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The Dragon in the Room: Censorship, Rebellion, and [China]

AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whateverRegistered User regular
edited April 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse
From io9.com:
A Beijing entrepreneur, discussing restaurant choices with his fiancée over their cellphones last week, quoted Queen Gertrude's response to Hamlet: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." The second time he said the word "protest," her phone cut off.

- Jun. 1989: The Chinese Army responds to students in Tiananmen Square protesting restrictions of freedoms by murdering 2,500 of them. Another 10,000 are wounded from the army's gunfire and tanks.
- Nov. 2002: China arrests activist Jiang Lujin for seditious blogging, with help from Yahoo.
- June 2005: China censors certain words from MSN's writing tool, Spaces.
- Nov. 2006: The Great Firewall of China goes active, giving governmental authority to block "objectionable" sites, including Wikipedia, YouTube, Amnesty International, LiveJournal, and BBC.com.
- Apr. 2008: China unblocks websites in time for the Olympics, re-blocks them soon after it ends.
- Apr. 2008: MI5 learns that cyber-attacks on bank executives' personal information came from Chinese Army.
- Oct. 2008: Laws are passed that require photo IDs be given to use public internet access.
- Mar. 2009: YouTube re-blocked after videos of Chinese soldiers beating and killing Tibetans goes viral.
- June 2009: Green Dam, filtering software developed for the Chinese government, pre-installed on all new PCs sold.
- June 2009: Flickr, FourSquare, and Twitter blocked as anniversary of Tiananmen Square approaches.
- July 2009: During Urumqi riots against government forces, Chinese government blocks all searches with "Urumqi."
- Dec. 2009: Chines government offers $1000 bounty on information leading to arrest of "immoral" web users.
- Jan. 2010: Laws are passed forcing internet users to post real names and contact information.
- Jan. 2010: Chinese government hacks US-based G-Mail accounts of dissidents, disabling G-Mail worldwide for several days.
- Jan. 2010: China threatens US against criticisms of censorship, says "US harming diplomatic relationship."
- Nov. 2010: Pentagon reports that recent spying of as much as 15% of all web traffic was specifically aimed at Western security and financial information, and originated from state-run Chinese security firm.
- Feb. 2011: China blocks all searches pertaining to wave of rebellion sweeping over Middle East.



China is now the world's 2nd biggest economy, and growing, though relative GDP puts them extremely far down on the list, below even impoverished nations like Mexico, Columbia, and Botswana.

Given the recent political upheaval around the globe, and the UN and NATO's increasing role in said events, how long do we think it will be before something dramatic occurs in China? China's favorability rating with their neighboring countries such as South Korea, Japan, and India are fairly low, scraping bottom with just 14% in Japan.

Last year, the trade gap between the US and China was $273 billion. Given the Chinese government's wanton and explicit oppression and intimidation of their own people, can it reasonably said that the West is funding terror?

And when the inevitable insurrection against the authoritarian government happens, will the West have the will to do the right thing and support the rebellion, which inevitably will mean war? Will it aid the government to secure its economic interests? Or will it simply watch as yet again China keeps a stranglehold on its illegitimate power?


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Atomika on
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Posts

  • QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I don't see the likely rebellion meaning war.

    Quid on
  • DarkCrawlerDarkCrawler Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Quid wrote: »
    I don't see the likely rebellion meaning war.

    Likewise, I think that it will be more of a generational change, when the kids who have grown up in the urban cities and connections to the Western culture, feeling not much connections to the Party, assume power and the old guard dies out. The current guys in charge were old enough to shake hands with Mao when he was still alive. I don't really see a "rebellion" in the military sense happening in China or it being feasible for various different reasons. The conditions are nothing like what led to the Communist insurgency and the Chinese Civil War for example.

    I guess a massive financial disaster could lead to a forceful regime change but not really believer in that either.

    And I really don't see the West intervening in any other way then "tut tut bad China". Because of the importance of China in trade, any sanctions will be impossible, and it's huge army and nukes means that military intervention will not be happening either.

    DarkCrawler on
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Quid wrote: »
    I don't see the likely rebellion meaning war.

    I was referring to result of Western forces assisting any seditious effort.

    Atomika on
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    My Political Ideologies professor claimed that the Chinese people won't rebel against their government as long as they are enjoying economic prosperity. According to him, that's the one reason remaining for them to tolerate their government.

    The oppressive government policies themselves were formed to prevent the country from collapsing. The following sequence of events have occurred multiple times throughout China's history:

    1) A stable government forms.
    2) China becomes more economically prosperous.
    3) The population grows larger than the government can effectively manage.
    4) The people rebel against the government, causing China to regress economically. Go back to part one.

    If it weren't for this cycle, China would have surpassed the West in economic development, and the world would have been a much different place. The Chinese government wants to prevent this cycle from reoccurring.

    Hexmage-PA on
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I guess a massive financial disaster could lead to a forceful regime change but not really believer in that either.

    I have my doubts about that too, because A) China is already fairly impoverished, per capita, and I question how strongly economic depression would effect that, and B) large portions of China are tenable farmland, and China isn't all that dependent on foreign aid or trade.

