ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, April 21, 2006

Kelo, Chinese Style

I've long wondered whether China will ever be able to make a peaceful transformation to democracy. Given Hu Jintao's speeches this week, it's clear that the political leadership has no intention of recognizing the inalienable rights of its citizens.

Q Thank you, sir. President Hu, when will China become a democracy with free elections?
[...]
PRESIDENT HU: I don't know -- what do you mean by a democracy? What I can tell you is that we've always believed in China that if there is no democracy, there will be no modernization, which means that ever since China's reform and opening up in the late 1970s, China, on the one hand, has vigorously promoted economic reform, and on the other, China has also been actively, properly, and appropriately moved forward the political restructuring process, and we have always been expanding the democracy and freedoms for the Chinese citizens.

In the future, we will, in the light of China's own national conditions and the will of the Chinese people, continue to move ahead the political restructuring and to develop a socialist democracy, and we will further expand the orderly participation of the Chinese citizens in political affairs so that the Chinese citizens will be in a better position to exercise their democratic rights in terms of democratic supervision, democratic management, and the democratic decision-making.

Translation: "We'll take things slowly and in the end the people we'll have a one-party democracy."

Unless the Chinese party leadership comes to this realization, I see major upheaval in the coming decades and there are early signs that those left behind in the modernization of China (or more accurately, those that are being crushed by the government in order to move the country forward) are starting to fight back. Even the Chinese government estimates that there were over 150,000 protests by its citizens last year.

There's this story from Skynews, which outlines how the Chinese government is seizing property from poor farmers in order to clear the way for new developments. Click here for the video report:
China Promises Probe
Updated: 19:12, Thursday April 13, 2006

The Chinese government has reacted to a Sky News special investigation exposing the human cost of China's booming economy.

An official spokesperson has agreed to investigate the injustices revealed by Sky News.

Our reporting team managed to take rare footage of people being forced out of their homes to make way for new developments.

Many of the victims are now living in tents on the land where their homes once stood.

An official Chinese government spokesperson has responded to the pictures, admitting they are not good for China's image in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics.

"I will not deny that it happens in China, but I do think they're individual cases," said Counsellor Zhang Lirong.
Spokesman Zhang Lirong
Spokesman Zhang Lirong

"China is in a period of rapid economic development and there are many problems that we face," he continued.

He promises that officials who do not act according to the law will be punished.

The local media is afraid to report what has been happening but the people affected have spoken out.

One woman said: "They're stealing our homes, it's theft, just theft. The poor have no human rights, no way of surviving. We've been everywhere for help."

Other film shows villagers being ousted from their land, with groups of hired thugs attacking residents and meeting stiff resistance.

While many of the poor now live in slums, property developers and government officials are making huge sums of money from China's property boom.

There is a land grab on an unprecedented scale and the full force of the state is being used to stop any opposition.

This is one of the problems with communism... when you have no private property or are completely dependent on the government, your very existence could be determined by the whims of some government bureaucrat. Or worse (in the case of China) the whims of a government bureaucrat who also happens to sit on the board of a "private" company. And, to you moonbats out there, don't compare the Chinese situation to the "corporate dominated US." When Donald Trump and other real estate developers start evicting people by gunpoint and those that resist go to prison camps, we'll talk.

I also recently watched two parts of this CBC program called China Rises. It seemed to be a great series on China's transformations, exposing the environmental destruction that is rampant throughout China and the sociological changes that are happening there. (Again, to you moonbats out there, if you think environment destruction is terrible in the US, check out your history.)

As I've stated in the past, I'm much more optimistic about India's future than China's. While both are going to have difficulties incorporating their poor into the transformation, at least with India the foundations required for a successful free market economy are already in place. Or, as Baghwati puts it:
The Chinese rulers cannot face up to the fact that their antidemocratic structures are at the heart of the problem of increasing rural unrest; they cling to the self-serving view that economic inequality is the cause.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler