Twofish's Blog

September 14, 2006

Great article on Chinese unrest

Filed under: china — twofish @ 2:49 pm

http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/PB48.China.Social.Unrest.FINAL.pdf

The one interesting point is that Chinese corruption has gotten worse over the last few years, but it is still not as bad as in a lot of countries.  This ties into another issue called the insider/outsider fallacy, which is that your opinions don’t matter because you are an insider, or your opinions don’t matter because you are an outsider.

People in the PRC have a wide variety of opinions on the Communist Party, and I personally know people who have extremely negative opinions as well as people who have extremely positive, and most people whose opinions can’t be easily classified.  Since I live outside of the PRC, I’m open to the charge that my generally favorable opinions of the Communist Party don’t matter since I don’t see the corruption and nasty stuff on a day to day basis.

The problem with that argument is that I don’t see the stuff that I would living in the PRC on a day to day basis.  On the other hand, I do see stuff that people in the PRC don’t see, and part of that is how badly most developing nations are run, and how difficult it is to run things even in a developed country.   Corruption in the PRC is a serious problem, but it’s nothing compared to what it is in Nigeria.  In the PRC, you might have to grease some palms to get something done, but in the end the factory does get built and the road does go through.  In Nigeria, nothing gets done.  Same is true with class distinctions, yes it is a problem in the PRC, but its still nothing like what it is in Latin America.

Chinese people have extremely high expections and standards for their government and nation, and this is a good thing.  The thing that is most depressing about Latin America and Africa is the degree to which people have just given up.  People protest in China because they think it might make a difference.  In lots of the world, anger has given way to passivity, and that is sad to see.

The problem with high standards is that they may become unrealistic and so people start doing crazy things that actually make the problem worse, and the day after the revolution when people find that heaven hasn’t arrived, it gets really, really nasty.

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3 Comments »

  1. Interesting. On another side of corruption, I had a recent post :
    http://www.chiefasiainspector.com/2006/09/the_grey_area_o.html

    I think the appropriate pressure of foreign companies and countries can help achieve some progresses int this fields. At least in where business is concerned (and where is it not ?).

    Comment by the chief — September 14, 2006 @ 4:33 pm

  2. When citizens publiclly been killed by auto-guns in Dongzhou town, Guang Dong province in the year 2005, in so-called most “peace” age, when such kind of killing is still happening in today’s China, how can Chinese people dare to have “high expections” to the regime?

    If everybody know clearly they may possibly be arrested, detained, tortured, or even killed by the regime without any reason, how can they have any “expections” to the regime?

    When writers do not have the rights to write, are they still writers?

    When reporters can not report what is happening, are they still reporters?

    When lawyers do not have the rights to defend his client, are they still lawyers?

    When peasants’ farmland been grabbed and do not have their lands to farm, are they still farners?

    When, human do not have the basic rights, are they still human?!

    It’s exactly the situation that today’s Chinese people are facing.

    They are still protesting, only because protest is their rights so they choose to protest, it doesn’t mean they have any expections to the regime.

    But Chinese people have expections to themself. By protesting, it can make more people wake up and get rid of illusion to the communist party, get rid of the “unrealistic” “expections”.

    If Burlin Wall can fell down in Germany, why it can’t happens in China?

    Today’s protesting, acctually is leading China goes to the same direction as Germany.

    Comment by chinaview — September 15, 2006 @ 11:55 pm

  3. But what happens the day after?

    China has already gone through two revolutions in the 20th century, and each time, it left China worse than before. What makes you think that it won’t happen again, and you won’t overthrow the Communist Party and leave China in an even worse situation?

    In the case of Germany, once the Berlin Wall fell in Germany, you had West Germany come in and inject massive amounts of money, and very quickly integrate East Germany in the German government structure. In the case of China, any disruption will lead you in the situation of Russia, and there is absolutely no reason to think that whoever replaces the Communist Party will be more moral, less corrupt, or more competent than the people in power now. One thing that you learn is that people who are nice and wonderful out of power suddenly behave very badly, once they come into power.

    “Democracy” isn’t a solution. What you find is that people just disagree about some very basic fundamental things. Without institution, democracy just degenerates into what you have in Iraq or Russa. What is the solution in my opinion is “constitutionalism” which means deepening the role of law, and respecting the law even if they are bad ones.

    Comment by twofish — September 16, 2006 @ 12:42 am


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