And Why it Wasn't
"We opened the window, expecting to receive fresh air and a breeze,
but mostly what we got was flies coming in. So naturally, we put up a screeen."
"The US was calling for a revolution in Wangfujing but all they saw was Chinese people shopping and strolling leisurely around the park. The poor reporters couldn't find even one protester to snap a photo for their headline.|
Surprisingly the Chinese managed to catch one prominent protester; the U.S Ambassador to China; Jon Huntsman hanging around wearing dark glasses. After some hard bashing on what he was doing in the place, the man hesitated and then hurriedly left the place shamelessly with his tail between his legs." Huntsman's spokesman said later that he was there by complete chance, that he was "just out walking with his family, and didn't even know anything had been planned."
And just so it doesn't go unsaid, readers should be aware that the hashtag #cn220 on Twitter that originated this, was apparently traced to the NED - a front company of the CIA.
The general feeling in China is that there is no surprise to learn that the US is behind the cries for a 'revolution'. A surprising (to me) number of Chinese appear to see the US for what it really is - an imperial troublemaker without the courage to do its dirty work openly. And most appear to support their government in restricting the growth of such protests.
One typical poster wrote, "If the government begins to crack down (on) your protest I would not hesitate to give my blessing to the Chinese government because I do not want to see China go that way. I agree that you should have your voice heard but I do not agree with the approach you are taking."
Another person had the following to say to the US: "Be honest with the Chinese, and tell them you would like them to have riots, chaos, revolutions, famines, earthquakes, civil wars, poverty, conflicts with their neighbors, wars, ethnic and religious killings, etc. ..."
The feeling is that the Chinese all have businesses to run, and lives to lead, and this kind of social instability would be harmful to everyone. Almost every Chinese recognises that extensive instability could weaken or destroy their country, and they don't want that to happen to China.
In fact, there are very few ethnic Chinese jasmine supporters outside or inside China. And more to the point, they quite strongly feel Westerners should stay out of this (mind our own business, in fact), because most Chinese vigorously dislike foreigners meddling in internal Chinese affairs.
A Chinese poster wrote: "China has shut out US Ambassador Jon Huntsman from his blog, and rightfully so, since US is employing the same tactic of using the internet to incite riot and instability in China, not about human rights for the people, but to undermine its enemy. This is called self-interest."
China's government and economic system have some strong advantages, at least for China and its people, and they do not try to push it onto anyone else.
China is neither communist nor a dictatorship. It is a capitalist, one-party democracy, and those are not contradictions in terms; I'll try to explain.
The US primaries are a good example. Democrats meet and vote from a slate of two or more people to be their candidate for US president. That's one party, but they are still voting for whomever they believe to be the best candidate. You don't need multiple parties to have an election, and you don't need to separate your population on the basis of some ideology, to be "democratic".
Consider how it would be if Canada could identify the 100 best, brightest, wisest, uncorruptible, most educated, most experienced people in the country. And consider those people voting for one of their group to be their leader - the Prime Minister.
Wouldn't that be better than what they have now? For sure Canada would never become saddled with a Harper or a Chretien, under that system. And if Canada were being governed by the 100 absolute best people on Canadian earth, it might actually have a good government and a better country.
And, by the way, that's how China chooses its President and Prime Minister.
The government of China is a good one. It works. It does what it deems to be best for the nation and people as a whole, - to improve the entire country and the lives of everyone in it. It strives for social order - which is very important to the Chinese, and for this order and stability the Chinese people willingly give up small 'freedoms'.
The Chinese are not political. They believe their government is doing its best and doing it well, and they don't support the interference by a few CIA-financed and neocon-inspired troublemakers (like Liu Xiaobo).
Additionally, the Chinese tend to look with a kind of contempt at any of their own participating in these foreign-inspired attempts at dissention. Their feeling seems to be one of, "You have accomplished nothing, have no business of your own, no high professional standing, have no ability to even run your own organisation and must depend on foreigners for money and instructions. You have no knowledge or policies which could be used to run a country, but just want to upset things. Why would anyone trust you when you can't do anything without being a puppet of the US?"
One person commented to me that China and its government certainly want to embrace the world, but that the world is not an easy place because not everyone wants China to become stronger. And they feel that because of this, 'evil-minded' people in other countries are working behind the scenes, trying to use the shortcomings of the CCP to derail China's development. And, using naive, ordinary people locally to achieve their goal. They also clearly see Hillary Clinton's recent pronouncements as proof of this.
It is interesting to me that the Chinese do not see government in anything like the way it is seen in the West. In Western countries, politics is a team sport where anyone can play; qualifications and credentials are essentially irrelevant. The Chinese look on this with an interesting mixture of disbelief and disdain.
The Chinese do not delude themselves into believing that running a country is as simple as ordinary Western people think it is.
In China, going into politics is a career, a commitment that ascertains one's full participation in public governance. Once one is in the political mechanism, he or she is encouraged to contribute fresh ideas to be collectively discussed.
Those not in the professional fields of political governance are not encouraged to push their ideas - very much like a group of unqualified persons forcing their way to start pushing buttons in nuclear reactors. This is China's current way and the Chinese believe no other nations have the right to interfere, just as China has no right to interfere with other nations.
They are also aware that to become a multi-party democracy, a country requires the forcible division of its society into ideologically different groups with very different interests. China has no such divisions in its society, and the fundamental culture would mitigate against such divisions since they would of necessity lead to conflict and biased ideological agendas, disregarding the good of the country as a whole.
Many Chinese see clearly that the US style of multi-party democracy is a social division between the Pacifists and Socialists on one hand, and the Corporatists and War-Mongers on the other. Divisions of this kind are anathema to the Chinese. As they should be to us Westerners.
One Chinese wrote that, "The only "American" freedoms the Chinese lack are the ability every four years to choose leaders from a couple of corrupted vested interests backed by an oligarchy of fat-cat business interests. And after they're elected, the freedom to call them corrupted self-serving idiots."
Readers should be aware that culture and tradition in China are very different from the West, and understanding this is not easy. We were born into a Christian, Right-Wing, black-and-white, individualistic world. The Chinese were born into a Confucian, social, shades-of-grey, pluralistic world. We cannot use our measures to judge China any more than use liters to measure distance.
One observation on the fundamental differences between China and the West is a question of values. Chinese people value a society of peace, harmony and social stability more than they do freedom of information or personal liberty. In the west it's just the opposite.
It should be apparent that the Chinese will continue to be willing to surrender more of their private rights to the government than Westerners would like to do. As a result, some Westerners may genuinely feel that the Chinese are abused by the government from their point of view, while the Chinese may feel that the Westerners are fussing over nothing.
This may be disappointing, but the Chinese don't want to be like you. They want to be like them. And the Chinese don't like foreigners meddling in their internal affairs. They believe they see themselves and their shortcomings much more clearly than you do, and they believe they can solve their own problems in their own way and time. And that for sure they don't need the US to "guide" them.
Seen from this light, restrictions on platforms like Twitter or Facebook, and even Google, are seen as necessary for the good of the country as a whole, and most Chinese submit willingly to them. This is particularly true since it is not a secret that the US uses these social platforms as foreign policy tools to instigate unrest and dissention.
From all accounts, few people in China care much about the loss of things like Facebook and Twitter because China has developed its own networks and platforms that are more suited to the local culture and language.
And just so it doesn't remain unsaid, these platforms may be important and popular to some in the West, but it's questionable judgment to assume they are important to everyone in the world. China has lots of tofu and you don't. Do you feel deprived? Are you going to protest in the streets?
The Chinese government is also not blind as to the source of instigation of domestic unrest:
“These social-networking sites have become a tool of political subversion used by Western nations, including the United States,” read a report on new media that was released last year by the state-run China Academy of Social Sciences. Another blocked website, Facebook, was singled out for having played a role in the deadly riots that hit the largely Muslim region of Xinjiang in 2009. “Faced with the popularity of social networking sites … it is imperative to exert control.”
As you would do, if another government were financing and inciting terrorists in your provinces - all in the name of "democracy" and "freedom" and "human rights", of course.
Also, readers should consider China's internet restrictions in the light of the constant barrage of negative and often hateful press about China that appears in the Western media.
A Chinese friend put it much better than I could have: He said, "We opened the window, expecting to receive fresh air and a breeze, but mostly what we got was flies coming in. So naturally, we put up a screeen." Maybe you should think about that.
You may care to read this editorial titled, "US Internet products are not world standards - nor should they be". It offers a little more depth on the issue of domestic vs foreign social media sites, and is worth a read. You can access it here.
The West seems to have a habit of overlooking the obvious signs, and paying attention instead to the wrong things and the wrong places when examining China, and appears to harbor multiple misconceptions of the country, its people, and of what is happening there.
If you haven't seen the reports, you might care to refer to the Pew Research and Edelman polls on domestic satisfaction and trust in government. These are done by US firms who are leaders in their fields and who stand by their methods and defend the accuracy of their results. Those who claim the polls are invalid, are being willfully blind.
And yes, the polls did indicate that about 86% of Chinese are happy with their government and economic system, and about the same percentage trust their government. The respective numbers for the US were 23% and 40% - about the same as last-place Russia. You can access the article here.
Readers are undoubtedly aware of the genuine protests in the US at the moment, in Wisconsin, where upwards of 100,000 people did spontaneously protest at their state government's attempt at union-busting and middle-class-eviscerating.