Friday, July 4, 2008

The Angry Faces In China: Govermental and Public

In the May 3rd - May 9th, 2008 issue of the ECONOMIST is a report on China's recent descent into anger. The ECONOMIST writes that even as the Chinese government is angry at the West, the Chinese people are angry at their government...
"Chinese rage has focused on the alleged "anti-China" bias of the Western press... China's defenders have gone on to denounce the entire edifice of Western liberal democracy as a sham.... China's rage is out of all proportion to the alleged offences [of the West]. It reflects a fear that a resentful, threatened West is determined to thwart China's rise. The Olympics have become a symbol of China's right to the respect it is due... China, like India, is a land of a million mutinies now. Legions of farmers are angry that their land has been swallowed up for building by greedy local officials. People everywhere are aghast at the poisoning of China's air, rivers and lakes in the race for growth. Hardworking, honest citizens chafe at corrupt officials who treat them with contempt... and the party still makes an ass of the law and a mockery of justice.
Herein lies the danger for the government. Popular anger, once roused, can easily switch targets."

The government of China, according to the Economist, is hoping to "restore its rightful place at the center of world affairs" and gain its people's loyalty and respect through nationalistic pride. The government is trying to "distract Chinese people from their domestic discontents by breathing fire at foreigners." But, the Economist also strongly suggests eventually the Chinese government will have to tackle its internal problems: pollution, human rights abuses, and corruption. "The Chinese people will demand it."

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