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Article by 龙信明
The Politics of Dissention

Another Imperial Tool

  • Dissention is Culturally Based

  • China has a very different culture than the West, and we cannot interpret their actions in the light of our own attitudes. To do so would be to misunderstand everything about China.

    For example, the treatment of what we choose to call 'dissidents'. We have these in the West too, but we don't refer to them as dissidents. In North America, we call them shit-disturbers. Some people are natural trouble-makers; some are professionals.

    We tolerate them in our Western society, but we don't tolerate them in our corporatations. If you work for a company and you walk around the office telling everyone what a jerk your President is, you won't see a lot of sympathy when you get yourself fired. People will say you knew what you were doing and you brought it upon yourself.

  • In China, as Well as in The West

  • It's like that with China. The Chinese do not like troublemakers and they don't like to BE troublemakers. Protesting is very possible here, but it's done differently than in the West.

    If we think of China as a corporation rather than a country, this is easy to understand. There is a CEO who says, "This is what we are going to do; if you have any good ideas now's the time. Now let's get it done."

    You can dissent if your objections are helpful, if you can improve the result, but if you just want to change the direction of the company to go someplace that YOU want, instead of where the directors want to take it, you won't have much luck.

    And if you are too vocal, too public, too embarrassing, you'll get fired. And nobody here will feel sorry for you because everybody knows the corporate rules; violate them at your peril. It isn't 'brutal' any more than IBM is brutal.

  • A Simple Family Moment

  • Dad won't let us watch the TV programs we want, so we canvas the neighborhood, rallying all the adults and children against our own parents, hoping to create enough pressure and embarrassment to force a change in attitude and get our way.

    It might work, but let's not pretend life at home will be pleasant for us 'dissidents' after this little adventure. In retrospect, it might have been better to have sought a solution 'within the system', recognising we must all live with it later.

  • A Corporate Social Problem

  • In a workplace disagreement, Plan A for most of us would be an attempt to discuss it with our superiors and, if no resolution were available, we would likely drop the issue and learn to live with it.

    But with trouble-makers - "dissidents" - Plan B is to go 'outside the system', and openly campaign against the policy, to stir up dissention and rally support to force the system to do what you want. On a larger scale, go to the media.

    However, this is also assembling voices against the authorities who instituted that policy, an action rarely welcomed anywhere. That is why this process, so common and refined in the West, is seen in pluralistic societies as a first cousin to sedition.

    In the abstract, this behavior is selfish more than enlightened. YOU disagree with your superiors and so create dissention in the workplace, replacing harmony with dissatisfaction and peace with acrimony, hoping management will surrender and give you what you want.

  • The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions

  • The above observations hold true even if we admit to an exceedingly worthy and just cause.

    In those cases - and they do exist - where our petitions fall on deaf ears, we may well be forced to take more drastic measures - if we believe this salvation effort falls upon our shoulders.

    But we shouldn't then be blind to the inevitable political fallout, and must recognise we may be sacrificing ourselves for this cause. This is not a decision to take lightly, and it is by no means a foregone conclusion that we should take it at all.

    There still is a system with a chain of authority, many individuals with influence who may be much less vulnerable than we are, and it is at least possible that patience and negotiation might bring about the hoped-for result without starting a war.

    But that isn't the Western way, which is why Western-financed dissention appears to cause disproportionate chaos in Eastern civilisations. And not by accident, either.

    You might ponder the methods of social institutions like Doctors without Borders, and compare them to a group like Greenpeace. The "in your face" cowboy diplomacy may make for good heroes but may also start shooting wars.

  • Political Dissention in Eastern Society

  • It should be apparent from the above commentary that whatever we choose to call dissention doesn't exist in isolation but within a social framework, and if change is to be successful and not lead to upheaval, we need to consider that social framework.

    In China, as a pluralistic society much more focused on the family and community than is the West, the processes for encouraging change are also very different.

    And, compared to Westerners, the Chinese take a dim view of this Western Plan B approach of creating major dissention and social upheaval to achieve immediately by force what convention dictates should be achieved patiently through negotiation.

    The Chinese might tolerate their own citizens spontaneously following Plan B, but are generally dismissive of foreign-instigated examples, since the Chinese people generally detest foreigners interfering in their internal affairs.

  • The American Approach to China

  • In every nation it is possible to find a few disaffected individuals who dislike their country, are severely critical of their government, of their society and fellow citizens, and generally of "the system". They exist everywhere.

    These people, in every country, are treasures to the US government, and in no country more than China.

    They are actively sought out and cultured, friendships made, money paid, favors done. It is an evangelical mission to recruit new and unsuspecting converts for the American religion of 'democracy'.

    But the issue isn't really democracy at all. Instead, it is the opportunity to destabilise and bring down a government from the inside, by its own people. You.

    Unfortunately, the Chinese 'dissidents' that become so celebrated in the American press, are not spontanenous local 'human rights activists' following their conscience but US-financed dupes who are almost terminally naive about their handlers' intentions.

    And in each case, having used these people for whatever political gain may have been obtained, the US typically abandons them to their fate - often in prison on charges of sedition.

    And, just so the point isn't lost, the US prefers this Plan B approach precisely because it creates the maximum possible upset to all concerned, but especially to the government and to society at large.

    And this is because this chaotic environment is the best breeding ground for creating widespread dissention and a possible revolution.

    The American Plan A is to buy votes, buy the media, and influence elections in open systems such as Western democracies. In a closed system such as China's, Plan B is the method of both necessity and choice.

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