Uprising in China?

Mar 07 2011

Uprising in China?

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In the past few weeks, China has been following suit of middle-eastern countries, organizing multiple demonstrations. Over the two previous weekends, demonstrations have been organized through social media by anonymous Internet users. These calls for anti-government demonstrations resulted in a few hundred people gathering in both Beijing and Shanghai, two of the countries most prosperous cities. The purpose of these “peaceful show[s] of support” were to show their support of the pro-democracy movements occurring in the Middle East, and “for expanding employment opportunities, protecting housing rights, and opposing official corruption in China”. While this seems like progress for the people, the country seems to be demonstrating more and more why China won’t revolt.

Single young men are what are fueling the “Arab world revolt”, and with approximately 20 million single young men and a history of political discontent, it would seem logical that China would be the next country to revolt. This, however, does not appear to be the case. McLaughlin suggests that the reasons behind this are economic. China is at it’s economic peak right now, and these young men have employment and economic opportunities they have never had before. It seems like their political discontent has taken a backseat to the economic growth. Those that could make the most difference, educated people living in large cities, are the ones who are experiencing the greatest benefits of the economy.

Additionally, following the demonstrations of Feb. 20 and Feb. 27, the government has taken pre-emptive action. Anyone who has been identified to authorities has “likely to take part” in these “socially destabilizing” movements have been targeted. Hundreds of people, ranging from lawyers to human rights activists have been beaten, jailed, harassed, and even disappeared completely. The force of the Chinese government is extremely strong, and seems to be breaking what little groups are still fighting. While there are still plans for future demonstrations, the numbers of attendees are expected to be far lower than what they have been recently.

In my opinion, no government should have the right to forcefully strike down any peaceful demonstration, or even ideas of revolution. I can understand their motivation to preserve their government and positions of power, however I feel like the political situation in China will continue to go downhill until the people come together as a whole and decide what the country wants and what it needs in order to grow.

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