Han Han and the democracy debate

One of my favorite journalists, Peter Ford of the Christian Science Monitor, has a report on some new and bound-to-be-controversial blog posts published on line over the weekend by author/race-car-driver Han Han. Apparently the essays are being denounced by many in the online community — for not being pro-democracy enough.

The essays are on three of the government’s least favorite subjects: “On Democracy,” “On Revolution,” and “On Wanting Freedom.”

The outspoken Mr. Han reaches more than a million followers and readers whenever he sounds off, which gives him a degree of leeway that the Chinese censors do not grant to everybody. And his popularity means that all of a sudden the sensitive subjects he broached have moved out of the shadows of intellectual or dissident websites into the glare of the Chinese Web’s most visited portals.

Han is all for increased freedom of expression. “I believe I can be a better writer, and I don’t want to wait until I am old,” he says.

But he is ambivalent about democracy in China because he doubts whether enough Chinese people have sufficient civic consciousness to make it work properly, and he is against a revolution because “the ultimate winner in a revolution must be a vicious, ruthless person.”

This is the old argument, is China ready for democracy now? It may seem disappointing that Han Han has, in effect, toed the party line, namely that China is not ready and that any dramatic change would only lead to something worse. BUT I can well see where he’s coming from. What, after all, can fill the void that would follow if the CCP were ousted from power in a fair election (if there could ever be such a thing in China)? It’s a fair question, and one the fenqing love to answer by pointing to Russia in 1991.

Han’s argument, as much as I hate to say it, aligns pretty well with my own observations when I lived in China, namely that the desire for democracy ranks pretty low on the wish list of most Chinese people, while fear of what change would bring ranks far higher. But both of those issues pale in comparison to what Chinese really worry about: inflation and feeding their families.

Ford’s thoughts pretty much echo my own — not that I don’t want to see democracy in China, but that I don’t see it as a viable option anytime soon, if ever:

[A]s I read Han’s essay on revolution, something chimed with what I had come across in a very different sort of document that I had been perusing earlier in the morning, the biennial “Comprehensive Social Conditions Survey” just out from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

That report listed the top 10 issues of current public concern in China, led by food price inflation (59.5 percent of respondents), health care availability and costs (42.1 percent) and the wealth gap (28 percent) ahead of a string of other bread-and-butter worries such as unemployment and housing prices.

It was a Chinese version of the famous note pinned to a board in Bill Clinton’s campaign headquarters when he was running against George Bush Sr., “It’s the economy, stupid!” And nowhere on the list was there any mention of restrictions on freedom of expression, or the lack of democracy (although official corruption angers 29.3 percent of the population, according to the survey.)

When I went to see Li Wei, one of the CASS researchers who had carried out the study, I asked him why this was. Had he not asked about political issues, or did people just not care about them?

He was frank. Initially, he said, he and his colleagues had planned to ask about Internet censorship and the lack of freedom of expression. “But when we tested our questions in preparation for the survey, we found that villagers did not know what we were talking about,” he recalled. “They thought they had complete freedom because they don’t talk about politics, so they don’t have any problems.”

Do we all get that — that the priority for most Chinese people is not abolishing censorship or implementing free elections? As much as some of us would like democracy to be top-of-mind for the Chinese people, it simply isn’t so. They have far more practical considerations to worry about. Censorship for most Chinese isn’t an issue at all, and democracy is the farthest thing from their minds. Of course, this isn’t the case with activists like Liu Xiaobo and his followers, but the numbers remind us of what really matters to the majority of Chinese right now, and it’s not the right to free, democratic elections. It’s going to take many, many Wukans to get us to that point, and I have to wonder whether we’ll ever see it in our lifetimes.

Han Han, for better or for worse, is speaking for the majority of Chinese, and, alas, for the government. For all the pollution and unfairness and blind activists under house arrest, the people of China don’t believe the nation is ready for radical change, like the imposition of democracy. Most simply couldn’t care less about it, while others, like Han Han, see inherent dangers in it. True or false, that’s just the way it is.

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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: 115 Comments

We need such cliche about democracy——and Han han has been degraded by himself

December 28, 2011 @ 12:26 pm | Comment

Maybe so — but does he reflect Chinese sentiment?

December 28, 2011 @ 12:32 pm | Comment

He doesn’t care about what others said,and people who have a little common sense all know that his articles are shallow and full of loopholes.But he is Han han——souls may distrust CCP while may hold views that Han is reasonable or right. In a way,80,000,000 CCP members can’t compare with him about impression on common people,that’s so terrible

December 28, 2011 @ 12:46 pm | Comment

If Han’s arguments stands, then for the same reason it’s apparent that people in the United States don’t need democracy, either.

December 28, 2011 @ 12:57 pm | Comment

I don’t think that’s a very rational argument. The US has had democracy for centuries and its people are familiar with how it works, the voting process has long been part of their lives with multiple parties to choose from. In China there has been only one party for well over half a century, and no legitimate competitor that could take its place. And as the reporter points out, democracy is not very important to your average Chinese citizen, while to most Americans, rightly or wrongly, democracy is something worth fighting and even dying for. (Ever see New Hampshire license plates, where the motto is “Live free or die”?) America certainly needs democracy, it’s the people’s most prized possession. Without it, it wouldn’t be America. (Again, for better or for worse.)

December 28, 2011 @ 1:15 pm | Comment

I lived in China for a decade. I was asked by a person who’d fled China in 1989 if I thought the Chinese wanted more freedom.

I told him, “It seems to me that most of the Chinese I have met just want a better life, and as long as things keep getting better year by year, and they have more money in their pockets than the year before, they don’t care enough about the other stuff to stir up trouble.”

He was disappointed, but I really think it’s true, the average person(wherever, not just China) cares more about their own daily life and what directly impacts them.

Unfortunately for the government of China, corruption and the frustration generated by it is getting more into the daily lives of people, and the knowledge of the actual written law is becoming more common, and the amount of money in the average person’s pocket isn’t increasing year-by-year in pace with inflation.

I think that China is heading quickly for a time when the average person WILL care enough about the other stuff to stir up trouble.

December 28, 2011 @ 1:25 pm | Comment

““That is not to say that we think freedom of expression is unimportant,” he added quickly. “But it is not important enough to enough people in China to make it part of our survey.”” — Li Wei, CASS researcher.

They concluded it was not important enough to enough people based on testing of sample survey questions. Based on this “testing”, they decided to omit survey questions about democracy altogether. No idea how many were in this testing sample, and how randomly selected those people were. In fact, I’d like to see the methodology of the entire survey, to see just how “comprehensive” it really was. I wouldn’t take the sample results at face value as being generalizable to overall Chinese opinion, unless the survey’s scientific methodology is conducive to and supportive of such extrapolation. We’ve all been shown PEW surveys about “Chinese levels of satisfaction” which really don’t hold water when examined under any degree of scientific scrutiny. I wouldn’t necessarily assume the CASS survey to be just as bad, nor would I necessarily assume it to be any better.

I’ve often intimated that what “we” think is unimportant, and that the important things are what Chinese people want and what Chinese people think. To that end, such CASS surveys are useful as a sign of recognition of what is actually important. What remains to be seen is the degree of scientific merit these CASS surveys represent.

December 28, 2011 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

There may be answers other than just “yes” or “no” for democracy. What if the Hong Kong system were extended to the whole country?

December 28, 2011 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

It would be helpful to be clear what “democracy” refers to. If it refers to a set of institutional arrangements, specifically elections, democracy is manifestly merely an instrument for something else, not what we seek. What we seek is accountability and genuine participation in government.

December 28, 2011 @ 3:22 pm | Comment

It’s hard to believe that for an average American, democracy is worth fighting for and especially dying for. It’s true that democracy has a long history in America, and the majority has been accustomed to and long enjoyed democracy, but the majority is not even interested in politics in the first place, be it in America or China. The reports from CASS, or any other reports could easily say that”The majority of Chinese people don’t care about politics, rather, they care about their family and daily life, thus people calling for political reform are the minorities”, I could conclude similarly:”The majortiy of American people don’t care about politics, rather, they care about their money and facebook friends, thus people whose motto is “live free or die” is the minorities”.

December 28, 2011 @ 4:09 pm | Comment

The sale argument could be applied to 1949, and yet something radical happened. Peoples wishes and feelings are one part of the equation, but there are more parts , some quite hard to control.

December 28, 2011 @ 4:55 pm | Comment

One thing I remember talking with Richard about is how the FLG was probably the best thing that ever happened to prolonging a single-party system, because when they became the only reasonably organized “opposition”, it became apparent to the majority of Chinese people that getting rid of the CCP would only let in an erratic theocracy. It seems that particular long-term strategy is now bearing fruit.

The imbalances of the current system are becoming clear (unrest, tainted food products, massive over-investment and mal-investment, environmental neglect.) Someone needs to propose an alternate system possibly built on an alternate set of ideas. Since it’s painfully obvious that the Chinese Establishment will brook no set of alternative ideas coming from outside the party, then the true risk here from increased unrest is to the intra-party reformers, which in this scenario are the only ones capable of and willing to steer China into better port of call.

I would watch the official Party papers closely to see the reaction of the Chinese Establishment towards the recent Wukan unrest. Will they praise the reformist Guangdong leadership’s handling of the crisis, or castigate them for being too soft? One thing is certain–the implicit violence of the villagers in Wukan will not accelerate the process of reform in China. This is not good as the imbalances in China accelerate every day.

