Pomfret's China

« Previous Post | Next Post »

Is China Really Working?

Wow. Thanks to all of you who took the time to write. I hope I can keep up with you in the coming months!

One question I had reading the comments is this: Has China succeeded in creating an alternative model to that of Western liberal democracy? Does China’s amalgam of 19th century capitalism and 20th century one-party government represent a significant systemic challenge to the United States and its buddies in Western Europe? Simply put, is China succeeding where the Soviets failed?

One of the responses got me thinking about this. It came from Alec Lin, who described himself as a participant in the student-led demonstrations in 1989 that led to the bloody crackdown on June 4th around Tiananmen Square.

Lin’s posting captured for me an extremely important point about Chinese today that often goes unnoticed in the West. Basically, many Chinese are fed-up with hectoring from the Westerners.

In the early 1980s when I first went to study in China, America, in the eyes of my Chinese classmates, could do no wrong. I was bunking with seven guys at the time in a 10x15 foot room. When lights went out at 10 pm we’d turn on the radio and listen to VOA’s news summary. A discussion would ensue with my roommates talking about America with a mixture of envy and awe. China wanted to be America.

I left China in ’82 and then returned in ’88, this time as an AP correspondent. The US was still the goal and the God for many Chinese. Beijing was buzzing with talk of political reform; the model, if there was one, was America. Anyone remember the Goddess of Democracy in Tiananmen Square? A tank flattened that Statue of Liberty-wannabe and those American Dreams in the crackdown of June 4.

The next decade-plus saw many Chinese intellectuals lose faith in the West, even as hundreds of thousands of them came here to study, do business and live - and as the government embraced an economic developmental model (the automotive industry, big universities, privatized health care) that seemed ripped from the pages of US economic history.

Alec listed four reasons why he has become disillusioned.

1) Familiarity breeds contempt. A longtime resident of the US, Alec’s gotten to know us and realizes that democracy indeed deserves two cheers, not three.

2) The gloss came off the American model. The failure of the Soviet transition to a freer country brought home the point that China was not only not going to morph into America; it risked becoming Russia.

3) China's OK, I'm OK. China’s real successes since 1989 - a doubling, almost tripling of GDP and significant advances in individual rights (something almost totally overlooked in the recent coverage of China) - sparked a widespread sense of patriotic pride among the Chinese. (Note to skeptics: The biggest demonstration in Tiananmen Square after the ’89 crackdown occurred on July 13, 2001, when the IOC awarded China the Olympic games. And it was spontaneous.)

And finally, 4) Get off my back, or what Alec called "collective ennui" toward Western "lecturing and chastising" about China. As the great Chinese blogger Hong Huang says: "I am tired of people treating me like I live in a concentration camp." This alienation has brought many Chinese in the elite to the conclusion that while their one-party system doesn’t deserve three cheers, it could, like ours, deserve two. And it's convincing others - in Africa and the Middle East - as well.

But is this model sustainable?

Email the Author | Email This Post | Del.icio.us | Digg | Facebook

Comments (113)

Charles:

Criticizing a government of 1.3 Billion is indeed easy, I don't think I will be able to do anything else for the rest of my life if I try to enumerate their faults. But I am not about to join this alreeady big enough army of Chna bashers.

It is ironic all these economic achievements that the West sees as new opportunities would not have existed had China been a democracy. The Chinese model has been simple, achieve collective good at the expenses of some. This would never have been tolerated in a democratic society.

Democracy or authritarian, none of them is a perfect solution to China's problems. Instead of arguing which one of them is better, why don't people, at least those who do care about genuine progess in China, discuss how China can adopt a system that works? Who the hell cares what it is called? I imagine whatever system that works for China can never be labled and can never be a static system.

Joe:

The centripetal forces in China today will continue to tear at the nation's social fabric. 19th century capitalism? What answer does that provide? Its excesses spawned the very Marxism that is the ideological basis of the Chinese state. What happens when China suffers a few years of sub-5% growth, or even a contraction. The Chinese state has not repealed the business cycle. China will reach the point where its political model becomes unworkable. And it will be a vicious mess.

justsomelaowai:

@Simple Simon: "China will close itself off from the rest of the world, which, don’t forget, it has done for some 2,000 years,” said Jacques Rogge, Chairman of IOC in an interview.

As Simple Simon pointed out, this is BS. Rogge needs to go back to history class. For a start, he should read, "The Open Empire, A History of China to 1600", by Valerie Hansen, and "When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-1433", by Louise Levathes. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), when most Europeans were living in huts in isolated little villages, the Chinese were carrying on a vigorous trade and exchange of ideas with Central Asia and India (the silk road), as well as with Southeast Asia...during the Song Dynasty and later, the Chinese traded as far away as Africa. During the Tang there was a craze for all things foreign, such as foreign food (yogurt), foreign dances and music, foreign sports (polo), foreign clothes, etc. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs, Sogdians, Africans, Malayans, Vietnamese, etc., lived in the great Chinese cities such as Chang'an and Guangzhou. It is only unfortunate that the Manchus tended to isolate China later. OK, history lesson over. I just wish that people would stop talking about things they know nothing about and leave the Chinese to decide their own fate.

Anonymous:

Democracy, Amercan-style, is very expensive.
Look at the time-consuming contest between the US presidential candidates.

They have to travel from state to state getting supporters.
They require a multi-million dollar "war chest" and campaign contributions.

In the end, the elected candidate will be obligated more to the campaign donors than to the electorate.

This system will not work in China.

Lector He:

There's an old joke in China, "Stalin (or some Russian Leader) was on his way to the UN, and his chauffeur asked, should I turn left or right, he said, 'Turn right.'. Then Dengxiao Ping (the Chinese leader) was also on his way to the UN, and his chauffeur asked the same question, and he said, 'Turn on the left blinker, and turn right.'"

This has become a sort of motto for the Chinese society as a whole. The same thing is prolly true when it comes to the propaganda that seeps into every aspect of daily Chinese life. Even scientific publication start with, "Under the leadership of the communist party...we have discovered..." And most Chinese have accepted this as a part of our culture. It is sort of like how Canada still calls her ships, HMS, or Her Majesty's Ships. Propaganda is everywhere in China, it'd prolly faze an unsuspecting freedom-loving and commi-hating American, but it is largely ignored as a formality by most Chinese.

It is interesting that the west places such a strong emphasis on human rights and free speech, while in China, people are not taken seriouly or mocked for being political - only peasants or labourors (simplitons basically) get caught up in those things. And this is how a lot of Chinese intellectuals view Americans and Europeans, naiive simplitons who do not know the true meaning of violent crackdowns or human rights abuses. The people who signed a petition boycotting LV prolly could never afford LV in the first place. The true focus of upper middle class Chinese life is office politics or moving out of China. While the upper class Chinese life, from what I've heard, is like the old days when the emperor was still around - limitless power and money pouring everywhere, and supplication to your superiors. But I'm probably boring my American readers about what Chinese actually care about.

People move out of China not for fear of political persecution. They move out for more opportunities ($$$) and because they hate the office politics scene, people spend their entire lives in one firm, the result is like a small American town down south where everyone knows everyone, also because their children can have a better future, etc. the usual immigrant story. The humble author of this comment himself is guilty of selling our his motherland in favor of the great nation of the US of A, and he is very very happy to be here.

saimneor:

NO NO NO.

I am chinese; and I an not anti-government; but I think the current system is only suitable for the next 3-5 years at most.

In order to keep up, the chinese government must evolve, change, and correct its problems EVERY YEAR just like it did in most years since 1978.

They'd better not to remain in a stand-still for the sake of their own existence. It is ok to have problems; let's put all issues on the table and resolve them. This is the only way Chinese as a nation can progress.

what if:

Is the system sustainable solely depend on one thing : can the chinese government develop a sustainable check and balance system which is the heart and soul of the democracy system. Human rights should be protected but standard may be set to fit China; free speech is nothing more then a way for people to let out their steam, chinese government should be willingly to let people say whatever they want which is good before a fully functional check and balance system deploy.

Overall, there is a system in developing, so sustain
is not the question, rather how a different ( then the USA)system be developed?

Zhang Chen:

Software professionals have long known that it's not the best system that wins (otherwise you'd be using Unix now), but the most adaptive. So, the real question is not if the current Chinese system is sustainable, but if it's agile and adaptive enough. I personally think both the Chinese government and people have embraced the inevitability of changes. The famous "Mozhe Shitou Guohe" settles the tone for the future. It's good that the foreigners are constantly after us on various issues, so we know we need to change and reform. I think the future is on the brighter side for China.

At the same time I can't say the same for the US system. Many intellectuals have long been spoon-fed with the idea that they have the best system in the world, therefore lack the incentive, and even the willingness to change. They've been intellectually lazy for quite some time now. We've heard the "change" rhetorics from Obama, but then there's not much reality to backup his words, also the deep rooted sense of entitlement isn't going to change any time soon. I actually want to ask a similar question, is the current US political system sustainable? If not, how's that going to influence the world?

If it happens in the US:

If what have happened in Tibet accidentally happened in LA or Chicago, a bunch of people waving knifes, throwing stones, killing people, and burning buildings, I am sure they would be welcomed with real bullets coming out of guns of police. And I seriously doubt media will shed any sympathy to these violent people despite of their motivations or causes.

But why are medias acting so differently when this happens in Tibet? And many of the postings here are desperately defending the media of accusation of bias by apparently Chinese or pro Chinese posters.

And it even went so far as to if those Chinese posters continue to protest the biased reports manufactured by our media, they need to GO BACK TO CHINA, because we are a country of FREE SPEECH.

Would like to hear any comments.

KL_Kaki:

Really, if it isnt Tibet or Sudan, I'm sure interest groups in the West will inevitably find another issue to exploit. What next?

"Boycott the Olympics because Beijing doesnt have enough trees and parks" movement? "Boycott the Olympics because Chinese cabbie like to spit" movement?

What the PRC government really needs to do is to hire some PR consultants from the Israeli government, at least in the short term.

Longer-term, keep up the 10% GDP and 50% military budget annual growth , and things will resolve itself in favorable way. Might makes right. Look at US of A.

KL:

Really, if it isnt Tibet or Sudan, I'm sure interest groups in the West will inevitably find another issue to exploit. What next?