    Atomika on
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    My Political Ideologies professor claimed that the Chinese people won't rebel against their government as long as they are enjoying economic prosperity. According to him, that's the one reason remaining for them to tolerate their government.

    The oppressive government policies themselves were formed to prevent the country from collapsing. The following sequence of events have occurred multiple times throughout China's history:

    1) A stable government forms.
    2) China becomes more economically prosperous.
    3) The population grows larger than the government can effectively manage.
    4) The people rebel against the government, causing China to regress economically. Go back to part one.

    If it weren't for this cycle, China would have surpassed the West in economic development, and the world would have been a much different place. The Chinese government wants to prevent this cycle from reoccurring.

    I'm curious as to how Part 3 is a given.

    The only parts of China with exceptional population densities are Hong Kong and Macau, which are the most stable and prosperous parts of the area. China's overall density is relatively low; they have a ton of people, but they also have a lot of land. Taiwan and South Korea have exponentially higher densities, too.

    There's nothing inherent about population expansion leading to governmental collapse. If that's China's history, they're screwing it up on their own. Maybe they should look into that whole ethnic terrorism and overall brutality thing for starters.

    Atomika on
  • LoklarLoklar Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    A Beijing entrepreneur, discussing restaurant choices with his fiancée over their cellphones last week, quoted Queen Gertrude’s response to Hamlet: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” The second time he said the word “protest,” her phone cut off.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/22/world/asia/22china.html?_r=1

    I don't know how this is possible with so many cell phones and accents, and dialects and stuff. But if this is possible and wide-scale, it is terrifying.

    I think increasing freedom for more and more people is inevitable (in all parts of the world). But totalitarian regime's have more tools than they had before.

    Loklar on
  • LoklarLoklar Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I guess a massive financial disaster could lead to a forceful regime change but not really believer in that either.

    I have my doubts about that too, because A) China is already fairly impoverished, per capita, and I question how strongly economic depression would effect that, and B) large portions of China are tenable farmland, and China isn't all that dependent on foreign aid or trade.

    Everyone wants prosperity. The best thing about China is that everyone believes their life will be better in the future. If that takes a turn I could imagine a lot of upset, desperate people wanting change.

    Loklar on
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Loklar wrote: »
    I guess a massive financial disaster could lead to a forceful regime change but not really believer in that either.

    I have my doubts about that too, because A) China is already fairly impoverished, per capita, and I question how strongly economic depression would effect that, and B) large portions of China are tenable farmland, and China isn't all that dependent on foreign aid or trade.

    Everyone wants prosperity. The best thing about China is that everyone believes their life will be better in the future. If that takes a turn I could imagine a lot of upset, desperate people wanting change.

    I have to wonder how much change is possible when China is so robust with impoverished people and top-down informational withholding and oppression.

    It would be Tiananmen on a mass scale. And a million deaths would just be a drop in a bucket.

    Atomika on
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm currently in China for the semester. I was also here last summer, and will doubtlessly return in the future.

    I'm also of the opinion that barring a large disaster (natural, international conflict (perhaps), or economic), China's not going to undergo any change anytime soon. The recent events in the world will not cause China to undergo any sort of rebellion anytime soon.

    It already had it's chance. A few weeks ago, when the North Africa stuff had just become worldwide news, there was an effort to use that to make change here. It was dubbed the "Jasmine Revolution," and it was a complete and utter flop. Granted, it freaked out the government and caused many foreign reporters to get excited, but as for actual protests, nothing happened.

    People in the cities are, by and large, comfortable. There lives are getting better and better with a fairly nice economic growth. The gap between poor and rich is getting wider quickly too, but that's not enough for any large upheaval here. The government does a good job of not letting discontent spread, and if it's going to it will be by people who have means in the cities, for the most part. But they are, as I said, content (I'm generalizing, but you get the point).

    Beyond economics, propaganda stirs nationalistic feelings, and that helps people not want to revolt. That's less important among young people nowadays, far less than economic prosperity.

    Specifically to the OP's questions, the environment in China is not best described by "terror," so the US is not "funding terror."

    I don't believe a revolution is necessary for the above economic and nationalistic reasons. A decent standard of living brings a bit of apathy as far as drastic change goes.

    So I don't think the US will have the option of warring with China or letting them keep power, nor do I think their hold on power is "illegitimate."


    That being said, I'm gonna save this post since I've hit most keywords that would get things blocked. Except like "Tibet," "Taiwan," or "Xinjiang." Woops!

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  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    kime wrote: »
    nor do I think their hold on power is "illegitimate."

    You don't think strengthening their fascist one-party system by keeping the public in the dark and criminalizing dissent is an illegitimate form of government?

    Atomika on
  • ArthilArthil Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    kime wrote: »
    nor do I think their hold on power is "illegitimate."

    You don't think strengthening their fascist one-party system by keeping the public in the dark and criminalizing dissent is an illegitimate form of government?

    Or that having a strangle-hold on communication to the degree that one can't even interact with the outside world in most cases? These forums hardly count by the way, when you can't even use Wikipedia, Google or heaven-forbid! Youtube.

    Like someone else mentioned, the old guard will die and be replaced. But the problem with this line of thinking is a similar one that people will harp on about parts of our own government, how do they know the 'new' guard were not simply instructed to be the same way.

    Arthil on
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  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Arthil wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    nor do I think their hold on power is "illegitimate."

    You don't think strengthening their fascist one-party system by keeping the public in the dark and criminalizing dissent is an illegitimate form of government?

    Or that having a strangle-hold on communication to the degree that one can't even interact with the outside world in most cases? These forums hardly count by the way, when you can't even use Wikipedia, Google or heaven-forbid! Youtube.

    Like someone else mentioned, the old guard will die and be replaced. But the problem with this line of thinking is a similar one that people will harp on about parts of our own government, how do they know the 'new' guard were not simply instructed to be the same way.

    I think that's what I worry about. A prosperous China under this regime will become a nation that believes that systematic tyranny and oppression is a viable form of governing because, hey look, we can all buy food now!


    It will be hard to keep the outside world from creeping in, especially as China becomes more globally dominant in the economy, and that should bring change with each successive generation. The question becomes how will the current regime respond to that change? Because if nothing changes, China will remain the poor and oppressed nation it is today.

    Atomika on
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Arthil wrote: »
    Or that having a strangle-hold on communication to the degree that one can't even interact with the outside world in most cases? These forums hardly count by the way, when you can't even use Wikipedia, Google or heaven-forbid! Youtube.

    You can. It's a common misconception, but it's actually very easy to get around "the Great Firewall". Many free proxies or VPNs will work. The idea behind the firewall is to make it just inconvenient enough to dissuade most people from going through the effort of accessing the information. They essentially rely on people's laziness. And it works, really. But not because of draconic measures.

    Also, the Internet is slow in lots of places so loading videos online is a hassle often. But that's not (mostly) a government measure.

    Oh, and the new generation is different than the old, and not as staunchly loyal as older generations were at that age (overall, of course, there are always exceptions).

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  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    kime wrote: »
    It's a common misconception, but it's actually very easy to get around "the Great Firewall". Many free proxies or VPNs will work. The idea behind the firewall is to make it just inconvenient enough to dissuade most people from going through the effort of accessing the information. They essentially rely on people's laziness. And it works, really. But not because of draconic measures.

    That doesn't change the fact that it exists, or that China still jails people regularly for simply reading seditious writings. Not to mention the fact that the Army murdered 2500 unarmed students for speaking out.

    It's all still oppression, and maliciously so.

    Atomika on
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    kime wrote: »
    nor do I think their hold on power is "illegitimate."

    You don't think strengthening their fascist one-party system by keeping the public in the dark and criminalizing dissent is an illegitimate form of government?

    In all fairness, there are many legitimate political parties in China. They even have a voice in government. They just all, you know, happen to agree with the decisions the Communist party is making.

    However, again, the educated people in the city are not in the dark. They, by and large, know about the censorship, and most college students know how to get around it.

    And the Communist party is different than it was. In the eras of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, it was a very strong, oppressive entity that everyone obeyed. There are a lot more personal and economic freedoms now than there were in the past, you can't argue otherwise.

    China's not an ideal place, no, but it's getting better in a lot of places.

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  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    kime wrote: »
    It's a common misconception, but it's actually very easy to get around "the Great Firewall". Many free proxies or VPNs will work. The idea behind the firewall is to make it just inconvenient enough to dissuade most people from going through the effort of accessing the information. They essentially rely on people's laziness. And it works, really. But not because of draconic measures.

    That doesn't change the fact that it exists, or that China still jails people regularly for simply reading seditious writings. Not to mention the fact that the Army murdered 2500 unarmed students for speaking out.

    It's all still oppression, and maliciously so.

    I disagree with the bolded. Do you have sources?

    Tiananmen was horrible, inarguably. And while the government had it's reasons, they were wrong. That was over twenty years ago, though. Also, the party created a whole new form of police to deal with things like that in the future so that it wouldn't happen in a similar way (i.e. a horrible slaughter).

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  • DarkCrawlerDarkCrawler Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Arthil wrote: »
    Like someone else mentioned, the old guard will die and be replaced. But the problem with this line of thinking is a similar one that people will harp on about parts of our own government, how do they know the 'new' guard were not simply instructed to be the same way.

    Well, the next few will probably be. But those after, in a few decades, are going to be former rich kids whose parents got rich off beautiful capitalism, who were raised on Western programming, who studied at Harvard and Oxford and who have spent years vacationing overseas...I am having hard time believing that any society will stay as a communist state when the elite and middle class are well-educated, urban and whose prosperity has come from free trade and open relations with the rest of the work.

    Ironically enough the biggest supporters of communism and status quo in China have always been and continue to be the rural parts of the society. With estimations of 400 million people moving from rural to urban locations, that support is going to vane.

    Prosperity always brings increasing freedoms. China's growing middle class is going to want the same things as middle classes in every other country, and one of those things is free access to the rest of the world.
    kime wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    It's a common misconception, but it's actually very easy to get around "the Great Firewall". Many free proxies or VPNs will work. The idea behind the firewall is to make it just inconvenient enough to dissuade most people from going through the effort of accessing the information. They essentially rely on people's laziness. And it works, really. But not because of draconic measures.

    That doesn't change the fact that it exists, or that China still jails people regularly for simply reading seditious writings. Not to mention the fact that the Army murdered 2500 unarmed students for speaking out.

