Jun 11, 2007

2007 is not 1989

Last week was the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre where in 1989 an uprising of Chinese University students for multiparty democracy was brutally put down by PLA using battle tanks. A number of ordinary Beijing residents too were killed by the PLA then.

The exact number of people who were killed in that uprising is still not known. UK Telegraph’s Beijing correspondent Richard Spencer published a list of the people still imprisoned for the uprising in his blog.

In 1989 there was not much for the Chinese University students to look forward to. So in the campus they had ample time to dream about democracy, free speech, individual liberties, etc. All these thoughts almost culminated in that uprising of 1989.

As years passed the Chinese economy gathered pace and the University graduates never had it so good when it came to job opportunities. All that dream of life in a real free world took a back seat and gradually faded away so much so that today the Chinese have made it a taboo even to mention about the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Some Chinese today even feel that in 1989 Mainland China was not ready for Democracy!

In the comments section of that blog entry, a very interesting and eye-opening debate took place illuminating vividly this very point. Remember, these are just the views of the educated, economically well off, Internet using, white-collar urban Chinese.

Some of them have become so drunk on state propaganda unleashed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that they believe the Chinese themselves are responsible in making their country a manufacturing hub of the world. They just don’t believe that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Japan, Europe, US, etc played the most important part in the economic development of China and making China a manufacturing hub.

They have no idea how much China depends on FDI to keep its economy going and that how desperate the CCP is to create an economy that depends on internal consumption.

They sincerely believe that it is by the ‘heroic’ efforts of the CCP sans foreign financial help that pulled millions of Chinese out of utter poverty.

Today’s Internet using, educated, well of Chinese who have benefited from the Chinese economy just wont take any criticism of the CCP and are very uncomfortable discussing the past and present sins of the CCP. In fact some are ready even to condone the unforgivable sins committed by the CCP against its own people when the govt. suppresses frequent peasant uprising in the interiors with barbaric brutality.

The China baiters are promptly countered by bringing up the ‘misadventures’ of George Bush and Tony Blair.

The CCP, along with liberalising the Chinese economy, also gave limited freedom to the Chinese, which was not there in 1989. So today as a booming economy is giving the educated Chinese their dream jobs and making them unbelievably rich, they just don’t want to do anything silly that can upset the status quo. In other words, talk of democracy, free press, liberty, etc are passé and the continuation of CCP rule and the free market economy with ‘Chinese characteristics’ is all that matters for them.

Certainly 2007 is not 1989.

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