What if they held a revolution and nobody came?

There are already many posts written about the so-called Jasmine Revolution, or the revolution that wasn’t. I’ve always maintained that China is nowhere near revolution and that any efforts to draw comparisons with Egypt and Tunisia were unrealistic. Some of the ignorance-fueled hype has been truly embarrassing.

Now let me offer the perspective of a Chinese person on this topic, one who I’m lucky enough to know personally and whose opinion I truly value. Pardon the long clip, but it’s a great post.

Yes, China has many social problems, including corruption, unemployment and inflation, some of which may be even more severe than is the case in Egypt, but I still argue that the chances of a “Jasmine Revolution” – never mind anything on the scale of the 1989 Tian’anmen Square protests – are quite small at least for the foreseeable future. The main reason being that discontent towards the government in China hasn’t translated into meaningful opposition.

Yet.

China today is different from 1989. Over the last twenty years, rapid economic growth has raised the standard of living to an unprecedentedly high level. Most families enjoy a life style that previous generations couldn’t have even imagined. For example, my mom could only afford a small piece of sugar for lunch during the Great Famine in 1960, but her daughter traveled in three continents before she turned 25. Few urban Chinese seem eager to trade their chance at prosperity for dreams of revolution.

Maybe Chinese people’s trust in their government is not as high as the 88% claimed by a recent Pew poll, but the majority of Chinese do believe that this government can lead them to a better life. Think about it: If China had fully democratic elections tomorrow, who do you think would win? It would be the CCP in a landslide.

Furthermore, this anonymous letter was spread through websites which are blocked in China. Spending 60 USD each year on a VPN in order to read articles about democracy and revolution is not a priority for many people in China. People have other things to worry about. How to buy a house? How to buy a car? How to make smart investments and find financial security? How to find a job that doesn’t require too much hard work but guarantees great benefits? This is what we think about every day.

The Tian’anmen generation – some of whom starved themselves in order to see a better future for their country — is long gone. This generation, actually my generation, keeps ourselves very busy with trying to make our lives better, and frankly…there is nothing wrong with that. This is a phase many countries and societies go through. Mao’s been dead for 35 years, is it okay if we don’t have to think about revolution every day and night?

Beautifully said, and I couldn’t agree more. There’s a time and a place for revolution, and the conditions in China are not now rife for one. Do read the whole piece.

I agree with many of my Chinese readers that the US media often shows a good deal of ignorance when it comes to China (though often it’s the haters and blowhards like Beck and Limbaugh and Drudge – as well as some hysterics on the left – who drown out other media and make this ignorance seem more pervasive than it really is). The fact that this story got so much traction in some US media struck me as shocking, but not really surprising, especially in the wake of the media frenzy over the hysteria in the Middle East. A lot of Americans who can’t understand how anyone could happily live under a non-democratic system of government want very much to believe that ultimately the Chinese people must stand up and revolt. Misleading reports of thousands of demonstrations throughout China every year muddy the waters and cause many to see China as a tinderbox that the slightest spark can ignite into a fireball. Those who view a real masses-in-the-street revolution in China as imminent are bound to be disappointed, at least for a long while. Sometimes I think we’re more likely to see a massive popular uprising in America before we see one in China.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 41 Comments

Revolution is a distructive human behavior; evolution is natural and creative.

We reject revolution when there is a slight chance of evolution.

February 24, 2011 @ 7:07 am | Comment

Revolution is also evolution. Saying things are great generally have to be backed up with things being, well, actually great.

I’ll agree that the CCP about face since the death of their god Mao has increase the richness of people….but is that everyone? All 1.whatever billion? Certainly there’s suggestions that the outlying natives are a tad restless and maybe fancy a share of that supposed Han pie (not that, really, there’s such a thing as Han or anything else – they’re all Chinese, eh? ;-) ).
Not that I think China is going to change anytime soon either. People are happy with full tummies where it counts and the state is doing a grand job making sure all those nasty ideas (which Chinese apparently don’t care about but still can’t be allowed to read) stay well hidden.
As it is, I don’t want anything to ruin my holiday in April/May – let them stay quiet!

