Yesterday night, I spend a fair bit of time writing a response to a reader’s reply to my blog entry entitled ‘Bye-bye Google’. The reader’s reply is in Italic:
You have made a number of assertions. I am not in the habit of debating, as I dislike participating in online debates – they are usually unproductive and time consuming. However, I will make an exception in writing my rebuttal to the points you raised. Perhaps, if you can see from a different vantage point, you will have more balanced understanding of China:
My concern isn’t with censorship, it is with control. China doesn’t want pornography, pro Tibet or Muslim groups etc, to show up on their internet, so they ban websites like youtube, facebook and twitter (which all have strict rules against pornography and terrorism).
Every country is unique, and has its own set of problems and constraints. Ruling China is never easy matter, given the enormous size of the population, the vastness of its territory, the multi-ethnic groups living there and limited natural resources. Stability is very important from the Chinese point of view. Thus, maintaining social orders and harmonious relationships between various ethnic and religious group are truly vital. Problems that may appear minor in some other countries will become enormous when applied to China.
Censorship is a form of control, and YouTube, Facebook etc are banned in China, because they want to control, as you have pointed out. They want to control the Internet because it is a medium that can be used against China by hostile forces that wish to destabilize China. There exist foreign groups or agencies that are hostile to a strong and independent China, especially the West. Many of them find it hard to accept that a ‘communist’ country that is non-White, which eschews Western ideology, can be successful and influential. The cold war may be gone, but the mentality of these people and the institutions behind them are still there. Their focus has changed to China, given that the USSR has collapsed. These hostile foreign agencies promote and support activities which are anti-China in nature. The main agenda is to weaken and possibly topple the Chinese government. They colluded with exiled anti-China agitators, in carrying out activities to subvert the government. Some of their activities include creating rumours and promoting extremist view on religious and ethnic issues, usually under the guise of championing democracy or fighting against ethnic repressions etc.
You may say that the actions (banning of YouTube etc) is excessive and the possibility of serious disturbances happening is low. But the fact is that it is very real, as exemplified by the rioting in Xinjiang and Tibet, which are basically directed from overseas agitators. The action to control Internet can be viewed as a matter of national security, where failure to take preventive action to disrupt the operations of agitators against China, may see more bloodbaths in the streets of various cities, towns and villages in China.
Being a foreigner living in China, I constantly see the corrupt strangle hold that the government has over its citizens. The worst being that for a socialist country, China does not have equality. They loose the basic freedom of speech, that most developed countries have.
I don’t think China is any corrupt from any other developing countries. Perhaps your short stay, language barrier and ideological leaning make you see the matter differently from me. You seem to put China on a really high pedestal in comparing it to developed nations. If you have lived in Asia long enough, be it in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand etc, you will also notice that corruptions grease the wheel of businesses there. It has to do partly with the culture, and you may not like it, but that is the way of lives. Corruptions are inversely proportional to the income of the people, and when pay becomes higher incidences it will decrease or become more subtle.
I believe most Chinese are free to talk about almost anything in private, and hold their views. The West may have more freedom in this respect, even scolding their leaders in public. In most of Asia, there is cultural tradition where there is much more reverend for leaders and their elders.
You mentioned China as a socialist country with no equality. I guess you mean the gap between the have and have-nots is very wide. I concede that it is a problem, and it all started over r 30 years ago, when the great man, Deng Xiao Ping, called on the whole of China to reform. There was egalitarianism then, but almost everyone was poor back then. Thus one of the calls of his reform was for some people to be allowed to be rich first. It was a pragmatic statement, and was taken to the hearts with gusto. This wealth gap is a structural issue, as the villagers and peasant find their income left far behind those more successful. But, as the educational level improves drastically and urbanisation rate increases every year, the wealth gap should reduce considerably in the future. This is the half full or half empty glass situation, and I’m seeing it as half full.
Sure western countries ban terrorist sites and child pornography sites, but ask anyone, is killing innocent lives or photographing naked young children a good thing to do? of course not. That is a human rights issue, not governmental. Does Australia block pro-republican websites?
I am not sure what your point here is. I suppose you are making comparison between the pro-republican websites (in Australia) with those of pro-Tibetan independence websites (or those supporting Dalai Lama). They are not in the same class at all. The pro-republican web site discusses or promote the idea of doing away with British monarch as head state – does not provide a platform that can be used to subvert or to encourage people to act against the interest of the state. The pro-Tibetan websites are clearly against the interest of China, which promotes to undermine China’s territorial integrity through separatism and also promotes ethnic hatred.
What China literally calls "preservation of harmony", is the kind of backwards thinking hypocrisy that will lead to a major revolution before they ever truly become a world super power.
…….Sorry if that sounds mean spirited, it is just my thoughts on the subject.
Yes, you do sound rather mean spirited in hoping that there will be a major revolution in China. Well, China had a revolution a while back ago. The people had enough of that. Today, there is tremendous transformation within China, where social stability and harmonious development are stressed. Chairman Mao did say, ‘Revolution is not a dinner party…an insurrection … an act of violence in which one class overthrows another “.
There has been a number of China collapse theory prediction emanating from the West, but China has continued to perform well, even as US and Japan are suffering badly from effect of the financial crisis. China has gone along way, in developing itself, after being termed the sick man of Asia for a century and a half. The world’s poverty rate has been reduced considerably because China managed to lift a few hundred millions people from poverty. If China is not included in the statistics, the world’s poverty rate would have increased! .A lot’s of work still need to be done, but on the whole it has done remarkably well.