China – Under The Hood: Tinder box – China’s long hot summer

It’s the height of summer here in Hangzhou and it’s extremely hot…. Like sizzling! However, the degree of how hot varies between what is official and what the common man and woman on the street knows and feels.

Official hot (government offices, factories, etc are mandated to close if the official temperature hits 40 degrees Celsius) versus unofficial hot: Mary, who runs the GoMax tea and fruit drink outlet near my apartment, insists her thermometer showed an outside temperature reading of 42 degrees Celsius, but officially it was still 37 degrees Celsius.

People like Mary are increasingly aware of the alternative perspective: The truth uniquely experienced and the massive amount of shared beliefs gleaned from micro-blogging websites such as Sina Weibo.   Worn out by the never-ending official pronouncements, a tinder box situation of growing antipathy towards the way Official China is being run and directed is palpable.

Today, China’s rising prices, ever increasing income disparities, a mode of governance that pursues rapid economic growth and infrastructue development above all else, unrelenting corruption scandals, and a lack of transparency and accountability are testing this populace like never before.

And the spark?

Translation: “The Derailed Country

You ask, why are they acting like a bunch of lunatics?

They think they’re the picture of restraint.

You ask, why can’t they tell black from white, fact from fiction?

They think they’re straight shooters, telling it like it is.

You ask, why are they running interference for murders?

They think they’ve thrown their friends under the bus. And they’re ashamed.

You ask, why all the cover-ups?

They think they’re letting it all hang out.

You ask, why are they so irretrievably corrupt?

They think they’re hardworking and plain-living.

You ask, why are they so infuriatingly arrogant?

They think they’re the picture of humility.

You feel like you’re the victim. So do they.

They think: “During the Qing Dynasty, no one had television. Now everyone has a television. Progress!”

They think: “We’re building you all this stuff, what do you care what happens in the process? Why should you care who it’s really for, so long as you get to use it? The train from Shanghai to Beijing used to take a whole day. Now you’re there in five hours (as long as there’s no lightning). Why aren’t you grateful? What’s with all the questions?

“Every now and then, there’s an accident. The top leaders all show how worried they are. We make someone available to answer journalists’ questions. First we say we’ll give the victims 170,000 kuai apiece. Then we say we’ll give them 500,000. We fire a buddy of ours. We’ve done all that, and you still want to nitpick? How could you all be so close-minded? You’re not thinking of the big picture! Why do you want us to apologize when we haven’t done anything wrong? It’s the price of development.

“Taking care of the bodies quickly is just the way we do things. The earlier we start signing things, the more we’ll have to pay out in the end. The later we sign, the smaller the damages. Our pals in the other departments—the ones who knock down all the houses—taught us that one. Burying the train car was a bonehead move, true, but the folks upstairs told us to do it. That’s how they think: if there’s something that could give you trouble, just bury it. Anyway, the real mistake was trying to dig such a huge hole in broad daylight. And not talking it over with the Propaganda Department beforehand. And not getting a handle on all the photographers at the site. We were busy, ok? If there’s anything we’ve learned from all this, it’s that when you need to bury something, make sure you think about how big it is, and make sure you keep the whole thing quiet. We underestimated all that.”

They think that, on the whole, it was a textbook rescue operation—well planned, promptly executed, and well managed. It’s a shame public opinion’s gotten a little out of hand, but they think, “That part’s not our responsibility. We don’t do public opinion.”

They’re thinking: “Look at the big picture: We had the Olympics, we canceled the agricultural tax, and you guys still won’t cut us a break. You’re always glomming on to these piddling little details. No can-do spirit. We could be more authoritarian than North Korea. We could make this place poorer than the Sudan. We could be more evil than the Khmer Rouge. Our army’s bigger than any of theirs, but we don’t do any of that. And not only are you not thankful, but you want us to apologize! As if we’ve done something wrong?”

Society has people of means, and those without. There’s people with power, and those that have none. And they all think they’re the victim. In a country where everyone’s the victim, where the classes have started to decouple from one another, where it’s every man for himself, in this huge country whose constituent parts slide forward on inertia alone—in this country, if there’s no further reform, even tiny decouplings make the derailings hard to put right.

The country’s not moving forward because a lot of them judge themselves as if Stalin and Mao were still alive. So they’ll always feel like the victim. They’ll always feel like they’re the enlightened ones, the impartial ones, the merciful ones, the humble ones, the put-upon ones. They think the technological drumbeat of historical progress is a dream of their own making.
The more you criticize him, the more he longs for autocracy. The more you gaomao him (piss him off), the more he misses Mao.

A friend in the state apparatus told me, “You’re all too greedy. Forty years ago, writers like you would’ve been shot. So you tell me, have things gotten better, or have they gotten worse?”

I said, “No, you’re all too greedy. Ninety years ago, that kind of thinking would have gotten you laughed out of the room. So you tell me: after all that, have things gotten better, or have they gotten worse?”