"Boycott the Olympics because Beijing doesnt have enough trees and parks" movement? "Boycott the Olympics because Chinese cabbie like to spit" movement?

What the PRC government really needs to do is to hire some PR consultants from the Israeli government, at least in the short term.

Longer-term, keep up the 10% GDP and 50% military budget annual growth , and things will resolve itself in favorable way. Might makes right. Look at US of A.

JAMES:

CNN claims to be RESPONSIBLE AND IMPARTIAL in their reporting.

RESPONSIBLE means you are accountable for your behaviour.

Has CNN accounted for their behaviour when they refers to CHINESE AS GOONS AND THUGS WITHOUT ANY RESERVATION?

THE ANSWER IS NO.

THIS IS AN EXTREMIST REMARK AND ITS INTENT IS TO STIR UP HATRED FOR THE CHINESE, YOU BET!

How about IMPARTIAL, which CNN proudly proclaimed?

EVERYONE KNOWS THE ANSWER TO THAT, DON'T WE?

FREEDOM OF SPEECH DO NOT GIVE A PERSON OR AN ORGANISATION LIKE CNN, THE RIGHT TO DISPENSE RACIAL HATRED THROUGH IRESSPONSIBLE, HIGHLY PARTIAL AND EXTREMELY BIASED AND LOP-SIDED ACT OR REPORTING.

LET'S NOT PRETEND THAT THIS IS AN UNINTENTIONAL ACT!

ON THE CONTRARY, THIS IS AN INTENTIONAL ACT TO SMEARS CHINESE ALL OVER THE WORLD AND TO STIR OTHERS TO HATE CHINESE WHEREEVER THEY ARE.

CNN IS NO ANGEL. IT IS AN ARCH ANGEL AND IT DISPENSE RACIAL HATRED FREELY!

Zhang Chen:

What's so imperative to question if the system is sustainable or not? Being a software engineer, I know for a long time that the best quality software don't always win the market. It's the most agile that wins. So the better question to ask is, is there any willingness to change in China? I believe the answer to this is yes, while I can't say the same for the US, where people generally think they have the best system in the world and there's no need to any systematic change.

Nothing is sustainable. When the situation changes, the system will need to change with it. It would be intellectually lazy to think that you can get a sustainable system then stick to it for the next 2000 years. China has learned that lesson, and the general mood is that changes will happen and it's undergoing everyday. Not many people in China are against the changes as long as the changes are small, well experimented, planned, and progressively implemented. Chinese people are better mobilized than their US counterparts, who still think they are entitled to the $30 hourly pay assembling cars.

You've said it, Mozhe Shitou Guohe. The current anti-China sentiment in the west is a good reminder to Chinese that we are far from perfect, so we'll move on and make better changes.

Chinese communism:

History is full of examples of capable emperors in Roman and Chinese empires. So capable single-party rule is also possible, as long as there are no ego-mad leaders.

The American economy is great not because of the democratically-elected leaders, but because of private enterprise. Likewise the Communist Party does not micro-manage the economy and leaves it to the business experts instead.

In fact, all armies and businesses are not democratic institutions at all, where business leaders are not voted in, and can hire and fire as they please.

Bidwell:

As a Chinese I can point out no Chinese is really proud of the human right situation in China, but most people are satisfied with the progress in the country. We are at a different development stage with regard to individual right when compared to the west. Yes, the progress is slow, very slow, but nonetheless it's moving forward. Chinese are often accused of being paranoid with stability. Yes, that's true. But we have all the rights to be paranoid because we know what chaos mean. Have you ever stood in a train station in China overwhelmed by hundred of thousands of people all around you? Can you imagine one single meal in China costs over a billion bow of rice. One single misstep or bad policy may cause disaster affecting million of lives. When the Soviet collapsed, it brought chaos for some time, but Russians were at a more advanced stage of development and they eventually were able to withstand it. China, on the other hand with its collosal country folks will not stand a chance under the same circumstance.

Western media often brushed aside Chinese view of their country, calling them not understanding the real situation because of news blockage. When a demonstration broke out against China, the news was swiftly broadcasted, when thousands of Chinese demonstrated for China in Canada just a few days ago. Not a single western media reported that. Would you think these people have lack of news access in Canada? In that sense, western media selective broadcasting is no difference from the Chinese media.

Often western media uses hidden terms to demonize the situation, like "China appointed governor of Tibet or Hong Kong". But when Hong Kong was a British colony, I never saw a single term "British appointed governor of Hong Kong". As a matter of fact, no citizen of HK even knew how the governor looked like until he landed. Bias can be hidden and the western media is making full use of them.

As the prime minister of Singapore had said, the youths of the west did not know the recent humiliation of Chinese will have serious consequence in their own lifetime. Unfortunately, it's true. The naive trust of any western by the Chinese had been broken by the latest saga. Meaningless animosity revealed by the people of the west against China will be faced off by the Chinese people with an equivalent senseless animosity. And what does that bring to the world?

Anonymous:

Yea John, it deserves cheers? They probably can't even read your webpost? What are they so happy about again? Money, the absence of flagrantly horrible rights violations in exchange for freedom of speech, etc? So much to be happy about, right? Cmon.

John van Dulmen:

I like to post as other people and back myself up.

John van Dulmen:

Brambles, thanks for your mature and balanced approach of such a complicated matter and dealing with some of the aggressive and immature Posters.
Most people don't really know what they are writing about, because they never have been there and did not study the subject thoroughly.

BRAMBLES:

TO Learn Something:

Thanks for the msg, really. Nothing is changed without a fight. For that I totally agree with you. I dont know how soon but you'll see changes. This is a country in transition. It changes in its own ways. I wish there's more I could do about it.
All I m saying is people like you (who does care to read and think about things Chinese) should at least have the courtesy of listening to a different voice. I m not saying what you see and read from your media are all biased. I for myself trust them much more than party propaganda and I receive most of the news through Your media. But as a Chinese, I also know when and how much to trust a journalist who has very limited understanding/experience of a country so different from the one he/she grew up with where he was indoctrinated with the notions like "communist oppression" just like we were indoctrinated with "the moral degeration of the capitalists". But that was decades ago.
There are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of my people reading this post. I m among the few in actually posting a few words. I might as well act like most of other Chinese reading these msgs because, as Mr./Ms. YA RIGHT rightly put: I shouldnt "be making a fool of myself on American boards where nobody cares what you say". Funny, why do YA post about China and not about America on YA American boards?
Fact is, most of my fellow people dont post because they "dont care what you say". Make no mistake about it. They were fed up with the typical arrogance and ignorance.
It's easiest if the people of the east and west simply "dont care what each other say". But that does not make any sense.
Also, if peole of the west, even someone such as you, continue to think of the Chinese people as semi-autonomous RED ANTs, unable to reason and descide what's best for them, that's sad. That's nothing but bigotry. I wouldnt call that stupid but, is that "white-pride"?
There's no way and no need for communication if you dont treat others as equals. Then there's only the logic and talk of naked power. That does not make any sense either, particularly in a BBS.
Oh forget it. I'll just wait and see what new piece Mr. Pomfret will write.

Joe Bu:

"A wolf in sheeps clothing"

Do you mean I'm pretending to be a Chinese sheep but am actually and American wolf?

Or do you mean I claim to be an American sheep but am actually a Chinese wolf?

The sociological underpinnings of that statement is just too rich to be left unmined.

Whatever the construct, it means I'm a vicious wolf which in my line of business is a high compliment.

Joe Bu:

Does it matter what I am?

My shoe size is 11.

Ya Right:

A wolf in sheeps clothing

Joe Bu:

I'm American

Ya Right:

JoeBu

Let the first without sin, cast the first stone.

Without constant oppression, you would know what we are talking about and wouldn’t be making a fool of yourself on American boards where nobody cares what you say.

Joe Bu:

Our Confucius say:
"Man with hand in pocket feel cocky all day."

Nice words from old Benny boy. But his liberty (and yours) was built on genocide. Without the mass wipeout of pesky natives, there would be no US of A.

So learn something.

Learn something:

"Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security".
I loved it the instant I read it. But are you talking about the Patriotic Act or the domestic eavesdropping law?
Let's learn together. We are all but part of the history. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow... let's strut and fret no more.
--------------

One of the many things the American public doesn’t like is the Patriot Act. All aspects of it. That is the very reason we are working to remove those responsible for it, from power.

We understand you are a growing nation with many of the same problems all major nations experience as part of the growing process, but when your people cannot engage in debates such as these to voice their own opinions on Western media boards as you have done, that is a major issue. Not because they might re-enforce china's government rhetoric, but because they have no chance to voice anything in opposition to it.

When the master is unwilling to change its action, the dog will eventually bite the master if treated unfairly. The progress China has shown over the last 6 months has been GREAT! Please continue and eventually you will see first hand why we as Westerners fight so hard for our rights a well as yours.

I am glad you enjoyed the teaching of one of our great leaders and thinkers. As you know, he is responsible for many of the ideals you are currently working towards.

BRAMBLES:

TO Learn something:

Maybe it surprises you, there are actually people here reading The Federalists. Not as many as I'd like to see but, quite a bunch, among 1.5 billion people.
The point is, everything is easily said than done. You dont force a population to learn what you want them to learn, even if it's something you deem to be self-explainatory or truism. At an intelligible everyone "understand" what you are saying, however, there's not much you can do if they dont empathy with you at the "belief" level.
You cant rush history. I wish I could.
The history of this nation will be written with none other than the cumulated daily trivialities of its own people. I cant change that. Neither did Franklin's remarks shade off any years from your democracy (or republic?)'s over two hungred years of evolution.

___
"Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security".
I loved it the instant I read it. But are you talking about the Patriotic Act or the domestic eavesdropping law?
Let's learn together. We are all but part of the history. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow... let's strut and fret no more.

Learn something:

As our own Ben Franklin once stated,

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else”

And the most important one… Try to understand things now….

“Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security”

LOL:

Don't be too optimistic about the power of American people. We have seen that before the Iraq war. Alright, you made a big noise against the war. That's it. You have no power to stop your imperialism government from committing war crimes, and from stealing your own rights.

If there is any policy shift regarding China, it will not come from grass root Americans. It will be the big big boss counting all the beads in his pocket. Americans have no power of that sort, although every 4 years they have chance to make a voice on who is the least disliked candidate for president.

