are three kinds of interests (or right),

    (1) country’s
    (2) majority of people’s
    (3) Individual’s

    In China, people put (2) above (3); in west, people put (3) above (2). Traditionally in China, individual is not allowed to offend the most people’s interest; and there is more and more disbelief on West society, more and more Chinese believe West want to weaken their country. That is why chinese show little sympathy to those dissidents inside or outside China who keep complaining to west media.

    Also,through 2000 year history of China, Chinese have lot more tolerance of wrongdoings by their government if the government has done a good job.

  9. FOARP Says:

    Traditionally in China, individual is not allowed to offend the most people’s interest

    “争你自己的自由就是争国家的自由,争你自己的权利就是争国家的权利。因为自由平等的国家不是一群奴才建造得起来的!” – 胡适

    I guess Hu Shi wasn’t Chinese.

    Religion is not restricted in China unless it wants political power, you can practice any religions in China.

    Somebody must have forgotten to tell that to the millions of Roman Catholics who follow the pope as their religious leader, or to the independent protestan churches, or to lamaist budhists.

    In the eyes of Chinese, pro-tibet is anti-china; pro-democracy is not, but if a pro-democracy dissident supports pro-tibet organization, he becomes an anti-china.

    Hence the way that the government tries blur differences between their various enemies – something they must have learned from George Bush.

    We dont think those pro-tibet protestors as human right fighters, they are jokes and separatists in our eyes.

    No doubt the communists were once similarly laughed at.

  10. Wahaha Says:

    @ FOARP

    “争你自己的自由就是争国家的自由,争你自己的权利就是争国家的权利。因为自由平等的国家不是一群奴才建造得起来的!” – 胡适

    Really ? look at USA.
    __________________________

    “Hence the way that the government tries blur differences between their various enemies – something they must have learned from George Bush.”

    That has nothing to do with government, Chinese think pro-tibetan protestors are anti-China
    ______________________________

    No doubt the communists were once similarly laughed at

    That is why there is no communism in China now, just a name plus a one-party system
    _______________________________

    Somebody must have forgotten to tell that to the millions of Roman Catholics who follow the pope as their religious leader, or to the independent protestan churches, or to lamaist budhists

    My grandma in law was an catholics since KMT times, she went to church every weekend. As she couldnt read, my mother in law read bible for her.

    and I can tell you that Vaticans tried to create another political power in China after CCP took over China, that is why they were suppressed. Do you know how West handled anti-system power ? Here is a link.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1968

  11. Buxi Says:

    FOARP,

    I put the term “anti-China” in quotes again precisely because I don’t think there is a clear, consistent, logical definition for the term. It makes no more sense than calling all critics of Israel anti-Semitic, although many do precisely that.

    Hu Shi is certainly not a spokesman for Chinese tradition. There are 1.3 billion of us, there’s a spokesman for many different positions. He’s certainly one popular example, but do you really not understand Wahaha’s point that his views are neither traditional, nor for that matter, mainstream?

    I’m also not sure the Roman Catholic church is a great example of an apolitical organization. You can argue that’s what it’s become over the last century… but for the crimes of previous centuries, let’s say it’s still on parole.

    If you really believe the positions that Wahaha described are the “government” version… well, you’re wrong. As Phil said more correctly above, the overseas democracy movement basically doesn’t exist in the Chinese state press. Any linkage between these folks come from the observations of Chinese in the “free world”.

  12. Buxi Says:

    Phil,

    I’m glad you explained that you’re a casual observer, because it does put the rest of the words you’ve written in context. I really struggle to figure out how to make clear everything that is known about these different groups in the Chinese community…

    But I want to at least re-emphasize one statement from my last post: any linkage between these parties are based on the observations made by Chinese in the “free world”. Even though you (and probably many other Chinese on the mainland itself) might not be fully aware of what Wang Dan or Yang Jianli is doing, the millions of Chinese overseas have been watching their act on a daily basis for years.

    Now, I’ll try to address specific points:

    1. On the Tibet riots, at heart is a political independence movement that, democracy or not, the Chinese people will not support or allow. In putting themselves on the side of the Tibet (and Xinjiang, and Taiwanese) independence groups, many of which believe their best hope for independence is economic/political collapse of China (similar to 1911)… some of these dissidents have put themselves at direct opposition to the opinions of the vast majority of Chinese.

    2. Going to Taiwan doesn’t make you a bad guy, but as you probably know, Taiwan is (or at least was) a highly politically polarized society. Going to Taiwan to repeatedly speak on behalf of Taiwanese independence advocacy groups makes you a bad guy, at least in my eyes.

    3. The crime isn’t in being connected to a slush fund. The crime is being connected to the slush fund of a president working very, very hard for Taiwanese independence who wants to weaken China through any means necessary.

    4. Careful what you call the Chinese world, the DPP will have your hide for an insult like that…

    I have no problems with dissidents rooting for the DPP per se, but they are railing against the KMT (even after it swept back to power in a landslide), specifically for its policy of collaboration with the mainland.

    So bottom line, I believe the Chinese community overseas can be roughly divided into two large camps.

    1) Some of us want the *current* China to be a better, stronger nation… and that might mean reforms, facing up to our violent past, apologizing to the victims, and making sure it never happens again.

    2) Some of us want the *current* Communist-led government to collapse as soon as possible, they see that as serving their interests… or worse, the interests of their employers.

    Vast majority of us are in the first camp, and we absolutely don’t see eye-to-eye with the second camp. There’s a new article by a dissident Wang Xizhe going around that I’ll translate in a few days. He’s basically firmly placed himself into category #1 above while railing against those people in category #2.

  13. Nimrod Says:

    FORAP,

    I just want to address one point about religious restriction vs. political restriction. You point out papal (as opposed to the so-named “Patriotic”) Catholics, underground protestants, and lamaists as examples of purely religious persecution. I disagree. Just like thousands of Qigong sects that go about their business with no problem, except for FLG, those other organized religious groups also have demonstrated strong political intents.

    The Catholics is the least problematic, the only issue is with the Vatican, which is a temporal authority, and a traditionally conservative and anti-Communist one at that, and it is a legitimate concern that followers might take political cues (just listen to the Cardinal of HK) — other countries have had that debate, I know. More importantly, there is the issue of recognition wrt Taiwan, but that is close to a solution as of late.

    Underground protestants … in Taiwan the Presbyterians were the earliest pushers for the overthrow of the KMT and also Taiwan independence. Some of the underground churches in northern China have equally political goals.

    And lamaists, I don’t think I need to explain the connection to Dalai Lama and Tibet independence. You don’t see restrictions on practice of lamaism by the Qiangic people, for instance.

    I’m not justifying any of this, just pointing out the difference between the religious and the political.

  14. Smith Says:

    I never get the Chinese focus on unity.
    Why force some people to be unit with you if they do not want?

    I find some girls gorgeous, when some refuse me, I still do not rape them to unite them to me.
    I seduce them until they want to unit with me.

  15. Bleargh Says:

    What I don’t understand is why people can’t see things perspectively? Why the north forced the south to unite, when the south clearly do not want to be united with the north? “Chinese” don’t want T. to separate with the same reason as the “northerners” doesn’t want the south to separate from US in the civil war.

  16. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – Sorry, I hadn’t seen your comments on the other page, given my wariness about a government which once commited itself to a ‘countdown to reunification’ (and when’s that one going to run out by the way?) growing more militarily powerful I guess I also count as ‘anti-China’. I just think that China’s emergence as a super-power is inevitable and we in the west therefore need to come up with a way of trying to integrate China as much as is possible into the international system as possible. My model is opposing the Chinese government where it goes against the international system (selling weapons to Zimbabwe, for example) and support Chinese involvement in international bodies where it agrees to commit itself to basic standards (Admiral Fallon’s military exchanges, WTO membership etc.).

    @Nimrod – So what you are telling us is that there is not in fact religious freedom in China, only the freedom to worship religions that the government doesn’t disapprove of. Can you come up with a reasonable argument for why Anglicanism, for example, is also a banned faith in China – other than that it is not a ‘patriotic’ organisation? Likewise (as much as I loathe their door-to-door proselytising) neither the Jehovah’s witnesses nor the Mormons are allowed in China.

  17. FOARP Says:

    @Wahaha – I do not have a great amount of affection for the political system found in the US, but it is a democratic one, one that is in some ways (but not in others) more democratic than that of the UK. If you are trying to characterise the Americans as ‘一群奴才’, I do not think this is very fair, however much I have been dismayed by the ease with which the current government has been allowed to get away with it policies permitting torture.

  18. Phil Says:

    Thanks, Buxi. I find your reading of Taiwanese politics odd, and your attitude to activists paranoid; but that puts you pretty much on a level with the rest of the world. (With the exception of me, obviously!)

    This question may well have been done to death, so just ignore me if this isn’t the time and place. But can I ask you why you personally oppose independence for the two Ts? This may be a question I will simply never understand. You may not know that there may be a vote soon in Scotland on seceding from the UK; Northern Ireland is obviously an ongoing issue, and it may return to the ROI one day. And I, as an Englishman, couldn’t care less. It just doesn’t make any difference to me whether Scotland is in or out. This is why I don’t understand the passion in lots of people I meet for demanding that “Taiwan is ours!” (I teach in a university in Xiamen.) Indeed, my impression of the “anti-splittist” sentiment is that it is unpleasantly grasping, a kind of possessive child’s “it’s mine!” reaction (I’ve got a one year old, see it every day). But before I dismiss an entire nation as childish, I wonder if I can get some more reasoned reflections.

  19. Buxi Says:

    Phil,

    I don’t mind genuine questions, especially if it’s coming as an alternative to accusing me of being childish. 🙂

    We’ve talked about the United Kingdom’s very compliant attitudes towards secession, and I do think it’s very interesting. It’s perfectly possible in my eyes that we’re seeing the start of a new world order where the importance of “nations” drops significantly… and your country would be at the forefront of such a movement.

    My attitude however is one of wait and see. I’m not sure if it’ll work out well when actually tested. I have two scenarios in mind:

    – one: England has had 20 years of good times (since the collapse of Communism in Europe), and if this continues indefinitely, there’s no problem here.

    But what if another “tyrant” of some type (be it Stalin, Napolean, Hitler, or the Catholic Pope) rises up on continental Europe, and attempts to force its will on England? What if Scotland or Wales, out of their own self-interest, begins to cooperate with them? Could you live to regret your decision…?

    – second, I don’t think Scottish and Irish secession is a good enough example; right now at least, other than some sort of egotistical “nationalism”… there’s really no distinction between those communities and England. It’s not going to effect England in any significant way.

    But I’d be curious what your attitude would be towards a secession movement in… say, a predominantly South Asian or Islamic community in England itself? What if a virulently anti-Western imam demands independence and Sharia law for his little slice of England, with the support of his followers?

