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Another View from China
I have a sizeable investment in a biodiesel/specialty chemical company in the Chinese province of Fujian so I’m constantly looking at issues that can potentially derail growth. One potential issue has always been the possibility of civil unrest but the recent outrage across much of the Middle East was not one of my own nightmare scenarios when it came to the China holding. So I’m focused on it, though not particularly concerned at this time.
Nonetheless, I do make note of an editorial in Global Times, a Chinese government mouthpiece, on the potential for an uprising on the mainland. You shouldn’t be surprised the government says the possibility is zero.
“Turmoil in China is wishful thinking”
In the wake of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, popular protests have swept the Arab world. Some lost no time in hyping that the wave would make its way to China. Nevertheless, such a misjudgment would only lead to disappointment.
A few Western media outlets are seeking hints of a Chinese-style “Jasmine Revolution.” With a colossal population, China inevitably has a few dissidents, who are energized by the public revolts in the Middle East and call for protests or even a revolution in China. Such people do exist, especially in larger cities.
Recently, a number of Western journalists gathered at an appointed place, watching a performance art version of the “Jasmine Revolution” given by several Chinese. The number of journalists and bystanders there overwhelmed that of the performers. However, some overseas media outlets reported this as a massive popular movement, and barely veiled their expectations for turmoil in China.
Their reports essentially became stage photography, rather than investigative journalism. Strictly speaking, such careless sensationalization was rather news forgery than journalism.
Anyone knowing about the Chinese society would never predict a Chinese-style “Jasmine Revolution.” This society is now generally stable. This is not merely a reflection of the state of society, but a widely held public opinion.
Indeed, China has many problems and conflicts – imbalanced development and a wide poverty gap have incurred plenty of complaints. The nation has formed a political determination to address these problems, and possible solutions are being considered.
Chinese society has no interest in solving these problems through revolution. Many still vividly remember the social upheavals that occurred decades ago. They have more faith in the strengths of reform and development.
China is far more stable than some would think. Thousands of years of history have demonstrated the stability of Chinese civilization. The social complexity here has also helped create a thorough social balance.
Most problems in China are by-products of the nation’s growth. China is not a dumpsite full of problems – it is more like a wharf where both accomplishments and problems are laid. As long as the nation still keeps the momentum of growth, these disappointments will not become a Gordian knot.
Success is the best theory – no wisdom could question success. China is seeing economic and social progress now. It has drawn worldwide attention during the first decade of the 21st century. No matter whether they are applauded or rebuked today, these achievements will turn out to be a great success in our history. And history’s dustbin is always littered with those who aspire for China’s collapse.
Well, that’s kind of cocky, but for the above noted reason I hope they’re right. One might ask officials there, however, just why it is they still feel compelled to arrest dissidents?
The Global Times, i.e., the government, also had this editorial titled “Turbulent Mid-East disrupts the world,” which you’ll see tweaks the West.
Faced with uncertainties stemming from ongoing turbulence in the Middle East, no country in the region can safely assert it would smile to the end.
The chaos there seems to supply much more libido to the media in the West than to their counterparts in emerging nations. For the first time in centuries, the pace of development in the emerging nations “embarrassingly” surpassed Western society. The unrest in the region might become a big turning point for Western countries.
It might be unfair to credit conspiracy theorists for the turmoil in the Middle East. Nobody would believe that Western forces did not play a role in the region either. Though the West has lost the strength to manipulate the political process in the Middle East, it is still strong enough to influence the political outlook in some countries.
In recent years, Western society has borne more political pressure rather than other things when faced with increasing competitiveness from developing peers. The Third World serves as an important source for the welfare in the West. The rise of emerging countries not only dwarfs Western countries but also hoists the position of the Third World.
It is safe to say, in some degree, the turbulence in the Middle East would mess up the whole pattern of the world. The Western countries would lose the game only if the turmoil was confined to the region. What the Western media hope is that the democratic movement would spread all over the world once and for all, including in emerging powers such as China and Russia.
In the era of globalization, cooperation between the West and emerging countries could quell Western political elites and their impulses to transform their unease into confrontation. Therefore, we cannot say cooperation has departed the international stage. However, there is evidence suggesting that one policy option of the West is to mess up emerging countries.
The collapse of the Soviet Union brought chaos into southeast Europe and central Asia and endangered what was once the world’s most powerful nuclear nation, but the West hailed its breakdown and seized most of the benefits.
It’s hard to make choices during a crisis. The most important thing for Chinese people is to keep calm and alert. The stronger we are and more stable our society is, the less fantasy will the West have to sabotage China and they will pursue better cooperation.