    It's all still oppression, and maliciously so.

    I disagree with the bolded. Do you have sources?

    Seriously?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Xiaobo

    DarkCrawler on
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    kime wrote: »
    There are a lot more personal and economic freedoms now than there were in the past, you can't argue otherwise.

    China's not an ideal place, no, but it's getting better in a lot of places.

    I can certainly argue that there are less personal freedoms than in the past, because the internet is fairly new. And you keep bringing up the ways internet-savvy folks can circumvent (and break Chinese law) by using proxies as if that's supposed to be some kind of defense. It's not, so repeating it doesn't somehow make the laws less oppressive.


    And the economic situation in China IS improving, I'll grant you, but at what cost? And how is that functionally different from A Brave New World, or panum et circenses? The Chinese government is doing what it can to stay relevant globally, and that means having a working economy. Nothing about that is about expanding freedoms to its people. I'm sure those people at Foxconn making $170/month working 70 hours a week and living in the factory don't feel like any great service has been bestowed upon them.

    Atomika on
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    kime wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    It's a common misconception, but it's actually very easy to get around "the Great Firewall". Many free proxies or VPNs will work. The idea behind the firewall is to make it just inconvenient enough to dissuade most people from going through the effort of accessing the information. They essentially rely on people's laziness. And it works, really. But not because of draconic measures.

    That doesn't change the fact that it exists, or that China still jails people regularly for simply reading seditious writings. Not to mention the fact that the Army murdered 2500 unarmed students for speaking out.

    It's all still oppression, and maliciously so.

    I disagree with the bolded. Do you have sources?

    Seriously?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Xiaobo

    You made me use a proxy :P.

    That's not what I was asking, sorry if it was misunderstood. I know writing seditious material is dangerous in China. I was curious about evidence that people are "people regularly for simply reading seditious writings". My bad for the confusion.

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  • ATIRageATIRage Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Our economic strategy with China has been brilliant. Essentially, hook them on our economics and into our markets. Then, once the people get used to having what the west has, let the people themselves ask for more change. A prosperous China doesn't lead to a more docile citizenry in China, I think it leads to more displeasure with the government

    China is a different culture from the United States, and trying to force change on China will only make their people solidify. Instead, letting the people eventually rise up on their own, will result in the following:
    1. lots of dead Chinese people (unfortunately)
    2. A government that either
    2a. Is more responsive to the people (a good thing)
    2b. Is repressive and shuts itself off from the world (Bad, but potentially good considering then they lose economic power)
    3. Either way, no war between China and US is needed

    I think the last thing the military wants is a war with China, particularly over things that are purely issues of domestic policy in China. Civil rights abuses aside, and don't get me wrong there are all sorts of violations that range from mild to egregious in China, the military power of China is not to be messed with. We can't occupy (its way too huge), we can't out man their military (they don't mind building cheap crap to put up against our lesser in numbers but more technologically advanced military equipment), and they have tons of soldiers.

    I've also talked with students who are visiting America from China and they say that the youth are widely upset with Chinese politics and corruption. There is a whole network of people who are simmering and trying to fight for their rights by using internet tools that evade the chinese firewall. Let those people simmer, and eventually they will end up fighting for their rights in china.

    OR: They wont. Is it upsetting that they don't enjoy the same rights as Americans? Yes it is. Should our rights be universal and apply to everyone? I think so. Does that mean we should foment change in China? two answers to that question:
    1: America Act like the global police officer, meaning that we get involved in China, and every other country that is flagrantly abusing the rights of their citizens. I'm all for this kind of thinking. If we think we are morally correct, then we should enforce that across the world. BUT this kind of answer requires (just for china) serious military funding increases, massive amounts of wartime spending on industry, likely a draft, and persistent dedication by the american people to fight for the rights of the oppressed across the world. (not likely to happen unless china attacks us)
    2: The more likely solution: America will continue to selectively care about which countries should be interfered with, and will likely not get involved at all with China. This solution also makes sense to me consdering the level of commitment it would require for the US to change things in China. And that doesn't even consider the fact that democratic institutions in china, a pretty key thing to enjoy the rights we have, are severely lacking in China.

    ATIRage on
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    kime wrote: »
    There are a lot more personal and economic freedoms now than there were in the past, you can't argue otherwise.

    China's not an ideal place, no, but it's getting better in a lot of places.

    I can certainly argue that there are less personal freedoms than in the past, because the internet is fairly new. And you keep bringing up the ways internet-savvy folks can circumvent (and break Chinese law) by using proxies as if that's supposed to be some kind of defense. It's not, so repeating it doesn't somehow make the laws less oppressive.

    Was just noting that for people in the cities, they aren't being kept in the dark. Or I guess you could say they are, but they can choose to "go into the light" if they want. There are worse systems of oppression out there.

    Also, sorry, but I can't focus enough on your other points, it's late here and I am tired. I'll be back later! After sleep and class...

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  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    kime wrote: »
    Was just noting that for people in the cities, they aren't being kept in the dark. Or I guess you could say they are, but they can choose to "go into the light" if they want. There are worse systems of oppression out there.

    It's against the law to read the news.

    How bad does oppression have to get before you denounce it?