BRAMBLES:

TO I hope you are proud:

Dude, go out and see the world, if you are young enough. Lol. That's about the only thing I CAN say to you.
I thought I could reason with you. You disappoint me.
BTW, the only reason I can post here is because I know your language and something about your country and culture. You dont post on my "Government" website because you are totally ignorant of my country, let alone its language and culture. Dont float any hubris over your ignorance, and pls, stop pretending you know anything about what you just said. Everyone in the world can view these posts. They will be disappointed of your "Standard".
Also, when is the Post a government branch?
Bye dude. It's been a complete waste of my precious RMB time.


Joe Bu:

Oh brother...

I suggest you improve your English, your knowledge of economics, and adjust your self regard.

You're embarassing yourself.

As for me, it's time to get back to work begging for American generosity.

stop wasting your time posting:

How do you think those same 400m people came out from their hovels and into slightly larger ghettos? Because of American generosity and our corporate greed structure. But keep in mind that those same people answer to their families at home and would willingly remove their business from your country if we, the American people as well as the other Western nations, pushed for it.

What debt China owns is pittance in comparison to what we generate globally every single day. All this is well in excess of even what you think you hold over us.

I have no love of GITMO either and admit our system is not perfect, but so far it has proved to be the most open and successful system of governance this world has ever seen.

Thanks for correcting an already grammatically correct sentence. I hope you understand it better, as well as my position on your human rights situation against your own people.

Even I am pissed about my own governments Patriot Act that essentially removed a lot of our civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism, but the difference between you and me is the fact that you see no problem with people being beaten and killed for peacefully demonstrating against the government. You have no problem with the fact that Han Chinese citizens walk hundreds of miles to find out if they can get their land back, only to be chastised and turned away without a chance to voice their arguments. You fight for the “people” which is fine. But you fight for the wrong causes. Stop spending your time fighting me online and spend it fighting for your basic rights!

Your comparison, though on the surface sounding good, is like comparing apples to oranges. You cannot, and as such have no valid point without me sitting around all night refuting your points line by line by line. Which, unlike you, I don’t have time to do.

Thank you though for your last post. It was much better and much more cohesive in terms of thoughts and argument. Keep up the good work!

LOL:

If you had an uncensored media you won't be this uninformed.

There's a story floating around, that a homeless man approached a Chinese fellow in the center of a major US city to start a conversation. He said "Your government should free the Tibetan people." The Chinese was a little puzzled by the encounter, and responded "I think Tibetans' lives are better than yours. What your government have done for you? Look, you don't even have your own roof." The homeless man looks very confused.

So you keep a better watch on your own human rights. It may not be as good as what you think.

Joe Bu:

About 400 million people in China have been brought out of abject poverty in last 25 years. That's an accomplishment unparrelleled in human history.

Human rights progresses in lock step with economic development. Every country follows the same path. What you accuse China of is partially true and lamentable but in context, it is part of the growing pains of a developing economy. The growing pains of Western colonialism was far worse.

I also suggest that you fix Guantanomo Bay and other secret prisons before pointing fingers at beatings, kidnappings, unreported deaths, and detentions in China. Maybe you should let a few Chinese journalists to teach them about freedom of the press?

As for my English ability, I know it sucks - I'm learning.

But for a native speaker, this paragraph is just atrocious:

"But as such they, as well as all other factions of Chinese citizens not at the top of the food chain, deserve a voice. Your current regime and constant policing of your citizenry do not allow that luxury without a price. That price usually consists of losing ones land, or being arrested, or being beaten within an inch of your life in an effort to “reeducate”, or even publically unreported death. "

Let me correct it for you:

"But as such they, as well as many other groups of Chinese citizens not at the top of the power structure, deserve a voice. Your current regime suppresses that voice with beatings, arrests, violent "re-education", and even death - which of course go unreported."

I think it reads much better.

Stop wasting your time posting:

Why are you arguing about borders with me? I am not for an independent Tibet. As far as I am concerned they are Chinese.

But as such they, as well as all other factions of Chinese citizens not at the top of the food chain, deserve a voice. Your current regime and constant policing of your citizenry do not allow that luxury without a price. That price usually consists of losing ones land, or being arrested, or being beaten within an inch of your life in an effort to “reeducate”, or even publically unreported death.

If you feel you are sacrificing yourself because it requires compassion to understand the need for basic human rights, you are a very very sad human being that totally undervalues the meaning of life and ones right to live in peace without fear of being controlled by ones government.

If everyone is of the same mind in China, why not prove it and begin uncensored media coverage all over your country like we do? What do you have to fear other than the world hearing first hand the things you already say are true? The only reason to keep out the international cameras is because you DO have something to hide and do not want it leaking out onto pirated internet connections and snuck out under coats of sympathetic media reporters who have a hot story to share with the world.

As for me learning Chinese… Why? Am I posting my comments on a Chinese website? No.

You chose to come here and post on an English website. So learn it better before trying to make a point and engaging in arguments with native English speakers and writers. Or at the very least hire an American educated Chinese translator instead of using Google Translator from the comfort of your Beijing Apartment.

Joe Bu:

I want to learn from your example.

Either open your borders so that everyone can enjoy the land you stole (this will actually solve the Darfur problem) or give up America back to the natives.

Without sacrifice on your part, I ain't doing mine.

Now learn some Chinese to educate me properly.

Stop wasting your time posting:

So you choose not to learn from our mistakes? Do you see us doing that still? Have you not learned from our own Civil rights movement and our civil war itself?

Why reinvent the wheel? Just because you want to act like a spoiled 3 year old to make a point? Thats real smart.

That brings me back to my other point of LEARNING ENGLISH WELL ENOUGH TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE.

Joe Bu:

So what China should do is follow the Western model.

1) Kill most of the natives
2) Stick the survivors in squalid concentration camps
3) Make movies about what a tragedy it's been.

Pass the popcorn

Things You Should Know:


Look for this article on:

www dot globalresearch dot ca

Risky Geopolitical Game: Washington Plays ‘Tibet Roulette’ with China
- by F. William Engdahl - 2008-04-10

This is a very insightful article on the current affair of Tibet, backed by comprehensive references.

Stop wasting your time posting:

Haven’t you gotten the point we have no interest in fake news?

Go post it on a Chinese website where people are more apt to actually agree with your view of what’s right and what’s wrong in dealing with your own citizens.

Things You Should Know:


Check out this video clip on Youtube:

XhG9-LdwG_k

You will never see it on your TV channels.

I hope you are proud:

BRAMBLES:
“Sometimes You (and the western) are not understood well here.”
------------------------------
Uh O. You messed up. Where is “Here” ? Bejing? LOL
Sorry buddy, the only people in China with access to this site are folks that work for the Chinese Government or Military.
And here is the thing, why are you even posting on our American sites? Seriously. Do you see us posting on your Chinese Government Sites? No.
Though I can’t stop you, you must realize that every post you make is causing more harm to the worlds public image of China. In particular, the same community of people that is the very reason for China’s rise in power in the first place. Every time you try to plaster your Communistic rhetoric onto Western Media boards, you are becoming your own countries worst enemy every day. Eventually those same nice people that took an interest in China will no longer, and you may find yourself replaced. I believe if you know your history of your own country well enough, it has happened to you in the past. Not because we don’t believe in the ability of the Chinese people, but rather the world is not ready to lower their standards just because an oppressive regime like China says so.

Aidsmonkey:

@Jack,

... to continue the thought...

Over time, many Tibetans will assimilate into China as they realise that's the only game in town. Many don't and will eak out a living on the fringes with myriad social problems like illiteracy, alcholism, broken homes, suicide etc.

By then, the Liberal Chinese Communist Party (LCCP), which has just won an election taking over from the Nationalist Chinese Communist party (NCCP), will send in social workers as part of its revamped poverty alleviation campaign. These social workers will travel to US Indian reservations and visit Australian aboriginies to gather data on what programs work and what do not. Not much seems to work but it's a great photo-op.

At that time, the hottest movie in China (and overseas) will be "Dances with Tibetans" starring the heart-throb Yao Yuan (great-great-grandson of Yao Ming). This is a tragically beautiful tale of a Beida graduate (with great pectoral muscles) sent by the old CCP to administer Tibet. He falls in love will a beautiful Tibetan maiden who shows him the meaning of spirituality. But alas, it will be lost in time.

At the Shanghai premier, teenage girls swoon as Yao Yuan walks the carpet with his lovely co-star Tsering Thubten.

As Yao Yuan accepts his best actor statuette, he condemns the human rights abuses of the rising Indian superpower who are brutally subjugating the peaceful citizens of Kashmir.

BRAMLBES:

What most of the people do here is ridicule themself by showing nothing but complete ignorance.
Oh forgive me, a correction: not just ignorance, it's ignorance + arrogance.
Maybe it's not time for a real conversation. Nor is it necessary at this level.
Talk to us in 10 - 20 years and find your complacence then.

Brambles fm Beijing, China

Aidsmonkey:

@Jack

To secure the western border.

I think if you scratch deep enough, that is the reason China is in Tibet. Securing resources is kind of a wash considering the cost of administering a recalcitrant population. Very few Han Chinese want to live permanently in Tibet so "lebensraum" isn't really it either.

China is in Tibet for the same reason Israel in in the West Bank. It does not feel secure without a buffer. It's realpolitic.

Now guarantee China that the US has no intentions of ever building an airforce base on the Tibetan plateau and they might consider more autonomy for Tibet. But history makes no guarantees and a power vacuum will always be filled.

Jack:

@AIDSMONKEY

"They have. There are large populations of Tibetan professionals in Chengdu, Chongqing, and Beijing as well as other Chinese cities."

Then, why was the invasion needed at all? It seems implicit that they would have emigrated into China regardless.

Aidsmonkey:

Jack,
"Tibetans would have naturally migrated into Chinese lands to seek opportunities in these last 50 years."

They have. There are large populations of Tibetan professionals in Chengdu, Chongqing, and Beijing as well as other Chinese cities.

But of course, you would rather think of them as cute little monks living spiritually in Shangri-la ... or being shackled to walls.