  20. Wahaha Says:

    FORAP,

    Neither Chinese nor Americans are ‘一群奴才. No political system in human history allowed its people to protest against it, that includes the current West system, remember McCarthism ? and what about the 2nd french revolution in 68 ?

    Freedom of expression ALLOWED BY THE SYSTEM is directly related to how strong and rich the country is. The richer and stronger a country is, the higher approval rate its government and the system will enjoy, as a result, the more freedom of expression the government and system is willing to give to its people.

    Example 1 : Myanmar Cyclone, the military government in Myanmar simply didnt have the economic power to help those people. Had it allowed freedom of expression, the government wouldve been overthrown.

    Example 2 : earthquake in China, Chinese government allowed west media into quake area cuz it had confidence in handling the crisis.

    Example 3 : Aftermath of Kartrina, there was almost near zero report of the situation in New Orlean. Why ? government didnt have the money to rebuild New Orlean (or riches were not willing to help people there or invest there.)

    If it is not state-control media, what is it ?

    Example 4 : War in Iraq, it is a mess over there, everyone knows that. But besides that couple of Americans soldiers killed each day, there is no media report and Americans know nothing about the situation in Iraq.

    A mother of killed soldier protested in front white house for several month. You cant even find a picture of her misery anywhere by west media,( compared to that you can always find the pictures of those parents who lost their children in China’s earthquake.)

    If it is not state-control media, what is it ?

    Yes, there is minor difference between Chinese government and West sytem : in China, people are not allowed to bash the government; in West, people can. But without the help of media, the result is the same.

    Also, please understand the difference between bashing a government and criticizing a government; also the difference between criticizing the system and criticizing the government. I repeat : NO GOVERNMENT IN HUMAN HISTORY ALLOWED ITS PEOPLE BASHING THE SYSTEM.

  21. Nimrod Says:

    Wahaha, Katrina, Iraq, or Cindy Sheehan aren’t disallowed topics and there is always independent media. But I think you make a good point on what I would like to call the “effective media”, i.e., the media that has the reach and will be heard, then what you say becomes very interesting. After all, Chinese people can talk about whatever they like in private groups, too. If Americans can’t get their independent media to penetrate the mainstream, then there is really no difference between that and private conversations.

    Also an insightful point about brooking no organized subversion of the system, the system in question for the US being the free-market capitalist system under two-party oligarchy.

  22. JL Says:

    I was going to respond to one specific commenter, then I saw so many comments with the same phrase… “most Chinese”

    Basically, there is no way of knowing what most Chinese think. No serious researcher would ever make a claim that begins with ‘most Chinese’; even if every single Chinese person you know holds a certain point of view this does not constitute a statistically significant sample, and is most likely to be representative only of the kinds of Chinese people you interact with, which in the case of this blog I think means young, educated middle-class urbanites. Even then, it’s still difficult (impossible) to judge what “most” people in this group think.

    So I find comments like the following one from Wahaha particularly curious:

    “What chinese want most IS strong country, human right is not the first on the list NOW.

    Also, wee have different view of human right from West. There are three kinds of interests (or right),

    (1) country’s
    (2) majority of people’s
    (3) Individual’s

    In China, people put (2) above (3); in west, people put (3) above (2). Traditionally in China, individual is not allowed to offend the most people’s interest; and there is more and more disbelief on West society, more and more Chinese believe West want to weaken their country. That is why chinese show little sympathy to those dissidents inside or outside China who keep complaining to west media.

    Also,through 2000 year history of China, Chinese have lot more tolerance of wrongdoings by their government if the government has done a good job.”

    In fact, throughout Chinese history there has been every bit as much political infighting and rebellion against government as there has been in the West. If you think Confucianism didn’t sanction rebellion, I suggest you brush up on your Mengzi,

  23. Wahaha Says:

    JL,

    In all country, Students from Colleges and Universities are very critical of their government. If you have chance talking to the new generation of Chinese oversea students, maybe you will get some insight view of what chinese think of their government; why they dont have much sympathy towards the dissidents inside and outside China; why they are so angry at west media and why they are proud of what China has become in such short period.

  24. Buxi Says:

    even if every single Chinese person you know holds a certain point of view this does not constitute a statistically significant sample

    Not a rigorous statement by any stretch of the imagination. We have indirect access (through these message boards) to the opinions of at least tens of thousands of Chinese. Some of these are young urbanites, but many are also our coworkers, parents, significant others who are anything but.

    When I use the term “most Chinese” at least, I say it with what I self-determine to be … say… 80%+ certainty. (As in: 80% of the Chinese I know directly and indirectly share this opinion.)

    This might not be a truly independent sampling process, but the result is absolutely statistically “significant”. At best, you can claim that the error of margin should be larger than a well-designed survey with the same number of samples… let’s say, +/20% instead of +/-2%. That’s certainly still useful in discussion, wouldn’t you say?

    And even more important in this case, this is the best information we have available for discussion. Your two choices when we have discussions about China are to: *completely* exclude the opinions of the Chinese (from dissident as well as supporting sides)… or don’t.

    In fact, throughout Chinese history there has been every bit as much political infighting and rebellion against government as there has been in the West.

    Rebellion against government with the purpose of replacing it with a better, but similar government that rules from the above, willing to sacrifice the interests of the minority for the interests of the majority.

  25. Wahaha Says:

    Nimrod,

    Thanks for the correction, “effective media” is much better phrase at illustrating my point.

    About system, I like to add one more point,

    All over the world, there have been lot of poor and developing countries learning from the experience China have been through last 30 years, while you cant find an artical in USA talking about the secret of the economic success in China.

    Weird, isnt it ?

  26. Buxi Says:

    Wahaha,

    I will have to correct you on this point too. There are many articles in the USA starting to suggest that China’s authoritarian rule is possibly responsible for its economic success.

    There’s a new book out by James Mann, called the “China Fantasy” that supposedly talks about this. But not many in the general public have learned of this school of thought, and not many have considered the implications.

    I don’t think there’s a conspiracy keeping the West from learning about it. We just have to do our part to keep explaining it.

  27. Wahaha Says:

    Buxi,

    Thx for introducing the book, I will read it when I have time. I am very lazy (or busy with kids) and havent read many books about China and West. All my comments came from my six-sense understandings on major events that happened in China and USA and through contact with Americans and Chinese.

    I only read mainstream newspapers in USA and websites from China, maybe that is why I missed lot of really good columns. I will appreciate if you can give me some links or websites about the chinese system in the eyes of West SCHOLARS.

  28. yo Says:

    Actually, I feel where JL is coming from. We should try our best not to overstate things. But qualitative evidence is evidence still and for the sake of practicality, I agree more with Buxi.

  29. CLC Says:

    even if every single Chinese person you know holds a certain point of view this does not constitute a statistically significant sample.

    Actually that’s not true. Much of our knowledge has been derived from studies on small samples. We can safely say most people’s heart rate is around 70/min without having to measure everybody’s, or for that matter, 1/1,000 of the world population’s, pulse.

    Of course, it is legitimate to question what the sample is and whether it is representative or not. From what Buxi stated, he has a quite big sample from a wide spectrum of Chinese society. So unless somebody has studied a big and more representative sample and come to a different conclusion. Buxi’s claim is valid. In any case, his sample is much better than many western journalists who just interviewed a few dissidents and then claim they represent what are really in Chinese people’s minds.

    On a side note, I saw this article several years ago and can’t help to pass it on. Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomized controlled trials.

    Enjoy.

  30. Phil Says:

    Buxi & Nimrod
    Thanks for pointing out the true openness of the free press. As for Nimrod’s term “effective media”, I agree that it’s a concern, but I’d remind you that the US is not “the West”. There’s plenty of life in Europe yet, and our mass media tend not to be quite so craven.
    It’s one of the classic mistakes of Chinese debaters not to recognize that the Western commitment to freedom is real, and is the end; it is not merely an attempt to strengthen the state.

    Buxi
    Your question is a good one. One of the reasons I’m happy to countenance secession by parts of the UK is that they will remain in the EU, and it is very unlikely that independent governments will do anything nasty to either their independent populations, or to the Britain that they leave behind. Your example of a Sharia ministate within Britain would clearly be much less acceptable, but I think I can point to practical reasons why. 1) such a state is unlikely to have the full support of people in any area – most immigrate to Britain because they want to live here. There would therefore be problems of relocation. 2) such a state would almost certainly fail and be a drain on resources. In our modern (liberal) societies, no matter how much you say you understand the dangers of what you do and don’t need help, the state always provides a safety net. Britain could never leave people in a failed ministate to rot, and that affects the way we make decisions. However, you may be interested to know that the highest archbishop in the Church of England recently suggested legal recognition for Sharia courts in the UK, for those who wish to use them.
    My own view is again that I don’t really care. I think a Sharia state in Leicester is a bad idea, but I don’t have any emotional reaction against it. I would reject it on practical, social grounds, not because England is mine and we can’t let the Muslims have it.

    So your question is important, but I wonder, is it relevant? In the case of Taiwan, obviously not. There’s no hint of theocracy there, it’s just a separate Chinese (language) state with a different system of government. For Tibet, there is more cause to worry: certainly the historical theocracy was pretty nasty. But after all the DL’s posturing, I find it hard to imagine that he could go back on his words now. He’s said he wants a secular, democratic state (actually, now he says he’s happy to remain part of China, but I can agree that he’d rather have an independent Tibet). Whatever kind of government it had, Tibet would have to retain close links with China, because China represents the only credible country with a passable border on Tibet. Again, I find it hard to imagine that Tibet would be a threat. And unlike the railing against the West in some Muslim countries, there’s no anti-China tradition in Buddhism. There’s just no reason to expect hostility.

    So, I can’t see how your example of a Sharia state in England is relevant to TT independence and China.

    What I really want to ask you about is your personal feelings. As I say, I just don’t have them. I suspect I’m in a small minority on this issue, so I’d like to understand how most people do see it.

  31. EugeneZ Says:

    Too bad that Yang Jianli has become a professional dissident. Many years ago, when we were still reeling from the pains of 6/4 crackdown, I was invited to a dinner at his home, when his wife cooked great gourmet food for all of us. He was a very nice guy, and his was a very nice family. Apparently he was a very smart guy too, finishing up his Ph.D. in statistics or math (if I remember correctly) from UC Berkekey. Many of his classmates went on to work on wall street and become multi-millionares or become tenure track professors. Instead, he went to Harvard and got a 2nd Ph.D. in political science or something like that, and devoted himself to the overseas democracy movement. While he was in jail in China for sneaking in using a friend’s passport, his wife worked very hard to support the whole family (2 kids?).

    The last time I paid attention was when he was on news (a year and a half ago?) on the occasion of his return to USA.

    Being a Chinese professional dissdent in USA is a lousy career path – a lot of work for no money or just scrapping by, doing things that do not make a lot of sense, and are not appreciated by most of Chinese both in China or in US, not even by someone who still had fond memory of him and his family.

