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China's Blue-Sky Thinking Pays Off

I received this e-mail reply to my last blog post about the Guizhou riots from Michael Anti (the 'government name' used by Zhao Jing, a gifted analyst of things Chinese). Big changes in the Guizhou riots. This letter puts the events in context.

John,

I saw your blog and agree with you. People do believe some Beijing-based blue-skyish judge will fly there to save them from local thugs. And this time it works. Shi Zongyuan, Party Boss in Guizhou Province, a de-facto imperial envoy sent by Beijing, is purging almost all the top officials in Weng'an County. This blue-sky show turns a risk into a success, again.

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Comments (13)

Anonymous:

The authorities no longer expected them to be the Best Games Ever, he said: it would be enough if they just passed without trouble.

This seemed a sad conclusion to draw. We may expect other Olympics to be more about making hoopla than history, but surely with the glamorous stadiums, the new subways and skyscrapers, all that fawning over China's rise, this was going to be something special?

It seems it is not to be. Fun has been sacrificed to security. It may have been predictable that Russian prostitutes would be expelled along with free Tibet activists, but it seems absurd that the very people we thought China was trying to impress - tourists, sports fans and businessmen – are finding it hard to get visas.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/2303321/Why-China-is-standing-by-its-basket-case-allies.html

Kai:

@ carryanne:

The problem with your line of argumentation, for all its occasional humility on the surface, is the fundamental arrogance of it. Now, I won't deny that I allow myself to use some superlatives or weighty adjectives here and there, but you consistently burden your position with buzzword descriptors like "criminal" and "commie."

By now, almost everyone and their mom with two brain cells to rub together knows that China is nothing remotely close to Communism. However, I understand that is just an easy bogeyman of a word people like using to describe what they don't like in the Chinese. Fine. It just doesn't really move the discussion forward.

...and that's your problem again. You're not moving the discussion forward. You're whining about ideology with nary a concern for actually understanding the cultural context and realities of the Chinese situation. This is not the tired Chinese defense of "try to understand the Chinese people," this is you actually willfully soap-boxing without justification.

Your whole position is premised upon the hope that the Chinese people will one day finally see things as you do, which is (by the consistency of what you post on various websites) a central government that is "criminal." According to your own definition, seriously, what government ISN'T criminal? What government DOESN'T work to protect its own interests? In fact, if you wanted to compare strict political ideology, we can argue that DEMOCRACY is fundamentally more prone to the protection of empowered self-interests at the expense of those without power than COMMUNISM.

Really, much of the things you wrote could be turned on its head against many Western countries themselves. Let's take, for example, the champion of freedom and democracy: The United States. The world over has been grumbling about the seeming inability to hold the United States accountable to its "crimes." When we consider this context, I don't think your prescriptive "you're all blind, can't you see" rhetoric serves anyone any good except to make you feel holy for uttering what you did. This isn't the hypocrisy argument, this is just telling you to get over yourself.

Finally, I'm not going to go all out to assail you for being too sold on your own idealistic notions of what you think you're fighting for. This is not about picking a side, especially when the two sides you're offering are so twisted as to be both simultaneously and inexcusably wrong. I won't choose a side in that situation because it ISN'T necessary. But if you want two side to choose from that are more accurate than what you're admonishing me for, here they are: PROBLEM and SOLUTION.

You're on the PROBLEM side, and I don't very much want to be on your team.

For the record, whether you like it or not, the Chinese central government has plenty of legitimacy. You wish so badly it weren't so you've convinced yourself that it isn't. That's too bad, and it probably explains your approach to all of this. Look, you're not going to get very far hoping for a revolution. Your activism on this issue is best described as cheap, consumerist, and shallow...the likes of which I often associate with pretentious Berkeley kids buying into whatever "enlightened" movement tickles their fanciful notions of "belonging."

The idealism that underpins your conception of Western enlightenment took quite some time and a lot of errors to realize. Even to this day, its best examples are still far from perfect and likely never will be. China has to learn on its own and neither China nor its people are going to change for you just because you damn them to.

Shawn:

Micheal Anti (Zhao Jing) is right, I used to think that way as well.

But those recently news makes me re-think of what I believed. Especially those " three push up"

What is the price of the blue sky judge? how much you need to pay to draw attention from the Beijing Emperor?

How about those incompetent government officers? how about those bureaucratic who tried to cover up bad news, those who pissed you off but without big harm. Do you try to kill 5 of them like the Beijing youth in Shanghai to draw your blue skyish judge from Beijing? Do they come down and purge all of those bureacratics? There are millions of them!

Well, but to carryanne, I don't think the communist system is criminal, I think peoples are!

carryanne:

Kai,

Sure, thank you. I don't really know how to respond to the comment though, but thank you, it seems you want to help?

I respect your opinion, but calling the CCP a criminal organization is not beyond my true understanding. Maybe you and I have a different definition of criminal. The CCP ensures that the justice system works for it and not for justice, this alon would make it criminal. It has made an absolute mockery of the constitution by twisting everything to mean protect and love the party. It has made total fools of the Chinese people, treating them like animals killing them at will, lying to them brainwashing, and all the while making them pay for the bullets, making them believe that they are doing it for China's great future.