February 24, 2011 @ 7:24 am | Comment

I think most commenters are right to say revolution isn’t what China needs at the moment, but what about something like people standing up and demanding their rights that are already granted under China’s existing constitution? What about demanding that the judicial system actually follows the constitution and law instead of what the Party says? That wouldn’t be called revolution would it? Kind of like China’s own Tea Party movement, but grounded in reality unlike the USA’s. Just because China doesn’t need revolution doesn’t mean it should just go with the status quo either or holding out hope for a “slight chance of evolution”.

February 24, 2011 @ 7:31 am | Comment

First of all, thanks to Richard for re-posting Yajun’s piece. I’m glad he enjoyed it and I’m sure it will be the subject of some discussion.

That said, I do hope that people read the WHOLE piece before commenting and not just the excerpt above.

For example, Jeff asked:

“but what about something like people standing up and demanding their rights that are already granted under China’s existing constitution?”

And in fact Yajun addressed that pretty clearly:

“There is a growing demand among many in China for better protection of personal property and personal interests, and this is what the government should be concerned about. Once we have achieved a level of prosperity, we want stability but we also want to be protected from losing what we have gained.”

Thanks!

February 24, 2011 @ 7:51 am | Comment

[...] should read this insightful post by Richard Burger if you want to know more about the feeling of a Chinese citizen in regard of those [...]

February 24, 2011 @ 8:44 am | Pingback

@ Mike Also caught that one on the testosterone bulge. Sort of goes with the idea going around that western males who marry Chinese women should pay a penalty marriage tax.

February 24, 2011 @ 9:15 am | Comment

@ Mike Also caught that one on the testosterone bulge. Sort of goes with the idea going around that western males who marry Chinese women should pay a penalty marriage tax.

February 24, 2011 @ 9:15 am | Comment

@ Mike Also caught that one on the testosterone bulge. Sort of goes with the idea going around that western males who marry Chinese women should pay a penalty marriage tax.

February 24, 2011 @ 9:15 am | Comment

@ Mike Also caught that one on the testosterone bulge. Sort of goes with the idea going around that western males who marry Chinese women should pay a penalty marriage tax.

February 24, 2011 @ 9:15 am | Comment

@Mike:

Interesting, but I think he’s off the mark here. The real winner for the government in this situation is twofold:

1. An economic model bent towards keeping cities at full employment.
2. The hukou system.

As for the latter, I’ve been asked on a few occasions by expats who are new to China but old hands in the developing world… “where are the slums?” The megacities of other developing countries are generally ringed by giant shantytowns. Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Beijing and other Chinese metropoli lack them; there are slummy areas here and there, but nothing like the crime-ridden favelas of Rio or Sao Paolo or the slums of Mumbai or Delhi.

I usually respond that being Marxists- in theory, if not in practice- the government came up with a clever idea to hold down unrest. Eliminate the lumpenproletariat. In China, you’re either a peasant or a worker. There’s no massive, unemployed, agitated underclass gumming up the cities- when a migrant loses his job and fails to find work in short order, he generally goes back to his village, or moves on to another city.

Keep the Alphas busy shopping, and keep the Betas busy working- or herd them back to their villages, where they can play mahjong, drink tea, eat a rice ration and are far from the centers of power. Mustafa Mond couldn’t have planned it better himself.

February 24, 2011 @ 9:21 am | Comment

“How to buy a house? How to buy a car? How to make smart investments and find financial security? How to find a job that doesn’t require too much hard work but guarantees great benefits? This is what we think about every day.”

[apologies if I sound like I'm channeling Matt Damon from 'Good Will Hunting']

So you work your butt off, and want to put your money somewhere, then realize that if you buy a house, you’re not sure if the Govt’s gonna come in with a bulldozer, or the day after you move in, you can already hear the clock ticking on your ‘paperwork’, and realize the actual value of the house is decreasing rapidly as a result. The stock market is totally corrupted, with zero transparency of financial reporting. Where exactly do you put your money? Perhaps if you could vote for your government, or had a real legal system, you would have these things, but alas, you don’t, so you might as well keep all your money in cash.But oh wait, we have huge inflation, there are fears of a real-estate bubble popping (there goes your equity), and the price of food has just gone up 20% this year. F*ck this, I’m gonna marry a old rich guy.

February 24, 2011 @ 9:35 am | Comment

US Embassador Jon Huntsman spotted in Chinese crowd during “Jasmine Revolution”, quickly walks away.

When asked “Embassador, what are you doing here?”
He said “Just joining the fun”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lv9vTT-orD0

February 24, 2011 @ 9:51 am | Comment

Thanks for the reminder Jeremiah. I did read the whole article, and I would go even further and say it is worth reading 2 or 3 times.

What I am trying to point out that it seems to me it is obvious China is not ready for a revolution, because revolution is on the extreme end of the scale of political movements. Jeremiah would know much better than me of course, but it seems that revolution has not been talked about in China since the CR, and what happened in the 80s was something like a political movement or call for reform. (Of course, the government might see calls for democratic elections as a form of revolution since it might lose power.) Then there is an even tinier baby step that could be taken below a political movement and below revolution, which would be to calls for existing laws to be upheld. I think that is a little different than just calling for property and homes to be protected.

So, instead of big things like revolutions, I’m more curious about: Since the 80s has there ever been any granting of additional rights from the top down, or has all progress just been economic? Since the 80s has there been any/enough serious political reform that would cause us to think there will be more in the future?

February 24, 2011 @ 10:26 am | Comment

“So you work your butt off, and want to put your money somewhere, then realize that if you buy a house, you’re not sure if the Govt’s gonna come in with a bulldozer, or the day after you move in, you can already hear the clock ticking on your ‘paperwork’, and realize the actual value of the house is decreasing rapidly as a result. The stock market is totally corrupted, with zero transparency of financial reporting. Where exactly do you put your money? Perhaps if you could vote for your government, or had a real legal system, you would have these things, but alas, you don’t, so you might as well keep all your money in cash.But oh wait, we have huge inflation, there are fears of a real-estate bubble popping (there goes your equity), and the price of food has just gone up 20% this year. F*ck this, I’m gonna marry a old rich guy.”

Let’s play devil’s advocate here just a little bit. What’s you said about China can also said about many developing countries including India or Brazil.

In some degrees, what you describe is about US as well. Here in US. We too work very hard. When we try to buy a house, here comes the housing crash due to 0% financial and loose regulation. We tried our best to buy stock market and save for our 401k. Here comes Enron, Worldcom and other crooks on the Wall Street. On top of that, we got Fed prints money like crazy. All of suddenly, commodity goes through the roof. Yes, We could vote for Republican or Democrat. But wait, they have pretty much have same economic policies, which basically bail out for big corporations and stick to little guy. Well, let’s change for better job. Although government tells us the official unemployment rate is 9%, that’s actually close to 18% according to W-6 figure. For other minorities Black and Hispanic, that’s close to 25%.

February 24, 2011 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

The post above basically illustrates that it is difficult to working poor in any country, whether it is US, China, India or Brazil. It is just matter of degree.

As for Jeff question. Here is what I see Chinese government has changed.

1) It no longer has emperor (i.e. one person’s rule) like Mao or Deng. It evolved into a group of committee similar to board of CEO. President Hu may have a couple of votes than everybody else, but it is voted by consensus. Of course, it is still ruled by elite. Zhang to Hu was first peaceful transition in CCP history.

2) Central government has much less power than it used to be. The power move to special interests such as military, big state companies and local governments. That’s why you hear protest against local government a lot, but rarely you hear “Hu must resign” slogan. In many ways, it is not that similar to lobby groups in the US.

3) It used to be that people can not say too much about top leaders in the past. Now, everybody cursed the leader or gossip about top leaders. You hear that all the time in the taxi. As long as you are not government official or decide to do something against government, you are fine.

4) “HuKou” is Chinese caste system. Already there is already reform in GuangDong and smaller cities to allow peasants to have city huKou. I think that it won’t be long that Chinese government will abolish that.

5) Religious freedom. It used to very little religious freedom in the past. Now, Confucism is big thing in China. Everybody go to worth ancestors. The very thing Mao tried to stamp out has all coming back.

6) There is small numbers of competitive elections (i.e. more candidates than seats) in local governments.

Of course, all those are not enough for us who live in the West. Our hope is that China will follow South Korea or Taiwan’s way. It will gradually move to democratic process.

February 24, 2011 @ 12:48 pm | Comment

“It will gradually move to democratic process.”

And hopefully the gradual democratic process is not that gradual to the extend to exclude “the people” like non-Han, woman, native American, my mistake I mean native Tibetan and people without property ……

February 24, 2011 @ 1:20 pm | Comment

“the US media often shows a good deal of ignorance when it comes to China”.

There are not many topics on which the U.S. media does *not* show a good deal of ignorance.

February 24, 2011 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

What would Jesus do?

February 24, 2011 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

It sounds like your Chinese friend is not from the countryside?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/21/china-lawyer-beaten-protest

February 24, 2011 @ 2:19 pm | Comment

@KT
“…….western males who marry Chinese women should pay a penalty marriage tax”
Hmmmm, though I was already…. ;-)

Only joking – I do love her, she loves me and she only has my best interests at heart :-D

February 24, 2011 @ 2:44 pm | Comment

“He said “Just joining the fun””

@HongXing: Do you even understand Chinese? “來看看” doesn’t mean “join the fun”, it means “look” or “take a look”.

Don’t be so CNN.

February 24, 2011 @ 3:06 pm | Comment

Thanks to Slim and PKD for reposting this piece. Can’t wait to read more from YJ. Someone who is actually in a position to walk the walk.

February 24, 2011 @ 3:08 pm | Comment

@ Mike. The young and the restless…..I know, I know …… catch me in a few years with your feedback. Yellow fever is deadly stuff. But I’m not dissing it, okay.

February 24, 2011 @ 3:28 pm | Comment

What if they held a revolution and nobody came?
… I’m guessing it wouldn’t be televised.

February 24, 2011 @ 7:53 pm | Comment

@Jim1980 – Agree on a lot of your points, however, I doubt the CCP will ever entirely dump the hukou system. As a way of controlling population movement and enforcing the one-child policy it is far too useful. In fact, even here in Poland, a similar system of “original address” which you have to return to to arrange health insurance, car license plates etc. still exists from communist times – it’s essential to the bureaucracy here.

I think the CCP will loosen the hukou system, and perhaps remove some of its teeth, but I don’t think they’ll get rid of it. For that matter, the one-child policy has also developed into something that is unlikely to ever totally vanish from the scene. Once a policy has been introduced that requires the employment of large numbers of people to implement and enforce it, that policy isn’t going anywhere – this is true for any country.

@Hongxing – Oh noes, that must mean Huntsman was behind the whole thing, and not just there to, say, ensure that the police weren’t inclined to get heavy-handed or something silly like that.

@Nicholas MacDonald – I’ve seen shanties outside Shanghai, Nanjing, and Shenzhen which could easily match the ones I saw in Manila for poverty (shacks made of garbage, no water or electricity, refuse strewn everywhere). The difference is the size, which is kept small by the hukou system, heavy-handed police tactics, and the safety net granted by the farming system which means that someone can simply return to their home town and (hopefully) be assigned land to work on if their job in the city finishes.

@Jeff – I don’t know about the 90′s, but I can say that in my experience the average Chinese citizen does not have anything more in the way of political rights, freedom to organise, or freedom of speech than they did in 2003 when I first arrived in China. Certainly there are areas in which things are actually worse than they were in 2003, particularly on the internet.

As far as I can see, there has been no political reform in that time, which is odd because it spans the entire reign of the Hu/Wen team, who were originally heralded as reformers. Next year the hand-over to the Xi/Li team will begin, and there seems little likelihood of meaningful reform during their term either. Essentially the system is locked until 2022.

The only thing is that there is at least one ticking time bomb which might disturb that, and that’s the scheduled introduction of full sufferage in Hong Kong in 2017 – whatever the government decides to do about this, they are likely to offend someone. Either (as I think is most likely based on past form) the CCP postpones full suffrage again and risks protests in Hong Kong even worse than those which occured in 2003, or they allow something approaching full democracy in Hong Kong. If something approaching real democracy is introduced in Hong Kong people on the mainland are likely to ask why it is that their Hong Kong cousins, due to be fully re-unified with the mainland in 2047 and whose present standard of living some of them may be approaching, are entitled to a say in their government but they are not.

And of course, any let-up in economic growth could spell disaster.

February 24, 2011 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

Yeah, I guess I should say that the changes Jim1980 refers to all occured in the main during the 80′s and 90′s. The ‘competitive’ elections were a by-product of the 1982 constitution, the current 10-year rolling leadership started with Deng, the devolution of power to military/industrial interest groups was a product of the Jiang era, the elimination of pervasive thought and speech control happened after the cultural revolution.

These were genuine, but conservative reforms, but as far as I am aware there has been no substantial progress on them during the Hu/Wen era.

February 24, 2011 @ 8:15 pm | Comment

If you compare the terms of the HuKou system, it is very similar to the immigration system of many developed countries, such as US. People need to meet certain criteria, pay tax, wait many many years to have a city hukou(a green card and/or citizenship). People are discriminated against when they do not have hukou (a green card/citizenship). They are not allowed to elect local leaders till they have the hukou (citizenship) even they have lived in the locality long long time. I can list on and on….

Surely the difference is one is within a country and the other is “within the world”. But for all practical purposes, it is not very different for the people affected.

February 24, 2011 @ 9:26 pm | Comment

I wouldn’t compare the hukou system to getting a green card in the US. A hukou is something you’re born with, and it affects every citizen of China. The green card only affects those who are not citizens. A green card is a privilege, not a right, and just about every country has similar policies – none that I know of has “open admissions.” The hukou system was highly restrictive and made a large swath of the population second-class citizens. I say “was” because there have been a lot of changes compared to the Mao days, when you had little choice of where you could live and work.

Chaon: There are not many topics on which the U.S. media does *not* show a good deal of ignorance.

Very true, and I hope I made it clear in my responses to CHNLST: the media is always or at least nearly always biased and ignorant to some degree, and this applies to every country. The argument that they work in unison to make China look bad or to misrepresent stories in China is preposterous.

February 24, 2011 @ 11:15 pm | Comment

I really enjoyed Yajun’s article, and I think this is the money quote:

Over the last few years reporting in China, I have seen many mass incidents and the root causes are usually land disputes, demolition by force, and pollution affecting peoples homes and families…

…If the government doesn’t find solutions, and fails to reform a political system that is the root cause of many of these problems, then eventually these smaller, local issues will link together and trigger national discontent, or even revolution.

But whatever happens in the future, that is not yet happening today. There is no national opposition strong enough and organized enough to brew a cup of jasmine tea, let alone lead a Jasmine Revolution.

What I take from this is that to most people, the problems they experience are seen as local, not national issues. Thus you have a lot of anger against local governments, businesses and officials and a measure of trust in the national government.

February 25, 2011 @ 6:47 am | Comment

@Richard,

It is not that different between the Hukou and the green cards. As the two points you made:

“The green card only affects those who are not citizens.”