    What a waste of talent!

  32. yo Says:

    Phil,
    “the US is not “the West”. There’s plenty of life in Europe yet, and our mass media tend not to be quite so craven.”

    Then what are we, the North? 🙂 Craven media…., I agree to some extent, I know the former press secretary Scott McCallen would agree. I feel 911 changed a lot but for the most part now, our media is not afraid to hit the hard topics.

    “It’s one of the classic mistakes of Chinese debaters not to recognize that the Western commitment to freedom is real, and is the end; it is not merely an attempt to strengthen the state.”

    I personally doubt that sentiment. You might feel that way and more power to you, but people do politicize it. It is an effective way to cast an opposing regime in absolutist terms. Let’s not forget, the UK also went into Iraq to “liberate it”. Of course, I would feel it is equally wrong if people disregarded all “Western”(and Northern 😉 ) perspectives because they are overly cynical of the motivation.

  33. Wahaha Says:

    To Phil,

    If you dont mind, I like to ask you several questions :

    1) There are 50,000 Tibetan monks in Tibet, and there are 2.6 million tibetans in Tibet. Based on the west media, why was there hardly any complains by ordinary tibetans ? almost all the harsh complains were made by Monks.

    2) People in Europe have accused that there is no freedom of religion in Tibet, but do they know that Dalai Lama suppressed his own people ?

    http://www.westernshugdensociety.org/

    3) In China, average 190 kids missing each day.If West politicians and West media really care about the human right in China, why didnt spend more on other problems like child labors in China and medication in urban area ? instead, they keep talking about couple dozens of dissidents in China ?

    4) Do you know that there are 77,000 missing kids in UK every year ?

    http://uk.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/NewsEventServlet?LanguageCountry=en_GB&PageId=0

    In China, there are about 70,000 (190 x 365) missing each year. UK has 61 million people, China has 1.32 billion people and there are less missing children in China than in UK. What didnt West politician address that problem ? do People in Europe care?

  34. Buxi Says:

    Phil,

    There would therefore be problems of relocation. 2) such a state would almost certainly fail and be a drain on resources. In our modern (liberal) societies, no matter how much you say you understand the dangers of what you do and don’t need help, the state always provides a safety net. Britain could never leave people in a failed ministate to rot, and that affects the way we make decisions.

    Sounds like you’re talking about Tibet. If we listen to the Dalai Lama’s version, 50% of the population of Tibet is now Han Chinese. (Which isn’t the right number by my math… but that’s what he says.)

    Regardless, you’ve said you basically don’t believe in the existence of England as England… you have no emotional attachment. I have no problem with that, I’m not going to tell you how you should feel about your country. But if you’re honest, you’ll probably admit the prospect of an independent Islamic state (whether it fails is the problem of the Muslim fundamentalists… not yours) is unattractive to most of your countrymen.

    And even if most English eventually come around to your point of view, that doesn’t address my first question. I’m intellectually attached to the concept of a unified China, but not necessarily emotionally attached.

    What I am emotionally attached to is the concept that I’m exceedingly tired of having border issues dedicated to us; its time we managed our own home. If we eventually give Tibet or Taiwan independence, it will be the same way the English are giving Wales and Scotland independence: on our terms and on our timeframe.

    It’s one of the classic mistakes of Chinese debaters not to recognize that the Western commitment to freedom is real, and is the end; it is not merely an attempt to strengthen the state.

    LOL, I was just told not to speak for the Chinese people. Are you sure you’re ready to speak for Western civilization? I’m not sure in what sense the West’s commitment to freedom is real.

    Has the West brought freedom to Palestine yet, perhaps by recognizing its democratically elected government? How about your major trading partners in the Middle East? Is the West committed to letting the Iraqis vote in a truly democratic election, even if that means al-Sadr and/or al-Qaeda wins the election? I don’t want to hear your idealism here, I want to see practical acts. Where are they?

    I personally believe that the West preference for freedom is real. Commitment is way, way too strong of a word. The only thing the West is truly committed to is serving its own interests. No election in the UK or US has ever been fought on the basis of what’s best for the Chinese (or Iraqi) people; it will always be what’s best for the British and American people.

  35. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Phil:
    I’ve been wondering exactly what you’ve been wondering, and I’ve yet to comprehend the reasoning, from this blog, and others, to account for the emotion involved with countering Tibetan independence. I just don’t see what the big deal is. But that makes me (and you) a distinct minority in these parts. And there was a whole self-determination thread a few weeks back here where I made some of the points you’ve brought up, but from a Canadian perspective. And I’m still no further ahead.

  36. Phil Says:

    yo – I don’t just feel that way, I live that way. Europe is busy creating institutions that guarantee (to the extent that this is possible) an end to war and personal freedom for all on the continent, and I vote for it every step of the way. For the behaviour of the UK government in Iraq, I offer no excuses; only the assurance that it was not done in our name. We had a million-man march against it, and the march failed. But we’ll get them. There are mechanisms.

    Wahaha – you’re ignorant and you’re gibbering.
    I don’t give a flying fart about how the DL chooses to run his church. It’s all superstitious nonsense, anyway. I don’t have a problem with China’s position on religion – Tibetan Lamaism is allowed, and that’s as it should be. I have a problem with China’s political position, which keeps the DL out of the country because they fear he will be more popular than the CPC.
    You’ve made another classic mistake. You think this is a beauty contest between the CPC and the DL. Whichever one looks better is right, and that decides the issue of Tibetan (in)dependence. But that’s not how it is. The problem is that the CPC is exercising improper political control on a group of people (Tibetans) who want to exercise religious freedom. That’s just wrong. Anything the DL does is irrelevant to this judgment, because it’s not a zero-sum game.

    And missing children in the UK? What are you gibbering about? This is a thread about 6-4 that I’ve hijacked to ask about attitudes to independence. Where do missing children come into it? If you want to talk about them, you’re welcome to, but to be honest, it’s not my area of interest.

  37. S.K. Cheung Says:

    TO CLC:
    “Of course, it is legitimate to question what the sample is and whether it is representative or not”…I actually have no problem with the way Buxi and others characterize the views of Chinese people. As long as qualitative terms are used (maybe “many” would be better than “most”, but that’s splitting hairs) I don’t think it’s overstating anything. It’s already much better than many other blogs, where self-designated Chinese spokespeople like to make proclamations about “ALL Chinese”…which always makes me wonder when I received my DNA transplant without my knowledge. I would say, however, that while the opinions of Chinese who blog might be reasonably represented (and people who blog tend to be the ones with strong opinions), I suspect there are many offline Chinese whose opinions may not be as well characterized, and certainly under-represented.

  38. Buxi Says:

    For the behaviour of the UK government in Iraq, I offer no excuses; only the assurance that it was not done in our name. We had a million-man march against it, and the march failed. But we’ll get them. There are mechanisms.

    If you had a million-man march against it, that still left millions that didn’t march against it. I think you’re qualified to speak for yourself, and I for one don’t question your *personal* commitment to freedom.

    But the nations of the West are democracies. We have to take into account the will of the majority , and their inability or unwillingness to commit to “freedom” has been made loud and clear not just for years, but for decades and centuries.

  39. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Buxi:
    “No election in the UK or US has ever been fought on the basis of what’s best for the Chinese (or Iraqi) people; it will always be what’s best for the British and American people.” Don’t forget that CHinese-Americans are still Americans. So what’s best for Americans will also be what’s best for Chinese-Americans…unless you want to start distinguishing whether a Chinese-American is more American or more Chinese…BTW, what’s the term in Britain for citizens of Chinese descent? Chinese-British?

  40. MN Says:

    To Cheung:
    I think what Buxi means is that US or UK would not fight to protect the interests of the China, where the majority of Chinese resides. Of course some elections will partly reflect the interests of Chinese Americans, but will it reflect the interest of the Chinese people as a whole, which the US or UK foreign policy have a big influence upon. Democracies can protect the interests of the participants, but they’re dangerous when they became powerful enough to control or influence the life of the non-participants in other countries.

  41. Phil Says:

    Buxi
    Thanks, but…
    “whether it fails is the problem of the Muslim fundamentalists… not yours” No, I specifically pointed out that this is not correct. Even if a state became independent, because it’s on (or within) our borders, the British government wouldn’t abdicate all responsibility towards it.

    “its time we managed our own home” Are you actually still a Chinese citizen? Careful with your “we”s.
    And China clearly is managing its own home. In the last 59 years, what country has dictated China’s borders, other than China? China has fought (and won) several small wars to maintain those borders. So, apparently everyone in the world agrees with you on that point. The emotion, you say, comes in because not only do we all have to agree that China manages its own territory, we all have to not talk about it either?

    If I accept that you’re not emotionally attached to this unified China idea, then what is the intellectual attachment? For Tibet, I can see it – Tibet clearly is a part of the PRC, and separating it would cause ructions. But Taiwan clearly isn’t a part of the PRC. Its formal independence would change nothing, except making relations between the two sides slightly less prickly. So what’s the problem there?

    “Are you sure you’re ready to speak for Western civilization?” I’m ready to provide a rough analysis of some real data, beginning with Athenian and Roman democracy, moving through the French and American constitutions, taking in universal suffrage movements, and finishing with the Byzantine complexity of the EU.
    As a caveat, colonialism – not so good.

    But again I’m confused about what you want. First you say you want China to manage itself; then you’re asking about acts of colonialism. If Western adventurers like Bush created real democracies in their fiefdoms, would that make it alright for them to go and invade China? Of course not.

    Bush is wrong, Blair was wrong, and the colonial age was a massive crime. I’m certainly not denying that. But none of this alters the fact that Western institutions have long been committed to the freedom of individual citizens. When we project these values onto China, and Wahaha responds as he does, he’s wrong. Projecting values and debating are not colonial acts (you’re not even in China, I’d struggle to colonize you in the US!) They’re just talking. In the course of talking, Westerners talk about individual freedom, because that’s one of the important ideals that we talk about, and that shapes our societies.

    I have no doubt that if Bushy invaded China tomorrow, he’d drain it of oil and turn it back to the bad old days of the emperors and the commies – oh, sorry, bad current days. But talking on a blog isn’t the same as invading. You should doubt the commitment to freedom of an invading army; not of a blog debater.

  42. Phil Says:

    Buxi
    You beat me to it.
    Thank you for recognizing my commitment – and as I say, I agree with you on the issue of colonialism.

    But that’s colonialism, this is blogging. Chill out, I say!

  43. Buxi Says:

    Phil,

    Well, if the British government has “responsibility” towards a failed state on its border, don’t see how Taiwan is any different. Taiwan is not exactly geographically from the mainland.

    Intellectually speaking, I’m against unilateral independence period. I believe it’s a precedent that threatens our heritage, period.

    And yes, I am a Chinese citizen, so I can use the royal “we”. I personally don’t have a problem with non-PRC Chinese using the term “we” either, as long as he/she is watching out for Chinese interests.