Jack:

@HS

I'm not excusing the crimes of the Manifest Destiny or Continental Expansionism, but saying that utilitarian progress has its costs. There is no excuse of the abhorrent crimes done to them. And I'm aware of China's mass investments in Tibet in recent decades, but it's simply hubris on anyone's part to assume complete progress is being made and what is done is best for them. There are very few who would speak confidently of Chinese progress and policy in Tibet now, let alone how it will look in 50 years.

Honestly speaking, we're not talking about a cultural difference, but more of a moral difference. It comes down to comparing the deaths and displacement of a people, continued cultural erosion, continued discrimination, and intermittent conflict to billions spent in reconstruction, human capital invested for modernization, and cultural assimilation.

However, if the ideas of progress and modernization are powerful magnets, then Tibetans would have naturally migrated into Chinese lands to seek opportunities in these last 50 years. Even North Koreans, on threat of death and with barriers placed in their own country and out of it, risk life and limb to migrate into China for opportunities themselves.

BRAMBLES:

TO: I HOPE YOU ARE PROUD

Real conversation is only possible by mutual understanding. When there's difference in mind the best thing to do is to acknowledge, accept and move on. Or there would be no point in talking further. Sometimes You (and the western) are not understood well here. Is that surprising? Sometimes We (the Chinese people) are not understood by You.
Well, it seems to me that the next relevant question is: do you think there's a need for "MUTUAL" understanding? Or that it would totally suffice if WE understood You?
Yes we are in many ways students because in so many more ways You and Your Way of Civilization are way ahead of us. But as we are appropriately on the receiver end of the constructive criticism, there should be room for US to analyze and digest and there will be. Sometimes we'd even fight you and your criticism. Be not surprised and easily offended. Because that's also what we learned from you: independent and critical thinking.
SO let's talk. Only that let's talk substance.

HS:

Have you not asked people to stop posting things embarrassing to the Superpower?

BTW, Call me "Pro Chinese Regime posters" is laughable. I was among the protesters in Beijing 1989. Came here with a willing ear to hear intelligent constructive criticism on my government. I was completely disappointed, what I hear here is actually helping prove the point that the west is anti-China.

See the point? Your propaganda machine is quite smart to fool Americans, but they are quite dumb to fool the Chinese. Our propaganda machine is quite dumb to fool anyone, in that sense you have a better propaganda machine. Congratulations.

I hope you are proud:

Do you understand the meaning of reading comprehension?

HS:

You are right. Now I don't think I understand you.

"If you don’t learn to accept change by constructive criticisms ........ way to Greatness."

So you want to help us?

"Why fight the Chinese when we can simply isolate them again?"

So you want to screw us?

Apparently you are pretty mad and confused at this moment. "Save face" or "Save Butt", it is entirely your own business. I don't want to second guess where your madness truly comes from. It's TAX time, everyone is a little bit on the edge. So just take a bottle of your favorite drink and cool down.

I hope you are proud:

“If I understood correctly you are basically saying: Just because US is a super power, her dark side should not be mentioned even though US media and government are on the offensive with distorted facts and abusive reports.”
------------------------------------------

I think you missed the point. Much like the rest of the Chinese. So no, you do not “understand” us correctly.

Also, when was the last time the US Media didn’t offer multiple points of view on things? If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be creating dialogue about issues. Can you say the same thing about Chinese Media? No, I didn’t think so… But perhaps your understanding of “free speech” doesn’t include the provisions that the “WHEN and WHERE and HOW” is up to the individual.

Obviously EVERY SINGLE SOURCE of publically accepted media has come from OUTSIDE OF CHINA. For good or bad, all large countries accept this criticism as part of GROWTH. But not China? Why not? If you don’t learn to accept change by constructive criticisms and support your people’s ability to truly live without oppression to promote global growth, your country will be replaced by others that are more than willing to take some bruises along their way to Greatness. No pain no gain. Haven’t you ever learned that lesson?

Why fight the Chinese when we can simply isolate them again? (Who do you think even brought you this far? Yourselves?!? LOL) But it seems you Pro Chinese Regime posters find it far better to continue to drive that wedge of misunderstanding deeper in your quest to “Save Face”. What will you do when we begin replacing the Yen with some other currency?

Do yourself, and your government a favor and stop posting on American boards. Your comments are only harming your countries image further. If the Chinese government Reps are reading these posts, I would highly suggest sitting your countrymen down and having a chat with them as I am sure there is a reason your Leaders have hired Western Media Consultants. Start with your Bloggers and posters on Washington DC Websites who will obviously taint anyone against China in general just by reading. This will effectively not be good for you as you well know. Don’t “save face”, “Save your butts” I think would be more appropriate at this point.

HS:

I HOPE YOU ARE PROUD:

If I understood correctly you are basically saying: Just because US is a super power, her dark side should not be mentioned even though US media and government are on the offensive with distorted facts and abusive reports.

Being in US for over ten years I know American people (classmates, professors, colleagues, neighbors, etc) as really nice individuals. Frank, humorous, intelligent, always willing to help others. Unfortunately, come to international politics they are almost fully inline with the position of the media and government.

I came to US from China with the believe that western media is the golden standard for factual and unbiased newsmanship. To my surprise, I found that is true only to the realm of domestic affairs. As far as report on China is concerned I can hardly make the connection between what I hear from the news and my 30 years of experience in China.

Now I realize I was a bit naive. The media objectivity does not come from thin air. It is the supervision from the viewers that forced them to be objective. For the same reason, since there is not a force of viewer supervision on China new report, they are free to say anything they want (or the government want).

The anti-China news wave is on the high tide these days. It is like in the wartime against an enemy state. I am really concerned that maybe someday American people will be misled to a real war with China, just like the way they were misled to the war in Iraq. Your hearts and minds have been prepared with over ten years of anti-China propaganda, so the task for the commander in chief won't be too hard.

I hope you are proud:

You DO realize that these boards are frequented by the very same policy makers that your country relies on for global trade? Why would you harm the potential friendship that you say you want, but continuing to tick everyone off that is reading these comments? Just because someone doesn’t post doesn’t mean they didn’t see it and are not working to reverse any progress China has made thus far in the world.

You are your own countries worse enemy. Not us. Keep on posting; enjoy your freedom of speech on behalf of the real Chinese citizens… But don’t blame us if your country slips back into the dark ages because of your personal efforts to cast the Chinese people as anything other than what they are… How many times would that be? Perhaps it has something to do with the attitudes you like to show off to everyone.

Make friends and rise in power… Have some nuts like you post junk on a super powerful allys webboard that is read by the very people that control your money, and watch your trade profits drop like a rock as you are quickly replaced.

Your country is not up and coming because of the Chinese people or Government. It is because the Western world was kind enough to consider your country as the next up and comer and established trade and policies with them… But if we change our minds, it would be an easy feat to replace your country with one more deserving over the next 15 years. Keep that in mind when making your choices.

brambles:

I m Chinese and I live in Beijing.
Things happen. Let's talk and as it is, the talk has just begun. This is a fun blog.

HS:

JACK said "American treatment of Native Americans is in a period of over 400 years. And during that time multiple leaders had multiple policies. Yes, some policies were extremely cruel, but others are based on good intentions that yielded bad results. American leaders also at many points found it hard to control the millions of migratory white settlers streaming into Indian lands, despite government warnings. Americans did try in varying degrees to assimilate, until finally deciding it was better to leave them alone."

These are very interesting statements. I am curious to know what do you mean by "leave them alone"? Are they recognized by the US as an genuine independent nation with the right to own an army to defend them-self? Are they allowed to have diplomatic relations with other countries? Do they get the land back from the "migratory white settlers"? How are they compensated for their near extermination under "multiple leaders' multiple policies" over 400 years?

Chinese government actively administrated Tibet for 50 years, also under multiple leaders' multiple policies. They abolished a slavery system presided by Dalai Lama, and freed the population to a people of equal rights. They built infrastructures, education, and economy from nonexistence. They increased the Tibetan population from 1 million to 7 millions. So in the past 50 years Tibetan people (Dalai's aristocracy group excluded) are better off compared to the 400 years for the American Indians. Assuming the current trend of development won't altered by Dalai and his followers, they will be far better off in the next 350 years.

WU:

yawn said:

"That is the problem the world has with the Chinese government, not the people of China."

************************************************

From where do you non-Chinese, derive the concept that the Chinese government, which is administrated by BIOLOGICALLY GENETIC CHINESE PEOPLE, is separate, and not one in the same?

Secondly, from where have you discovered that you non-Asians, whites, blacks, or Hispanics, are indigenous to Asia, which of course, would warrant you to comment on your own affairs?

Like I say it all of the time, "It's just racism STUPID"!

Joe Bu:

Yawny,

"if you have such a problem with American freedoms, why are you here to begin with? You are also FREE TO GO BACK HOME."

No no, see we belong here because we have the skills needed to drive the economy. You were born here, kind of like a "legacy" which means you are dead weight that I have to pull.

I'd prefer to send you back to Europe. I know hundreds of millions of Indians Chinese who could replace you in a flash (cheaper, faster, better).

So pipe down. I earned it. Thank me for letting you collect the drippings of my skills and expertise.

Living in US 15 years:

to Yawn
Quote: "if you have such a problem with American freedoms, why are you here to begin with? You are also FREE TO GO BACK HOME."

This is probably one of the best and most classical examples of Western arrogance. U probably heard this story many times.

There are those most nationalistic and Anti-America ______ (fill the blank with the nation u want, such as Chinese, Arabian etc.) youths who just can't wait to get a student visa to come to USA.
And I am pretty sure every American feel vindicated when he/she hears this story.

Is this story true? Definitely. But do Westerners really understand what it means?
It means u are rich. Period.
99% immigrants coming to the Western countries for economic reasons. They are not attracted by political freedoms!!!!
Remember South Africa during the apartheid era? During that time,every year hundreds of thousands of black people from neighboring countries would come to SA for work. Are u telling me they were attracted to SA by its apartheid system? Same with the Palestinian migrant workers in Israel. And the Mexicans come here because they want to have the rights to vote for George W?
And in China there are quite a few Russian and Eastern European soccer players in the Chinese soccer league, is that a proof Chinese political system is better than those former communist countries?

Aidsmonkey:

Western liberal democracy did not develop using the ideals of "Western liberal democracy". Democracy, freedom of expression, etc are all nice things but what price did the West exact for it?

There's a nice article in today's Washington Post by David Treuer about the death of Native American languages. Well, that is part of the price that bought today's Western liberal democracy.

Believing that liberalism (which I generally applaud) is some sort of natural state that the authorities in China loathe is just wrong. The groundwork of liberalism and democracy is built (and I will put a number on it) with a per capita GDP of about $10-15K per person.

Building that economic base as humanely as possible it is only way forward. China could always do better but to hear a constant barrage of criticism from the West, who built their democracies using far more egregious methods, is just galling.

YAY:

Ian,

Just wanted to thank you for your post. I hope they understand you.

Ian:

I want to begin by saying that I am heartened by most of the exchanges I see on the topic of China in this forum. The reactions by the defenders of Chinese policies are, regardless of the sustainability of those policies, quite natural human reactions: hurt, anger, and frustration at being criticized by people who do not live in your part of the world and have not shared your history.

That being said, the criticism will continue. The Western world's strength comes not from any single political or economic structure, it comes largely from the fact that we can, and do, say what we want when we want. You want to criticize my country (Canada)? Want to call us a country of half-rate, self-important, seal-clubbing wimps? Be my guest. We call ourselves, and our politicians, worse every day in our media. People need that freedom.

Guys...sticks and stones, and all that. Take what people are saying and sift it for any truth it might contain, because that's the point at which real growth can begin; and I don't mean just fancy skyscrapers and shopping malls.

If you want to be a fully accepted member of the informal club called the First World, you have to understand what comes with the territory. No one is going to shut up just because your feelings are hurt. It doesn't mean we hate you, apart from the odd nut-job whom you are perfectly free to ignore. It means we think you are worth taking an interest in. Personally, I am watching China with tremendous expectation. I think you are on the verge of chages that will take your country into a whole new chapter, and a positive one.

Sure, tell us all to get lost, but don't expect it to happen. And, for goodness sake, don't stop thinking.

Jack:

@upChinaup

What is my background to you? He who brandishes his own to add weight to a point, is only putting his finger on the scale.

"Am I not the a food proof that having an open mind is the best way to learn the truth."

Those that boast of learning the truth are usually those that know the least.

And in addition, to be so sensitive to criticism of Mao and the CCP only detracts from your claim. I never even mentioned Mao by name nor what I thought of him.

And if you find this post lacking substance, well, let's just say I did not have much to respond to.

Yawny:

Right now the Chinese government is acting and speaking like a teenager in a world of heavyweights. Their rash judgments will not only continue to increase world tensions, but also serve as the catalyst that will most definitely sway world opinions of the Chinese people themselves; eventually ending up with everyone avoiding trade with China for the next 100 years.

So far, the world recognizes the difference between the Government and the people, and we have been very understanding of some Han Chinese posters that simply refuse to accept certain truths in this world and continually equate Demonstrations or Rioting with Terrorism. I don’t know how they drew that line though, but if you have such a problem with American freedoms, why are you here to begin with? You are also FREE TO GO BACK HOME.

All we ask is for the Chinese government to learn from the worlds mistakes such as our own civil rights movement, to ensure that those that feel too scared to speak, have a voice.

That is the problem the world has with the Chinese government, not the people of China.

Ever hear the expression "help us help you"

Well? Are you?

sue:

I invite all to read INFREDERICK posted on April 10 @11:30 p.m.. to witness the ignorance and hatred towards China.

China's polution is a big problem. It is however not a deliberate act by an authoritarian government. It is the result of needing to lift 1/5 of the world's population from near starvation. US is still poluting big time. But it is doing it not to feed the starving, but to feed its consumerism culture. I am quite sure INFREDERICK would rather not talk about the big time poluting the West has done since industrial revolution. He rather stay on the high horse based on lies and finger pointing.

Chinese military build up? Are you threatened really? You must be kidding ! US has 6 times ( SIX TIMES) of lethal weapons the rest of the world combined. Also do you have a map,UNFREDERIC? Check it out. US is encircling China with military bases and fleets. At some point, a country need to prepare for self defense.

UpChinaUp:

to jack:

I have sincerely stated my background. How about you?

Reading your comments. I really do not see any point of engaging you any further after this last one as it will be a waste of time for you, me and others (on and on...... you know).

Yes, basing on my own familie's and many of my country men's unimaginable suffering and loss of lives in the past. I stand proudly and learnt to say that the fortune of us Chinese of 56 ethnics were saved by the greatest hero in our long history - Chaiman MAO ZETONG. Whether personal cult or not, you must look at it from the historic perspective at that point.

Modern CCP has progressed with the time. We will let future historian judge on it.

Am I not the a food proof that having an open mind is the best way to learn the truth.

Let's beware of all the anti-China(or Chinese) interests in and out of China. Let's learn from history not be misquided by media, politician or televison.

VA22207:

Add one more loser:

Loser #4. Monks in Tibetan Monasteries.
Currently, all monks there receive stipend from Chinese government and monasteries receive funds for the renovation and maintenance of their temples. What if Chinese government shifts the funding to favor the loyal ones and cut the funding for those "trouble makers"? Then I guess some of the top monks will do something to keep the funding.

va22207:

I would like to compile a list of winners and losers
arising from the conflicts related to Tibet and Olympics:

Winner #1: CCP and Chinese government.
CCP and Chinese government gained huge support of Chinese people, including oversea Chinese. Now, Chinese think the western media are also propaganda tools, just much more sophisticated than People's Daily. CCP has tried to tell Chinese this and to prevent "westernization" for decades without success. Now it is a dream come true for CCP, for which a boycotted Olympics is just a tiny price to pay. If the goal of hosting an Olympics is to gain support for CCP, the goal is already achieved. A long term win.

Winner #2. Free Tibet movement.
It gained the publicity and put pressure on Chinese government. How much it can achieve towards its goal of Tibet independence is hard to say. Before the invasion of Iraq, there were huge antiwar protests all around the world, which achieved nothing.

Winner #3. Many politicians in the west.
There are a lot of them quickly occupied the moral high ground. Accusing others of immorality without paying is like a free lunch. We saw the UK prime minister and US president are very hesitant in boycotting. They are thinking about the $400k a pop speech fees after their tenure. A short term gain.

Winner #4. Various NGOs
These NGOs also gained publicity during the torch relay protests. These publicity will translate into more funding for their worthy causes.

Winner #5. Media, both Chinese and Western.
Gained viewer-ship or readership, only temporarily though.

So who are losers?

Loser #1. Olympic Spirit
Olympic Spirit, IMO, is about for people from different nations to compete in a fair and square way, to seek common ground, to develop friendship, not exploiting political differences. Now, I see that many organizations using it as a great opportunity to spotlight the differences.

Loser #2. the cause of human rights in China.
The current situation probably will slow down the process of opening up to the world. A closed country with siege mentality typically has a lower human rights record. We know that civil liberty is a very fragile thing in front of national security. Look at the Patriotic Act of USA.

Loser #3, World development.
A polarized world is not conductive to development, except for military industry.


Cathy:

Obviously, although the State Council of China issued a white paper on China's political party system last year, so many people here, Chinese or non-Chinese, are still debating basing on the idea that China is a country with a one-party government. But the fact is that we've got a political system basing on multi-party cooperation and political consultations.

I would not blame anyone for being so ignorant, though, as the other political parties in China had remained low-profile for many years due to many reasons. All these years, democratic party members could only get deputy positions in the government. Kind of CCP's puppets, many people would say. As a result, even some government officials in China know little about the multi-party political system. Actually all I used to know about the democratic parties in China was that it was extremely hard to join them as they were extremely strict and picky when admitting new members. On the contrary, it seems that almost any person with a not-so-bad record could join CCP as long as they wish to. That's why there are so many CCP members in mainland China nowadays. (BTW, in view of this fact, I think it's unfair to criticize the whole CCP too much for a few of their members' wrong-doings or corruptions. They've got too many members, and it's hard to ensure the integrity of all these people, not to mention some members' selfish and even evil motive for joining CCP from the very beginning.)

But just like some comments here have put, the political system is not static, and we believe reforms could do much better than a revolution. Things are already changing. CCP has gradually recognized the importance of the democratic parties's political presence. More and more democratic party members have got key positions in the central and local governments, and could have a say on many important issues. We still have a long way to go, but it's good as long as we are still moving forward. I believe democracy has no fixed form. What kind of form it shall take in a specific country depends on the historical, social and even cultural context of that country.

Just for all you guys' information, there are 8 democratic political parties, all of which are participant political parties in China. I'm very proud to say that I was just admitted to one of them a couple of months ago.

As for the environment issue that some people here seem to be concerned about, yes, it's a fact that we have been over-exploiting natural resources and affecting the environment in a negative way here and there. But which country has never made such mistakes during their economic development? The point is that we are already trying hard to take measures to protect our environment and our government is paying more and more attention to how to achieve "sustainable development". As a lawyer, I once advised an international investment and financial group headquartered in HK on a CDM project (I wouldn't feel strange if you American people don't know what CDM means. After all, your country won't approve the Kyoto Protocol yet.) and was very happy to find how supportive the government was when it came to the environment issue. Don't cricitize us on environment issues and deal with your own environment problems first, pls.

All in all, every country has its own problems, and the administration of a country with such a huge population but far less natural resources than we were taught as kids could be no easy task for anyone, right? At least we keep trying to change (BTW, Mr Obama's talk about change and unity had made me think he could be a great leader for the US people, but his recent call for Bush to boycott the Beijing Olympics has proved that he is but another hypocritical political opportunist of the West.) toward a better future. Here we democratic parties are willing to acknowledge CCP's leadership and accept the existing political system in China because we only care about the best interests of our home country, not who shall take the lead on the political stage.

Jack:

@Rocky
"It's safe to say, compared with what other countries did and are doing to their minority, China is definitly well above average"

No, it's not safe to say. American treatment of Native Americans is in a period of over 400 years. And during that time multiple leaders had multiple policies. Yes, some policies were extremely cruel, but others are based on good intentions that yielded bad results. American leaders also at many points found it hard to control the millions of migratory white settlers streaming into Indian lands, despite government warnings. Americans did try in varying degrees to assimilate, until finally deciding it was better to leave them alone.

