|Bradley Gardner: Reason's Thomas Friedman|
Reason's very own version of Tom Friedman, Bradley Gardner, has a new post about Wenzhou, China. A choice quote, slipped in at the end:
The government is strong enough to keep the mob from monopolizing finance and kleptocratic enough to keep entrepreneurs from dominating the industry; but beyond that the police are hands off.
|Thomas Friedman, the NYT Bradley Gardner|
Has history been erased so well that even a former Libertarian standard bearer like reason has forgotten scenes like this?
|Tank Man, 5 June 1989|
|Demolition of a Church in China|
The recent demolition campaign focused on several areas in Zhejiang Province, particularly Wenzhou, a city of more than 6 million people known for its energetic merchant class and deep religious roots. Protestant and Catholic missionaries began converting people in Wenzhou beginning in the latter part of the 19th century when the city became a treaty port. With more than 700,000 Protestants and several hundred thousand Catholics, it has a higher percentage of Christians than any other municipality in China.
China's state-run media rarely - if ever - publicize demolition campaigns because it only invites international condemnation. This time, though, the government gave some media a green light to report on the demolitions.
Late last month, the Wenzhou Daily reported that thousands of government employees and Communist Party cadres in Zhejiang's Ruian City demolished 28 unapproved "religious sites" and 356 small temples, occasionally using dynamite when needed. - The Baltimore Sun, Places of worship razed in Chinese crackdown, 15 December 2000, by By Frank Langfitt
|Chinese factory workerss|
Back to reason, by the time 1989 rolled around, the pulp version of reason was printing this about China:
The emergence of the American world nation also has profound ideological implications. The American message– stressing individual rights and private initiative–is gradually becoming universal and less linked to "white" ideology. Nowhere is this clearer than in China, where American cultural and political influence has a powerful appeal, particularly among the young. When 50,000 Chinese students demonstrated in Shanghai’s People’s Square in December 1986, they waved banners depicting the Statue of Liberty and a dragon bound in chains. Emblazoned on the banners were calls for such American-style values as democracy, human rights, and freedom. - Reason, America's Rising Sun, January 1989, by Joel KotkinSo, how did reason cover the Tienanmen Square protests five months later? With silence. No, really. They finally mentioned Tienanmen Square in a 1995 book review on non-violent protest. Apparently, as far as reason is concerned, the demonstrations ignored by the PRC are the ones that count and the ones the tanks show up for are the ones that they do not bother mentioning, until 2009, twenty years after the fact:
But the episode was not what it initially appeared to be: the end of China's evolution toward a more liberal system. It was only an interruption of that process. In the aftermath, the Chinese Communist Party grasped that it could hold onto power only by delivering a better life to its people, which it could achieve only by loosening its grip on their lives.1717 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. Like many who are blind to the wiley ways of Socialists, the reason staff and contributors seem to be under the false illusion that having the liberty to chose what color shoes to wear on the way to the factory is freedom enough. As Jonah Goldberg has mentioned, the ROC murdered 67 million people before trying (crony) capitalism, and I will add that they have not even given a wink to the free market. It is only a matter of time before the people of Wenzhou get the treat of seeing how well their privately built roads hold up under the load of PRC tanks.
PBS's FRONTLINE unarguably has a much better grasp on the situation in China than reason ever did, or will.
Almost two decades later, the educated elite who led the protests of 1989 have benefited handsomely from China's rapid economic growth, but many Chinese workers still face brutal working conditions and low wages. "A lot of factories do not even have one day off," says labor expert Dr. Anita Chan who has been researching working conditions inside China for 15 years. "That means seven days a week, 13 hours a day."A real success story, the Republic of China, aka, Taiwan began at the same time as the PRC with much better results. Perhaps Gardner and Friedman could take a little field trip there and see what they can find?
In fact, some experts see the emergence of two Chinas: one modern, wealthy and urban; the other rural, poor and disenfranchised. There is evidence that unrest among workers and peasants is growing; in 2005, there were more than 87,000 "civil disturbances" in the country.