This is not to say that what China needs is a Gorbachev. The problem with Soviet reform was that, internally, Gorbachev couldn’t build alternate institutions of control before dismantling status quo coercive mechanisms, while, externally, pretty much every other major power (USA, China, Japan, Europe) was greedily awaiting the downfall of the USSR.

To solve the internal half of that equation, China needs a broad consensus amongst the security and economic elites to consciously transfer their own power into more modern and more legitimate institutions in a gradual process, while making sure no single politician can take overwhelming credit for the reform process (just to ensure that the process does not have key person risk). This process also must occur invisibly to the “middle management” of the country to ensure that the young and ambitious do not utilize the opportunity to cause chaos a la 1991 Russia.

Second is that China needs a friendly international environment for this to occur. This project is best conducted post-Taiwan, post-unified Korea, post-Sino-ASEAN defense treaty (including a South China Sea provision ofc). China also needs at least one of the EU/US to play nice during this period, possibly via an isolationist American president or a Germany/Russia-dominated EU.

Finally, China will need a broad consensus around the next generation of leadership within the upper echelons of the Party. If all these chips fall just where they need to be, then the great transformation can commence.

December 28, 2011 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

Chinese citizery will eventually CARE about democracy when they have a larger enough middle class.

Then again, that might be beyond my lifetime or probably after China turned itself into unlivable hole the way Chinese treat their environment.

Further, the people who are rich enough for the middle class might just immigrate elsewhere instead of confronting the CCP.

I also read somewhere when China starts its march to take over the world…CCP will use its overseas (mainland chinese) citizery as a ‘fifth column’ to take over targeted countries.

December 28, 2011 @ 7:23 pm | Comment

Han Han exemplifies the middle-of-the-road, don’t-rock-the-boat, keep-the-poor-people-away-from-my-race-cars mentality that keeps the middle class on the side of the establishment. I don’t know why anybody is surprised by these latest essays.

The “Chinese people are too dumb (or too morally deficient, or however you choose to translate 素质低) for democracy” argument gets trotted out by well-intentioned middle-class people who somehow never include themselves in that statement. It would be nice to see surveys change the phrasing from “do you feel that the Chinese people are ready for democracy” to “do you feel that you are ready for democracy.” I’m willing to bet that the results would be different.

Also, it seems somewhat disingenuous to say that people who are concerned about inflation, food safety, real estate prices/eminent domain grabs, etc. aren’t concerned about democracy and freedom of the press. People want the conditions that a democracy creates; they just haven’t thought about it that way yet.

December 29, 2011 @ 12:12 am | Comment

Thanks for the comment. I’m not at all surprised (though I am a little disappointed) by what Han Han says, and I agree that such a survey would be invaluable. I think a lot of Chinese people, probably most, would say they are ready for democracy. But I also think it would be relatively low on their list of priorities, especially outside of the big cities.

December 29, 2011 @ 12:25 am | Comment

@Richard – I’m with you on democracy not being a high priority at the moment, however I’m not with you here:

“I don’t see it as a viable option anytime soon, if ever”

I do not think that anyone can say for sure what might happen if an election were called for next year in China, however, were a genuine five-year transition to democracy on the Taiwanese model to be declared, there can be no dispute that it would stand every chance of success.

We see in Poland, for example, that a gradual loosening of restrictions following the lifting of martial law in 1983 led to partially-democratic elections in 1989, and then to fully democratic elections in 1990-91. All this occurred without great economic upheaval – in fact Poland has not seen a recession since liberation. Similar processes were successful in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Spain, the Baltics, and to a lesser extent in Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania. In Asia, we have the aforementioned Taiwanese democratisation, but also the transition to democracy in South Korea.

The counter-examples of Yugoslavia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, the Caucasus, and central Asia are often mentioned. Here the problem is not that democratisation succeeded and brought problems with it, but that democratisation failed.

In Russia privatisation led to the gutting of state assets by the people who became the oligarchy, elections were rigged by Yeltsin with the EU and NATO states turning a blind eye. When the one partially democratically elected body in Russia tried to depose him, he blasted them with tank-fire. Similar scenarios played out in the other former-Soviet states outside of the Baltics.

In Yugoslavia, when the fall of communism came about Milosevic had already arranged separate power-base founded on Serbian nationalism, particularly amongst Serbs outside of Serbia proper. When other Yugoslav states tried to secede from the union, he carved the Serbian slice out of each of them, resulting in civil war.

How likely is it that Chinese democratisation might result in a Russian or Yugoslav-style situation? Well, state assets were largely sold off in the 90′s, and market liberalisation is already firmly entrenched in China, so it is very unlikely that the economic problems which racked large parts of the former USSR would occur in China. Han Chinese either constitute a majority or a plurality in every province, or will soon do so – it is unlikely that democratisation would result in secession of Tibet, Xinjiang, or Inner Mongolia.

Might a Putin-style corrupt democracy with rigged elections result? There is every reason to believe that it wouldn’t, as a ready-made opposition party exists in the KMT, and since the ruling party would probably not require rigging to win the first election as things stand.

However, all this is academic. China is not on the path to democracy – ifanything, it is moving away from it. Reform is a dead letter.

@t_co – Gorbachev failed to re-vamp the Soviet Union because, at the moment when his desired reforms were due to be signed by the chiefs of the republics, he was deposed by hard-liners. Sure, his reforms might still have failed, but had it not been for the August coup, the republics would not have declared independence as they did, and the Soviet Union might have been preserved in a different form.

Of course we can also flip things and ask what might have happened had the hardliners succeeded in permanently taking control of the Soviet Union. I’m afraid the answer might we have been civil war on the Yugoslav model, within a nuclear-armed state. It was to avoid this fate that EU/NATO states gave backing to Yeltsin despite his election-rigging and obvious corruption. With the communist no-longer a viable threat, Putin has continued Yeltsin’s policies.

December 29, 2011 @ 12:36 am | Comment

I do not think that anyone can say for sure what might happen if an election were called for next year in China, however, were a genuine five-year transition to democracy on the Taiwanese model to be declared, there can be no dispute that it would stand every chance of success.

Absolutely agree no one can say for sure, and as always I’m just giving my unscientific opinion based on my very unscientific observations and articles like Ford’s. No one would be more delighted than me to see a five-year transition. But as you say, things are not improving in terms of political reform and I don’t see any end in sight.

December 29, 2011 @ 12:51 am | Comment

Here we are in the twenty-first century with a CASS survey reminiscent of the Qing dynasty teashop sign, 莫谈国事. And Han Han’s modest proposal that he refrain from discussing “sensitive historical issues” is just more of the same old self-censorship that the CCP has always required of its subjects (not citizens, since their slavish standards of political behavior resemble those of imperial subjects more than citizens of a genuine republic).

December 29, 2011 @ 12:56 am | Comment

I think a lot of Chinese people, probably most, would say they are ready for democracy. But I also think it would be relatively low on their list of priorities, especially outside of the big cities.

I agree — but I think that’s only because they consider “democracy” to be a thing unto itself, rather than a system that affects all other things. People want tangible things — transparency, and accountability, and an educational system that guarantees at least a baseline level of equal opportunity, and a university system that will admit students based on merit rather than connections, and a job market in which job-related qualifications count for more in hiring and advancement than personal connections; they want groundwater relatively free of mercury, and milk powder produced according to impartially enforced regulations, and high-speed rail lines laid by workers paid a fair wage over land that was purchased from the owners at a fair price, built by contractors selected fairly on the basis of competence, and staffed and run by people who are accountable to the public; they want to live their lives without feeling as if they’re constantly under the sword of Damocles, and a system that won’t completely screw them over with no avenues of recourse — but not democracy.

The premise, I guess, is that you can get there from here.

December 29, 2011 @ 12:59 am | Comment

Brendan, I agree with every word. Now, if only someone could educate the populace and get them to understand that democracy would eventually give them more of a voice so these problems might be addressed. Unfortunately, so many of those most able to change things — people with means — are complacent and spend relatively little time worrying about these huge problems. Maybe it’s resignation, maybe it’s because they’re satisfied with what they have. I’m afraid it will take some catastrophic event, like a hard economic landing, before the literati and the chattering classes rally for change.

December 29, 2011 @ 1:11 am | Comment

Just read the NY Times new article on China’s report on the Wenzhou train crash. This jumped out at me:

Caixin, a Chinese magazine known for aggressive reporting, disclosed last week that Mr. Zhang, the ministry’s former chief engineer who was singled out for blame by investigators, had purchased a luxurious home in Los Angeles in 2002 The magazine estimated the cost of the house, which Mr. Zhang bought with his wife, at roughly $860,000, or about 7.12 million renminbi. His Railway Ministry salary at the time was about 2,200 renminbi a month, or about $347 at today’s exchange rates, the magazine said.

Yes, I think a lot of Chinese people would like to see the reforms democracy might bring. I also think a lot of them simply feel resigned and helpless. Maybe we’ll only see more Wukan’s when the malfeasance happens in their backyard.

December 29, 2011 @ 1:18 am | Comment

Forget elections. The first thing that needs to happen is that the central propaganda bureau needs to be abolished and the party kicked out of universities and other institutions. Maybe then the conditions under which democracy in China could be successful could be reached. Of course, this is a pipe dream, as the party is not going to do these things voluntarily.

December 29, 2011 @ 4:01 am | Comment

To Brendan #19:
Great comment. I agree, democracy should be viewed as the means, and not the end.

To Richard:
isn’t it convenient that the crash report lays the blame primarily on 2 guys: one who is already in jail, and the other who is already in the ground. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that.

December 29, 2011 @ 4:13 am | Comment

I think we can see the limits of popularist dictatorship in recent events in Russia. It was all very well Putin forbidding free elections whilst he remained popular, the economy was booming, and memories of the 90′s were still fresh. Now the economy has not been doing so well, that the public has grown tired of him, and memories of the 90′s have faded, having the freedom to choose the leadership is suddenly much more important in the eyes of a substantial portion of the Russian population.

December 29, 2011 @ 7:05 am | Comment

Regarding Democracy, both the U.S. and PRC are Republics. Contrary to popular opinion, the U.S. has never been a democracy. In my opinion, there is a lot less difference between the two political systems than we are led to believe. Probably the main difference is that technically the PRC has one ruling party. The U.S. has two ruling parties. In actuality, the democrats and republicans are like the liberal and conservative wings of the CCP. As for free popular elections, I would say it’s a toss up as to which country’s elections are less free, and less meaningful. The real power in both countries is centered, behind the scenes, in the hands of the Plutocracy. This has been true throughout the history of both countries. China in the hands of the emperor, in the hands of the Kuomintang, in the hands of the CCP, has been run for the benefit of the people at the top. The same can be said as well, of the U.S., from the days of the colonies, all the way to the present.
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As for Revolution, I think ‘The Who’ said it best: “Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss.”
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And with regard to Freedom, the most difficult of the three to pin down or quantify, one need only look at the struggle to curtail freedom in the U.S. in the name of security. This has been true in the U.S. from way back. Think slavery, racial intolerance, lack of civil rights of minorities, all the way to the present where freedom is restricted by Homeland Security, by state and local governments against the occupy wall street movements, and Internet freedoms being curtailed by SOPA.
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Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer to live in the U.S. because our standard of living is so much higher than the PRC’s. Still, I applaud the PRC for modernizing China under the direction of Deng Xiaoping. China still has a long ways to go and has many problems. Probably the most difficult and deeply entrenched problem is corruption. Not surprisingly this is of much deeper concern than democracy, to the average Chinese citizen, who vilify corruption and elitism on the Internet.
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Finally, on a side note, I would like to add that the media has given us the perception, that it is the Internet that has been the sole source of the spread of information. But in reality, the cell phone, being virtually impossible to censor, has had a much stronger influence and source of freedom of speech in China, the U.S., and the rest of the world.
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yamabuki

December 29, 2011 @ 11:30 am | Comment

Rule of law and freedom are big deals. Even if the US is not truly “free” in all ways, we still have infinitely more freedom of speech and expression than China. The NY Times and other US newspapers published the Wikileaks documents in direct defiance of the government, just as 60 Minutes did with the Abu Ghraib photos, and all of this was after the Patriot Act. I have lots of beefs with my government, but freedom of speech here is real. I am a big fan of Occupy Wall Street, and one astonishing thing is how much leeway they were given to camp out and protest. Which doesn’t excuse the shameful way some of their meeting grounds were “cleaned up.” I have condemned the pepper-spraying and abuse (see my post below) in no uncertain terms, but imagine if Chinese demonstrators tried to occupy Tiananmen Square and camp out there for weeks and months. Oh, right….

Think slavery, racial intolerance, lack of civil rights of minorities, all the way to the present where freedom is restricted by Homeland Security, by state and local governments against the occupy wall street movements, and Internet freedoms being curtailed by SOPA.

Shameful episodes in US history but you must give the US credit for passing civil rights legislation, overthrowing Jim Crow and allowing Americans to sue for their civil rights. I’m not aware of anyone’s freedom being restricted by Homeland Security, even if I don’t approve of their tactics, such as our inane airport security system and our sloppy no-fly lists. I’m sure there may be some anecdotal evidence of abuse as there is with any government program, but is the DHS really restricting the freedoms of Americans? How so?

I am a serious critic of the US, a country with a lot of warts and a lot to be ashamed of. But I don’t think it’s accurate to say the two systems are nearly alike. I hear reports on NPR and Frontline all the time slashing our governments to shreds and uncovering corruption and malfeasance. Everyone who wants to know has the resources to do so. Just three weeks ago 60 Minutes exposed members of Congress participating in what looked like insider trading, and two weeks later the government was forced to pass a new law prohibiting it. There really is something to say for a free media that can directly challenge the government, even to the point of forcing the president to resign. Having lived in China for a few years and even having worked at a Chinese newspaper there, I know there are some vast differences in how things work.

December 29, 2011 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

To 25:
suffice it to say that “republics” are not all alike. Some sustain and respect democratic principles and uphold democratic institutions, whereas others, not so much. One is authoritarian, the other is not. One has rule of law, the other (at best, on a really good day) has rule by law. One has an independent judiciary, the other…don’t make me laugh. All in all, I’d say they are more dissimilar than they are similar.

Who in the US has the seat of power? Are you going to come up with “the rich” or “the media” again, like so many before you?

THe US does not have absolute freedom. No one in any country does. But people in the US have far more freedoms than people in China, so much so that it is a pointless comparison. And the limits imposed on the freedoms of people in the US are put into place by representatives of the people, which is certainly a heckuva lot more than Chinese people can say.

Slavery etc was not in the name of security. A gross injustice, without doubt. But in your zeal to come up with a broad over-generalization, the logic falls down there.

I agree that many Chinese probably have more pressing concerns than “democracy” per se. However, as Brendan nicely stated in #19, democracy is not merely an end but also the means, with which many of the concerns of Chinese people can probably be bettered addressed than under the system currently in place now.

December 29, 2011 @ 12:33 pm | Comment

It is true to a decent extend, let’s point out something obvious, almost all successful democracies are pretty well off in terms of GDP per capita, and a very significant number of supposedly democratic states that are poor ended up having a messed up system that would hardly matter if it’s democratic or not. (aka most African states and a good number of Latin American onces as well)

China would not be a better place if it turns into Iraq or Pakistan, whether it’s for the Chinese people or anyone else in the world. I’d think that everyone would agree on this. and in fact it would be much much worse for obvious reasons as well.

It is of course, not an abosalute rule, but it doesn’t take a political scientist to see that Democracy in itself won’t fix a lot of other problems, such as for example, the rule of law, and if you don’t have rule of law then democracy would have some serious functional issues.

The most successful new democracy in recent half centuries are almost all those that have turned rich while as an authortarian state and then turned democratic after that, it is very very hard to argue that China is currently at the point of where Taiwan and South Korea finally turned into real democracies. From an marco economic (and also political comparison POV) the PRC today is roughly comparable with Taiwan and S.Korea in the later 70s or early 80s. and hell, compare to those point you might argue China’s actually already not too shabby in terms of human rights and personal freedom (yes, Taiwan was that bad in the 70s, Korea was arguablly worse, since it was alternating between dysfunctional democratic governments that couldn’t do jack and military strongmens.)

December 29, 2011 @ 4:27 pm | Comment

“almost all successful democracies are pretty well off in terms of GDP per capita”

This depends on what your definition of “success” is. If you define “successful democracy” as one with high GDP, this becomes a tautology. If you define “successful democracy” as one which holds elections which are relatively free and fair, we see examples of countries the world over which continue to hold free elections (India, South Africa, Indonesia – countries between them holding more than 20% of the world’s population) but are developing countries.

Suppose we flip this around and ask what a ‘successful’ dictatorship looks like? The epitome of dictatorship is North Korea – yet we can hardly say that this is a ‘success’ in any other terms. Is China a ‘successful’ dictatorship? Or is it clear that elements of China’s dictatorship do not actually function as intended?

“China would not be a better place if it turns into Iraq or Pakistan”

If the trouble that has befallen these countries is not to be repeated, then it is important to study why democracy in these countries has failed. In both cases, it is worth noting that their failure followed an inability of the government to guarantee security. In Pakistan, Musharraf’s coup and the loss of control over the border regions unleashed the insurgency seen in that country. In Iraq, the disbandment of the Iraqi army following the US invasion created the circumstances for the civil war which crippled that countries transition to democracy.

The lesson here for China is that democratisation should not proceed without support from the army.

” . . . a good number of Latin American onces”

I’m curious, which Latin American states are you talking about? Chileans certainly do not want a return to the days of Pinochet, nor Argentinians to the days of Galtieri. Brazilians are happy being able to elect leaders like Lula, and then the first female president they’ve ever had. peruvians showed Fujimori the door via the ballot-box and would certainly not rather that the Maoist Shining Path had governed them. Bolivians are happy that free elections have given more rights to the indigenous population. Colombians have seen economic growth top 8% in the wake of the defeat of FARC. In Central America the story is more mixed, but in none of the states of Latin America except where democracy has been covertly replaced by a de facto dictatorship (e.g., Venezuela) can democracy be said to be without value.

“The most successful new democracy in recent half centuries are almost all those that have turned rich while as an authortarian state and then turned democratic after that”

Only if one totally ignores central Europe, where Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and to a lesser extent Slovakia were poor under dictatorship and have become much richer under democracy. There is no general rule to this -p an examination of Japanese history (surely the most successful post-war economy, if not in the last 15 years or so) shows as much.

“it is very very hard to argue that China is currently at the point of where Taiwan and South Korea finally turned into real democracies.”

Yet both South Korea and Taiwan did turn into democracies.

