Jamil Anderlini reports : “In a national survey published by the party’s own mouthpiece media group in December, 73.5 per cent of respondents identified themselves as belonging to the vulnerable portion of society. More notably, nearly half of all government officials also count themselves among the same group, despite their enormous power in China’s one-party system.In a similar vein, many of the most ardent patriots and angry nationalists hold foreign passports, and send their children abroad for a western education and an offshore haven if things turn ugly at home.”
Natan Sharansky talks about fear societies, places that fail the town square test, i.e., places where it is unsafe to dissent. Actually, that test is rather limited. My father had a much more poignant one. A fear society is one where people fear a knock on the door at night or even in the middle of the day. In other words, they feel vulnerable. Tom Friedman, like his fellow intellectual going back as far as Plato, is in love with Chinese governance and, most especially, their ability to do what central planner feel is the right thing for the country. Stalin enjoyed similar good press. But Chinese know better and so should Chinese living abroad.
The world is taken at the moment with an architect named Ai Weiwei. He thought he was special enough to take the Town square test with impunity. He ended up sharing the fate of hundreds of thousands of Chinese who ran afoul of the authorities for one reason or another. He found himself behind bars charged with “economic crimes. The Guardian complains that Under this surreal ‘rule by law’, Ai Weiwei is guilty because “such a distortion of the judiciary means those who seek to protect their fellow citizens are now most at risk in China.”
No, really? And when weren’t they at risk?
Ai Weiwei should not have been in China and, certainly, should not have helped the Chinese tyrants put on a successful Olympics by designing the Beijing National Stadium, the famous ‘Bird’s Nest’ that came to be seen as a symbol of modern China. I hope, indeed, he is sorry. You lie down with vicious dogs, you get more than flees as the destruction of his studio should have told him. So, yes, he should be sorry, very sorry.
All those who complain about democracies should think again. They should think not only about the fate of Ai Weiwei but also about the fearful 73.5% of the Chinese populace.
For more, see my History News Network blog Deja vu
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