Sunday, April 17, 2005

Stealing A Comment...

I hope I'm not violating some blogger etiquette here, but I am reprinting this comment left on Peking Duck on a thread about the anti-Japanese demonstrations, as I think it summarizes things about as well as anyone else has:
To answer your question. Demonstrations have been going on in Mainland China for the past decade. There were 58,000 reported demonstrations last year, and the only unusual thing about the demonstrations in Shanghai and in Huankantou is that they are being widely reported by the Western press.

Contrary to most of the bloggers, I don't think that this is the "beginning of the end" for the Communist Party because demonstrations have become so frequent that the Party has gotten used to them. The basic understanding is that the demonstrators can demonstrate provided that they don't cross red lines such as calling for the overthrow of the Communist Party or any fundamental political change. It's pretty much understood that any demonstration that is directed at the political system (as opposed to local officials within the system) will not be allowed, and demonstrators are very careful to portray their demonstration as "legal" and "patriotic." Also, the police generally don't move in hard against demonstrations for the simple fact that doing so will be very, very stupid and turn a minor incident into another Tiananmen which the government does not want. The standard operating procedure is to wait until the demonstration is over, arrest a few key leaders and put them in jail for a few months, and basically give the demonstrators everything that they want. The "give the demonstrators what they want" part makes sure that people are no longer in an angry mood. The "throw a few people in jail" part is to keep people from pushing the limits the next time.

Personally, it's things like this that make me rather optimistic about the future of China. People are pushing the limits, the government is responding. It's a slow, messy process but over time, something like civil society is developing.
Posted by Joseph Wang at April 17, 2005 09:46 PM

I don't know if Joseph has a blog, but his collection of bookmarks and links can be found here...

And if I understood how Trackback works, I'd certainly be using it here! Oh well... "mozhe shitou guo he" indeed...

No comments: