March 25, 2008

unfair criticisms on the PRC government

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:40 pm by changisme

I get really irritated talking about politics with my mom. She believes that PR China is so strong and powerful that hardly anything can hard it. "Just think of how much struggle Mao and his followers had to go through to get the leadership, and how little people these days can endure!" She would say. "Just look at how those puny little invasions from Vietnam and India ended in the ’60’s!" She even goes as far as to say that "Those somewherians (racial pronoun) have low IQ, or are just ex-slaves. What can they do?" She strongly believes that the government will have no harm come to the people, it may not give us a lot of freedom of speech or massive information, but safety and wealth, that, she believes, is there for the grabs.

Even though I try to convince her that China is much more vulnerable now because of its economic connection with the rest of the world, I do have to say, I agree with her. People in the west rave and rave about how the Chinese government is controlling, how it bans the internet, but really what does the people want? People want safety and wealth. As much as the Chinese culture has converged to the west, this part is still quite different from North America. There is not as much desire for the concept of individuality as there is here. (I really don’t think either way is necessarily health.)

For the Tibetan riot, people say to me that how the government is shutting out western media, and they believe it’s because the government wants to do something scary. I get very impatient when others just biasedly think that way about a government. I personally don’t think that’s really what was intended. The Chinese government is really into stability, any factor that could cause unrest should be eliminated. A bunch of western reporters running around (possibly being kidnapped by or encouraging to) to the rioters, should not be there. It’s really less about the information that goes out than what happens within. The government is not stupid, everyone knows masked mysteries is more scary than true information. The same goes to SARS. The government didn’t release the information (a very bad thing to do I have to agree) because they didn’t want people freaking out and starting to run each other over. This is dangerous in a country so densely populated.

All this pertains to Tian’anmen Square in ’89. People in the west are so sure that the whole thing is about the students being on the right wanting to correct the government, which is so evil and totalitarian to massively killing them, but really, I actually don’t believe the Chinese government was more in the wrong than the students. The government was corrupt, and when they first started the protest, many rounds of negotiation went, and the students were not giving anything in their conditions. If you learnt anything about Chinese history, to completely change a government’s nature, you need violence, otherwise, you just have to change it a bit at a time. Not giving any compremise was either clearly stupidity or self-heroism. After two months (TWO MONTHS OF SITTING THERE AND GETTING FED YOGURT AND BREAD BY THE PEOPLE WHO TOTALLY DIDN’T EVEN THINK THEY SHOULD BE DOING THIS) the leaders still refused to lead their student followers away. It was then the government called on the army to come in. Obviously (to anyone), something so public was just to scare the students away, but some had to rush out of the city to stand in front of the tanks. Duhh, aren’t you forcing the bullets into your own body? People in my parents generation, about 5 to 10 years older than the protesters told me that, at the time, they really thought these kids were doing wrong, but they were so young and almost all the ones who went were from outside of the city, because they had no parents to drag them home. So my parents generation felt sorry for these kids and even worried at the end. They went to Tian’anmen and wanted to see if they were actually being gunned down, but so stupid it looked, because there was no gunfights (I think some people actually wanted the excitement), and the students were in lines, excorted out of the Square. The only place violence happened was outside of the city where some students went to stand in front of the tanks.

Anyway, I digress, what I think is that the government wanted to maintain an order, because what people really want at any time is safety. I have asked numerous Chinese people, those who are young, those who are old, whose who love the government, and those who hate the corruptness, all agree that the government did the right thing during Tian’anmen Square. No commoner in my vicinity wanted some riot in exchange for some abstract human rights.

Personally, I do value my freedom of speech and I do think Canada is a better place but this preference was established after I was brought here and educated to love this social system,  I also think that criticism from the west, the belief that the government oppresses the people and has no concern of what people want is unfair and uninformed. It’s really because they don’t know what Chinese people want, they only know what they themselves would have liked.

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