    As far as Western institutions are committed to the freedom of individual citizens… I don’t think that’s really being disputed. I don’t think anyone here doubts that the nations of the West lives up to its promises internally.

    I’m not sure what your gripe with what Wahaha has been saying, so I’m not going to address it.

    Western governments continue to discourage (or at least restrain) democracy in Palestine and Iraq while encouraging democracy in nations bordering Russia, and China itself… so, we see something of concern in that.

    As far as talking on a blog being the same thing as invading… I’ll just tell you what most Chinese are looking at today: the color revolutions of eastern Europe (Ukraine, etc). Popular terms in the Chinese internet space are “economic colonialism” and “neo-colonialism”. Many see ulterior motives here, with Western governments (assisted by government-funded NGOs) that seek strategic advantage by pushing for political reforms in countries that serve *their* purposes.

  44. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To MN (and Buxi):
    “I think what Buxi means is that US or UK would not fight to protect the interests of the China”- you’re right…not sure why I understood it wrong the first time. But then the point seems obvious, because why would Americans or Brits elect a president or prime minister who’s more interested in furthering China’s interests than that of their own country’s?

  45. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Buxi:
    “if the British government has “responsibility” towards a failed state on its border, don’t see how Taiwan is any different.”- I didn’t know Taiwan was a failed state 🙂 Funny state, perhaps…where else do you see elected legislators pounding on each other inside the legislative chambers?

  46. FOARP Says:

    @Wahahaha –

    “Example 1 : Myanmar Cyclone, the military government in Myanmar simply didnt have the economic power to help those people. Had it allowed freedom of expression, the government wouldve been overthrown.

    Example 2 : earthquake in China, Chinese government allowed west media into quake area cuz it had confidence in handling the crisis.

    Example 3 : Aftermath of Kartrina, there was almost near zero report of the situation in New Orlean. Why ? government didnt have the money to rebuild New Orlean (or riches were not willing to help people there or invest there.)

    If it is not state-control media, what is it ?

    Example 4 : War in Iraq, it is a mess over there, everyone knows that. But besides that couple of Americans soldiers killed each day, there is no media report and Americans know nothing about the situation in Iraq.

    A mother of killed soldier protested in front white house for several month. You cant even find a picture of her misery anywhere by west media,( compared to that you can always find the pictures of those parents who lost their children in China’s earthquake.)”

    What utter, utter, self-delusional nonsense. The government of Burma does not allow foreign aid, if it does not have the support of the people and cannot care for them then it deserves to be overthrown for this alone. The aftermath of Katrina received highly critical 24-hour coverage from all major western news sources for a month or more after the hurricane, and still makes news today, the US government has done nothing to restrict access. Iraq makes the international news almost everyday, including today’s report on negotiations between the US and Iraqi governments on continuing the occupation. Cindy Shehan (the mother you refer to) is an internationally known figure who has been featured and interviewed by all major US networks – including Fox news!

    Please check your facts next time.

  47. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – This is not ‘intellectually speaking’, this is ’emotionally speaking’ – you do not present any intellectually cogent arguments. I therefore fail to see how Taiwanese people having a say in their own destiny threatens anyone but themselves, period. The idea that China is a kind of farm which you are going to inherit and that Taiwanese independence supporters are threatening to ‘claim jump’ part of your land is somewhat bizarre. As for Taiwanese ‘unilateral independence’ threatening China’s heritage, one might ask whether the Great Wall will somehow collapse, or all the great works of Chinese poetry spontaneously combust the instant that an independent Taiwan is declared without the government’s say-so.

    @SK Cheung – I too find the idea of Taiwan being a ‘failed state’ somewhat strange, especially when the person describing it as such is one presumably more familiar with Taiwan than the average mainland Chinese.

  48. Wahaha Says:

    What utter, utter, self-delusional nonsense. The government of Burma does not allow foreign aid, if it does not have the support of the people and cannot care for them then it deserves to be overthrown for this alone. The aftermath of Katrina received highly critical 24-hour coverage from all major western news sources for a month or more after the hurricane, and still makes news today, the US government has done nothing to restrict access. Iraq makes the international news almost everyday, including today’s report on negotiations between the US and Iraqi governments on continuing the occupation. Cindy Shehan (the mother you refer to) is an internationally known figure who has been featured and interviewed by all major US networks – including Fox news.

    I know my fact. the strong and rich the country is, the more freedom of speech people have.

    Please read carefully, I am talking about rebuilding after Katrina, can you tell me what is going on in New Orlean now ? how did government help those people who lost their house ?

    BTW, enjoy the democracy :

    http://chronicdiscontent.wordpress.com/2008/01/08/katrina-victims-sue-us-government-for-3-quadrillion-13-trillion-dollars/

  49. FOARP Says:

    Please read carefully, I am talking about rebuilding after Katrina, can you tell me what is going on in New Orlean now ? how did government help those people who lost their house ?

    So was I, I saw a piece on it just yesterday on BBC 24 (speaking from memory) there was something about how 25% of the population still hadn’t returned and how parts of the city were still in ruins, and how the government was being very slow in sending the money through – did I pass the test?

    Katrina still makes the news at least 2-3 times a month, and the news is usually fairly negative. Please open your eyes and don’t just make knee-jerk ‘but you’re just as bad as us’ arguments. It doesn’t even matter what level of free speech there is in the west, this is not a contest, it is about how much free speech you want – and are you getting it?

  50. Wahaha Says:

    Oh, in the eyes of people in West, the following is a problem of human right, please pay attention that the incident was not in Sichuan.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ll_0e2_1210575483

    but the following is not a problem of human right

    http://i2.democracynow.org/2007/12/21/new_orleans_police_taser_pepper_spray

    _____________________________________________

    BTW, here is what happened in first video :

    Because of commercial construction, some people had to move, government usually compensated them and relocated to other places. But the owners thought they should be compensated more, usually a lot more than government was willing to pay. so came the conflicts.

    If the conflicts couldnt be solved, the government would give the owners deadline to move out. If those owners still refused to move out by the deadline, policemen were called in to force them out (hence, owners’ human right was offended in the reports by west media.)

    My question is : How would government build those necessary infrastructure if the right of those owners was not offended ?

    So everything comes down to, government had two choices :

    1) offend the right of those owners and build necessary infrastructure and majority of people will benefit, and those owners will benefit later too.

    or

    2) Respect the right of those owners and stop the construction,(this is what West wants and this is also what Hu Jia wants, if you know who Hu Jia is.)

    One more thing, Police didnt beat those owners.

  51. FOARP Says:

    I know my fact

    Here’s Bill O’Reilly’s infamous debate with Bill Donohue about Cindy Sheehan:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgxYpb8o7-E

    Here’s a story from last week about a White House aid attacking Bush over Hurricane Katrina:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7424852.stm

    You quite obviously don’t ‘know your fact’. If you had accused western governments of spinning events, attempting to mislead the media, trying to hide bad news, and trying to subvert and pressurise the media to their own ends – all of this I could agree with. Instead you had to make out that the situation in the west is worse than that in China – which it clearly isn’t.

    And allow me to note, the level of press freedom in the west has actually increased little since the end of the second world war – at which point western countries were as poor as China is now. Free speech is not a luxury which only rich countries can afford, but the birth-right of every human being, and the true worth of each person can only be acheived by allowing everyone to express their opinions – censorship and restrictions actually cramps growth in the long term.

  52. Buxi Says:

    But then the point seems obvious, because why would Americans or Brits elect a president or prime minister who’s more interested in furthering China’s interests than that of their own country’s?

    Absolutely, that’s exactly the point. Any Chinese who hopes for a British or American (or Canadian) government that places Chinese interests ahead of their own is delusional.

    The only ones that can forward and defend Chinese interests is a strong, Chinese nation. That’s the primary thing the “ultra-nationalists” (like He Xin) are saying.

  53. Buxi Says:

    FOARP,

    You’re right I didn’t list a detailed argument on Taiwan above. I’m only restating my position, that I oppose Taiwanese independence intellectually.

    As far as why I feel that way… that is a topic better discussed in the blog posts about Taiwan, of which there are several (and there will be more).

    And finally, I have no problems with the Taiwanese people having a say in their future. I believe, however, that all Chinese people should have a say in the future of our nation.

  54. Wahaha Says:

    To your comment :

    “So was I, I saw a piece on it just yesterday on BBC 24 (speaking from memory) there was something about how 25% of the population still hadn’t returned and how parts of the city were still in ruins, and how the government was being very slow in sending the money through – did I pass the test?

    Katrina still makes the news at least 2-3 times a month, and the news is usually fairly negative. Please open your eyes and don’t just make knee-jerk ‘but you’re just as bad as us’ arguments. It doesn’t even matter what level of free speech there is in the west, this is not a contest, it is about how much free speech you want – and are you getting it?”

    My response :

    I opened my eyes, I didnt see any reports until VERY recently, what are those reporters in last two years ? Maybe only those who slept with a TV would know what is going on in New Orlean.

    Yes, Your system has serious flaws. You people are in denial. For example, the problem of drugs and mafia, your idealism of democracy wont give you a solution, cuz the right of those criminals must be respected even millions of people have to suffer. That is MY POINT :

    While your democracy give good people the right they deserve, it also give those criminals and greedy SOB the right.

  55. Wahaha Says:

    To FORAP,

    “And allow me to note, the level of press freedom in the west has actually increased little since the end of the second world war – at which point western countries were as poor as China is now. Free speech is not a luxury which only rich countries can afford, but the birth-right of every human being, and the true worth of each person can only be acheived by allowing everyone to express their opinions – censorship and restrictions actually cramps growth in the long term.”
    ______________

    My answer,

    What would your media be like (on New Orlean) IF Katrina had happened in 50s. Do you think there would be still people living in tents two years after disaster ? Dont you think your government would pour the money in and rebuild it ? Dont you think your media would report day and night of how government helped the people in New Orlean ?

    Just ask yourself now what has been going on in New Orlean in last two years ? While I dont like Bush, I am sure he would like to help people in New Orlean (at least that would help his approval rate, wouldnt it ? )

    What has kept from doing that ? answer tha question, then let us talk about the birth-right.

  56. FOARP Says:

    what are those reporters in last two years ?

    A search of the BBC website shows 28 video news reports featuring Katrina in the past 24 months, each of these reports was featured on that day’s TV news coverage. A search of the newspapers would show the same level of coverage.

    For example, the problem of drugs and mafia, your idealism of democracy wont give you a solution, cuz the right of those criminals must be respected even millions of people have to suffer. That is MY POINT :

    Strange, I didn’t see that point made anywhere on this thred. Law and order made with consent of the people is the solution – and democracy can deliver this, if slowly. One must ask, is the CCP doing much to effectively combat the spread of the 竹联邦, 14K and other such triad groups?

    @Buxi – The problem is that a powerful un-democratic nation that nurses territorial ambitions on its neighbours actually causes it neighbours to feel threatened. Only a free, prosperous country will bring real security. Germany’s Nazi party and the Soviet Communist Party both turned their countries into super-powers – but their policies of agression brought isolation and disaster on them.

  57. Nimrod Says:

    FOARP, your last statement on free and prosperous countries, which you seem to contrast with powerful and undemocratic countries (!?), does not make any sense. It is one of these hand-waving statements thrown around like gospel. When was the last time China fought a war over territory and when was the last time the British did, or NATO, which now seems to be the military of the EU?

    A desirable country to live in is likely happy with its state of affairs and has little need to change it. But that says nothing about what length it will go to to maintain its status.

  58. Buxi Says:

    FOARP,

    One must ask, is the CCP doing much to effectively combat the spread of the 竹联邦, 14K and other such triad groups?

    You’ve been watching too many movies! There are many home-grown, local criminal groups in Chinese cities… but these triad groups belong in the category of pulp fiction.

    And yes, I for one think the spread of “organized crime” has been pretty effectively defeated. I don’t know many Chinese who list concern of the mafia very high on their list of priorities.

    As far as territorial ambitions on its neighbors… well, China has successfully settled its border disputes with just about everyone (other than India). I don’t believe the -istans of central Asia, Vietnam, or Myanmar feel very much threatened by China today. Even Taiwan is getting closer to an accommodation.

    Seems to me the nations that spend the most time feeling threatened are the ones in Europe and North America.

  59. FOARP Says:

    “China fought a war over territory and when was the last time the British did”

    I would say the last time that Britain entered into a war with the specific intent of conquering territory was the 1899-1903 Boer war. In China’s case, the last time would probably be the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war.

    Nobody doubts that China, with its long coasts and even longer border, requires a strong military. The problem is that a military which is strong enough to defend against all potential enemies is also strong enough to threaten all of them. This is the problem that German created in Europe for more than a century – but now that Germany is a democratic country that lives in relative peace a friendship with its neighbours few worry about its strength. China’s democratic neighbours will never be able to live in long-term peace with China as long as Chinas rulers continue to see democracy itself as a threat. The fact that China’s government uses territorial claims as an excuse for single-party rule adds to this.

  60. Nimrod Says:

    FOARP, the Sino-Vietnamese War was with the “specific intent of conquering territory”? I think not. You know what war of Britan that came close to that? Falklands.

    On the second point, it always amuses me that people actually believe the wacko theory that China wants to conquer its “democratic” neighbors so that single-party rule can be preservd. That’s as wacko as the theory that Arab extremists hate America for its freedoms. The CCP doesn’t see democracy as a threat. They talk about its great need in China. There’s a good paper on this that I’ll dig up later.

  61. Buxi Says:

    FOARP,

    China had the intent of conquering territory in the Sino-Vietnamese war…? I don’t think even the Vietnam version of the war says that. The Chinese air force + navy wasn’t involved, in case you weren’t aware. It was clearly intended to be a punitive attack.

    China’s democratic neighbours will never be able to live in long-term peace with China as long as Chinas rulers continue to see democracy itself as a threat.

    Many Chinese are now looking at western Europe’s on-going conflict with Russia (not to mention its rejection of Hamas), and increasingly suspect that democracy does not guarantee long-term peace.

    Iran is more democratic than, for example, Saudi Arabia. Which country is enjoying long-term peace, which country is facing threat of imminent invasion?

    The fact that China’s government uses territorial claims as an excuse for single-party rule adds to this.

    I don’t know how you repeat rhetoric like this and not expect to be challenged or seen as being *exceedingly* ignorant.

  62. yo Says:

    “I would say the last time that Britain entered into a war with the specific intent of conquering territory was the 1899-1903 Boer war. In China’s case, the last time would probably be the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war.”

    I don’t know if you purposely restricted the scope of the question, but the Falkland islands would be an example. I would disagree with your characterization about the Sino-Viet war.

    “Nobody doubts that China, with its long coasts and even longer border, requires a strong military. The problem is that a military which is strong enough to defend against all potential enemies is also strong enough to threaten all of them. This is the problem that German created in Europe for more than a century – but now that Germany is a democratic country that lives in relative peace a friendship with its neighbours few worry about its strength.”

    Using your logic, I wouldn’t consider Germany a military power and therefore, they are not a threat and democracy has nothing to do with it. I strongly disagree that democracies eliminates “threats” of conflict. Columbia and Venezuela, Hamas and Israel, S. Korea and Japan come to mind.

    “China’s democratic neighbours will never be able to live in long-term peace with China as long as Chinas rulers continue to see democracy itself as a threat.”

    How did you draw this conclusion? I would say they are slower to reform but I wouldn’t say they see it as a threat.

    “The fact that China’s government uses territorial claims as an excuse for single-party rule adds to this.”

    How so?

  63. Wahaha Says:

    To FORAP,

    Sorry, I dont watch BBC and I dont have time sitting in front of TV 2 hours a day waiting for the news of what is going on in New Orlean.

    You didnt see the point, OK, my bad, my apology, and you know my point now.

    What do you mean by “and democracy can deliver this, if slowly.” ? Mafia has existed in US since Al capone, the great recession in 1929, and you know there are serious problem of drug abuse among youth in America.

    You sound like an educated person and think a lot, how can you fail to see that your system and your west democracy have seriously weakened your country ?

    Let us not talk about riches, I have given examples, just about ordinary Americans and unions :

    There are lot of unions in each city in USA, union of police, union of teachers, unions of firefighters, unions of nurses, etc.

    When the election year comes, a candidate not only needs the money from riches, he also needs the support of some unions. How will he get support from unions ? making promise to those leaders of unions. After he is elected, unions will ask for “return”, that is, when a contract is put in front of him by those unions that supported him, he cant say no, otherwise, his political career will be greatly damaged. That is why many cities in US went bankrupt once economy slows down.

    In your country, the right of those ruthless criminals must be respected, every criminal is treated like a guest in prison, not only dont they have to work but they also enjoy great medication, I dont know how much money US spend on them each year, but I know each prisoner on death roll caused 1.2 million dollars each year, and there are 3,300. that is 4 billion dollar each year. What supports this kind of “democracy” ? Money. In a poor or developing country, government simply cant afford such democracy; they simply cant afford spending $100,000 at one criminal and after 5 years, the criminal is back onto the street.

    Yes, China has problem of human right, in some areas, the problem may be very serious. But West democracy in China would open the pandona box of drugs, mafia, murders, greediness, and most important, self-destruction (never ending fight for benefits among parties, unions and individuals). I seriously believe that what West politicians want to see in China.

    Cuz of that, I think Chinese government should have certain control of freedom of speech and freedom, but certainly should not control like it did 30 years ago.( Survey in Hongkong showed that people think the human right in China has been improving.)

    For example, Hu Jia, he wrote a letter to IOC about the human right situation in China, before Olympic. Who the F#$% did he think he was ? hundreds of millions of Chinese spent 8 years preparing for the Olympic, and he is trying to ruin the party ?

    From Epoch, another dissident in China, a lawyer, wrote a letter to US congress, claimed that Chinese people want human right, not Olympic. WTF ?

    And according to west media, Chinese government didnt respect human right ? WTF is this ? Is Chinese government supposed to allow one bad apple ruins a bunch of apples ?

    If this is kind of democracy West wants us to accept, sorry Chinese wont listen. If West really care the human right in China, then talk about some real problems, like child labor, all chinese will listen and put pressure on government doing something as quickly as possible. Stop, just stop accusing China simply cuz several individuals cant blah blah.

  64. FOARP Says:

    @Wahahaha – Mafia has existed in US since Al capone

    Actally the mafia was in the US long before Al Capone, who was never even a leader of the mafia – he was merely the leader in Chicago. Lucky Luciano was the main boss in the US around that time.

    As for democracy weakening my country, I fail to see this. People like Douglas Bader, Horatio Nelson, The Duke of Wellington, John Churchill, Air Marshal Dowding, Edward “Mick” Mannock, Field Marschal Bernard Montgomery, General Slim, Winston Churchill, Emiline Pankhurst, Colonel “H” Jones, Corporal Bryan Budd, and William Speakman do not seem to have been particularly ‘weakened’ by democracy. Democracy is one of my country’s great strengths, and, god willing, we will never give it up.

    As for the labour unions, Margaret Thatcher came up with a pretty good answer to them in 1984 – if they strike, then they will be liable in court for the harm they cause.

    In my country there is no death row, because we do not have the death penalty – we respect the right to life.

    As for the west ‘opening a pandora’s box’, take my advice and go to 乱世家人 on Hubei lu in Nanjing on the average night – you will see most of these things you list, you will also see prostitution on many city streets, and drug dealing in most main streets. Go to Shanghai and you will see worse, go to Shenzhen or Beijing and you will see the same. The box is already open.

    For example, Hu Jia, he wrote a letter to IOC about the human right situation in China, before Olympic. Who the F#$% did he think he was ? hundreds of millions of Chinese spent 8 years preparing for the Olympic, and he is trying to ruin the party ?

    Hu Jia was a brave man – far more brave than all the Grace Wangs of this world – because he was willing to sacrifice for what he believes in. China need people like him far more than it needs government officials on minimal salaries who can somehow afford to own three flats and keep a couple of 二奶 on the go. If the Chinese government does not respect people like Hu Jia then it ignores the best that the Chinese folk can produce. I guess free speech in China is now just “blah, blah” in your opinion.

    @Yo – How so?

    Because ‘national unity’ continues to be touted as a reason why a ‘strong socialist government’ is necessary.

    Otherwise, South Korea and Japan will never come to open conflict – the newspapers in China try to play it up but this is the truth. Likewise, Columbia and Venezuela will almost certainly never fight – even when Chavez ordered “ten tank battalions” to move to the border, it was noted that no troop movements were seen.

    How did you draw this conclusion?

    From the extremely unfriendly attitude that Korea, Japan, Mongolia, and Taiwan have towards China. You can blame this on US influence all you like – the fact is that democratic countries prefer doing business with other democratic countries.

  65. yo Says:

    FOARP,
    “Because ‘national unity’ continues to be touted as a reason why a ’strong socialist government’ is necessary.”

    Do you have a link or reference? “National Unity” is not necessarily the same as “Territorial claim” without context.

    “Otherwise, South Korea and Japan will never come to open conflict…”
    You are walking down a slippery slope now. You first say peace and friendship, and now you are restricting it to open conflict. Fine, S. Korea and Japan are not in open war over territory(nor is China with Japan), and for the sake of argument, let’s say Venezuela is not in a proxy war with Columbia, but what about the other examples noted by myself and nimrod already. What about others like Israel v Lebanon, Turkey v Kurdistan/Iraq, Russia v Georgia.

    “From the extremely unfriendly attitude that Korea, Japan, Mongolia, and Taiwan have towards China. You can blame this on US influence all you like – the fact is that democratic countries prefer doing business with other democratic countries.”
    This has nothing to do with why China sees democracy as a threat. I will also dispute what you call “facts”, more like your opinions. Also, don’t assume I blame the U.S. for … whatever(I don’t know what you have in mind). The U.S. might do some questionable things, but it doesn’t define us and I choose to see the overall good that we do and the opportunities we enjoy.

  66. JL Says:

    @Wahaha

    “For example, Hu Jia, he wrote a letter to IOC about the human right situation in China, before Olympic. Who the F#$% did he think he was ? hundreds of millions of Chinese spent 8 years preparing for the Olympic, and he is trying to ruin the party ?”

    I believe Hu Jia wants, like you guys say you do, to build a better China. You seem to be suggesting that it was either the Olympics or Hu Jia, which I think is a false question. If hundreds of millions of Chinese have spent 8 years preparing for the Olympics, then why is it necessary to imprison him? If its a minority of one versus the mass will of “the Chinese people”, and that minority is not threaterning any form of violence, I really cannot see the problem with letting him speak.

  67. Nimrod Says:

    FOARP,

    You’re dead wrong again. As we are throwing country names around like Columbia and Venezuela, how are those democratic nations’ attitudes toward the democratic USA? Unfriendly or just extremely unfriendly?

    If China had national elections today, her neighbors would be more afraid. You know why? Because the few issues between them and China have got nothing to do with China’s type of government and everything to do with their recent history and China’s objective dominance in East Asia, which would only manifest itself more assertively in the “Monroe Doctrine” sense if the populace got to decide.

    But no matter, Koreans, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Mongolians all vote with their feet to work, live in China, and yes, “do business” with China. Lots of it.

  68. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha:
    “My question is : How would government build those necessary infrastructure if the right of those owners was not offended”
    -pay fair market value to expropriate lands
    -build it someplace else

    “What would your media be like (on New Orlean) IF Katrina had happened in 50s. Do you think there would be still people living in tents two years after disaster ?”
    -I don’t know…let’s test your theory…oh right, but you can’t, because it’s speculating on a supposition after the fact.

    “In a poor or developing country, government simply cant afford such democracy; they simply cant afford spending $100,000 at one criminal and after 5 years, the criminal is back onto the street.”
    -does that mean in “poor” countries, there are no jails, laws, or rights? I think it’s a lazy position to take, that in a democracy justice costs money, so poor countries shouldn’t try democracy; that position would never come to roost until you have the misfortune of standing wrongfully accused of something.

    “If this is kind of democracy West wants us to accept, sorry Chinese wont listen”
    -I’d be happy if China moved towards some semblance of democracy, in some form that would suit its unique circumstances.

  69. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Buxi:
    “The only ones that can forward and defend Chinese interests is a strong, Chinese nation”
    I have no problem with that. I just don’t think that an authoritarian government is the only way to foster a strong Chinese nation.

  70. EugeneZ Says:

    I also have doubts that the current authoritarian government is absolutely the best choice of governance for China. But I also think that it is the best choice of governance in the context of history and reality. Communism is a failed experiemnt worldwide, it is so in China as well, but to completely move away from this mistake will take decades. The trend in the last 30 years has been very good, instead of risking it by making dramatic changes in the way to govern the nation, it is prudent and pragmatic to let the current trend continue.

  71. Buxi Says:

    I agree with EugeneZ.

    I see major problems with Western democracy as it is practiced… but I also don’t necessarily think crime, prostitution, and drugs is really one of those problems. In fact, I think an open society with a good legal system and an active media can help conquer crime, prostitution, and drugs.

    But even with all of the flaws with Western democracy, I agree that it is a better solution for a wealthy nation than China’s current system. But China’s not a wealthy nation with an established legal system. We have to grow into a democracy.

    Getting rid of the Communist Party and implementing multi-party elections doesn’t make us the United States; it makes us Mexico, Haiti, or India.

  72. Nimrod Says:

    EugeneZ Says:

    Communism is a failed experiemnt worldwide, it is so in China as well, but to completely move away from this mistake will take decades.

    +++++
    Communism is a means to an end, capitalism also. The end is a prosperous and just society where people live content and meaningful lives. Maybe communism was a failed experiment, maybe it wasn’t, seeing as how it is supposed to be the final stage, not the present stage, but does it even matter? The point isn’t that it failed, but that we didn’t do anything about the parts that didn’t work, for too long.

    What China has now works better than what it has tried for a long time. It is no accident that this was the result of steady adaptation and pragmatism. Experiment but never be experimented on, and I hope never will we be stupid enough to “adopt” or “reject” wholesale ideologies because of fashions or labels.

  73. Phil Says:

    FOARP
    I think you’ve picked the wrong fight on this one. Apart from anything, don’t feed the troll.

    Buxi – yes, I was amused by your calling Taiwan a failed state. Thank you for at last having the grace to rebuff the question rather than dodge around it. I’ll ask again next time a Taiwan thread comes up.

  74. rocking offkey Says:

    One should really put that quotation from Hushi into perspective:

    Hu lived in a period when Qing Dynasty just collapsed. Qing was the most oppressive dynasty in China, in fact, it’s a political system that subjugate Han Chinese to protect minority of Manchurians. Manchus have all the privilege, they don’t even have to work. 奴才,is how people or officials, especially Hans called them in front of the Emperor.

    So, Hu was referring to that culture.

  75. FOARP Says:

    @Rocking Offkey – What do you think of the recent article by Wang Xiaodong where he labelled Chinese liberals who attempt to use such reasoning to justify opposition to the government “洋奴”? It would seem that this is still a live issue, and it hardly be that Hu Shi was only referring to subjugation under the Manchu.

  76. Wahaha Says:

    To FOARP,

    Ok, You think your system is great strength of your country, fine. I see what I see.

    BTW, the practive of democracy in poor of developing coutnry failed again and again, So logically, there are some flaws in your system and your believe. So please dont give me the textbook, rather give me the reasons why they failed. Then let us talk about if those reasons also apply to China.
    _________________________

    To JL,

    Your comments : “I believe Hu Jia wants, like you guys say you do, to build a better China. You seem to be suggesting that it was either the Olympics or Hu Jia, which I think is a false question. If hundreds of millions of Chinese have spent 8 years preparing for the Olympics, then why is it necessary to imprison him? ”

    My answer :

    Therefore you believe it is ok that a homeless person sleeps in front of Birmingham palace in UK ?

    ___________________________________

    To S.K,

    What is the fair price ?

    If you are selling your house, do you ask for fair price ? if you are buging your hours, do you offer fair price ?

    Did I say China’s system is perfect ? you think a shock remedy like in Russia will turn everything 180 degree ?

    China is making progress towards democracy. Why do westerners want to see China changes as fast as 1991 Russia ?

    BTW, DO YOU AND WEST RESPECT THE OPINIONS OF MAJORITY OF CHINESE ? if your answer is yes, show me how you respect.

  77. Wahaha Says:

    To Phil,

    You call me troll, I guess you dont have answers to my questions do you ?

    1) There are 50,000 Tibetan monks in Tibet, and there are 2.6 million tibetans in Tibet. Based on the west media, why was there hardly any complains by ordinary tibetans ? almost all the harsh complains were made by Monks.

    2) People in Europe have accused that there is no freedom of religion in Tibet, but do they know that Dalai Lama suppressed his own people ?

    http://www.westernshugdensociety.org/

    3) In China, average 190 kids missing each day.If West politicians and West media really care about the human right in China, why didnt spend more on other problems like child labors in China and medication in urban area ? instead, they keep talking about couple dozens of dissidents in China ?

    4) Do you know that there are 77,000 missing kids in UK every year ?

    http://uk.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/NewsEventServlet?LanguageCountry=en_GB&PageId=0

    In China, there are about 70,000 (190 x 365) missing each year. UK has 61 million people, China has 1.32 billion people and there are less missing children in China than in UK. What didnt West politician address that problem ? do People in Europe care?

  78. Wahaha Says:

    To Phil,

    You call me a troll. To me, it sounds more like you have no answer to my questions.

  79. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha:
    1.fair price= fair market value = what a property in similar area, of similar size and quality, of similar upkeep and appearance, sold for contemporaneously; realizing of course that nostalgic or sentimental value would not be accounted for.
    2.”if you are buging your hours, do you offer fair price ?” No idea what this means. What is “buging”?
    3. I never said “shock” remedy; I just think some remedy would be better than no remedy.
    4. if showing you respect means agreeing with you, then you’re barking up the wrong tree. If showing you respect is to actually take the time to at least hear you out, then you’ve already gotten it. BTW, you’re throwing around “respect” quite freely. In my world, respect is earned.

    So, China isn’t perfect. What’s your solution? It’s easy to complain about someone else’s ideas being bad. Have you got any ideas of your own? Or is criticizing all you can do?

  80. Wahaha Says:

    SK,

    My bad, I mean ” do you offer fair price when you buy a house ?”

    I didnt ask you to respect my opinion, I am asking you to respect the opinion of Chinese on the other side of earth.
    If you dont believe my view, fine, go to a chinese website and see what you get.

    Sorry, but you sound like someone who have no idea of how ordiary people live, like you believe everything can be solved by reasoning. There were lot of protests for better salary and benefits in New York during recession, and were rejected by M. Bloomberg. Some of the protestors asked for 5% increase, city was only willing to give 2%.

    With 5% inflation rate, can you give a CONVINCING ANSWER of Who is fair and who is not fair ?

    There is no system on earth that can make EVERY INDIVIDUAL of 1.3 billion people happy, People in West must realize that. After staying in USA for 10 years, I am convinced that West system is not an acceptable solution in China, at least currently.

    China is changing gradually. For most Chinese, chinese government has done a great job in last 15 years. why cant you let the government solve the problems one by one ? why do West always point out the problems to us like we dont know the problem ?

    Chinese government’s plan for next decade is solving the problem in rural areas, like medication. Before west pointed out the problem, we know the problem. but we are willing to give the government the time to solve those problems. West cant wait, or more precisely West cant wait the chaos in China.

    You are asking me if I have solution, that is funny, cuz you are asking me if I have “shock” remedy that can solve all the problems within a week.

    Please, it is common sense, do you really believe West wants to see a strong China ? Do you really believe West politicians and media care about the human right in China ?
    Do you know Kwangju uprising and Chun Doo-hwan ? Chun Doo-hwan visited USA twice in 1981 and 1985, and met Ronald Reagan who was a die-hard pro-democracy.

  81. Wahaha Says:

    S.K.

    About infrastructure, the following link tells the story.