In South Korea, democratisation was finally effectively accomplished in 1988. At this point, South Korean nominal per capita GDP was, according to UN statistics, 7337 USD (at 2005 prices).

In Taiwan, Chiang Ching-guo died in 1987 at which time the process of democratisation commenced in earnest, and the first free elections were held in 1996. Since the ROC is not a UN member it is harder to find statistics for them, but Taiwan appears to have been at a similar level of economic development to South Korea when the process of democratisation occurred there.

Chinese nominal per-capita GDP in 2010 was approximately 2946 USD (at 2005 prices). Given predicted growth rates, China will have a similar level of economic development to that which South Korea had when its democratisation happened within the term of governance of the Xi/Li team. Do they show any willingness to allow a process of democratisation? I don’t think so – and this is what concerns me.

December 29, 2011 @ 10:27 pm | Comment

On November 17th, the Economist had this article about Han Han for those who are interested.

December 30, 2011 @ 1:08 am | Comment

Off-topic: Note that “Wayne” (aka Mongol Warrior) is spewing his hatred again in an unusually scary thread over at HH. That is one weird place.

December 30, 2011 @ 1:43 am | Comment

@Richard – That thread is just classic. I would never believe that it would be possible for anyone to make Raventhorn or Pug_ster look like moderates, but Wayne pulled it off – although there are apparently some among the HH regulars who partly agree with him.

December 30, 2011 @ 2:42 am | Comment

Fascinated disgust is all I can muster whenever I suffer a lapse of judgement and venture down the rabbit hole to Hidden Harmonies. Weirdest thing is, pug_ster is a posterboy for illogical and ignorant nationalism in most fora, yet he comes off almost as an enlightened moderate over at HH, whose main posters have never met a logical fallacy they didn’t embrace and then set as the foundation of their thinking.

December 30, 2011 @ 2:58 am | Comment

Yes, amazing how pug is the voice of reason in that thread. There are so many untruths it would be too exhausting to try to argue, and it would be to no avail anyway. Wayne is certainly showing all his true colors.

December 30, 2011 @ 3:52 am | Comment

Lil’ Wayne Lo has amazingly under-evolved views on race, surpassed only by his complete cave-dweller mentality when it comes to women. They are mildly amusing from a distance, yet rather disturbing just the same. I’m glad he’s found himself a home. If HH wants to show tolerance towards racism and misogyny, power to them. Any site that gives editorial privileges to someone like RV is displaying piss-poor judgement anyway.

Thanks for the article, Steve. It seems Han Han is nothing if not extremely pragmatic. He’s subscribing to the conventional wisdom that authorities will be less tolerant in this upcoming changeover year. He’s also shown himself to be extremely adept at managing his own image. He’ll say enough to maintain his own notoriety and relevance, but not do so much as to force the authorities’ hand. In that way, it is really just more of the same from him.

December 30, 2011 @ 4:26 am | Comment

Chiming in to say that IMO Brendan puts it perfectly. And, one quibble: At the end of your post, Richard, you say:

the people of China don’t believe the nation is ready for radical change, like the imposition of democracy.

I don’t really think this is how the issue should be framed. “Are the people of China ‘ready’ to have more say in how the institutions of their country are run?” I think that’s the real question.

December 30, 2011 @ 4:52 am | Comment

” and hell, compare to those point you might argue China’s actually already not too shabby in terms of human rights and personal freedom (yes, Taiwan was that bad in the 70s, Korea was arguablly worse, since it was alternating between dysfunctional democratic governments that couldn’t do jack and military strongmens”

You might argue that, but only if you ignore free churches, NGOs, feisty media, labor unions and other key elements that China — perhaps wisely from its point of view — still does not meaningfully permit. China is still more authoritarian now than the Chun Doo-hwan-era South Korea I lived in for several years in the late 1980s. The CCP still has totalitarianism in its DNA.

December 30, 2011 @ 4:56 am | Comment

Lisa, no disagreement.

December 30, 2011 @ 5:04 am | Comment

Ah, Wayne…he of the “yellow Dragon cock”…

December 30, 2011 @ 5:10 am | Comment

Han Han is a very smart in getting attention to himself, increasing readership of his blog, books, and his racing profile. The way he does it is realizing that the “circle of prohibitted” topics in China is actualy pretty small – meaning the circle of tolerated speech is much bigger than most people imagine, but most people, including professional newspaper editors, are overly precautious and draw themselves a small circle. So you got people who, voluntarily, limit themselves to a small cage, just to be safe, not knowing that the actual real “electric fence” is actually several miles away.

Han han takes a daring approach, and very accurately places himself between the voluntary cage most people drew for themselves and the real electric fence, and as a result appears very outspoken, very daring.

He’s a very astute social observer and therefore is able to survive for this long.

December 30, 2011 @ 5:15 am | Comment

Picking up on the above, there is something in the Korean DNA.

On the street, highly organised and prepared to take lumps and bruises. China adopted a Korean business development model – zaibatsus(sic), govt and banks – but thats about it. Korea is political democracy organised around internal warfare when interests and issues collide. If the PRC adopted the Korea political model, which is both extreme and highly partisan at times, it would explode overnight. (South Korea also pioneered the first instance of direct to air digital reporting by protestors.)

To HH, and leaving aside MWs obsession with miscegination/a lowbrown version of Houston Stewart Chanberlain.
Scroll thru the threads and you will find numerous critical citations about Western colonialism, racism, widespread use of eugenics, etc. which are perfectly valid in retrospect. They however conveniently forget that HR conventions, which were designed to deal with the above, are a relatively recent phenomena (post WW11), and this is the values context which most on this and similar sites employ when criticising the CCP.

The HH crowd in the main are still playing with a tool kit designed to produce an anachronistic form of arch nationalism. Throw in their rusted-on attachment to the CCP with its belief in its own manifest destiny, and you have a site which exhibits all the hall marks of a pre-modern mind-set….excessive feelings of victimhood, chauvinism, Party and State deification, etc.

It is also pretty well unreadable.

December 30, 2011 @ 6:24 am | Comment

Yes, they talk about the Belgian Congo and the US Native Americans as though they happened last week. This thread on the Nanjing Massacre ranks as the most depraved I’ve ever seen. I’m sorry I participated in it early on. I’m expecting Wayne will kill someone one day.

December 30, 2011 @ 6:29 am | Comment

Participation is a Fools Errand.

No feedback on my #55 and #57 on Mr Rein??

No worries about Wayne. He will return to the PRC one day, and will probably end up being labour camped for something bizarrely sexual in nature.

December 30, 2011 @ 6:46 am | Comment

“pre-modern mind-set”…I like that. Based on that one thread, it seems JXie is one of the few who still has his wits about him. Otherwise, it’s all the retreads from FM days, minus a few of the more thoughtful editors.

December 30, 2011 @ 7:06 am | Comment

@SKC – Jxie is the one who said that he would be “OK” with seeing London and Paris burn in revenge for the destruction of the Summer Palace 150 years ago . . . . . and still looks like the voice of sanity next to Wayne and his HH convertees.

December 30, 2011 @ 7:17 am | Comment

To conclude:

The individual is nothing/dust. The real subject of (this version of) Chinese history, the State and State power personified by the CCP (and its robber baron fiefdoms), is everything.

And for anyone who views the recent situation in Wukan as a Bo/Yang beauty contest, retroism versus responsiveness to local corruption, forget it. Just a short-term pragmatic political calculation based on the presence of too much media on site.

Back to Slim’s DNA remark.

December 30, 2011 @ 7:52 am | Comment

KT No feedback on my #55 and #57 on Mr Rein??

No. I’m tired of talking about Shaun Rein.

December 30, 2011 @ 7:58 am | Comment

The transition to democracy requires a lot of things to fall into place before it will succeed. Most importantly, it has to have the right people to lead it. Just look at the difference between the French and American revolutions. The US was not as far away from taking the same path as the French later did as many people would like to believe. I believe the difference was entirely in the men who led the American revolution – even as flawed as they were.

Does China have people willing to stand up and lead it towards freedom and democracy? And, what will China’s version look like? How long will Chinese people put up with the turbulence that accompanies the change?

December 30, 2011 @ 9:20 am | Comment

Goju, those are scary questions. What is there to fill the void?

About Hidden Harmonies: I finally went over there and left a comment. I really hope they listen. This thread does them no favors.

December 30, 2011 @ 9:23 am | Comment

From what has been said here, and other sites I read – it does not appear there is a workable alternative to the PRC running China. At least for now. Is there some group, or coalition of groups, that can step in to move China towards democracy? If there are, it is a lot more likely they would be targeted for elimination than for the PRC to work with them. In my view, any major change will be accompanied by violence. Historically, that has been the rule. Maybe China will find a way to be the exception.

A lot of people (myself included) say China should be more democratic, have more freedoms, etc. – but don’t ask just how all these things should be accomplished. There is no magic wand to just wave and say “starting tomorrow China is a democracy or republic.”

All of which kind of brings us back to the Arab Spring in China thread again.

December 30, 2011 @ 11:39 am | Comment

“You might argue that, but only if you ignore free churches, NGOs, feisty media, labor unions and other key elements that China — perhaps wisely from its point of view — still does not meaningfully permit. China is still more authoritarian now than the Chun Doo-hwan-era South Korea I lived in for several years in the late 1980s. The CCP still has totalitarianism in its DNA.”