    Atomika on
  • ATIRageATIRage Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Ross I feel ya. I'd love to knock this off around the world, but America's people aren't up for such action, we'd have to be comfortable with being at war for decades, and our population gets mad when we launch airstrikes against Libya. It would be great if we could enforce rights globally, but anything short of military action is useless, and military action requires america to really commit to action.

    ATIRage on
  • DarkCrawlerDarkCrawler Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    ATIRage wrote: »
    Ross I feel ya. I'd love to knock this off around the world, but America's people aren't up for such action, we'd have to be comfortable with being at war for decades, and our population gets mad when we launch airstrikes against Libya. It would be great if we could enforce rights globally, but anything short of military action is useless, and military action requires america to really commit to action.

    Well, I don't think America's people are up for suicide, because that's what war with China would entail. Conventional or nukes.

    DarkCrawler on
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    ATIRage wrote: »
    Ross I feel ya. I'd love to knock this off around the world, but America's people aren't up for such action, we'd have to be comfortable with being at war for decades, and our population gets mad when we launch airstrikes against Libya. It would be great if we could enforce rights globally, but anything short of military action is useless, and military action requires america to really commit to action.

    Well, I don't think America's people are up for suicide, because that's what war with China would entail. Conventional or nukes.

    I think nuclear is much more likely than conventional methods, on China's part. China has a huge army, but it's woefully underfunded, and I think any US attack against China would be explicitly on political targets. We couldn't logistically or economically afford a protracted engagement with China, and I don't think we'd ever try that.

    If there was a large well-spring of anti-government support from the populace, and (like in Egypt recently) the army was largely unwilling to attack its own people, the US at most would try to offer them political support given the rebels had an actual plan.

    China's population is both secular and educated enough to effectively do away with fears of long engagements, and even moreso if the US is unwilling to establish its own governmental authority in China.


    Basically, we'd need to see a Libya-type situation, and we would offer support and aid while condemning China for shooting at its own people.

    Atomika on
  • LolkenLolken Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2011
    As long as China has robust growth, the CPC is firmly in control of the country. The reason that 1989 wasn't as traumatic in China as it was in the Eastern bloc was because China's economic reforms essentially worked, while the Glasnost was an unmitigated disaster.

    Likewise, the many rebellions/revolutions in the Middle East clearly showed not only that the dictatorships of Kaddafi and Mubarak were brutal, but also that they were economically inept.

    I take serious issue with Darkcrawler's spectacularly wrong statement that "Ironically enough the biggest supporters of communism and status quo in China have always been and continue to be the rural parts of the society", to which I can only suggest that he study China further (the CPC isn't really scared about its control on Shenzhen or Shanghai, but it fears a potential peasant uprising, especially considering that the rural areas of the country - mainly, those areas which are west of Chengdu - haven't really developed during these last 30 years, propaganda and misconceptions notwithstanding).

    Also, the statement "Prosperity always brings increasing freedoms" is scarily naive; just for example, Brazil's greatest economic boom during the last half of the XXth century happened during a dictatorship. Taiwan and South Korea also come to mind.

    I mantain that the CPC's real political challenge is going to come when it faces a serious and prolonged economic recession, and quite firmly believe that the first people who know that belong to the top ranks of the CPC.

    Lolken on
  • LolkenLolken Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2011
    kime wrote: »
    There are a lot more personal and economic freedoms now than there were in the past, you can't argue otherwise.

    China's not an ideal place, no, but it's getting better in a lot of places.

    I can certainly argue that there are less personal freedoms than in the past, because the internet is fairly new. And you keep bringing up the ways internet-savvy folks can circumvent (and break Chinese law) by using proxies as if that's supposed to be some kind of defense. It's not, so repeating it doesn't somehow make the laws less oppressive.


    And the economic situation in China IS improving, I'll grant you, but at what cost? And how is that functionally different from A Brave New World, or panum et circenses? The Chinese government is doing what it can to stay relevant globally, and that means having a working economy. Nothing about that is about expanding freedoms to its people. I'm sure those people at Foxconn making $170/month working 70 hours a week and living in the factory don't feel like any great service has been bestowed upon them.

    Considering that those people at Foxconn are the sons and grandsons of people who worked 120 hours a week, perhaps more, for essentially nothing, and the always present threat of political prosecution and eventual physical elimination, I'd say they're not THAT unsatisfied. Also, remember that 170 dollars in China's economy is worth more, much more, than 170 dollars in the USA's economy - especially when you take the black market into account (say, 50 DVD movies for 5 bucks - 20 don't work, but who cares?).

    Lolken on
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Lolken wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    There are a lot more personal and economic freedoms now than there were in the past, you can't argue otherwise.

    China's not an ideal place, no, but it's getting better in a lot of places.

    I can certainly argue that there are less personal freedoms than in the past, because the internet is fairly new. And you keep bringing up the ways internet-savvy folks can circumvent (and break Chinese law) by using proxies as if that's supposed to be some kind of defense. It's not, so repeating it doesn't somehow make the laws less oppressive.


    And the economic situation in China IS improving, I'll grant you, but at what cost? And how is that functionally different from A Brave New World, or panum et circenses? The Chinese government is doing what it can to stay relevant globally, and that means having a working economy. Nothing about that is about expanding freedoms to its people. I'm sure those people at Foxconn making $170/month working 70 hours a week and living in the factory don't feel like any great service has been bestowed upon them.

