December 4, 2006


China in Revolt (Gordon G. Chang, December 2006 , Commentary)

As Premier Wen Jiabao acknowledged this past September, “We need peace, we need friends, and we need time.” Unfortunately, at the very moment when the Chinese state depends critically on the good will of others around the globe—especially in the form of foreign markets, capital, and expertise—it has lost the confidence of its own most responsible citizens and placed itself at the mercy of some of its least responsible. The intensified internal repression of the last four years is a sign that the Communist party must increasingly rely on force to maintain its power, thus creating even more internal enemies and further delegitimizing itself in the process.

Leaving China a half-decade ago, an American banker remarked: “There’s a billion people here who don’t like following instructions.” If anything, Chinese society since then has become even more willful. It may not always be defiant, but it is frequently disobedient. For better and also for worse, we have entered a period marked by the emergence of a great people from millennia of autocratic rule. For better—because a nation that can barely govern itself will not be capable of dominating the other 200 countries on the planet. For worse—because so turbulent and fretful a society is unlikely to rise peacefully, or to accept its role as a great power in orderly fashion. Thirty years after the death of Mao, the Chinese people have unfinished business to conduct, and their transition into the future is unlikely to be smooth.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 4, 2006 6:05 PM

If not us, who?

Posted by: erp at December 4, 2006 7:41 PM

People just can't see it, erp.

They just don't get it, another one down.

Posted by: Sandy P at December 4, 2006 8:19 PM

So the government is losing its Maoist mandate of heaven and the country descends into another warring states period - just another turn around the wheel of cyclic Chinese history.

Posted by: jd watson at December 4, 2006 9:44 PM

Let's just hope they don't decide they need to whip up nationalist sentiment by invading Taiwan.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 4, 2006 10:24 PM

Why not? It would give us the pretext we need.

Posted by: oj at December 4, 2006 10:27 PM

And OJ, the best part would be that when we send 100 Minutemman IIIs towards Asia, 10 of them or so will veer off-target and somehow strike questionable sites in Iran and Pakistan.

I can just hear the US President now, saying "You know, Vladimir, that these things were never as accurate as we claimed."

Posted by: ratbert at December 4, 2006 10:57 PM

Chaos offers opportunity. Stability none.

Posted by: oj at December 4, 2006 10:57 PM