Let me point out for example, that as late as 1984, there was a major incident where Taiwan sent assasins to the US to kill dissidents (though he was also a supposedly double / triple spy), that’s out of North Korean playbook. it’s not just a matter of totalirian , it’s freaken rogue state. not to meantion that in 1979 they arrested and shutdown a magizine that purposed democracy (most of it’s member would end up being big shots in the DPP including the former VP, and their defending lawyer included even more DPP big shots including non other than Chen Sui Bien)

It was never THAT dangerous for foreigners to live in those times (or even in China today). for obvious reasons, and you also must remember that news today get out much much faster than 30+ years ago.

December 30, 2011 @ 11:49 am | Comment

A lot of people (myself included) say China should be more democratic, have more freedoms, etc. – but don’t ask just how all these things should be accomplished.

I ask all the time, and have concluded for the time being that the best we can hope for is more reform and more public awareness, and I’m pessimistic about the former. But as I’ve said before, I think the party may retain its iron grip for many years to come if not forever. Only an existential crisis, like hyperinflation, could bring them down. And then what?

December 30, 2011 @ 11:58 am | Comment

Well, I don’t think it’s that complicated, to be honest. Local elections that are meaningful. A press that is allowed to report. A legal system that is ruled by law instead of arbitrary authority. NGOs that participate in policy. More transparency in government. Vigorous public debate. That still leaves the CCP pretty much in charge of things while opening up more of the process to the public. Where the nature of the CCP becomes clear is that they are unwilling to cede much of anything that would infringe on their authority in any way. So there’s that. But to say that it’s either, “add water, instant democracy” or the status quo ignores that there are more gradual ways to transition to a more representative system.

The bottom line is, power rarely cedes willingly.

December 30, 2011 @ 12:11 pm | Comment

It all sounds good, Lisa. I’ve been arguing for those things for nearly ten years. But so often it seems it’s two steps forward, three steps back.

December 30, 2011 @ 12:19 pm | Comment

BTW, meant to mention that I found @stephenking’s comment really interesting.

And, yeah, Richard. I may not have stated that clearly. What I meant is that there are plenty of ways to gradually transition to a more representative system. But clearly the people in charge of the CCP have no real interest in doing that.

December 30, 2011 @ 1:06 pm | Comment

@FOARP, #45

Jxie is the one who said that he would be “OK” with seeing London and Paris burn in revenge for the destruction of the Summer Palace 150 years ago

This has dragged on for too long, so I will write a long-ish reply and hopefully end it once for all.

It puzzled me for a while why this was your read of what I wrote. I certainly didn’t write that. The hint was provided to you already — I didn’t say “revenge”. It sort of came to me later:

Most British historians consider the beginning of the modern history, right around the time when English defeated the Spanish Armada. Sure the UK now is a shadow of its former self, but it still maintains a rather high living standard. The belief is that we’re in a perpetual period in the history, the modern world, or the end of the history as Fukuyama put it. The UK will always be a country as it is, and its living standard will always be relatively high in the world.

Hardly.

We are in, in all likelihood the falling part of a cycle of Western rise and fall, of which the British rise and fall is just a subset. The larger Western rising cycle started in the 14th century, and the smaller British rising cycle started some 100 years later. Most gave due to the Renaissance, but IMO another equally important if not more important factor was the abrupt end of the Islamic Golden Age. During the Islamic Golden Age, the West was a student or a copycat of the advancements of Islamic science, technologies, medicine, etc.

Once you step out the prism of the binary narrative, and see the human history as a series of cycles (actually the whole history of the Earth, even the universe, is a series of cycles — but I digress), you should be able to see what I tried to say though may not be right away. So that you know, in the Chinese history, the population in the trough of a cycle, was as low as 1/10 of the population at the peak in a large region. Not many nations or civilizations have in them the inner strength to withstand a down cycle and rise again. For example, the once mighty powerful Mogol Empire now is an inconsequential and poor nation of 3 million people. The meaningful history of Britain is just too short for most Brits to truly understand the all aspects of the human history, and humanity, including cannibalism being acceptable caused by extended period of wars and bad agricultural yields.

Let me give you a fictional scenario: decades later, after a few bankruptcies, the nation with its capital in London would be overseen by an organization (a company, a nation, or a league of nations) related to some Chinese. There are some rebels who kill, kidnap, rape, burn down shops and businesses, and hide in a district. The best way to drive them out, is to burn down that London district…

If I write that fiction in it some Chinese burn down London, will it be OK with you? See, I never said revenge, and if I want to revenge every wrongs in the history, my left arm will start fighting my right arm because some progenitors of mine were the enemies of the other progenitors. If I didn’t make myself clear in the past, I perfectly understand why Brits burned down a part of Beijing, which BTW didn’t seem to bother you much. The looting and burning were quite regrettable but they were hardly the first time in the history. Heck the burning that bothers me the most took place in the decades during Qin united China, some 2300 years ago. There were a lot of Zhou records that were lost. If we still had those records, we would know the pre-Zhou history much better.

December 30, 2011 @ 1:27 pm | Comment

I’ve started thinking about the details of how a transition to democracy in China could be effected … supposing a situation where the CCP’s power starts to crumble and the alternative to a transition is chaos. The government of Hong Kong would make a perfectly serviceable caretaker transitional government … just bring the whole thing to Beijing: Executive Council, LegCo, High Court, lock, stock, and barrel. The fact that they lack a base of support on the mainland would make their promises of a transition more plausible. Indirect local elections could be held more or less immediately, indirect national elections after a year or two, transition to a Hong Kong-style semi-democratic system could be implemented in 10 years, and then fully democratic elections within 20 or 30 years after that. Who says Chinese people can’t learn to participate in democracy given 40 years to figure it out?

Donald Tsang for president!

December 30, 2011 @ 1:36 pm | Comment

@FOARP

“This depends on what your definition of “success” is. If you define “successful democracy” as one with high GDP, this becomes a tautology. If you define “successful democracy” as one which holds elections which are relatively free and fair, we see examples of countries the world over which continue to hold free elections (India, South Africa, Indonesia – countries between them holding more than 20% of the world’s population) but are developing countries.”

First off, South Africa is not in the same catagory as the other two, it’s GDP per-capita is twice as high as them, it’s well amongst one of the wealthiest non-oil non-west states in the world.

How Successful the other two are as a democracy is up for debate, for oen thing, both of them have insurgencies in part of their country, and the people of those region’s right to vote are obviously hampered by such problems, as for the “fair” part, that’s a really relative question so I won’t get too deep into that.

“I’m curious, which Latin American states are you talking about? Chileans certainly do not want a return to the days of Pinochet, nor Argentinians to the days of Galtieri. Brazilians are happy being able to elect leaders like Lula, and then the first female president they’ve ever had. peruvians showed Fujimori the door via the ballot-box and would certainly not rather that the Maoist Shining Path had governed them. Bolivians are happy that free elections have given more rights to the indigenous population. Colombians have seen economic growth top 8% in the wake of the defeat of FARC. In Central America the story is more mixed, but in none of the states of Latin America except where democracy has been covertly replaced by a de facto dictatorship (e.g., Venezuela) can democracy be said to be without value.”

You see, that is the point, in Venezuela a supposed democracy was turned into a real dictatorship, where as Haiti remained as messed up as ever even though some of the government in the process were elected, Nicaragua is still in a mess with the (questionablly elected) President then quickly being overthrown by a coup.

The Premise is that several factors are crucial to a succesful democracy, most of us would agree that for example.

A. Rule of Law
B. Independent and completely out of politics military
C. Free, effective and responsible media
D. Civil society.

Most of these factors are decsively required for a democracy to function well, even for western states, with the exception of the USA these things happened gradually along with the democratic process. The problem is , I dont’ see these aspects fall into place in China yet, the media part might actually be the closest, since despite crackdowns there are still media that dare to at least walk near the edge, my biggest worry remains the rule of law and the PLA’s non-independence, not simply on the matter of judges and prosecutors, but the fact that even common folks tend to be dodgy with this aspect.

I would LOVE to see China be a successful democracy, no doubt about that, but you too must admit that there are chances for democracies to fail, and if we’re putting the two options on the table, aka a failed democratic China, or the current Authoritarian China, which is the lesser of the two evil? it becomes much tougher to answer.

My general worry is that too many folks focus on the “election” aspect of modern democracies, and not on the fact that they’re possible because they’er built upon several other premise, thus as we saw in Iraq the US government to a good extend setup a state that is very likely to fail. election or not.

For the well being of China on the agenda, I would honestly believe that in the shorter run, greatly improving the rule of law and try to reform the PLA so that it is even further out of poltiics is much much more important than running elections.

December 30, 2011 @ 1:56 pm | Comment

To Richard:
nice try, but it appears your message didn’t “take”. But I do agree with trying to appeal to Dewang, who, on the balance and comparatively speaking, is the more reasonable one. Allen Yu is a true believer, and is best considered a lost cause. He didn’t exactly defend Wayne, but didn’t really disavow the racism and misogyny either. I think it’s sweet that Wayne and HH have found each other. I’m surprised it took this long.

To Otto,
just saw on HK news tonight in passing, a survey of 804 people, among whom 18% gave approval to the SEZ administrative government, whereas 38% disapproved (which apparently leaves a surprising 44% who presumably didn’t know what to think). And of the top 5 administrators in that government, only 1 (the guy in charge of law and order) got a passing grade. My point is that for whatever reason, these guys aren’t hitting it out of the park in the eyes of HK residents, so I don’t know if they’re well suited for a bigger gig.