    Considering that those people at Foxconn are the sons and grandsons of people who worked 120 hours a week, perhaps more, for essentially nothing, and the always present threat of political prosecution and eventual physical elimination, I'd say they're not THAT unsatisfied. Also, remember that 170 dollars in China's economy is worth more, much more, than 170 dollars in the USA's economy - especially when you take the black market into account (say, 50 DVD movies for 5 bucks - 20 don't work, but who cares?).

    How many job-related suicides does it take to be "dissatisfied?"

    Atomika on
  • LolkenLolken Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2011
    Lolken wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    There are a lot more personal and economic freedoms now than there were in the past, you can't argue otherwise.

    China's not an ideal place, no, but it's getting better in a lot of places.

    I can certainly argue that there are less personal freedoms than in the past, because the internet is fairly new. And you keep bringing up the ways internet-savvy folks can circumvent (and break Chinese law) by using proxies as if that's supposed to be some kind of defense. It's not, so repeating it doesn't somehow make the laws less oppressive.


    And the economic situation in China IS improving, I'll grant you, but at what cost? And how is that functionally different from A Brave New World, or panum et circenses? The Chinese government is doing what it can to stay relevant globally, and that means having a working economy. Nothing about that is about expanding freedoms to its people. I'm sure those people at Foxconn making $170/month working 70 hours a week and living in the factory don't feel like any great service has been bestowed upon them.

    Considering that those people at Foxconn are the sons and grandsons of people who worked 120 hours a week, perhaps more, for essentially nothing, and the always present threat of political prosecution and eventual physical elimination, I'd say they're not THAT unsatisfied. Also, remember that 170 dollars in China's economy is worth more, much more, than 170 dollars in the USA's economy - especially when you take the black market into account (say, 50 DVD movies for 5 bucks - 20 don't work, but who cares?).

    How many job-related suicides does it take to be "dissatisfied?"

    Ask Renault-Nissan.

    Lolken on
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm finding it easier to see the PRC as the typical East Asian development model writ large rather than as a wholly new form of economic development that doesn't end in some kind of political evolution away from hamhanded repression. A Brave New World would be exactly that: new.

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Quid wrote: »
    I don't see the likely rebellion meaning war.

    I was referring to result of Western forces assisting any seditious effort.
    Western forces aren't going to get involved in the internal strife of a nuclear power. If some sort of democratic revolution ever happens on China, it will have to be a wholly Chinese affair.

    Modern Man on
    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I guess a massive financial disaster could lead to a forceful regime change but not really believer in that either.

    I have my doubts about that too, because A) China is already fairly impoverished, per capita, and I question how strongly economic depression would effect that, and B) large portions of China are tenable farmland, and China isn't all that dependent on foreign aid or trade.

    China is impoverished per capita, but it is far richer than, say, Indonesia. That didn't stop the Suharto government from falling apart due to financial crisis and urban rioting.

    Urban employment matters; an urbanized population cannot be relied on to return to the farms during a recession. More importantly, it is the urban population who are (1) more culturally liberal, and (2) stand to gain, materially, from yet more reforms, and (3) live right next to all those institutions of government.

    And Chinese urban employment is dependent on foreign trade and wider domestic economic conditions.

    Presently the Chinese government has to stop rural migration to urban centers in order to prevent surges in urban unemployment; this is obviously a pretty good barometer of relative satisfaction and so the government is, as Lolken says, now preoccupied with rural discontent instead. But that would change rapidly during a financial shutdown.
    Lolken wrote: »
    Also, the statement "Prosperity always brings increasing freedoms" is scarily naive; just for example, Brazil's greatest economic boom during the last half of the XXth century happened during a dictatorship. Taiwan and South Korea also come to mind.

    I mantain that the CPC's real political challenge is going to come when it faces a serious and prolonged economic recession, and quite firmly believe that the first people who know that belong to the top ranks of the CPC.

    Taiwan and South Korea do, indeed, come to mind - they became prosperous, and then they liberalized. What's wrong with that? The only serious exception seems to be Singapore, which (1) is tiny (2) liberalized somewhat nonetheless, just less so than the others and (3) seems to have pulled off this trick of its government electing a new people rather than the reverse.

    I do agree that the CCP's real challenge would be serious economic recession. I don't think it has to be prolonged, though, since grumbling about corruption is already persistent. And the PRC is, if anything, already setting itself up for financial crisis.

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
  • NoughtNought Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Lolken wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    There are a lot more personal and economic freedoms now than there were in the past, you can't argue otherwise.

    China's not an ideal place, no, but it's getting better in a lot of places.

    I can certainly argue that there are less personal freedoms than in the past, because the internet is fairly new. And you keep bringing up the ways internet-savvy folks can circumvent (and break Chinese law) by using proxies as if that's supposed to be some kind of defense. It's not, so repeating it doesn't somehow make the laws less oppressive.


    And the economic situation in China IS improving, I'll grant you, but at what cost? And how is that functionally different from A Brave New World, or panum et circenses? The Chinese government is doing what it can to stay relevant globally, and that means having a working economy. Nothing about that is about expanding freedoms to its people. I'm sure those people at Foxconn making $170/month working 70 hours a week and living in the factory don't feel like any great service has been bestowed upon them.

