Simon points to an interview with Chen Xiwen, a vice-minister in charge of agriculture in China, who talks to the SCMP on riots in China. Simon’s full post is here, in which he responds to the vice minister’s main points and comments:
1. Village riots are a sign of democracy. Of
course in most democracies farmers or other aggrieved parties have
easier methods of expressing their problems, such as courts or the
media. In China, apparently, massed riots are the thing. Talk about
democracy with Chinese characteristics.
2. The central leadership quickly responds to farmers’ problems. Which
implies either the central leadership has no idea what’s going in the
countryside and is relying on those who defy the state’s own censors to
hear about it. Talk about communication with Chinese characteristics.
3. Mr Chen lauds the role of the internet and media in reporting on
riots because it allows the central government to respond as in point
2. So are we going to see a massive relaxation in censorship laws
anytime soon? Don’t hold your breath.
4. The protests are an inevitable consequence of the massive social and
economic changes taking place in China. I dare suggest it is just as
likely to be about incompetent and/or corrupt local authorities
fleecing farmers who have no form of redress.
The full SCMP article is reproduced by Howard French and ESWN has a translation of a sections of a Chinese-language version in the Hong Kong press.
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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