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[Others] Does China need a revolution?   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2011-12-26 13:27:04 |Display all floors
This post was edited by vincent001 at 2011-12-26 13:27

Han Han (韩寒)
The Arab Spring is still jolting North Africa and the Middle East, and protestors in Europe and the US are calling for radical change amid economic woes. Meanwhile, the future of the Chinese system is hotly debated both inside and outside the country. Is reform or revolution the way forward? Chinese celebrity writer Han Han published his thinking on these issues in his blog Friday, in the form of questions to himself. The following is excerpted from his piece.

Q: Does growing social unrest imply that China needs a revolution?

A: Frankly speaking, revolution stirs the blood and appears to be the quickest fix to all of our current issues. But this solution doesn't necessarily apply to China.

Revolution is often triggered by an appeal, such as anti-corruption. But this appeal won't last. While "justice" or "freedom" are constantly urged by some journalists and artists, ordinary people on the street don't share the same feeling. If you ask them about freedom, most of them will tell you that they are free. And if you remind them of injustice, you will learn that they'd rather prefer to avoid it since not all of them share unpleasant experiences.

People won't put their support behind someone else's freedom or call for justice. Thus, revolution is not a question of need but a question of possibility. And my answer is it is neither possible nor needed. However, I do agree that China needs bold reforms.

Q: Do you mean China doesn't need democracy and freedom at all?

A: Intellectuals often place "democracy" and "freedom" together because their understandings of freedom is often associated with publication, news reporting, culture, speeches, elections and other political activities.

But in reality, this becomes inappropriate when we are referring to the bigger society, as the idea of freedom most ordinary people have is more about freely spitting or freely jaywalking, or breaking the law without any punishment.

I'm not implying that the Chinese are not civilized enough to have democracy or freedom, but the quality of a society does determine the quality of a democratic regime. An organized democratic society emphasizes the rule of law, which in turn takes away some of the "freedoms" Chinese are keen on.

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Post time 2011-12-26 13:28:01 |Display all floors
The primary targets of a revolution will eventually come down to the middle-class.
Han Han

Q: Some believe that China's problems are unsolvable and only a revolution can bail the country out. What's your opinion?

A: Although revolution can be very sound when it remains a concept on paper, it is, after all, a matter of wealth.

Technically speaking, revolution is about wealth redistribution: returning the wealth unfairly seized by the authorities and the rich back to the people. But in reality, the redistribution is often accompanied by forceful violation of private property and the victims are not limited to the rich.

In fact, you will find the threshold of being rich becoming much lower during a maelstrom of revolution. Owning an iPhone or even being able to afford a meal in KFC will automatically qualify you as "rich" and a reckoning is assured.

The people on top can find their way out of the mess, such as by moving overseas, so that the primary targets of a revolution will eventually come down to the middle-class or even those who are barely scraping a good living.

Revolution also takes time, particularly in a sizeable country like China. If the disorientation a revolution brings cannot be settled in five to 10 years, the public will become increasingly supportive of strongman politics which can bring an end to the mess.
Q: What's your view on the revolutions in Egypt and Libya?

A: A single dictator, fewer cities and a small population ensured a revolution could be triggered relatively easily in both countries. But China has none of these. It doesn't have a particular dictator to unite people's dissatisfaction against and thousands of incidents have left its political "G-Spot" numb. Thus, if China allows political dissidents to speak freely, these speeches will not trigger any revolution, but instead the dissidents will end up being put on show by smart Chinese entrepreneurs, who will sell tickets to see them.

Also, Chinese won't waste their time on anyone's misfortune but their own, so that they will not be united even by incidents 10 times worse than those that triggered revolutions in North Africa.
Q: Your argument is quite pro-government. Have you become a mouthpiece of the government? Why can't the Chinese directly elect their president?

A: Democracy is not only about competitive elections. Some people enjoy talking about revolution, referendums, or multi-party systems because these buzzwords are "cool," but they are never interested in real-world legislative system. This is like people who only know about World Cup or Formula One talking about soccer or car racing.
Q: When will revolution and democracy happen to China?

A: First of all, I believe revolution and democracy are two separate words. A revolution won't guarantee democracy. In fact, the regime we are currently living with was the choice made by our grandparents' generation when they had the opportunity to choose.

It is actually reform, not another revolution, that we urgently need today. But if I have to give an exact time of when a revolution can occur, I'd say it will only happen when Chinese drivers can dim the headlight and learn to respect each other, though a revolution would no longer be needed if the public can reach that standard.

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Post time 2011-12-26 21:11:24 |Display all floors
Thanks a lot, vincent. I have learned a lot from your posts.

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Post time 2011-12-26 21:30:20 |Display all floors
In Libya, the rebels are just about to get some training on what to do next.  Should a revolution take place here, who will be providing the training?  The same government.  Therefore, there is no substitute at the moment for the CCP. Therefore any 'revolution' in mind will be transformation instead.  Which is what is being done and has been done all these years.

For a country as large and complex as China, changes have to be made progressively. There is a balance of priorities.  The main roles of any government are security for stability and economic growth for prosperity.

Under the market system, prosperity will be experienced by a few first with trickle down effects for the many in proportion to their inputs, outputs and risks taken.

Over time, those who are wage earners will earn more wages if the enterprise prospers. And if more enterprises prosper in an industry, that industry will grow and progress which will contribute more to the economy of the country, leading to more tax revenues to be invested by the government to open more places and provide more employment opportunities, build better infrastructure and training centers, and modernize many facilities from security to social services.

What had happened in the Middle-East and North Africa was that all these things were not done properly for a long time and the peoples had suffered while their governments remained static and didn't do enough for the peoples.  

While here there are some local-level problems as well such as inflation, corruption and pollution, they are being highlighted and solved. Over time, there will be more improvements, and depending to some extent on the global economy, progress in wage increases as well which will bring more prosperity to wage earners who have had much less before.

Democracy does not cure the disease of poverty.  Proper state development does.

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Post time 2011-12-27 02:00:33 |Display all floors
vincent001 Post time: 2011-12-26 13:28
The primary targets of a revolution will eventually come down to the middle-class.
Han Han

lol@revolution guaranteeing democracy. look at "south Sudan", Libya. the revolution will guarantee you to be a colony of nato, usa, imf, and world bank. even with the soviet revolution, you can see how much weaker the former soviet states became as a result of the disintegration of the ussr. look at the decline of the ex ussr economy. look at how the eastern european states are now slaves of the imf, and world bank. when it is the people from the upper class who are leading the revolution, then you know something is wrong. <-- that includes clowns like lio shao buo, and ai wey wey. the times where revolution did work are in Venezuela, and Iran. and the west is constantly trying to bring them back into the hell hole they used to be.

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Post time 2011-12-27 02:18:30 |Display all floors
This post was edited by sansukong at 2011-12-27 05:20
markwu Post time: 2011-12-26 20:30
In Libya, the rebels are just about to get some training on what to do next.  Should a revolution ta ...

Democracy does not cure the disease of poverty.  Proper state development does.


This short statement sums it up all.
FIRST NATIONS ( LAKOTA PEOPLE ) Heartbreaking - (Google Search for video) "to stay true to who you are. Never allow anyone make you different or think different about what it is you are created to be ...

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Post time 2011-12-27 06:27:19 |Display all floors
I think that Chinese officials will serve people well in the new year. There's no need for any revolution.

Democracy might be to early for a country of China's social development level - but perhaps local democracy along with more autonomy for the provinces would improve the situation a lot. If we are honest, we don't see that much corruption on central government level - most corruption is seen on local level and that's where democracy is needed.

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