    Considering that those people at Foxconn are the sons and grandsons of people who worked 120 hours a week, perhaps more, for essentially nothing, and the always present threat of political prosecution and eventual physical elimination, I'd say they're not THAT unsatisfied. Also, remember that 170 dollars in China's economy is worth more, much more, than 170 dollars in the USA's economy - especially when you take the black market into account (say, 50 DVD movies for 5 bucks - 20 don't work, but who cares?).

    How many job-related suicides does it take to be "dissatisfied?"

    There's a fool proof strategy in place to stop that from happening again.

    They put up nets.

    Nought on
    On fire
    .
    Island. Being on fire.
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    ronya wrote: »
    And Chinese urban employment is dependent on foreign trade and wider domestic economic conditions.

    I agree, but to those who would cite this as an example of growing personal freedom I offer that it's a bit of the tail wagging the dog.

    It's in China's interest as a burgeoning economic power to continue to grow and modernize their economy, and that has inherent market factors already in place. Citing the expansion of the middle class as proof of laxed oppression is mistaking causation for correlation. China simply could not be the economic power they are today without expanding the middle class, so they've only scaled back oppressive measures to the point that satisfies that metric. If, say, Burger King wants to stay competitive with McDonalds, they have to offer comprable products at comprable price points; that doesn't mean that suddenly Burger King is going to start selling surf-n-turf or start paying their cooks 10 times minimum wage.

    Atomika on
  • LolkenLolken Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2011
    ronya wrote: »
    Taiwan and South Korea do, indeed, come to mind - they became prosperous, and then they liberalized. What's wrong with that? The only serious exception seems to be Singapore, which (1) is tiny (2) liberalized somewhat nonetheless, just less so than the others and (3) seems to have pulled off this trick of its government electing a new people rather than the reverse.

    I do agree that the CCP's real challenge would be serious economic recession. I don't think it has to be prolonged, though, since grumbling about corruption is already persistent. And the PRC is, if anything, already setting itself up for financial crisis.

    Note the "then" liberalized. This is a serious case of the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy. If prosperity "always" bring liberalization, why didn't South Korea "liberalized" only circa 1987, when it undoubtely was prosperous through the 60s and 70s? Why did Brazil have to wait for some 15 years of brutal economic depression (not "recession", "depression") to be "liberalized" after the end of the boom of 1968-1973? Why did Russia become more of a closed society just as it recovered (somewhat) economically, under Putin (Russia was never more miserable and not prosperous as during the Yeltsin years)?

    Lolken on
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    ronya wrote: »
    And Chinese urban employment is dependent on foreign trade and wider domestic economic conditions.

    I agree, but to those who would cite this as an example of growing personal freedom I offer that it's a bit of the tail wagging the dog.

    It's in China's interest as a burgeoning economic power to continue to grow and modernize their economy, and that has inherent market factors already in place. Citing the expansion of the middle class as proof of laxed oppression is mistaking causation for correlation. China simply could not be the economic power they are today without expanding the middle class, so they've only scaled back oppressive measures to the point that satisfies that metric. If, say, Burger King wants to stay competitive with McDonalds, they have to offer comparable products at comparable price points; that doesn't mean that suddenly Burger King is going to start selling surf-n-turf or start paying their cooks 10 times minimum wage.

    ... were you intending to quote something else? I'm not sure I provided any examples of personal freedom in the bit you quoted :P

    I'm not sure where you're going with the argument at all, actually. Okay, so suppose that China five decades down the road turns into a two hundred Singapores, where oppression is unrolled at just the rate which permits the ruling government to maintain its grip on power whilst still maintaining economic growth (I have some doubts about the workability of such a scenario but let's suppose it is so). It becomes more free, but at a glacially slow pace, and only ever as concessions rather than as recognized right. Is that your fear, here? That it will never tip over into democratic populism, but permanently remain in the grip of a technocratic authoritarianism of some sort?

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    One thing I would suggest is that a fall from grace for the CCP would not necessarily mean their erradication from Chinese society forever. Putting aside the fact that governments are made of people, here, China, and anywhere (something that anyone who suggests the possibility of "Only hitting government institutions" with missile strikes seems to be willfully ignoring) and, particularly in China, political movements only grow out of their predcessors--this same sort of talk was coming around in the 1990s when the Kuomingtang in Taiwan fractured between left, right, and center with the emergence the Taiwan Solidarity movement and their loss to the DPP.

    "But it's not the same thing!" Well, I suppose no two political parties are the exact same. But the KMT had enjoyed nearly the same decades-long stranglehold over domestic politics that the CCP has (a half-century is nothing to scoff at, frankly), and exercised the same brutality (Tianamen, quite frankly, while violent, doesn't even begin to compare to the violence of 228 and the subsequent White Terror--you'd be better off comparing it to the Great Leap Forward or some other national catastrophy--imagine Tinanamen-scale violence in a country 1/1000th the population of China, and lasting decades). The violence of the 1920s and 1930s is actually legendary. In terms of corruption, the case can easily be made that the KMT of the 60s, 70s, and 80s suffered such corruption on a personal level--individual people becoming filthy rich--that they'd make their counterparts in Beijing blush and ask, "Can you really get away with that?" (answer: not forever).