To Rollingwave,
I agree with the “conditions” you’ve listed as the basis of a successful democracy. It’s a bit of a conundrum to reconcile with Brendan’s earlier comment. You can’t get democracy without those things, but how do you get those things without democracy?

December 30, 2011 @ 2:46 pm | Comment

SKC,

I still think the unpopularity of the SAR government is a bit of a plus. It’s hard to imagine a personality cult of Donald Tsang. No one wants him to be president of China for very long.

I’m not exactly sure who I’m trying to argue into supporting my crazy scheme. I guess I just want it as a meme in the back of people’s minds until a moment of crisis arises … and then, wham … 东方红,太阳声,中国出了个煲呔曾! (rhymes better than the original)

December 30, 2011 @ 3:52 pm | Comment

@RW: For the well being of China on the agenda, I would honestly believe that in the shorter run, greatly improving the rule of law and try to reform the PLA so that it is even further out of poltiics is much much more important than running elections.

I don’t disagree with you. The problem is that the CCP by its actions in the last few years has demonstrated that they have no interest in real reform.

As I said above, if you wanted to provide a basis for a “democratic” China, you would improve the rule of law. You would make government more transparent. You would encourage NGOs to help develop policy. You would let the press report and serve its watchdog function. Continue with village elections and open them up to greater participation. These are things that to some extent can be created and encouraged from the top down. But it’s not happening. Instead we’re seeing moves away from these sorts of reforms (though I can’t speak to the PLA issue, would love to hear more), and this has been going on since, what, 2006?

I used to be more optimistic about this, but as far as I can tell, and granted, I’m not an expert, the CCP has no interest in doing anything that would limit its power in any way. Instead what we’re seeing is a tightening of control while the wealthy and the powerful prepare their overseas bank accounts/escape hatches, just in case.

December 30, 2011 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

If you think that HH thread is beyond the pale, try the last contributions on this one.

http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2011/12/is-china-heading-for-another-cultural-revolution/

I don’t know about MW killing someone, but he is certainly some type of Ebola personified.

101 in how to totally kill off your platform with a super virus.

December 30, 2011 @ 4:29 pm | Comment

LOL are you serious? Wayne is using an anecdote of when he was ignored by “fellow Chinese” drunk/rolling girls in favor of white guys to somehow make a point about geopolitics and international relations. This guy needs to get laid

December 30, 2011 @ 5:56 pm | Comment

Went to HH one time. Thought it was a very poorly done parody site. Still have great difficulty believing that the people posting on there actually believe what they are posting. HH may provide a beneficial service in that it gives these individuals a place to vent their various insanities and may they don’t go postal in real life.

Lisa, the problem with reforming the rule of law, making government transparent, ect. is that the people who you are asking to do these things are also the people that would be most adversely affected by those changes. And these changes rarely occur peacefully. As you noted, the wealthy and well connected are padding their nest eggs overseas just in case things go badly. That in itself is not a good sign as I doubt the CCP leaders are unaware of this activity – and are probably doing the same thing themselves. Sort of makes one wonder what they know that the rest of us don’t???

December 30, 2011 @ 10:14 pm | Comment

As I’ve often thought, it’s hard to see how China will EVER be ready for democracy if the basic foundations are frequently knocked down by the CCP whenever they start to be built. Which is why I expect the CCP does it, because if they let the foundations be built the whole building will go up over time.By ensuring the building doesn’t get past the planning stage, the CCP and its lackies can keep pretending the task ahead is too great to go ahead.

The so called “baby steps” that China was purportedly taking ealier this decade haven’t led anywhere. Indeed Hu Jintao’s presidency has demonstrated the resistance against reform.

It’s going to take a massive swell of public discontent (whether agitating for democracy or simply more jobs, lower taxes, greater public spending, etc) or a future generation of politicians who see the merits of change. But given one-party rule is so lucrative for them and their families, I don’t see where these enlightened individuals are going to come from.

December 31, 2011 @ 1:20 am | Comment

It is all very simple. Forget about democracy or whatever ideology.

When there is money, nobody cares about what the government is like. When there is no money and no improvement, then the people want something new. Same thing happened in Russia, in Arab Spring countries right now, etc.

December 31, 2011 @ 1:40 am | Comment

keep-the-poor-people-away-from-my-race-cars mentality

Han Han, for better or for worse, is speaking for the majority of Chinese from the post itself.

It’s pretty much that – keep them away from my race cars. Yes, Han Han may speak for the majority of Chinese – but then, just look at how easy it was for the Bush administration to scare the crap out of their fellow citizens, and to impose regulations no American would have accepted ten years before. With every propaganda and “public-opinion-guidance” tool at the fingertips of the politbureau, I think informal opinion polls in China mean very little. Obviously, there can’t be meaningful elections without a proper debate, and there can be no free debate without a rule of law (which protects both freedom of speech and the human rights of minorities).

What Han Han said about revolution deserves more attention, I believe. But then, the best way to avoid a revolution would be to prepare China for democracy. If the CCP doesn’t want to play that role, someone else will – for better or worse.

December 31, 2011 @ 2:42 am | Comment

Hidden Harmonies is a rabid group of US based Han Chinese racists trying to outdo each other in Communist Party led patriotic causes. Such as billing the Western powers for reparations for the Opium War, suggesting various parts of India actually belong to China and suggesting US democracy is a failure. They are close to being anti-US terrorists, seriously the FBI should be keeping an eye on those nutcases. The irony is they’re all taking advantage of the US education system and living standards while doing so, rather like the 9-11 gang did.

December 31, 2011 @ 3:03 am | Comment

@Goju, yeah. Authoritarians rarely give up power voluntarily. That’s exactly my point. Gorbachev is one of the few exceptions, which is why, to my mind, he is still one of the more remarkable figures of the 20th century.

And, yeah. As I understand it, a lot of the leadership have their overseas stashes as well. They are like the oligarchy in any country (and I most definitely include the US) — they use government as a money-funneling machine — up to them and their cronies.

And, further, yeah — given the email I got from him, I’m guessing a big chunk of Wayne’s problems stem from a lack of nookie.

December 31, 2011 @ 5:44 am | Comment

#63 @ Other Lisa. Lack of nookie and crazed miscegenist fears are the least of it. That particular thread reads like a Charlie Mansion manifesto after a HH group session on really bad acid. It is truly crazed and a free pass to a mental institution.

December 31, 2011 @ 7:03 am | Comment

So the ccp can’t be counted upon to install, sustain, or tolerate the institutions required for democracy, since doing so merely erodes their power and hastens their demise. But those very same institutions are required to bring about the changes that are priorities for Chinese people (based on the survey Han Han referred to). So something’s gotta give. I guess the question is what and when that will be?

December 31, 2011 @ 7:29 am | Comment

“When there is money, nobody cares about what the government is like. When there is no money and no improvement, then the people want something new. Same thing happened in Russia, in Arab Spring countries right now, etc”

Except all of these economies were actually doing relatively OK at the time they experienced revolution – in fact nearly all of the countries involved in the Arab spring were richer than China is now in per-capita terms at the time they went through revolutions. Last year Chinese nominal per-capita GDP was slightly less than that in Syria, half of that in Iran, a third of that in Libya, and a fifth of that in Bahrain. Even Egypt is only as poor as China was in 2002-2003, and was growing at 6-7% year-on-year until recently. Whilst all of these states have a high degree of inequality, the latest figures available show them to have been less unequal than China.

Bottom line, China is not too rich for revolution, or growing at too fast a rate. The CCP has not, in final analysis, stayed in power only because it has avoided economic failure. We know that it might have been toppled in 1989, and we know why this did not happen. The CCP did not fall in 1989 because when push came to shove the CCP was willing to do what even Erich Honneker did not dare do: unleash deadly force against unarmed protesters.

December 31, 2011 @ 8:25 am | Comment

#70 @ King Tubby – OMG you made me look.

“‘Our’ women”? “‘OUR’ WOMEN”????

Wow. Text-book.

December 31, 2011 @ 12:12 pm | Comment

Tangential to the topic, but IMHO, a good read and good primer on the intellectual roots of Hidden Harmonism:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/chinas-secrecy-about-its-past-could-stifle-its-future/2011/12/21/gIQAd9FORP_story.html

January 1, 2012 @ 1:37 am | Comment

Zhang Yimou’s problem is that he’s a mental servant of the West. Just like Obama is a house n****er. When he made this film, he first thought about whether this will please his foreign white masters, and takes great pain to make sure nothing too much is said about the evils of the Japanese war crimes, even if it talks about Japanese war crime, it must be wrapped in a dress of “humanity”, of “everyone is a victim”, of “let’s forget the past and move on”, all created to massage the balls of his foreign audience.

His message in this film was, “Look at us, we are so humane! We are so attuned to with Western values of humanity, compassion, forgiveness! Now please like us, please give me an award, please don’t see us as traditional Chinese! See us as a Westernized fine gentlmen with fine Western tastes! Please, f**** me in the ass! Please!”

Unfortunately, his western masters didn’t like his fawning film, didn’t want to f*** his yellow Asian dirty ass. He pissed off both the West and his home audience.

January 1, 2012 @ 3:58 am | Comment

To Red star,
Chinese people like you are a disgrace to Chinese people.

