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

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Posts

  • QliphothQliphoth Registered User
    edited April 2011
    kime wrote: »
    Therefore, by restricting the freedom of speech, Mubarak/Putin/Mohammed Omar/Than Shwe.... is protecting the great majority of their people.

    The same justification is used over and over again by dictators, and often their western backers as some kind of false dilemma between stability and democracy.
    kime wrote: »
    That's important to understand, that little bit of how our cultures are different. Because you can't look at China with American eyes and understand it. Otherwise you will think that revolution is coming soon, but... it's not.

    No one thinks revolution in China is just around the corner. China's system of government will last as long their economic growth does, which if the way they weathered the GFC is any indicator will probably be a while. But eventually there will be a recession and similar unemployment levels to the western world will leave 50million people unemployed and without any way to voice their grievances and we'll see the CCP start to crack.

    Qliphoth on
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  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    sharing state secrets

    Nope, that is still protected even though they are trying really hard.

    Oh, my bad. I'm not all that well versed on it, but I thought the wikileaks army guy (which a quick google search says is Private Bradley Manning) was arrested in part because of that? Or is that different for the military?

    Also, aren't there libel laws and such? Again, not my forte, this was my understanding but I could be wrong. Also things like hate speech? Causing emotional trauma? I'm not looking up all of these to check, so correct me if I'm wrong, but these were some of the things I had in mind.
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    That's not even considering other countries, "Western Democracies" that have different standards for "freedom of speech."

    All of which suck because of that.

    I dunno. Some of the restrictions I mentioned above, whether or not they actually are illegal, I don't really have a problem with. I like freedom of speech, but like almost all things I'm not a fan of extremes.
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    [snip]

    blah blah China has to be an evil prick because of their culture man

    relativist bulllshit

    etc etc

    No. An explanation is not a justification.

    My intention was to help explain why there will not be a sudden violent revolution or whatnot. Not say that the system is acceptable. Obviously it would be nice to change, but I don't think that will happen soon. The most important reason is, as I've said in previous posts, the economy and overall increase in standards of living. This was just a look at a different reason.
    Qliphoth wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    Therefore, by restricting the freedom of speech, Mubarak/Putin/Mohammed Omar/Than Shwe.... is protecting the great majority of their people.

    The same justification is used over and over again by dictators, and often their western backers as some kind of false dilemma between stability and democracy.

    Yeah. But it is a cultural reason for why some Chinese people won't want a revolution. As I just said, not as important as the economy, but that's been mentioned enough already.

    Remember, for the most part people aren't railing against some choking hold the government has on them. And it's not because of ignorance (well, not always). And anyone college-aged or older has seen not only the economy slowly improve, but also the amount of personal freedoms they have. It's hard to argue that things need to be changed NOW when all people see in the past couple decades is a fairly steady positive change. Not without bumps, for sure, but the progression is there.

    Qliphoth wrote: »
    kime wrote: »
    That's important to understand, that little bit of how our cultures are different. Because you can't look at China with American eyes and understand it. Otherwise you will think that revolution is coming soon, but... it's not.

    No one thinks revolution in China is just around the corner. China's system of government will last as long their economic growth does, which if the way they weathered the GFC is any indicator will probably be a while. But eventually there will be a recession and similar unemployment levels to the western world will leave 50million people unemployed and without any way to voice their grievances and we'll see the CCP start to crack.

    I agree that the economy is critically important to the stability of the government. But, well, the OP kind of implies a sooner-rather-than-later change. And I'm sure that he's not alone, I wouldn't go so far as to think "no one" thinks revolution is just around the corner. There are protests all the time in China, and then the recent epic failure "Jasmine Revolution."

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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    food for thought:

    - we have every reason to believe that the CCP politburo is isolated from the 'man in the street'

    - it is, at the same time, unable to nail down corruption at lower levels of government, thus generating a permanent source of discontentment

    - it has a shady financial system that is subject to pressure to lend funds to pet projects - pressured by lower levels of government, at that. Funds often go to massive infrastructure projects of dubious return on investment, particularly given the high prevailing rate of interest. The corruption is hidden as long as it the fictitiously high ROI is maintained through further investment. It is of course true that a developing country would indeed have infrastructural investment opportunities offering rates of return also much higher compared to what is generally available in the developed world (you can only urbanize once). But even Hong Kong and Singapore - whose bureaucrats are vastly more trained, less corrupt, operate in more transparent civil services, and have smaller jurisdictions to boot - make macroeconomically significant planning errors; it is reasonable to be skeptical of how good minor CCP functionaries can be at it.

    - Chinese finance laws force citizens to invest much of their savings in domestic banks, and urban China has a property bubble

    - the near future (maybe fifteen years or so) for China, therefore, holds a financial crisis, that will be large, that will expose considerable amounts of cronyism and corruption, that will erase massive amounts of domestic savings and assets - and that will be, like financial crises of this nature, be sudden and unexpected, developing over a matter of days. Underlying dissatisfaction in government, if there is any, may become difficult to control - the CCP, in normal times, consistently promises to fight corruption, so much turns on whether the CCP will be seen as necessary to suppress regional corruption, or ineffectual against it. Which then brings us to point #1.

    - There has been a remarkably recent case of rapidly developing countries finding that the last few years of development have been 'false', i.e., that the last few % of growth were from projects whose return didn't really exist. It's the 1997 East Asian financial crisis.

    The parallels are limited - while East Asia in 1997 was mostly pegged to the dollar (as China is now), it was pegged artificially high, not artificially low, thus making foreign dollars cheaper than they should have been. Entry of those dollars funded a bubble; flight of those dollars triggered the crisis. A Chinese financial crisis will find it defaulting on its own people rather than foreign investors. This probably just makes it worse, come to think of it.

    - how distant one thinks the financial meltdown is, depends on how long you think a potential market bubble can be sustained. Deeply unequal authoritarian states can be pretty bad at deflating financial bubbles.

    ronya on
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  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    ronya wrote: »
    - it is, at the same time, unable to nail down corruption at lower levels of government, thus generating a permanent source of discontentment

    In all fairness, the highest levels in government would love to get rid of corruption. They just fail at it.
    ronya wrote: »
    Underlying dissatisfaction in government, if there is any, may become difficult to control

    I think that will be too much for them to control. If the economy really fails (and nothing else in the situation with respect to the CCP and government has changed much), then I think the CCP is doomed, and it'll be a time of big change.

    I'm not quite as convinced that it's as definite as you put it, though. It's certainly a hard possibility, but I'm sure the CCP knows that too. The question is if they can think of how to solve it. And if they can think of a method, I'm fairly convinced they'd be able to pull it off. It will be interested to see how things turn out. I think I hope the CCP manages to prevent it.

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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Singapore and Hong Kong only rid themselves of endemic corruption with the aid of the British (the British navy and the police, respectively). Hong Kong literally appointed police officers straight from England, and of course the chief executive was always appointed from London. I would be astonished if Beijing managed it.

    ... maybe they could appoint Hong Kong officers. Ha.

    The economy won't "fail"; financial crises, even extremely large ones, just erase a few years of growth. In the short run that entails massive unemployment, and if the response to the crisis is particularly bad, collapses in urban food and water supply chains (e.g., the last crises in Russia, Argentina, Indonesia). But all that can happen and order would be restored in less than a year. Growth would resume in several.

    For a government to survive that period is tricky, though!

    I don't think it is possible to carefully prick a bubble of this nature. The incentives to reinforce the bubble are very strong for regional politicians - the projects buy votes and the politicians get kickbacks from regional developers. Corruption and the entrenchment of a future financial crisis are here the one and the same thing.

    ronya on
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