    Of course, the transfer of power from the KMT to the DPP was comparitively peaceful--something that would have shocked the population 10 years earlier. I would not completely rule out a relinquishing of power, not necessarily democratically, to a new generation of leaders (as happened in the ROC), that may or may not formally identify themselves with the current party. Of course, the Chinese perspective of the their own leadership is not just frequently cynical--it's incredibly complex. You'll get people who believe their personal problems are the consequence not of autocratic rule, but individual failures of government, and people whom are patriotic.

    More briefly, I can't imagine the United States being able to 'steer' the direction of political change in China through military means without incuring an incredible amount of ire. In the US, there is a sect of people who wish to see an end to the current arrangement of government, either on a more shallow level (Democrats versus Republicans) or on a dramatic one (the actual Washington government). This may be a case of false equivalency, but I can't imagine any of those people would be happy if the Russian Federation used its Tu-160s and nuclear submarines to fire missile strikes to steer it in a favorable direction.

    But, I guess the jury is still out on Libya. On the other hand, the United States has been firing missiles in Lybia--and elswhere--for years, so maybe they're just used to it.

    Synthesis on
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    kime wrote: »
    Was just noting that for people in the cities, they aren't being kept in the dark. Or I guess you could say they are, but they can choose to "go into the light" if they want. There are worse systems of oppression out there.

    It's against the law to read the news.

    How bad does oppression have to get before you denounce it?

    It's against the law in Ohio to fish for whales, or to arrest people on Sunday*. That doesn't mean they get enforced.

    In a similar-but-obviously-not-exactly-the-same manner, the CCP doesn't arrest everyone who reads a Western newspaper or whatever. Again, it's not hard to access any site online, or bring banned books into the country. The oppression is bad, yeah, not arguing that. I hope it'll get better, I think it will, eventually. But it's not like the information (non-Chinese-government-censored) isn't available, nor is just reading it going to get you arrested.


    *I just searched for some silly laws, even if these aren't exactly true, others exist.

    ATIRage wrote: »
    Ross I feel ya. I'd love to knock this off around the world, but America's people aren't up for such action, we'd have to be comfortable with being at war for decades, and our population gets mad when we launch airstrikes against Libya. It would be great if we could enforce rights globally, but anything short of military action is useless, and military action requires america to really commit to action.

    Well, I don't think America's people are up for suicide, because that's what war with China would entail. Conventional or nukes.

    I think nuclear is much more likely than conventional methods, on China's part. China has a huge army, but it's woefully underfunded, and I think any US attack against China would be explicitly on political targets. We couldn't logistically or economically afford a protracted engagement with China, and I don't think we'd ever try that.

    Ugh, a war with China would be bad no matter how it went. I hope it never comes to that. I don't think it will because of rebellion, though. If it does it'll probably be because of international events, i.e. Taiwan or Korea. That's just my opinion, though.


    If there was a large well-spring of anti-government support from the populace, and (like in Egypt recently) the army was largely unwilling to attack its own people, the US at most would try to offer them political support given the rebels had an actual plan.

    I don't think either condition is all that likely, at least not in China's current situation.

    Lolken wrote: »
    As long as China has robust growth, the CPC is firmly in control of the country. The reason that 1989 wasn't as traumatic in China as it was in the Eastern bloc was because China's economic reforms essentially worked, while the Glasnost was an unmitigated disaster.

    I mantain that the CPC's real political challenge is going to come when it faces a serious and prolonged economic recession, and quite firmly believe that the first people who know that belong to the top ranks of the CPC.

    I agree pretty much completely. The past is still too soon and unpleasant, and the present and future too comfortable and optimistic-looking (at least for enough people).

    ronya wrote: »
    And Chinese urban employment is dependent on foreign trade and wider domestic economic conditions.

    I agree, but to those who would cite this as an example of growing personal freedom I offer that it's a bit of the tail wagging the dog.

    It's in China's interest as a burgeoning economic power to continue to grow and modernize their economy, and that has inherent market factors already in place. Citing the expansion of the middle class as proof of laxed oppression is mistaking causation for correlation. China simply could not be the economic power they are today without expanding the middle class, so they've only scaled back oppressive measures to the point that satisfies that metric. If, say, Burger King wants to stay competitive with McDonalds, they have to offer comprable products at comprable price points; that doesn't mean that suddenly Burger King is going to start selling surf-n-turf or start paying their cooks 10 times minimum wage.

    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding. But I don't think I disagree? The economy needs to continue to grow as far as the CCP is concerned. If that involves continuing to appease and expand the middle class, does it matter which came first? Can you explain again, perhaps, if I'm not getting the point you want to make?

    It just seems like it doesn't matter if Burger King doesn't pay 10 times minimum wage, just that they have a decent minimum wage at all.

    kime on
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  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Lolken wrote: »
    Also, the statement "Prosperity always brings increasing freedoms" is scarily naive; just for example, Brazil's greatest economic boom during the last half of the XXth century happened during a dictatorship.
    Of course, they then overthrew that government, implemented democracy, and had their economy collapse, then bounce back better than it was before.

    Salvation122 on
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