January 1, 2012 @ 4:25 am | Comment

BTW, that probably still renders you one rung above people like Wayne Lo, who, based on his recent antics on HH, is just a disgrace to humans in general.

January 1, 2012 @ 4:26 am | Comment

Cheung, from your name alone, I can accurately tell you are a house n***er to Caucasians.

January 1, 2012 @ 4:41 am | Comment

Whoa, Red Star, next time you say something like that you are banned.

January 1, 2012 @ 4:46 am | Comment

In truth, the movie is doing great in China, but getting panned in the West as having no discernible point of view and trivializing the brutality of the event. According to reviewers I’ve read, it is not the heavy-handed propaganda many feared it would be.

HongXing and Wayne Lo inhabit the same bottom-of-the-bird-cage moral realm. HongXing knows practically nothing about anything important, but I bet he knows all about anal intercourse: With HongXing’s imbecile world view, reality “f***(s) his yellow Asian dirty ass” (his words not mine) every day, for sure.

January 1, 2012 @ 4:46 am | Comment

This review on IMDB sums up my sentiments:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1410063/board/thread/192177991

No kidding, I really wish this white man worship would stop sometime in human history. We get it! Schindler’s List, The Blind Side, Machine Gun Preacher, Avatar, The Last Samurai, etc, basically EVERY movie featuring a bunch of semi-retarded natives and a white man/woman. Who are the shameless filmmakers who keep churning out these movies?

Are other racial groups of people on the planet that retarded and inept that they cannot seem to survive on their own without the white man’s benevolence and “intellectual superiority,” how sad!

—————-

I expect Hollywood to make these films, but for a Chinese man to voluntarily open his legs to the West to invite them to f*** him, that is an insult to the victims of the Nanjing Massacre.

January 1, 2012 @ 4:58 am | Comment

Slim, please don’t repeat his obscenities.

Red Star, there’s a thread about this over at Hidden Harmonies. I think you’d feel more at home there, where it’s fine to hate all white people just because they’re white.

January 1, 2012 @ 5:08 am | Comment

I don’t hate all white people at all. The majority of the white people in today’s world are good, decent, hard working people, and victims of the American ruling elites and its associated financial oligarchy. They are the people I stand by with, they are the people to unite. Only when you united the majority of the people in the world can you win the world.

Have you been to Tianamen? What do the slogans say? “Long live the unity of the world’s people!”.

January 1, 2012 @ 5:15 am | Comment

Hold it. I’ll take a look out the window. Yes, a full moon which explains why the HH crowd has gone totally feral in the last few days.

January 1, 2012 @ 5:25 am | Comment

@HongXing #83 What a slimy, weasel post designed to keep youself on the board. You are sinking pretty low with all that unity drivel, which you don’t believe for one minute, and you only end up sounding like a low rent version of Bono. And believe me, that is sinking pretty low.

January 1, 2012 @ 5:52 am | Comment

Another thread descends into chaos.

January 1, 2012 @ 6:00 am | Comment

Apologies Richard.

I’m sure The IMDB review was written by another witless fenqing like HongXing. Garbage in, garbage out for you guys.

HongXing – If you are a good CCP member, instead of defiling respectable websites with your vile and banal observations, shouldn’t you be doing somehing like … beating up blind men, stealing farmers land to build love hotels, tricking high school girls into forced prostitution, giving electro-shock treatment to elderly Falun Gong grannies, lying about the weather or chanting meaningless, cynical slogans like ““Long live the unity of the world’s people!”? (Oh wait, sorry, you’ve actually done the last one)

January 1, 2012 @ 6:07 am | Comment

To Red Squirt,
if you even had half a stone, you’d actually say it, rather than with the stupid piss-ant symbols. Man, people like you are pathetic. Time for you to grow a pair.

I was always taught that if you need an obscenity to say what you want to say, it’s probably not worth saying. Clearly, some people who come here didn’t have quite the same level of upbringing. And it shows.

January 1, 2012 @ 7:38 am | Comment

And what’s with the obsession over anal intercourse, anyway?

As for Zhang Yimou, he used to be one of my favorite filmmakers. RAISE THE RED LANTERN is an awesome film on every level. Lately…I dunno. If there’s anyone whose interests he seems to be serving as of late, it’s the CCP. But I haven’t seen his last couple of movies, and I don’t know enough about the situation to judge him.

I think there’s a great film — several great films — to be made of the Nanjing Massacre. And though I actually do agree that it’s lame to have other peoples’ tragedies/triumphs constantly framed through a white lens, I’d love to see a good film about Minnie…I am spacing on her last name. The American woman who later committed suicide. I haven’t seen any of the films about John Rabe (there are several, right?) but his story is too interesting not to attempt, IMO, because of the contrast/conflict between his actions and the government he represented.

January 1, 2012 @ 7:41 am | Comment

@ Other Lisa: If there’s anyone whose interests he seems to be serving as of late, it’s the CCP. But I haven’t seen his last couple of movies, and I don’t know enough about the situation to judge him.

WOW. How Shaun Rein of you.

January 1, 2012 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

It’s apity this thread’s getting trolled to death, because the potential for political instability is the most important issue facing China in the long run. Whilst I think Gordon Chang’s prediction that the CCP will fall next year is simply wrong, I think it unlikely that the Xi/Li government will see out its ten year term without facing a direct challenge to its leadership. Such a challenge could come from many directions:

– Bo Xilai and his supporters. No-one who has followed Bo’s career can say that he is an unambitious man, or that he will easily sit by whilst others wield the power of state.

– The army. In the past decade the army has been bought off with military spending which has grown by as much as 15% year-on-year. If the economy does slow to 5% annual growth as many predict, will this be sustainable? Will the army sit still whilst their goal of building a military comparable to that of the US is frustrated?

– The trades unions. China has seen several successful strikes in the past few years, and a Solidarity-style movement growing out of this is not totally inconceivable.

– A popular movement for reform. This has not emerged so far, nor does there appear to be an immediate catalyst for it, but the clear nepotistic nature of the coming government, made-up as it is of the off-spring of successful officials, risks public anger over perceived corruption.

Again, I do not think predictions of immediate trouble are credible, but in the long-run things appear likely to get less stable, not more so.

January 2, 2012 @ 1:34 am | Comment

Lots of ifs, and I agree, any one can cause a can of worms to open. Most of them, except for Bo Xilai, can be handled, at least temporarily, by throwing money at them.

Jason, that’s a wildly unfair and absurd comment. Lisa is saying she hasn’t seen his last few movies. True statement, and an honest one. That doesn’t compare to when Shaun says he doesn’t know about something and he’s lying — huge difference. “I have no idea who CGC is….” There would be a parallel if Lisa said she’d never seen the movies when in fact she had. That would be Shaun Rein-ish. Do you not get that distinction?

January 2, 2012 @ 3:19 am | Comment

Leaving the unpleasant sideshows aside, HongXing‘s issue seems to be that a Chinese person should not think into certain directions, and that a Chinese person should abandon his or her beliefs if they are too “white”. If I got this right, his comment isn’t worth a long discussion. There may be cases where you should make efforts to meet someone on his level, or to understand what motivates him – but in other cases, it doesn’t lead anywhere.

There have been suggestions before about how to keep a thread clear from personal insults etc. One could be to ignore abuse beside the point, to identify if a statement is worth a fuss. No attention (i. e. reward), no sustainable trolling.

January 2, 2012 @ 4:36 am | Comment

@jason, in what way?

I don’t want to slam Zhang Yimou — he really was one of my favorite filmmakers for many years. But I find it bizarre for HongXing to make the claim that he’s serving the West’s interests with his Nanjing Massacre film, when it’s much easier to argue the opposite, given the ideology of HERO and his staging of the Olympics opening ceremony. I suspect HongXing is only saying this because of Bale’s actions, and that’s what I was commenting on.

In any case, I am not willing to make a judgment on Zhang Yimou — it’s complicated to be an artist in the PRC, and you could argue that CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER directly undercuts the message of HERO. I haven’t seen FLOWERS OF NANJING though.

January 2, 2012 @ 8:18 am | Comment

(and I loved the Olympics opening ceremony, like just about everyone who watched it did)

January 2, 2012 @ 8:21 am | Comment

@Richard

Yet she tells us that she doesn’t have an opinion but what she said about Yimou of serving CCP’s interests (opinion) clearly contradicts it.

January 2, 2012 @ 8:27 am | Comment

Jason,
give it up, and learn to read (+ think, + use logic). Lisa has an opinion, and it’s based on the movies she has seen. And she’s desribed it in detail in #94. She hasn’t seen Flowers, and therefore has no opinion on that movie and how it might reflect on his allegiances. How much more clearly do the intestines have to be drawn out for you?

January 2, 2012 @ 8:43 am | Comment

Thank you, SKC. That Jason didn’t understand this is utterly mind-boggling. To compare someone to Shaun Rein for saying they have no opinion on a movie they’ve never seen….well, it takes chutzpah.

January 2, 2012 @ 8:48 am | Comment

And, er, not to beat the dead horse and all, but just to clarify, I really am not willing to make a judgment on whose interests Zhang Yimou may or may not be serving. What I said was, it’s easier to make the argument, based on his recent work, that he’s serving the CCP’s interests than he is the West’s, with the caveat that I haven’t seen “Nanjing.” Is that clear?

You know, he’s a filmmaker and an artist. Filmmakers tend to have limits placed on them regardless of what system they’re working in–the cost of filmmaking and distribution limits the content even when there are no or fewer ideological constraints. If he’s had to compromise artistically in order to continue making films in China, that’s a hard thing for me to judge him on — most filmmakers have to make artistic compromises, whatever country they’re working in.