– Hukou only affects those who are not born in the affected cities. In deed, quite a few people who does have hukou in Beijing, Shanghai want to defend Hukou system, as it seems to protect their “privilege”, not dissimilar to the rednecks in Arizona.

“A green card is a privilege, not a right”

– The Hukou policy makers believe living and working in a major city is also a privilege, not a right for people who are not born there.

“and just about every country has similar policies – none that I know of has “open admissions.” ”

– agreed, but this does not mean it is right. Most democracies have highly restrictive immigration policies that is tougher than the Hukou system. I think it is similar to the human-right violations of Hukou system.

February 25, 2011 @ 9:08 am | Comment

From Al Jazeera
http://blogs.aljazeera.net/asia/2011/02/20/call-me-if-theres-revolution#

This is kinda interesting too…
http://blogs.aljazeera.net/asia/2011/02/22/when-government-doesnt-help-harms#
“”The government is threatened, I think, by the movement because it represents the masses attempting to collectively and directly address a social problem, completely circumventing the system.”

In other words, the people organised. And to leaders, any organisation other than the Communist Party is perceived as a threat to the system. However paranoid that might seem to outsiders, Beijing firmly believes that the existence of civil society, for whatever purposes, could potentially lead to organisations of the more dangerous sort – the kind that could oppose power.”

What if a revolution there is just a sidelining of the powers that be. No violence (except by the CCP, of course) but just a slow and quiet devolution of power away from the top to the masses?

February 25, 2011 @ 9:35 am | Comment

@FOARP:

“As far as I can see, there has been no political reform in that time, which is odd because it spans the entire reign of the Hu/Wen team, who were originally heralded as reformers. Next year the hand-over to the Xi/Li team will begin, and there seems little likelihood of meaningful reform during their term either. Essentially the system is locked until 2022.”

Not sure if I agree with you there. Back when Hu and Wen came in, I was studying international politics at university, and the general consensus was that they were not going to reform the political system; their main focus was to be on economic consolidation and agricultural reforms. The biggest reform of their tenure was ending the agricultural tax; while those of us with an urban focus shrug our shoulders at it, this was a tremendous coup for the party’s relations with the peasantry, which were strained after a decade of rule by Shanghai clique apparachiks.

I’d argue that Xi and Li are much more promising than their predecessors. Xi already presided over a number of experiments in “consultative democracy” in Zhejiang during his term as governor, and while he’s not as outspoken as his father, there is that pedigree to keep in mind. Li Keqiang is interesting as well- he’ll be the first lawyer to ever serve as the head of the PRC government (which up to this point has been dominated by engineers), and will probably want to accelerate the reform of the legal system. He’s also one of the few top officials I’ve ever heard my more anti-party and apolitical (think “international business”) Shanghainese friends speak highly of. While this doesn’t necessarily mean anything, I think that they’re worth watching. One thing that I do know about the top leaders in this country is that, for the most part, they’re not stupid. If the stresses and demands of the people become too great, they will begin opening up the system. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see Li or another “reformist” write a major series of editorials kicking off a new round of experimentation in the next couple years, ala Zhu Rongji’s “compromise” in the early 90′s. That bought the party 25 years; they’re about due for a reload.

February 25, 2011 @ 10:06 am | Comment

“What if a revolution there is just a sidelining of the powers that be. No violence (except by the CCP, of course) but just a slow and quiet devolution of power away from the top to the masses?”

That’s the revolution that has been underway here for decades now. Each decade has shown more freedom FROM government.

February 25, 2011 @ 10:09 am | Comment

@hukou sucks: you said: – agreed, but this does not mean it is right. Most democracies have highly restrictive immigration policies that is tougher than the Hukou system. I think it is similar to the human-right violations of Hukou system.

If you believe this, then basically you are saying that no country has the right to control its borders and restrict immigration in any way. I think there’s an argument to be made for that, but the implication is, you don’t believe in the legitimacy of nations or nationality.

So, if I want to move to China, I should simply be able to do so, without any controls. If I want to move to America, likewise. Or Canada, or Australia, or Burma, or what have you. Would my national loyalties then be defined by where I live? Or are you arguing against national identity altogether?

February 25, 2011 @ 1:28 pm | Comment

On the one hand, I agree with hukousucks that the principle is similar, in that privileges are bestowed simply based on place of birth. So a person born in Beijing has privileges not shared by those who are not, much like a person born in the US has privileges not automatically available to those who are not.

However, it is being applied on an entirely different scale. If you are born in the US, whether it be Anchorage or Miami, you can live anywhere you want and still have the same rights as any other citizen. But in China’s case, at the PRC citizen level, there are still vast differences based on exact place of birth. I agree with Other Lisa…it’s almost arguing against the concept of “nation” altogether.

February 25, 2011 @ 1:38 pm | Comment

“Most democracies have highly restrictive immigration policies that is tougher than the Hukou system. I think it is similar to the human-right violations of Hukou system.”

Immigration isn’t the same as right of abode and employment in your own country. China is, as we are always told, one country, inseperable and indivisible, each constituent part always having been a part of China (including those parts that don’t consider themselves Chinese per se). So anyone from anywhere within their own country should not have any issues at all moving from one part of their country to another part of the same country in search of employment or a better life.
Most democracies, you say. Hmmm….I know of several, indeed, a goodly proportion of democracies where it is (theoretically) possible to emigrate and work in a completely unrestricted fashion. Of course, to do so you have to be a member of the European Union – but these are all different countries under diplomatic agreement. Sort of like China…but different sovereign countries (I stress again, China is one [1] country, indeed such a singular country it has 1 time zone, if I am not misinformed).

Of course, most countries would prefer to have the best people enter. That’s why we try and restrict those foreign nationals (nota bene – foreign) who reach a certain standard. I think you’ll find most democracies are easier on immigrants than the CCP is on it’s own nationals (nota bene – own nationals, not foreigners).

Don’t forget, that Arizona redneck can work anywhere in the US. Indeed, I worked with quite a few in Alberta, Canada, during my oilfield days….

February 25, 2011 @ 4:11 pm | Comment

@Mike – Yeah, as a Brit working in Poland visa-free I’m a fan of lax immigration rules. Still, if people want (i.e., don’t simply have the decision made for them by a distant dictatorship) to have them in their own country, they should be able to.

February 25, 2011 @ 6:18 pm | Comment

[...] Maybe sometime in the future the disenfranchised of China will find a means to coalesce and stand up en masse to the government. That could really happen, someday. But China’s middle class and many of its working poor, who see a lot of opportunity for their future, are simply not interested, as Yajun eloquently argued. [...]

February 26, 2011 @ 12:45 am | Pingback

Frankly, I find the compulsion to dismiss “Jasmine” as unfortunate as the desire to hype it. I must admit that I’m not sure who nominated Yajun to tell everyone what all Chinese want (a popular version of “wending yadao yiqie”?), but I would say that despite repeated claims to the contrary, there are people who want to come out and protest- and they should be able to do so without being hyped or dismissed in advance, and certainly without being arbitrarily detained. What kind of a government shows such a disproportionate response to a simple call for a public gathering? Clearly a government that has some concerns about its legitimacy.

February 26, 2011 @ 12:08 pm | Comment

Kevin, I hope you’re right. I happen to know Yajun, and she, like any blogger, is expressing her opinion, which is one I really respect. She’s just one voice, though. If I see evidence that there really is a healthy slice of the Chinese population that is willing to put their necks on the line and stand up to the government I’ll be the first to acknowledge them. I’m not in China now, and it’s hard for me to judge. But reading Yajun and China Geeks and others who are there has caused me to believe, for now, that this revolution quickly ran out of steam, and never was a true “revolution.” Again, I will be delighted to learn that this is wrong.

I’m closing this thread. Please leave any comments on the Jasmine Revolution in the thread above this one.

February 26, 2011 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.