Put them on trial, we will see if they are criminal, oh wait, that can't happen because they are too powerful, wield too much cash, have a big army, are ruthless and terrifying, and have a spot in the UN decision making bodies.

I think considering the media problems, a lot of people think that the CCP is legitimate, at least a little. I have done enough research and know that that is a falsehood.

So since you helped me, I will give you a suggestion. Sitting on the fence will not gain you admiration, don't be a wet noodle, call a spade a spade, you might have less commie supporters, but is that what matters?

carryanne:

Here is a great essay thanks to CDT

For the Sake of Human Dignity, Let’s Rise Up On the Internet!

http://tinyurl.com/5fprz8

It’s old you might have already read it but it’s great cause it shows that their are reasonnable and dignified Chinese people and tha they are not all brainwashed (- : Of course we knew that already, just jokin’

Ho Muan:

--Chen:
China works for us Chinese. We know how to sacrifice for the good of the many.

You selfish Western racists need to mind your own business, or don't be surprised when we finally decide to defend our honor, and "hit back."---

I see you was never in China my dear oversea parasite.

Reform:

Govt, people join forces to usher in big changes

"Currently the reform of China's political system has witnessed tangible progress, thanks to a good combination of these two elements.

On the one hand, as the Internet booms, the civil society is now rapidly emerging in China. With the help of the Internet, more and more ordinary people are harboring ever-mounting enthusiasm to be involved into administration of State affairs.

On the other hand, the central and local Party and administrative departments in China have also used the Internet to disclose important policies and measures to the public in a timely manner, putting them under public monitoring and soliciting public support."

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-07/08/content_8507785.htm

Tang Buxi:

I think REALIST above is forgetting that there have been serious riots in the United States, the most recent incarnation being the 1992 LA riots. The one thing that ties the '92 Rodney King riots to what happened in Guizhou: total lack of confidence in the legal system. This is something the Chinese government needs to focus on.

It's rather interesting to see Pomfret eating crow, without actually eating crow, about the government policing itself and admitting fault. I hope this is the start of a new wave of reform in China, and I hope officials like Shi Zongyuan become more aggressive in confronting their own.

The WSJ article got it wrong as to the situation in China, however. They referred to it as "bloggers defeating the government", when bloggers (especially Zola) were less than critical in this current story.

We've been discussing Weng'an all week here:

http://blog.foolsmountain.com/tag/wengan/

Realist:

Responding to "Citizen of the post-American world":

Dude, have you been hiding in a cave?

Regarding New Orleans (assuming you refer to the government's poor response to Hurricane Katrina):

1. The citizens of New Orleans democratically RE-elected their idiot Mayor. This is the kind of leadership they have chosen.

2. The citizens of Louisiana have elected a new governor to replace the very unpopular Governor Blanco.

3. The Bush admin fired their genuinely incompetent scapegoat, Michael Brown, former head of FEMA.

4. In less than four months, the American people will democratically elect a new President. (Presumably this knowledge is enough to keep the American people from rioting and destroying their country in order to accomplish something that will happen naturally if they let it.)

Regarding Iraq:
1. See number 4 above.

Regarding China:
Well, blogging is pretty much all they have now, isn't it? I mean, if you know you don't get a say in who your leaders are, and if your leaders have proven they have no problem killing those who get out of line, then what else can you do?

Criticize the US all you want, but you don't see tens of thousands of riots going on here annually, mostly because citizens know that, at a minimum, they will get another vote on a regular basis.

民主的混乱,万岁!万岁!

Citizen of the post-American world:

"...Bloggers Score a Victory Against the Government"...

After that many years, when will our turn come, right here, re: Iraq and New-Orleans, just for starter?

Kai:

Carryanne, I really don't think you're going to get far with the presumption that the CCP is a "criminal organization." Despite your repeated adherence to "okay, this is just my opinion," don't you think you'd do better starting the conversation with a point that isn't categorically presumptive and rigged?

Anyway, Michael Anti/Zhao Jing may be right that someone from Beijing has entered the scene and doled out some consequences but lack of government transparency still frustratingly remains. If those responsible indeed are being held accountable, it isn't done in any way that actually means much. Who was purged? How were they purged? For what were they purged? More importantly, what structural and institutional changes are being made or are we merely scapegoating? Finally, are the people satisfied or reassured? Or are we merely waiting for the people to forget?

In what context are we claiming that "blue-sky" thinking is "paying off?" To whom? The people? For what?

WSJ:

Chinese Bloggers Score a Victory Against the Government

On Friday, Chinese authorities announced that four Communist Party, local government and security officials in Guizhou province's Weng'an county were sacked for "severe malfeasance" over the alleged coverup of a murder, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Exposed to online postings that sprout up and multiply before they can be censored, the public has come to expect more transparency and responsiveness from the government.

http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB121533126228630499.html

carryanne:

Purged?

Those people might be purged, but the party's top priority is it's own stability, so it has to keep the corrupt bosses happy or quiet, or stupid, it is a mob after all. The point is that maybe a lot of Chinese don't know that the corruption runs straight to the top, so the ones at the top are super scared of being accused themselves, so they have to be really careful if they punish people in the party, because it will set a precedent that is counter to the reality (that the party is a criminal organization), and it would cause the people in the party to blackmail the party, so it is a complicated decision what to do with those bosses.

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