Trouble for Chinese Communists
By Andrew L. Jaffee, August 19, 2004
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Despite the Chinese government’s horrific oppression of its people, dissent persists. Today, six women held a protest on an apartment building rooftop in Beijing. They waved a banner reading, “We accuse the police, the prosecutors and the courts in Liaoning province of corruption and trickery.” The women threatened to commit suicide if their demands were not met, but were later taken away by police. The protest took place not far from communist government headquarters. A similar incident occurred several weeks ago. According to the BBC,

A growing number of Chinese have been bringing petitions to Beijing to try to gain the attention of central authorities.

Human rights activists say they are frequently detained, despite Chinese officials' statements that petitioning is legal if it is done in compliance with the regulations.

Many of the protests have been about the demolition of homes and unemployment issues.

A group of foreign journalists working for media including the BBC were detained for about two hours after police said they had violated government regulations by trying to report from the scene without prior permission.

Business as usual for the communists who, incidentally, aren’t communists at all if you look at their economic policies. So just what are China’s leaders, capitalist-communists? What happened to their Marxist dogma? In 2003, China knocked the US out of first place as the largest recipient of direct foreign investments. China took in $33.9 billion in investments during the first 6 months of 2004, up 12% from last year. Volkswagen is planning to spend $900 million on three new factories in China, while General Motors will spend $3 billion there by 2007. What? Communists taking evil investment dollars from the Great Satan? The communists are kicking middle class people out of their homes to build highways and shopping malls. Is this advocacy for the proletariat? Ol’ Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin must be turning in their graves.

”Loosen up the economy while maintaining political control,” is what Soviet leader Gorbachev was thinking when he rolled out perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). But it all slipped through his fingers and the Soviet Union disintegrated. China is similarly are sprawling conglomeration of at least 56 ethnicities and people who claim Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, or Taoism as their faiths. I just wish the economic reform would have led to political change sooner.

But the Chinese communists have plenty to deal with. At least 500,000 pro-democracy demonstrators filled the streets of Hong Kong on July 1, 2003. That day marked the 6th anniversary of transfer of control of the city-state from British to Chinese rule. Protestors were out to harangue their appointed (not elected) leader Tung Chee-hwa and his push for Hong Kong's "legislature" to pass an "anti-subversion bill." The bill basically would have allowed the city-state's government to imprison a person for life for "acts of subversion." This time around, the communists didn’t pull a Tiananmen Square. The Beijing-appointed Hong Kong government peaceably withdrew the anti-subversion bill on September 5, 2003. A glimmer of hope?

With the conflicts in Iraq, North Korea, the Sudan, etc., we can’t afford to forget the Chinese people’s struggle for democracy.



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