If you're so willing to compare Native Americans to Tibetans, then inevitably Chinese policy, no matter how well intentioned, will end in failure. Tibetans will either be intermarried off, or suffer in poverty and poor health.

You mentioned that China is no more nationalistic then any other nation If that is the case, then why can't it be assumed that China's policy is going to be no better than any other nation? It is foolhardy to assume otherwise.

Jack:

@UpChinaUp

"The real strength of Chinese can only be found in CCP, who is the saviour (from who... make a guess..) to all the Chinese people (including the Chinese overseas who may not have realized it)."

The idea that an institution acts as a savior for a whole ethnicity (or multiple ethnicities if you're talking about Zhong hua min zu) is just completely repugnant, arrogant, and extremely naive.

To say that the CCP is the strength and the savior of all Chinese is to engage in cheap identity politics, seeking only to reinforce equally naive and pernicious Western interpretations of the "Yellow horde" or Chinese in general as some sort of collective.

I guess we are quick to forget that this is the same CCP that rather than fighting the Axis, instead decided to chip away at the Nationalists in WWII.

This is the same CCP that from it's genesis to most of its lifespan was focused on a cult-of-personality. The same CCP that is now at best described as an economic regulator and cultural bulwark, which I might add is the same culture they tried their very best to destroy.

Rocky:

UNBIASED OBSERVER,
Please give us more analysis or data to support your claim, which, I believe can better ajustify the meaning of your name
Thanks

UNBIASED OBSERVER:

Wow, the Chinese and overseas Chinese who post here are so defensive. Such thin skins. A good idea for them would be try to to grow up instead of whining about legitimate criticism or "Western Imperialism".

Rocky:

Want to add a France in my previous post for it's bloodshed crackdown to riots in Paris

hansolo:

Macro view: self-descruct path for all

If China in particular, and developing nations in general, continue to develop the way it has been. The demand on natural resources would fastly over take what there is available on Earth. The result would be: globle warming, and worse, unless human innovations can catch up.

What who can blame the desire to live a better life?

Rocky:

Noticed that a lot people keep saying the oppression, culture genocide...in Tibet, which is ridiculous to normal Chinese especially for Han Chinese. China minority races are enjoying much better policies than Han chinese, some facts:
1. No one child policy apply to them
2. Tibetans don't pay tax
3. The score needed to be enrolled in university is much lower for them.
4. Monks in Tibet are getting salary (higher than average)from government for sitting and praying all day long.
5. Foods, subsidy and investment poured in without calculating returns.
6. In local schools, it's a basic requirement to pass the test and courses for their own languages.
7. Billions dollars used to repair and maintein temples.
etc...
It's safe to say, compared with what other countries did and are doing to their minority, China is definitly well above average, think about the genocide to native american indians, the culture genocide in scottland northern ireland, genocide in Indonessia and Australia......
Why some still want independence? It's a complicated issue, but CIA, western medias and people's unrealistic greedy definitely have their negative shares in it.
Chinese are nationalists just like people in other countries, no more no less!
China will definitely not become the next Nazi-Germany, mark my words!!!

Shawn:

Majority of those protesters seem to ignore the Dalai Lama's Nazi connection and his fervent endorsement of a Japanese terrorist cult (Tokyo subway nerve gas attack). The Tibet buddhism, to be honest with you, is a combination of cult and theocracy (like Iran).

Hansolo:

Critizing is good as long as unbiased and balanced.

On human rights: (*) What happened to native amrican where they were killend and kicked out of their place?? (*) What happened to Iraq's when they were bombed?? (*) What happened to CIA's various killing and supports of dictators around the world?? (*) What happened to the human right of the "burned alive chinese" in Tibet??

hansolo:

Go Olympic!! Go China!!
Watching the chaotic Olympic Relay in UK, and France, the Chinese people once again were humulated/bullied by them as happened century ago (eg: the Opium War, etc).
If they were going to boycott Olympic, maybe China should boycott their products.

Happy to see that in SF relay, the people who support the torch outnumbered those who protest.
But always the case that few load noise overshadows the silent majosity.


Zhonguotong:

I'm not anti-Chinese at all. I really like China and have gotten to know many really nice people here. The Chinese are much more modest, human and sincere than Americans--so many of whom have become perverse. I do feel however that foreigners do have a right to comment on China--one, because China is affecting the world in many ways, and two, foreigners may not be Chinese but they are human, Chinese are human too, so in that way we're the same. The two biggest problems in China from my view are one, the governmemt is engaged in the promotion of ultra-nationalism in an effort to control people, and from this they derive a rain check against abuses. Chinese government/business culture is perhaps the most corrupt in the world--all Chinese know it but no one here is allowed to protest it. The environment in China is being destroyed quickly, in fact it already has been destroyed, it's a nightmare. Again, if you become actively vocal about this you run the risk of loosing your job, being censured or even handed a long jail term. Too many Chinese have swallowed the nationalism pill and have willingly blinded themselves because after all, their lives are improving (at least in the cities), and the 'nail that stands out gets hammered down'.

China has committed no crime in Tibet, they have improved the lives of Tibetans who were dominated by a Buddhist theocracy that kept them uneducated, poor and in servitude--I think the protests are driven by what probably is a natural resentment that many Tibetans feel toward the Han Chinese, and by corrupt and power hungry Buddhist priests.

To my Chinese friends: your government is going to be a disaster for your nation. You are not modernizing and the improvement in living standards for some is temporary and illusory. After saying this I'll add that the US government has also been a disaster for those living in the US...

Wu:

It's very simple: "It's racism stupid!"

There is no reason for non-Asians to be commenting about what transpires in Asia, unless they have diarrhea of the mouth, are imperialist wannabes, or bow to the likes of David Duke.

You people do not have a horse in the race, and we did not invite you to the party. If you are so into trying to interfere and control us Asians, then I suggest that you come-up with a viable time-travel script which takes you back to your racist imperialist past, and try to sell it to the Sci-Fi Channel!

China is working?:

First I was a little confused about the question. Then I realized the "China" here is like people here saying "eating Chinese"--meaning eating Chinese food. Oh well I guess it is irrelevant.

There is no comparison between the western free press and the Chinese media, who is largely controlled by the government. However, the western media can be absolutely dangerous--it was at least 30% responsible for the disastrous war against Iraq: They failed to inform the public, they failed to report the truth.

To say it was biased is an understatement about the reporting about the Tibet incident in most media. For example, about human right violation in Tibet. I have yet to see the media or politicians have listed a single example the Chinese government has done the in the past 5 years (in the past 40 years? absolutely yes! my right was violated more than 300 times during my 30 years living there) which can be considered as violation of human right. I am absolutely puzzled.

The Chinese government was partially responsible to "incite" the biased reporting: the foreign spokesman (Qin) constantly criticized them and he angered them. To be honest, I saw its coming. However, I thought the western media should be above that, they should remain impartial even under unfair criticism. But I guess it is too hard to do--reporters are human too.

Nym:

I don't cut China any slack because I want them to improve. They respond like petulant 2 year olds, which I suspect goes with a lack of exposure to the standards the rest of the world has.

UpChinaUp:

I am a Chinese (born and raised in Taiwan), US educated and now living in Singapore.

The real strength of Chinese can only be found in CCP, who is the saviour (from who... make a guess..) to all the Chinese people (including the Chinese overseas who may not have realized it).

Travelled and stayed long term in Beijing over the last eight years, awed, humbled and respect greatly of my mother land. People are having a greatly improved quality of life(yes, better than most prosperous countries in Asia) and a very positive outlook.

Too much baseless negative comments from outsiders with ulterior motives. It is none of your business if you have not even a grade school level of knowledge about China. If you do not shut up, I would only regrad you as being a brainless racist, bigot neocon who is not aware that the days of western imperialism are over. Whatever, soon, whether you like it or not. It will be up to China to say if he wants to respect you as equal or not.

Jingbox:

Many a time, I find people compare political systems as if they were all set up to accomplish the same tasks, to achieve the same goal or to respond to the same challenge. This assumption is, however, a mistake.

It's true that different governments are established to accomplish lots of common challenges, but they are all there to respond to certain specific challenges faced by that specific nation.

When the fathers of this country established United States of America, they chose a quite different system and constitutional foundation than those of Great Britain to respond to what they learned or suffered in Great Britain, priorities were placed on the freedom of speech and freedom of religion (for the European immigrants, unfortunately true at the time) among others.

Why do we see different forms of governments across different regions? or in the same region across different time? The answer relies on the two key factors: 1) what are the challenges that the government was trying to respond? 2) Based on the existing political, economical and cultural infrastructure, what options were available?

Responses to the challenges succeed or fail, and civilizations rise and fall.

When the Chinese met the West in 1840s (lost of the Opium War), a series of trial-and-errors were started to respond to the Western challenges. Actually we tried lots of approaches in responding, including a very democratic government in 1911 by Sun Yat-sen, the father of a democratic China and forerunner for a modern China. His democratic China was soon controlled by warlords, most of them were supported by a foreign power behind. Chinese people were pulled into endless wars, deep poverty and chaotic social injustice. And soon, on top of all these, it came the Japanese invasion in 1930s. Can you imaging that the priority for the Chinese people was to establish a government to protect freedom of speech and freedom of religion?

Individual rights were not the priority at the time. There were much pressing challenges facing the country. The response of China? It was the birth of the People's Republic of China. In my opinion, China's response to her most pressing challenges was very effective, with a high cost. What's the cost? The individual rights.

It was after the "culture revolution" that Chinese people started to put individual rights as one of our priorities. However, it is not the only priority. We still facing the challenges from the West as we have been facing for the past one and half a centuries. Today, China still faces very different challenges than those that faced by the Western countries. Its political system has to accomplish dramatically different tasks than those of the western countries.

Do you think the Western political system can not only be copied in China but can also accomplish the tasks the country is facing? Our history told us the answers is "NO".

Chinese learned lots in the past one and a half centuries, both from West and from our own practice. Most of the Chinese are unshakably believe in the following: first, our country shall be kept open to the world and our mind shall be kept open to different cultures and opinions; and second, we shall do what WE think is the best for our country based on our understanding of our situation, because WE are the people really care about our future and the people that bear the consequences when mistakes are made.

