China’s Response

2008 Mar 25

Time for a break from games to deal with the real world.

This article makes me really frustrated. It also, I suspect, represents the feelings of a sizable portion of the Chinese population, not just the government. But what it really symbolizes to me is a lack of any real communication, which is what is likely to continue if China’s Olympic year keeps going in the direction it’s been sliding down for the past few weeks. Protests and condemnation, especially from outside China, do not generally lead to any change of heart on the side of the Chinese government. Instead, it rallies the people and the state together against outside meddling. There is a persecution complex here, one that has developed over many centuries of outside abuse and internal weakness (and embarrassment about internal weakness).

China, as a couple of scholars have recently pointed out, is becoming a world power in the 19th century model. It never had a really colonialist or imperialist era of its own. It hasn’t suffered from massive military defeats due to its own over-reaching ambition (like the British or the Japanese or the Russian or the United States in Vietnam and Iraq). Nationalism hasn’t given way to jaded cynicism.

What this means: things will have to get much, much worse before there is much hope of them getting significantly better, since that would require a total restructuring of the current order. That means a lot of human suffering. (There will be no peaceful Color Revolution to democracy in China. That moment passed in 1989.) But, if the last month is any indication, the suffering may be beginning.

One Response to “China’s Response”

  1. Guy Shalev Says:

    I know I’m being pedantic, but I hate it when people co-opt my history book.

    David and Goliath is a Jewish story.

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