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_12/b4026001.htm

    ……
    China’s lead in infrastructure is likely to grow, too. Beijing plows about 9% of its GDP into public works, compared with New Delhi’s 4%. And because of its authoritarian government, China gets faster results. “If you have to build a road in China, just a handful of people need to make a decision,” says Daniel Vasella, chief executive of pharmaceutical giant Novartis (NVS ). “If you want to build a road in India, it’ll take 10 years of discussion before you get a decision
    ………

  82. Wahaha Says:

    The same article,

    ……

    “Everybody knows what needs to be done, but they have great difficulty doing it,” says one of the Americans. “If the party in opposition offers subsidized power, the party in power has to give subsidized power to get reelected.”

    Politicians who refuse to play the game pay a steep price. N. Chandrababu Naidu, the former chief minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh, transformed the state capital of Hyderabad from a backwater into a high-tech destination by building new roads, widening others, and aggressively carving out land for factories and office parks. Google (GOOG ), IBM (IBM ), Microsoft (MSFT ), and Motorola (MOT ) have all built R&D facilities there.

    His reward? Voters tossed him out of office two years ago. During his decade in power, Naidu didn’t do enough for rural areas, and his challenger promised to channel state funds into irrigation projects and electricity subsidies. “Naidu thought economics were more important than politics. He was wrong,” …..

  83. Wahaha Says:

    Here is more,

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_12/b4026007.htm

    A Long And Winding Road

    A contractor tries to build a highway without caving in to corruption. It’s not easy
    ……
    Officially, Kheny and his Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise Ltd. have been held up by land disputes and government reviews and approvals. But he claims the real problem is that he refuses to go along with the traditional way of getting things done in Karnataka. He won’t pay bribes, and he won’t buy off landowners or redraw his maps to accommodate them. Landowners and state agencies have filed more than 300 lawsuits against the project, and so far all have gone in Kheny’s favor, including an appeal to the country’s Supreme Court. But the battle isn’t over. “I get letters and phone calls threatening to kill me and my family,” he says—one reason his wife and children have remained behind in the U.S.
    …..
    The area’s poor villagers once regarded Kheny as a fast-talking schemer, but they have cast aside those suspicions. Along the highway, farmers in tattered shirts and loincloths invite him to a temple they’re building to Nandi, the Hindu god of transportation and the namesake of Kheny’s company. The new road “is beautiful,” a villager named Govind says in halting English. “When we look at it we feel like we live in a foreign country.”

  84. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha:
    “” do you offer fair price when you buy a house ?”” – that is purely a free-market question. If I wanted to buy a house, i would offer the price at which I think the owner would be willing to sell it. That might be below asking, or above. It all depends on the supply-demand circumstances. For instance, a fair price in the depressed US residential market today would almost certainly be lower than what it was as little as a year or two ago.
    I can respect 1.3 billion opinions, but doesn’t mean I’d agree with them.
    “Some of the protestors asked for 5% increase, city was only willing to give 2%.” – not too long ago, you complained that unions fleece governments of public money; now, when a government refuses to cave to salary demands, you still complain. You’re very hard to please. As to what constitutes a fair increase, it comes down to bargaining. There’s no absolute answer on what’s fair, because there are at least 2 sides to the bargaining table. However, one hopefully arrives at a resolution at some point, and that only happens if both sides are satisfied with the result. So there is no “fair” increase, but hopefully a satisfactory one.
    “There is no system on earth that can make EVERY INDIVIDUAL of 1.3 billion people happy” – nor should anyone bother trying. You can NEVER satisfy everyone. Just like you can’t satisfy all 350 million Americans, or all 35 million Canadians. If your answer for China is to find a system that makes everyone happy, good luck with that…but I’d agree a “western” system certainly won’t be the answer to that.
    Which also leads me to wonder: You’ve been exposed to the West for 10 years. And for 8 of those, you’ve had Bush. Most Americans don’t think much of Bush, so are you basing 80% of your opinion on an administration of which most Americans disapprove?
    Your article got cut off, so I don’t get the entire point. Perhaps Mr. Naidu had other characteristics that did not appeal to the electorate.

  85. JL Says:

    @Wahaha

    “Therefore you believe it is ok that a homeless person sleeps in front of Birmingham palace in UK ?”

    If you mean Buckingham Palace, then yes, I do. Homelessness is a serious problem, but I don’t think that homeless people should be forcibly moved from places like that. I don’t really get the comparrison with Hu Jia, by the way.

  86. Wahaha Says:

    JL,

    So you assume homeless people dont know there are always lot people in front of birmingham, which would make it 10 times easier at least for them to get money.

    Or they are not allowed to stay in front Birmingham palace ?

  87. Wahaha Says:

    S.K.

    I didnt complain.

    I am just telling you that people have different ideas of how much money they are entitled, and most of time, they overestimate it.

    What I am telling you is that in West, millions of people will ask unfair benefits and compensations, there is nothing to stop them under west democracy. The negative impact of that on economy is not obvious if government has a deep pocket.

    About American bi-party system, I said beofre that this system determines that those elected congressmen and senators have to put the interests of riches above the that of ordinary people, they like it or not. Once a candidate is elected, all of his promises are thrown out of window.

    Bush is a typical exmple of “you can vote, but your votes doesnt count.”

  88. Wahaha Says:

    S.K.

    here is another article.

    http://globalpolitician.com/24800-china.

    and I still dont see how West democracy helped improving their economy. I will appreciate if you give some examples that will explain how west democracy helped improving their economy.

    BTW, I always believe that there are two systems in a country : economic system and political system.

  89. FOARP Says:

    @Wahahaha – I hope that all the homeless people in the world move to Birmingham Palace – wherever it is!

  90. Wahaha Says:

    To FOARP,

    Ha, you got me this time.

    ___________________

    Here is something you may have interest reading:

    http://www.fff.org/comment/com0503g.asp

    BTW, the following has been happening in America, and we will see.

    “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
    —Thomas Jefferson

  91. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha:
    “What I am telling you is that in West, millions of people will ask unfair benefits and compensations, there is nothing to stop them under west democracy” – I agree. My point all along has been that while you can ask for whatever you want, rarely means you’ll get all that you asked for.
    “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” – ironic, because at its core, isn’t that communism?

  92. FOARP Says:

    @SKC – “Isn’t that communism?”

    Not the communism that my (other) grandfather believed in. In fact, it is remarkable to me that China could continue to be a de jure socialist country, whilst having a state which disposes of a lower proportion of GDP than the so-called ‘Anglo-Saxon model’ countries.

  93. Wahaha Says:

    S.K.

    Yes, they can ask what they want, but not necessarily get what they want.

    The problem is : they dont get what they want from you, then you wont get what you want; or they dont get what they want from you, then others wont get anything from you either, let us stay where it has been.

    This is one of the problems caused by West democracy : government cant commit to long term planning.

    ________________

    It is not communism, Commie would TAKE from riches and give to poores BY CLASS STRUGGLE. Those poor are willing to work.

  94. Wahaha Says:

    Here is a human right fighter in India, you can see what wouldve happened in China if Chinese government let those “dissidents” like Hu Jia protest.

    http://ia.rediff.com/money/2006/may/08spec1.htm

  95. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha:
    “they dont get what they want from you, then you wont get what you want” – and if it reaches such an impasse, you end up with a strike or a lockout. But there has never been, and there never will be, a perpetual strike or lockout. At some point, the sides have to find a compromise, and that compromise is most likely some intermediate point between the negotiating positions of the 2 sides.
    “West democracy : government cant commit to long term planning” – how do you possibly conclude that??? You live in SoCal; the results of long-term planning are all around you vis-a-vis infrastructure. Perhaps the difference is that the west may have a vision, but no concrete long-term plans written in stone, since the realization of such plans has to fit with the wishes of the electorate of the day. Maybe in China, where the wishes of the “electorate” don’t carry as much sway, it can be more “my way or the highway”.

  96. FOARP Says:

    @SKC – Or in fact the so-called ‘long-term plan’ is usually a fiction and things will be decided on the merits when the time comes – the same as everywhere else. Anyway, we see today several long-term projects unfolding both in Europe and in the US – but these plans (like the expansion of the EU for example) can only advance step-by-step.

  97. Wahaha Says:

    S.K.

    http://ia.rediff.com/money/2006/may/08spec1.htm

    The commotion over the building of a dam over the Narmada River in the western Indian state of Gujarat hogged the headlines in India over the past few weeks. Medha Patkar, activist and leader of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada movement), went on a 20-day fast to protest the government’s failure to come to the aid of an estimated 500,000 villagers who have lost their livelihood as a consequence of the Sardar Sarovar dam, which will supply electricity to Gujarat state.

    The issue has become a classic one of haves vs. have-nots: On one side are the farmers who need the dam to irrigate their fields, and on the other are those who have lost access to their land because of it. And true to type, the ruling Congress administration in New Delhi, afraid of alienating any bloc of potential voters, didn’t make a decision. Instead the government left it to the Supreme Court to direct the state to speed up its program for compensating and relocating the area’s inhabitants.

    ……..

    India’s Narmada dam, with all its issues of federal and state permissions, environmental approvals, and equitable rehabilitation of the inhabitants, could have been a showpiece for foreign investors. Instead, it’s a disgrace: a sorry tale of a 20-year delay, cost overruns, state negligence, and bitter local resistance — and a reason why foreign direct investment bypasses India and heads for China, whose infrastructure is first rate.
    …….

  98. Wahaha Says:

    “West democracy : government cant commit to long term planning” – how do you possibly conclude that???

    I see, you didnt read the link I posted.

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_12/b4026001.htm

    …..
    “Everybody knows what needs to be done, but they have great difficulty doing it,” says one of the Americans. “If the party in opposition offers subsidized power, the party in power has to give subsidized power to get reelected.”

    Politicians who refuse to play the game pay a steep price. N. Chandrababu Naidu, the former chief minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh, transformed the state capital of Hyderabad from a backwater into a high-tech destination by building new roads, widening others, and aggressively carving out land for factories and office parks. Google (GOOG ), IBM (IBM ), Microsoft (MSFT ), and Motorola (MOT ) have all built R&D facilities there.

    His reward? Voters tossed him out of office two years ago. During his decade in power, Naidu didn’t do enough for rural areas, and his challenger promised to channel state funds into irrigation projects and electricity subsidies. “Naidu thought economics were more important than politics. He was wrong,”
    ……
    _____________________________

    Please read something you dont like, then you will know “West democracy doesnt deliver !!!”

  99. Wahaha Says:

    FORAP,

    here is a long term plan,

    “Let some people get rich first.” ————Deng Xiaoping.

    As a result, SEZ were set up in south part of China near HongKong. As a result, people in those area got rich quickly; as a result, people in north like Beijing felt mistreated. (one of the reasons for 1989 protests).

    In early 1990s, the shortage of infratructure became a huge problem. With the surplus from 10 years reform, Chinese government had to make decision where to use it : rural area or building infrastructure, and it invested on infrastructure, which led to the current disparity in China.

    The long term plan means “some people have to wait.”, which is crucial in a poor or developing country, or in a densely populated country.