I’ll admit, HERO made me a little queasy, in terms of its message. But I also think his filmmaking isn’t as groundbreaking as what it once was — there are a lot of beautifully composed shots and images in HERO & HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, but I don’t find them nearly as interesting or as important as say RAISE THE RED LANTERN or TO LIVE, or even HAPPY TIMES (I actually thought CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER was one of his more interesting recent films).

January 2, 2012 @ 9:36 am | Comment

@Lisa has an opinion, and it’s based on the movies she has seen.

You think “as of late” to form her opinion is based on the movies she has seen. If you think 2006 is recently, be my guest. She hasn’t seen “A Simple Noodle Story” (2009) or “The Love of the Hawthorn Tree” (2010) yet she is forming an opinion already.

@What I said was, it’s easier to make the argument, based on his recent work, that he’s serving the CCP’s interests than he is the West’s, with the caveat that I haven’t seen “Nanjing.” Is that clear?

Okay.

January 2, 2012 @ 11:16 am | Comment

Jason, I believe I’ve seen every one of Zhang’s films through Curse of the Golden Flower. I think that’s a pretty good basis from which to form an opinion, though as you point out, it isn’t complete, because I have not seen the two you mention.

However, A Simple Noodle Story is a remake of the American film, Blood Simple. I wasn’t all that interested in seeing it — I wasn’t as crazy about the original film as a lot of people were.

So I am not sure what point you’re trying to make. Basically I used to go out of my way to see his films; his work in recent years hasn’t interested me as much, so I’ve missed a few. But there definitely was a pretty big change in his style and themes with HERO and HOFD, and I’d put the Olympics ceremony as being similar in that the pageantry/visual grandeur was the overriding concern in that and in those two films.

I don’t know about Hawthorne Tree; maybe he’s gone back to making smaller, more human-scale films again, though Nanjing doesn’t sound that way…

January 2, 2012 @ 11:45 am | Comment

To Jason,
you certainly have complete disregard for the tenet that, when you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging. Now it seems your infatuation is with “as of late”. I’m glad we’ve narrowed down your difficulty with Lisa’s point down to 3 words out of her entire comment in #89. You people have an incredible ability to miss the forest for the trees.

3 years (the span of his 3 most recent movies) is certainly a bit more than “as of late”…until you consider it in the context of his career which spans 24 years and counting. I’ll leave you to grasp that context for yourself.

Ironically, it is during those 3 years spanning those 3 movies where people in general have developed an opinion of him selling out to the CCP. And that is what Lisa originally referred to. She was also careful to say that she didn’t necessarily vouch for that opinion, since she hadn’t seen those films. Sadly, I guess she wasn’t careful enough…

January 2, 2012 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

SK, just to set the record straight, I have seen the films that, along with the Olympics ceremony, are generally the ones cited by those who say Zhang has “sold out” to the CCP — the biggest offender is generally considered HERO, and yeah, it has a pretty disturbing message, IMO. I haven’t seen his most recent films. In truth he hasn’t made that many since 2006, three, I think and the opening ceremony, and I believe he’s also done some opera directing.

January 2, 2012 @ 12:37 pm | Comment

to Lisa and others:

Yes, I agree to a large extend that the CCP is not really letting the leash go, though from a longer view perspective a lot still have changed in China over the last 2 decade in terms of rights and access to information. local media’ have at least a limited degree of press freedom, Taiwan and Hong Kong’s television channals are often ran in parts or all of the country and they are much much less censored on various political subjects. The difficulty of actually bypassing the great fire wall is not really that high for anyone who actually wants to.

Meanwhile, riots far more violent than those of 1989 are not put down with similarly heavy hand, yes some people are still getting killed but it’s no longer tanks rolling over everyone standing in the way. to many extend the riots of today are even more dangerous to the CCP since they often represent a much larger base of their population than those of 1989, which is not completely a simple democracy thing, it also had many complicated factors involved that are often not looked into enough (including internal CCP conflicts, and great reduction of subsidies on the students etc..). Today’s riots are often by much more broader range of folks with a much broader applying agenda.

Most of these are not really the CCP letting up of course, but neccesary concessions, similarly, Taiwan’s own democrazation was not totally of a case where the KMT just decided to turn into a democracy, but it’s own internal power struggle and the simple neccesity of survival all played into the process. (Lee Teng Hui’s accesion into the Presidency was often seen as an accident, and espeically his ability to hold on to it for 12 wooping years was hardly pre-planned, there were many internal struggles within the KMT and in the end what enabled the DPP to win the Presidency in 2000 had probably moe to do with the KMT’s own conflict than the DPP’s appeal.

In the end, as many have pointed out it’s a chicken or egg question, and like most chicken and egg or question, the real answer is probably that they both happen at the same time. and pushing the envelope too fast on one end probably only end up achieving negative effects.

January 2, 2012 @ 6:19 pm | Comment

I think, or at least hope, in the end that the CCP’s most ideal path would be that sufficent internal power struggles leads to politicians seeking direct popular support to secure his / her own position. at which point democracy will start to happen in limited real forms, as well as more earnest reform on matters of rule of law to keep the popular support going. and eventually like what happened in Taiwan, gradual dissolution of the 1 party system and a small but viable opposition would cause a peaceful transfer into a real democracy, this was largely the path that Taiwan went.

Though it does help that the ROC’s consitution was already setup as a democratic state to begin with, that the authoritatian rule was only based on emergency martial law. so at least legally it was significantly easiser to transform. the PRC’s own consitutional setup would face more problems in this regard.

Also, the more dangerous bad path that this sort of development could end up in is similar to the case of russia, where a strongmen does win popular support but doesn’t actually go through with the popular agenda , though on the brigher side, China doesnt have enough Oil to really buy off the public like Putin did.

January 2, 2012 @ 6:31 pm | Comment

@RW – Agree on most/all points. It is unfortunate that there does not appear to be anyone who would serve as the kind of populist reformer in the top level of the CCP at the moment – Bo Xilai is the closest, but I think he may represent more the Yeltsin/Putin tendency. Obviously any such process of reform also risks a violent response.

January 2, 2012 @ 8:15 pm | Comment

No state is “ready” for democracy

January 3, 2012 @ 2:40 am | Comment

@FOARP

Bo Xilai’s son is going to get him in huge trouble if he tries to become any sort of populist. Many friends of his in London can still vividly remember his Bacchanalian lifestyle, totally out of wack with the Red Ascetism his father pushes. Given how much time top Chinese leaders devote to digging up dirt on each other, and how there are many media organs (domestic and western) which are not bound by the Central Propaganda Department anymore, it’s not a stretch to see a PR nightmare unfolding for Bo if he ever tries any funny business.

@RW

Agreed–the CCP doesn’t necessarily need a reformer who casts himself as a populist; they need a reformer who directly speaks to the lack of social trust between government and society and within society itself. Something has deeply frayed the fabric of China since 1949.

January 3, 2012 @ 2:51 am | Comment

@t_co – Point taken, but China’s leaders are also very adept at censorship. More to the point, Chinese people are very tolerant of their leader’s failings – Jiang’s infamous dalliance with Song Zuying did not seem to cost him much.

January 3, 2012 @ 4:07 am | Comment

@FOARP

Adept, yes, but only on issues that threaten them collectively. This issue only really affects one member of the ruling conclave. Second, romantic dalliances (Jiang/Song, Clinton/Lewinsky) do not have as strong a whiff of corruption as the obvious material excess (and affording Eton/Oxford tuition on a 15,000GBP/year salary) of Bo Jr.

January 3, 2012 @ 4:12 am | Comment

This is not to say that Bo is by any means guilty of anything; it’s just that given this rather obvious personal blemish, it will be very easy for the rest of the ruling elite to block an independent populist push from him.

January 3, 2012 @ 4:14 am | Comment

At least from what i’ve seen, Bo seem to lean more Putin than Lee Teng Hui, then again Lee was/is also controversial as hell in his own way. Though not in the same vein as Bo. Though yeah Bo is at least utilizing the populist method to try and stake himself going foward.

If you think about it though, that his oppenents would use his son against him is however still playing into the same game, that they’re also going for populist support directly. because this issue is pretty meh if it’s done behind closed door. most of the high CCP official is probably in the same wagon as Bo when it comes to that.

January 3, 2012 @ 9:49 am | Comment

[...] various topics that have been debated over the last weeks, but stick to the bigger ones: namely, Han Han, Wukan, crappy Chinese television, the coming culture wars between China and “the West,” [...]

January 5, 2012 @ 4:12 pm | Pingback

Infiltration from the west into Chinese society is a full blown phenomena. Some of it as a consequence of the opening up and others the planned strategies of foreigners for the domination of China. You simply have to read the posts on this forum to observe this.

China would be committing suicide if it does not pay full attention to this most critical issue.

January 8, 2012 @ 5:38 am | Comment

Infiltration from the west into Chinese society is a full blown phenomena. Some of it as a consequence of the opening up and others the planned strategies of foreigners for the domination of China. You simply have to read the posts on this forum to observe this.

Yes, HR, you’ve got it right: all you have to do is look at these blog posts as proof that foreigners are plotting the domination off China.

Just out of curiosity, which posts are you referring to?

January 8, 2012 @ 6:22 am | Comment

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