Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維 (webcowgirl) wrote,
Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維

The Chinese Question (special for Ann)

I'm not watching the Olympics. It's not a protest; mostly I just don't care, and I don't watch TV so it doesn't register to me as something that's going on. And I know that not watching TV is not a noticeable protest, any more than signing an online petition. No goverment will pay attention to me.

But I also pretty actively don't support the government of China. I decided in 1989, fresh with my BA in Chinese and Political Science (Asian Studies) not to go work there lest I be held up to the media as proof of how other countries were indifferent to the Tian An Men Square massacre. Three years later, one of my political theory professors (Jack Crittenden) said that increased consumer choice would lead to a similar "marketplace of ideas" in Chinese Politics, a thought that made me laugh out loud (and to his face, I think). Sheldon Simon, who taught me realpolitik, had actually captured a much truer face of Chinese politics to me when he said that, basically, the government would hold onto power with all of its might and continue to pay no attention to silly calls for political liberalization. The Party is absolute.

The silly belief in China's political liberalization continues among American conservatives. Here's a charmingly misguided editorial from Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, in which he tells a tale of applying for a permit to protest. He is interrogated for a mere hour, and leaves with the conclusion that "even though the process is a charade, it still represents progress in China, in that the law implicitly acknowledges the legitimacy of protest." (The comments later call him an apologist for the regime. I felt that was kind.)

Me, I just felt like he was seeing what he wanted to see rather than the cold hard truth, better summarized in this news article from today's Guardian: "Elderly women sentenced to year's labour over Olympics protest." Yep, freedom is just around the corner, after you spend time in jail. Aung San Suu Kyi is still waiting, after all; maybe when they're let out of jail, the little old Chinese ladies can go live with her. Actually, I think all of the apologists for the regime ought to look at experiencing a little house arrest, after which they can write a report on the many freedoms they experienced when they actually lived life in China.

PS: I'm not saying America's perfect. I just want to see things get much, much better in China.
Tags: china, politics
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