  100. Buxi Says:

    @SKC – Or in fact the so-called ‘long-term plan’ is usually a fiction and things will be decided on the merits when the time comes – the same as everywhere else. Anyway, we see today several long-term projects unfolding both in Europe and in the US – but these plans (like the expansion of the EU for example) can only advance step-by-step.

    This is wishful thinking on your part. There is much reasonable criticism that can be laid at the feet of the modern Chinese state, but effective, enlightened long-term economic planning is certainly not one of them.

    China’s economic rise over the last 2 decades hasn’t happened by accident, period. Speaking not as a Chinese nationalist, but only as an investor/businessman, the number of long-term projects that China has successfully implemented is just mind-boggling.

    Being in the UK, if you’ve been reading the British press, there’s been plenty of comparison made between Heathrow’s T5 terminal and Beijing’s new airport terminal. This is just one of the more obvious and current examples… but in reality, the Beijing airport terminal isn’t even remarkable by Chinese standards.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1580037/Beijing-terminal-breaks-size-barrier.html

  101. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – Although T5 did get built, as well as the Channel Tunnel, the Humber Bridge, the motorways, canals, and railways – and a little thing you might of heard of called the industrial revolution. The idea that long term planning doesn’t exist in the west, or is markedly inferior to that existing in communist countries is quite wrong.

  102. Wei Chang Says:

    Dear Blogger here:

    Can some with very accurated information about China please reply to this. I am a Chinese that had been moving to US when I was ten and I only have little understanding of China. Now I am a College student, and I hear about all of these things like lack of religious freedom and lack of human right, when I hear about all of these I was very sad and angry at the same time (Also this frustation that the government just denial these things and not understanding how important these things are and also feeling the end of world is near.) and also I had a friend from US and go to China on a missionary trip for a month and he keep on claiming how oppessive China was. But when I was talking to another peer in my major who is someone what had live in China, she claim that China was great and not such thing as religious oppession and lack of human right and she was very shock and confused when I was talking to her about all of these lack religious and human right in China. So now I am here on this computer don’t really understand this and feel that either people had been lieing to me or there are some missing pieces of information that I missed. Also are there a Tibetian from Tibet that can get a better piece of information about that thing happen there a month ago.

    Thank You

  103. Buxi Says:

    @FOARP,

    Uh, the industrial revolution is no more a product of “long term planning” than the sexual revolution is. It’s just something that “happened” through the spontaneous ingenuity of capitalism-driven, post-Enlightenment Europe.

    As far as the Channel Tunnel and motorways and canals and railways and everything else… only a fool would suggest that Western Europe doesn’t have long term planning. The point is how it compares to modern China, and frankly, it’s not exaggeration to say China over the last decade has no peer.

    I have no idea where the “communist countries” statement came from. No one here is claiming that Communist central-planning is desirable, it obviously failed. I’m talking about China specifically.

    The Channel Tunnel is certainly impressive, but I’m of the opinion it’s over-shadowed by similar Chinese construction projects being launched every year. If you’re unfamiliar with that part of modern China, we’ll make sure we discuss it more on this blog… but let me just say that there’s a reason why international business is in awe and infatuated with mainland China, and it’s not all about exploiting sweat shop labor.

    For now, you might look into more on the Hangzhou Bay Bridge, just opened this year. The other upcoming project I’m most excited about is the high-speed train network being launched between Beijing< ->Shanghai, which will make this an 8 hour train ride in 4 years.

  104. Wahaha Says:

    Wei Chang,

    I was born and lived in China before I came to USA.

    There is difference of suppressing the freedom of religion and suppressing political desire. You can believe and practice any religion in China, but getting attention (like media reports) and political power is a different story.

    The lack of freedom of religions in China by West media is actually that those religions dont have actual political power or they have to accept the leadership of CCP first before gaining political influence. Just like Islam in America, you wont hear the voice of Islam society from media in USA.

    But West has done it in a much better way, or a much “gentle” way. West can do that cuz there is a religion here that is believed by 95+ % of people.

    You can see that if there is no religion that dominates a country, the freedom of POLITICAL POWER OF religions always leads to chaos, conflicts and even civil war like in India and in former Yougslavia, and now in Iraq.

    Vacuum of religion is a serious problem in China now that Chinese government has to face, as no1 in China now believe in communism.

  105. Wahaha Says:

    Here is failure of long-time planing in USA.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_9301151

    …..
    If no one is watching, it’s easy for public officials to give generous pay and benefit increases without having a clue how to pay for them. That’s not so easy to do in a public session, where voters demand to know how much taxes will have to be raised, and how much other expenses cut, in order to make good on the promised increases in compensation.
    ……
    For unions, bankruptcy court is a potentially costly defeat. The judge has the power not only to protect the city from its creditors, but also to void the union contract and, in that way, force city employees to accept a pay package in keeping with the city’s capacity to pay. Having overplayed its hand, the union now finds itself in the uncomfortable position of having to justify, in a public forum, its claims to the city’s limited and declining resources.
    ….
    _______________________

    Actually, it is not “if no one is watching”, public officials gave away generous contracts during good time of economics without considering possible future problems.

  106. Wahaha Says:

    This is an example of successful long time planing :

    The following is the link about Michael Bloomberg, the New York Mayor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bloomberg

    ….. He spent $73 million of his own money on his campaign (My comment : therefore, he owned nothing to anybody, or he can do whatever he thinks is right for New York City.)…..

    He has had a less cordial relationship with unions as mayor. In 2002, when New York City’s transit workers threatened to strike, Bloomberg responded by riding a mountain bike through the city to show how the city could deal with the transit strike by finding alternate means of transportation and not pandering to the unions.[47] (my comments : he basically rejected every request by union, he is a dictator in New York.)

    ….
    Michael Bloomberg characterizes himself as a fiscal conservative for turning the city’s $6 billion deficit into a $3 billion surplus; however, conservative PAC Club for Growth has criticized him because he increased property taxes and spending while doing so.

    ………

    Michael Bloomberg characterizes himself as a fiscal conservative for turning the city’s $6 billion deficit into a $3 billion surplus; however, conservative PAC Club for Growth has criticized him because he increased property taxes and spending while doing so.

  107. Wahaha Says:

    Being a fiscal conservative is not about slashing programs that help the poor, or improve health care, or ensure a social safety net. It’s about insisting services are provided efficiently, get to only the people that need them, and achieve the desired results. Fiscal conservatives have hearts too – but we also insist on using our brains, and that means demanding results and holding government accountable for producing them.

    To me, fiscal conservatism means balancing budgets – not running deficits that the next generation can’t afford. It means improving the efficiency of delivering services by finding innovative ways to do more with less. It means cutting taxes when possible and prudent to do so, raising them overall only when necessary to balance the budget, and only in combination with spending cuts. It means when you run a surplus, you save it; you don’t squander it. And most importantly, being a fiscal conservative means preparing for the inevitable economic downturns – and by all indications, we’ve got one coming.

    —Michael Bloomberg, speech to UK Conservative Party, September 30, 2007[28]

    __________________________________

    My comments

    This, is impossible for a mayor who was elected by the support of unions.

  108. S.K. Cheung Says:

    From Buxi:
    “only a fool would suggest that Western Europe doesn’t have long term planning” – but that seems to be what some are suggesting here…

  109. S.K. Cheung Says:

    TO Wahaha:
    “During his decade in power, Naidu didn’t do enough for rural areas…” – you used this example before. After 10 years in office, isn’t it conceivable that there was more than ONE reason for someone to be voted out of office?

  110. Wahaha Says:

    S.K.

    I live in USA, please name a long time plan in USA (to improve the domestic society) that US Government commited.

    As the projects listed by FORAP, none of them affected large group of people, as you should have noticed. You want to pick up the mistake I made, fine, but you get my point, and you cant deny that.

    To your second post, read the following link :

    http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/blog/eyeonasia/archives/2006/09/china_can_build.html

    ___________________________

    Free is anti-economy, one-party is anti-humanity. Neither of them is best.

    and do you

  111. FOARP Says:

    @Wahaha – I think the railways, the national grid, the motorways etc. all affected quite a lot of people. Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest airlines and is situated in a densely populated area – any increase in air traffic affects everyone who lives under the flightline. Myself, I’m pretty deaf so air traffic doesn’t affect me much, but many complain about being kept awake by late-night flights.

    As for a major US projects, I suppose there is the border wall, the interstate highways, the Hoover dam, the moon mission and a great number of other government-led projects.

  112. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I don’t live in the US. But in Canada, just in the last 5 years, there’s been strengthening of freedom of information, some movement on standardization of wait-times for essential medical procedures (in some provinces at least), lower taxes, some movement towards cleaner air. I dunno, our society is already pretty good, so I’m not sure what examples you’re looking for. I think any further “improvement” will occur in relatively small increments, because our baseline is already high. As for China, well, you decide. I just don’t see where you’re trying to go with all this talk about how the US/west is bad. I already concede that the US system cannot be transplanted to CHina; but hopefully you’ll acknowledge that democracy in some form suitable for the Chinese situation need not be a bad thing. In the west, we have freedom, and we have a good economy, the current cyclical downturn notwithstanding. THose two things are not mutually exclusive. However, one-party systems are most definitely not best…I think that’s one thing we can agree on.

  113. Wahaha Says:

    S.K.

    I think there is no doubt that democracy is built on wealth.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/r4823288251720r3/fulltext.pdf

    ….
    in contrast, democraies that arise without prior economic development ——- sometimes because they are imposed from outside ——- tend not to last.
    …..

    __________________________________________

    So the question is what kind of role democracy is to economy.

    I am sorry to say that I have not seen any convincing evidence that democracy helped economic growth. The economic growth West countries enjoyed in last 2 century, in my opinion, was the product of industrial revolution and technoloy breakthrough, plus exploiting cheap labor forces and resources, not cuz of the political system they had.

    China is improving, chinese people will have more and more freedom. but west democracy has not sold well in Asia, mid east and south America. It is time for people in West to think WHAT DEMOCRACY HAS DELIVERED in their countries, not how free they are.

  114. Wahaha Says:

    Here is another research report about democracy in China.

    http://www.cis.org.au/issue_analysis/IA95/ia95.html

    Looks more likely that West democracy will not prevail in China for another 20 years at least.

    I DONT KNOW IF IT IS GOOD OR BAD FOR CHINA.

  115. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I don’t know why you’re now on the path of linking democracy and the economy. Democracy is our preferred system of governance, and has no direct causal effect on the economy. A free-market economy (sort of) in China can clearly thrive in the absence of democracy. What democracy has delivered to the west is not our economy, but our freedom. So that is exactly how we should think of it. On Memorial Day in the US, or Remembrance Day in Canada, we don’t remember the lives lost in defence of our economy, but the lives lost in defence of our freedom. I’m not saying China needs democracy to further its economy. But hopefully, as the benefits of economic growth slowly trickle down to the masses, those masses will eventually see fit to demand more freedoms.

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