Source:

Attributed to China blogger Han Han and posted on Sina Weibo 27th July 2011 (it was subsequently deleted). 23 July 2011, two high-speed CRH ‘Harmony’ trains collided on a viaduct in the suburbs of Wenzhou, in southern Zhejiang province killing at least 40 people. Inept officials reacted to the accident by hurriedly finishing rescue operations and ordering the burial of the derailed cars. Result: Uproar.

http://chinageeks.org/2011/07/han-han-the-derailed-country/

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China – Under The Hood: When there is no will they have ‘Ah Way’ – The fowl art of domesticating a wild chicken in 81 days

 “The critic educates the public. The artist educates the critic”

评论家教育公众。艺术家教导评论家

(Oscar Wilde (Irish Poet, Novelist, Dramatist and Critic, 1854-1900))

When there is no will they have 'A Way' - The fowl art of domesticating a wild chicken in 81 days

They declare that chickens, after thousands of years of domestication, now finally enjoy roosting in branches.

I live in a filthy cage so small I cannot stretch my wings. They wish I were dead: A dead battery chicken. “Useless alive”, They say, and.. I don’t know, soon perhaps I will be dead. Blood pressure and diabetes have an impact on chickens too.

I am a battery chicken. They say “a mentally conflicted chicken”. I say “a battery chicken with a conscience”.

Chinese battery chickens

Even my discourse is more articulate than theirs can ever be….

“…. Despite twenty-two years of harsh domestication, we battery chickens are in actual fact still the wild fowl of our ancestry, with the same passions for openness, free will, candor, and lack of restrictions suited to the tropical surroundings they originated in. June is International Respect for Wild Fowl Month.  Let the earth know how beautiful and essential we battery chickens truly can be..”

“…. Release the battery chickens from their cages

“…. Stop debeaking chickens

“…. Yes chickens are no longer starving, but they still suffer

Thought Reform: The Coercive Art of Passive Persuasion

They don’t like my intense mode of individualism, which, unimaginatively, They perceive as seeking to incite the masses of outwardly blissful chickens. “The illusion of a unique temperament is unbecoming of a chicken”, They ridicule, “too outspoken”.

That’s why They grabbed me and my little brothers: Thrown into trash bags: Welcome to the machine.

They want to strike off my beak with a hot iron.

They scowl they are resolute in their determination to extract my compliance. Oh, we battery chickens know all too well the wide variety of  intimidating methods They employ orchestrating self-indicting and self-reproaching confessions of wrong-doing:

Sleep deprivation and semi starvation.  I am forced to stand night and day for very long periods in conditions of bitter cold on a freezing floor that eventually deadens my feet.  The cage walls continually bruise the elbows of my wings, forming swelling that never seems to mend.  In this trash bag, the air is so full of the choking stench of decay my lungs hurt and my eyes are on fire.

Reducing my mental and physical ability to resist, They want me spent, broken, no fuel to carry on, reduced back to simple ‘battery chicken level’, a nervous gibbering wreck.

Now wholly reliant on my interrogator, my declaration of guilt is merely a feeling of liberation over the endless onslaught.  Next comes their very consistent and very public:

“Because of this chicken’s good attitude in confessing his crimes….”.

Even so, my mind remains observant and my body is aware of a natural desire so strong: The freedom to socialise, even in a farmyard, with my like-minded flock, practicing my critical spirit, expressing my nature, looking at the stars.

I am not a spent chicken. I want to be richly feathered.

Say I am wonderful.

Don’t let me be misunderstood.

Juche, an Taoiseach and Google….


Niall’s comments on The Economist

Jan 13th 2010 4:41 GMT

(Google considers withdrawing from China) Facebook, Google, etc, bastions of the fundamental human right to free speech are being systematically driven out of China by a totalitarian regime focused on ensuring the masses never question its legitimacy and very survival. To suggest that Google is departing from China because it has lost out in a highly competitive business environment portrays The Economist as towing the official Beijing line.
That Google and others are having second thoughts about their China presence clearly demonstrates the failure of dealing with China on the basis of humouring it: acceding to its sensitivities, allowing it to reword whatever language it is negotiating in, and bending over backward not to provoke or annoy China. All that such approaches have succeeded in doing is to encourage China and its people to think that it can become part of the modern world purely on its own terms, which will only make the world a more dangerous place.

Jun 30th 2008 7:19 GMT

 (Ireland rejects the Lisbon Treaty first time around) If any other EU member’s electorate had had a chance to read and try to understand the document they too would have rejected it. As such, given the circumstances, the obvious course to take was if you don’t know, vote ‘No’.
Voters in France and the Netherlands had already voted against earlier versions of the Lisbon Treaty. And if they’d had a chance to vote again?

Ireland‘s ‘no’ vote demonstrated the power of real people. We’re all tired of the establishment telling us what is good for us without even consulting us. What’s the rush?

May 11th 2008 8:07 GMT

 In North Korea, Myanmar (Burma), Zimbabwe, and Sudan’s Dafur we have four calamitous states of affairs where no amount of goodwill from the West appears to be improving the lot of the browbeaten and impoverished millions fated to live in these countries. However, one country has the power to wield considerable influence over the despotic dictators who run these countries: The People’s Republic of China. If the Beijing Olympics “One World, One Dream” Motto is to speak louder than mere words the Government of China, as a responsible member of the international community, should step up to the plate and practise what it preaches, otherwise its credibility will be forever tarnished.

Everyone has a right to be heard
Everyone has a right to be heard