For me, Nancy Pelosi's threats and demands for China to do this to do that only show her arrogance, hypocrisy and stupidity. You think she cares about China? She herself doesn't even believe that! To her it's only a business. She don't care, and I can tell you, she doesn't even bother understand what she is talking about. I just feel sick.

When you understand the challenges faced by China and the priorities of our choice, then we can start to have a meaningful conversation. Then I will sincerely appreciate your criticizing of Chinese government, it helps.


Ed:


For anyone who wants to know more about recent China, I highly recommend "A Million Truths, A Decade in China," by Linda Jakobson. She is from Finland and worked as a teacher, as well a newspaper correspondent for a Finland newspaper in China for about ten years, beginning in the late 1980's.

She became acquainted with some people and families in China and came to know them as human beings. As Pomfret experienced, Ms. Jakobson at first found her students did not believe the United States had any faults and she was criticized by some of them for presenting her interpretations of problems in this country, as well as its positive characteristics.

Those who say the Chinese today are only interested in money are wrong, just as it would be to say the same about Americans. Most Chinese parents care very much for their children, make major sacrifices for their benefit and are generally, especially in cities, more involved in their children's education than most Americans.

The Chinese people and nation were repeatedly humiliated by foreigners, especially the British, French and Japanese, beginning with the Opium Wars to World War II, about one hundred years. This is one of the primary reasons, along with their long history and culture, why most people in China dislike being lectured to and/or bullied by outsiders.

The vast majority of people in China have considerably more personal freedom than they did thirty or forty years ago. Two of the primary limitations are the inability to usually express dissent about political issues in public and to organize peaceful protest. Some intellectuals have though openly called for greater reforms in the political system. I think political changes are inevitable, but more likely gradually, than occurring rapidly. Remember the growth of democracy took many decades in Western nations, including the United States.

williamg3:

China is taking a path not beaten by anyone before, there are risks for sure, but people can overcome that, it takes time.

infrederick:

I think that China is not on a path that can work much longer. The environmental devastation caused by the ruling hybrid authoritarian/capitalist system, otherwise known as a fascist system, is accelerating towards a cliff of ecologic collapse. The predictable response, given the Han Chinese culture's current xenophobic racism and overweening belief in their ethnic superiority, coupled with increasing military strength, will be wars of aggression.

JRLR:

lzhao asks: "any opinion?"

Yes.

On the one hand, the idea is very ingenious... and amusing to consider.

On the other hand, I believe that if a referendum were then held in Tibet, the vast majority of Tibetans would prefer to stay put: their population has been growing substantially, economically their region has developed remarkably, their identity, language and traditions have been not only preserved but have led to the development of a lucrative tourist industry...

Yes, I would bet that 75% of Tibetans living in Tibet would vote to stay put.

In that case, I wonder how we, in the West, would react... Most likely, our media would assert (without providing any evidence to that effect) that the referendum was rigged, more particularly if it had not been internationally supervised... as it should never be!

bandw:

There's nothing unique about so-called "China model" at all. It's simply a bigger version of "Taiwan miracle",or "Korea miracle". Call it "east Asian model" if you will. It will someday evolve into a kind of participatory democracy for sure. Because China is bigger it will take longer than its small neighbors.

I'd give Chinese government one cheer for what they've accomplished. American system deserves two cheers, not three.

Most US Media are Liers:

US is a place where lies, crimes, and plots are being made.

Bird:

About US political system and China political system,

1) Democracy is not about two or more party system.
Democracy is an ideal about Majority Ruling. US system so far is failing on that. According to the new poll, Bush administration only has 28% job approval rate. There are a lot people disapprove the performance of Congress. Elect another party doesnot ensure they can produce correct policies to serve majority's interest. So question is how to ensure the government (elected or not elected) works for the majority's interest.

2) Corruption: In China, lobby our government for business interest is called corruption. We want our government free from it, so they can based their decision making process on majority's interest, not on the top 5%. It will be a long standing battle because the nature of capitalism. I think Chinese public firmly believe that inequality is harmful for both the rich and the poor. But again, to be fair, it is CCP actually battling it. Last year they actually bring down more than 30,000 corrupted
officials nationwide. However, in my eyes, the US is the most corrupted country in the regard. It has the worst kind corruption- legalized and systemized
corruption. Just get information on who spent money to put Bush administration on to the power and how they paid them back, you understand what i mean.

3)We Chinese Don't view our political system should be in a fixed form. We believe in reform because people develops so should its political system does. We are proud of it.

4) The West countries have 'forcefully' demanded China should go down their path. It makes me wonder what their ture intention rely on. No, we don't want to take 200 years to get there! Nor you can make us too.

BTW, I am a Chinese businesswoman who happened has long stays in US and short stays in Europe in last 10 years and mainly live in Beijing.

lzhao:

The recent Tibet problem is paralleled with indian problem in the US. It is not new that native americans have been seeking for independence for a long time. But very very few people criticize US policy towards native American.


Apparently US's policy towards Indians are generally accepted by the international community, maybe it should be suggested to Chinese government that Tibetans could be placed in some isolated small reservation areas so that they can set up some casinos in their "indian nation".

To lure the Chinese, I have a even better idea. As you know there is a large piece of disputed land between china and indian (in asia). This disputed land is a tibet region traditionally and many tibetan still lives over there. Since india is a democratic and free country, it should not be difficult for the west country to persuade india to donate it to a "independent tibetan country".

so tibetans have their own country and chinese does not loose any thing. indian solves a big problem with china, it is a win-win-win situation.

any opinion?

RedBlack:

Safety first and freedom second. Oriental people would rather stay together, like a school of fish, to feel safe instead of walk alone. They would rather been protected by God or someone replaces God but by themselves. Traditional, Chinese see good government should perform like their parents so called “FUMOGUAN”. Country in Chinese word means “Big group of families”. Even the leader of China now show “parent” function a lot. I believe many top leaderes of China never have vacation but more busy holiday time. Just like X’mas in US, parent must work hard to keep kids happy. So, how democracy could naturally cut in this family based system? Or non fully need by now. Following this concept, human right also have different meaning.

JRLR:

What I found revealing in China was:

1. Chinese people (including younger middle-aged people) pointing out that when they were children, they "did not have all they needed"... (euphemism for: "we did not even have enough to eat -- that thought would often bring tears to their eyes)... then adding, admiringly, that they never would have even dreamt that China would become, so soon, what it has now become.

2. Chinese people standing publicly in awe, everywhere, staring proudly at the truly impressive achievements that surround them, in what is now modern China: innumerable public buildings of great architectural beauty, huge, impressive apartment buildings, magnificent, futuristic airports, trains, aircrafts, subways, roads, bridges, efficient public services, so many tourists everywhere, thanks to a thriving tourist industry, etc.

3. Chinese people being, in general, so reserved, yet so charming, so outwardly healthy looking, calm and serene, endowed with such an endearing sense of humour, even when leading a very difficult, demanding life, more particularly by our standards.

4. Chinese people being so proud of their past, of China's long history, rich culture, unfailing creativity and originality.

5. How free people were, in their everyday life, how respectful of and interested in the minorities they were, and how well minorities were developing.

I noticed that all Westerners I have known, in China, were fascinated to discover what a modern and rich country China was, having expected to visit what they were convinced was nothing but "a terribly underdeveloped country". Most of all, those Westerners found it humiliating to have to admit wishing their own country was, in some respects, as modern as China has become.

That had me conclude that Chinese people (including Chinese people from the diaspora, all over the world) were much more supportive and proud of their country and of their country's leadership, than we are led to believe, in the West.

I am sure of one thing: from now on, Chinese people will never settle for anything less than being treated as equals. In today's world, they will never accept that China be snubbed and humiliated by Western powers, as was done in the past. It would be a grave mistake for us not to remember that. Any attempt to humiliate China is bound to bring Chinese people together like has never been seen before.

In view of the above, I believe things are working quite well for China.

Is their model sustainable? Well, are we not the ones who are, avowedly, still looking for a model of sustainable development?

Chet from CA:

Ed has got it right. You have to know Chinese history to understand China.
In Xian, they have the 6000 terra cotta warriors who guard the secret tomb of Shi Huang Di, the Emperor who unified China in 220 BC. The warriors are mostly smashed. They have a beautiful movie-in-the-round about the peasant revolt that smashed the warriors duing his son's reign and overthrew the 1st Dynasty. The message is that the Dynasty falls when it looses the Mantle of Heaven. In western terms that is when it fails the social contract.
The Party is a Dynasty that is only 60 years old. It is in it's 2nd social contract, the 1st was liberation. The current one is power in exchange for prosperity. They clearly achieved the 1st and so far are successful with the second though it grows harder for reasons other bloggers have already suggested.
I have a number of Chinese Skype-chat buddies with whom I have been discussing current events. They don't think they're in danger of arrest for taking to me about all kinds of stuff. That's unlike Muslims I met in Xinjiang who said they could be arrested for honestly answering my questions. (It was "how do you feel about 30,000 American troops 140 miles away in Afganistan")
The Chinese are very concerned with national stability. They don't think their individual, and they are individualistic, life plans work without it.
One time I went to Tiananmen Sq. with a georgeous young Chinese woman of 28, to see the evening flag lowering ceremony. She pointed to the huge picture of Mao over the Gate of Heavenly Peace. She said "there is where Mao declared the New China. He said it was the end of 100 years of defeat and disgrace and that women held up half the sky. It doesn't matter what he did after that." There were tears in her eyes as she spoke.
I don't think we should piss these people off.

HS:

It is quite absurd that whenever a subject about China was brought up it always focus on communism, human rights, etc. People fail to recognize that every country can take its own route to modernity. The Europeans took the route of colonialism and slave trade. The American took the route of slaughtering of the native Indians. China took a different route which is much more peaceful and non-destructive to other nations.

The current generation of European and American has conveniently forgot that as beneficiaries of their ancestor's crimes and human rights abuses, they are also rightfully inheriting the guilt of their ancestor's crimes until they have fully repaid the damages to the people and nations still suffering from lasting effects of those crimes.

Before they clean them-self through good deeds they won't be qualified to play the role of human rights cops. Rushing into that role before been guilty-free will only make them disingenuous.

John Guise:

Having lived in China for five years, I can confirm that this is a country in transition. We have to see how China battles economic downturns and other negative events before we make a decision.

J.

in close contact with Asians:

The Chinese have had 5000 years of history, at least 3000 of which with written records. The way they look at us when we lecture them about our way of life as the correct one is with puzzlement and a certain disdain you have for a youngster who doesn't know what he is talking about.
The reason the West has dominated in the last 200 years is solely because of its military power at the base of which lay economic and technological might.
That is changing, unfortunately, and in no small measure due to Bush mismanagement in many different areas.
If we really want to have an impact and change their behavior, we need to get our economic house in order, care for the environment (because in that area, China is acutely vulnerable, and very willing to learn) and show that we can politically and financially empower the weak in our society. That would endear us to a whole lot of people around the world.
Will we lead them or will they lead us into the future?

Beverly:

China is working. But what is working in China ?
China is growing on a form of capitalism, in which the state keeps a firm grip on society, as it has done for centuries. This works, because all those people who hardly had the money to buy a fridge before, start to earn a relatively decent wage. So, day to day life sure is better than it used to be. But, as in other authoritarian states, it is a "they leave us alone, we leave them alone" system. Civil rights came into being from middle class ideals, they weren't the poors' idea. The critical moment will be there when the Chinese middle class will be big enough to make itself felt. After all, in the end, everybody wants more than a fridge and a car.

I like this "get off my back" feeling which, several comments claim, Chinese have. Isn't this the complaint we hear in the US as well ? "Why do they hate us so much ?". Welcome to the world of debate !
It just cannot be a reason for foreigners to be less critical of China. Nothing keeps Chinese citizens from becoming politically active, and confront other countries with their shortcomings. Neither China nor the US have recognized the International Criminal Court. So, China, be the first !

UNINFORMED READER:

I don't like the "US democracy is flawed, so leave China alone" argument. Its tries equivocate the flaws in our system with the flaws in their system, as if the flaws are at the same level of severity.

Native American:

Is China succeeding where the Soviets failed? No.

But, please, free Native America.

And, who were killing whom in Tibet around March 14? Why did the media in the US and Europe collectively failed in reporting this crucial fact? Why did the media slant the reports and talk about something else?

ff:

"But is this model sustainable?"

First of all, I think it's misleading to refer to a country that is undergoing rapid, far-reaching changes to its society, economy and government as representing some kind of fixed "model." If some other country wanted to emulate the Chinese "model," what would that entail? Forming a one-party Communist state? Pegging their currency to the dollar? Filtering certain Wikipedia pages? Sending lots of students (and spies) to America? China is very much a society in transition, so it's difficult to see how it can be interpretted as a model for anyone else (well, maybe North Korea, seeing as they are an impoverished East-Asian state with a totalitarian dictator, kind of like China under Mao).

Secondly, to the extent we can define a Chinese politico-socio-economic model, we won't really have any idea how well it works until we see how it performs in an economic downturn. Just about any moderately-functional political system will be workable and popular during boom times, so China's performance since 1980 or so doesn't tell us much about the ultimate viability of their system. It's when times get hard that we'll find out whether the political system provides sufficient outlets for peoples' concerns, or whether the economy is dynamic enough to adapt to major changes, etc. Remember, the advantage to democracy is not that it necessarily produces better-quality leaders than other systems, but that it has a peaceful, orderly way of getting rid of the inevitable poor leaders, and so is more stable in times of turmoil.

Terrorist:

FREE AMERICA


Direct Democracy

Ed:



Most Americans know very little about Chinese history. Each of the major dynasties, such as Han, Tang, Song, Ming and Qing, lasted longer than the history of the independent United States. There have often been cycles in Chinese history whereby a highly centralized government was replaced by disunity, usually as a consequence of internal rebellions and/or foreign aggressors.

Few Americans realize China has been a united nation, free from foreign imperialism or aggression, in the modern era, only since 1949. There have been radical social, economic and cultural changes in China since about 1979. China today is in some ways similar to the United States or Great Britain during the first hundred years of their industrial development. There is rampant capitalism, increasingly a gap between the rich and poor, a rising middle class, inadequate regard for worker safety or the natural environment. However, there is also a consumer culture similar to that in the contemporary United States, Europe and Japan.

The Nationalists also aspired to be a single party government, a fact that did not bother hardly anyone in the West between the 1920's and 1940's. China does have elections at the local level in many villages. There is a strong likelihood these elections may spread to larger entities in the near future.

Many Americans expect China and every country should become a democracy, similar to the United States. Actually the United States is not a democracy and was not intended to be a democracy by the Founding Fathers. Most of the Federalist leaders were openly anti-democratic. The electoral college system of electing a president is hardly democratic. Nor is it democratic for states with a small population to have as much power in the Senate as California or Texas. The right to vote was denied to significant groups of Americans until fairly recently. My point is the growth and spread of "democracy" in this country was a very slow process.

In conclusion, there is a high likelihood the existing system in China, as you described, which has only lasted about thirty years, is temporary and will be subject to changes during this century. Just as it took many decades for effective government regulation to protect workers and the environment, to some extent, in the United States, one can not realistically expect comparable change in China to occur at a far more rapid pace. I think laws to protect workers, consumers and the ennvironment will take place in China before major changes in the political system.

Xeroid47:

Is this model sustainable? What a question. Does any system remain static? Of course it will evolve whether under pressure from inside, outside, or from environment. China has chosen a course that's changing China. Certainly China is playing a waiting game for Dalai Lama to pass from history, they have already waited for close to 50 years. In the final analysis do American Indian can reclaim their heritage or even their lands promised from treaties aside from some casinoes? I suspect Tibetans will fare better than their counterpart in U.S., and modernity if not capitalism will do their normal damages to indiginous cultures everywhere.

Ander:

The flaw in the Chinese model is both the political and economic systems. Inspite of expanding individual rights, the Chinese political elite (married to the economic elite who supports them) has vastly more power than the ordinary people. The people get abuse by both the economic elites who act like 19th century robber barons and the political elites who act like 20th century authoritarians. People have no real safety valve or power. China has not yet fallen apart because the economy is expanding and people lives are improving for now. However, should the economy stop growing due environmental degradation, an aging population, lack of resources such as oil, etc. I do not see a way for the ordinary people to change the system from the inside. Political and social unrest will probably result. Americans have been abused also by the economic elites of this country, however, people (collectively speaking) do have real political power to change the system. Our politicians, although not saints, are basically still under the people's control. Americans have elected real reformists such as Teddy Roosevelt or FDR when capitalism was excessive.

simple simon:

“China will close itself off from the rest of the world, which, don’t forget, it has done for some 2,000 years,” said Jacques Rogge, Chairman of IOC in an interview. This is really nothing but blackmail – either the world allows China to practice dictatorship as it sees fit or China will close itself from the world. As if the world needs China but China does not need the world!

What is more, Mr. Rogge’s statement is not true. Over the centuries, China has had extensive exchanges with India, Mongolia and Korea even if it was closed to Europe. ‘India conquered and dominated China for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border’, so said Hu Shih, one of China’s ambassadors to US.

informed reader:

I have lived in US for more than 20 years, my whole adult life. I have seen how western demoncracy works. I voted in several election cycles. In this country, democracy is about money. Swift-boat episode is a typical example. Money can distored facts. My mom used to tell me that when a lie is told 100 times, it becomes truth. So people believe them. Even to this day, some of my co-workers believe that Iraq had nuclear weapon and was shipped to Syria before we invaded Iraq.

The media is so biased. Take the Los Angeles riot as an example, no one accused US government or local LA government abusing human right when police suppressed the violence.
However, when the violence occurred in Tibet and polic moved in, the whole western world denounced China. I'm tired how our goverment or elected officials tell other country what to do including China. Looking back our own history, when the Southern States wanted to separate from the UNION, we had a civil war. Yet everyone agrees President Lincon was one of the greatest presidents. Why do we expect the current Chinese government allow Tibet to be independent? If it's democracy, the whole country should vote to decide whether Tibet shold be allowed to be independent. Guess the results?

Whether China has a demoncratic government or one-party system, it is ultimately up to the Chinese people who live inside the country, not any one from outside. It is no one else's business.

informed reader:

I have lived in US for more than 20 years, my whole adult life. I have seen how western demoncracy works. I voted in several election cycles. In this country, democracy is about money. Swift-boat episode is a typical example. Money can distored facts. My mom used to tell me that when a lie is told 100 times, it becomes truth. So people believe them. Even to this day, some of my co-workers believe that Iraq had nuclear weapon and was shipped to Syria before we invaded Iraq.

The media is so biased. Take the Los Angeles riot as an example, no one accused US government or local LA government abusing human right when police suppressed the violence.
However, when the violence occurred in Tibet and polic moved in, the whole western world denounced China. I'm tired how our goverment or elected officials tell other country what to do including China. Looking back our own history, when the Southern States wanted to separate from the UNION, we had a civil war. Yet everyone agrees President Lincon was one of the greatest presidents. Why do we expect the current Chinese government allow Tibet to be independent? If it's democracy, the whole country should vote to decide whether Tibet shold be allowed to be independent. Guess the results?

Whether China has a demoncratic government or one-party system, it is ultimately up to the Chinese people who live inside the country, not any one from outside. It is no one else's business.

BubbaInVA:

I do not believe it is sustainable, but not necessarily for political reasons. One significant factor is the worsening environmental situation. Lack of potable water, lack of water for agriculture and industrial use, and a rise in health problems related to poor air quality could foster social unrest. Similarly, economic disparities and education and health care shortfalls in rural areas (that had received both under the earlier era of Communist rule) have already begun to create an unsettling of the social fabric in those areas. This could get worse over time - and may be exacerbated by the environmental concerns. I think these variables are important considerations in assessing the viability of the existing political structure in China. If the status quo leaves some citizens uncertain of how to express their dissatisfaction (i.e., they can't vote for change), that leaves only less savory options - which could lead to political upheaval.

Informed observer:

The real issue is that China, much like the old USSR, has a minimal political culture. This means that any kind of dispute is likely to come to a nasty head. This includes everything from traffic disputes, which often become violent in China, to the status of Tibet and religious practice. In the short term, China can ignore its lack of political culture. But if they want become a more developed nation, they need more openess and understanding.

Links & Resources

Visit Pomfret's Website
PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.