“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

China is Frightened of People Demonstrating

Heavy-handed reaction to China's 'Jasmine' protests

Chinese police and plain-clothes agents barricaded one of Beijing's main pedestrian shopping streets on Sunday in response to calls for a "Jasmine revolution".


Protest organisers had called for ordinary citizens to "take a stroll" yesterday at 23 sites across China, often busy areas in city centres, to express their displeasure at the country's lack of political reform.

"We invite every participant to stroll, watch or even just pretend to pass by," said a letter published on Boxun, a foreign-based website that is banned in China. "As long as you are present, the authoritarian government will be shaking with fear". It was the second weekend in a row that protests were planned.

But while there was little response to the call from the public, with at most a few hundred people milling around in Shanghai, the Chinese government has taken the threat extremely seriously.

In Beijing, the Wangfujing pedestrianised shopping street was occupied by squads of policemen with dogs, plain-clothes officers, and members of the People's Armed Police, a division of the army.

The local branch of McDonald's, the meeting point designated by the organisers of the protest, was shut down, with customers briefly locked inside.

Outside, street-cleaning trucks doused the street with water, which sent passers-by scrambling. The authorities closed off some of the street with blue construction site barriers, and harassed a number of journalists.

Reporters in Beijing have now been warned not to conduct interviews in the capital without prior permission. Broadcasts by CNN and the BBC have been blocked, and reporters from the BBC were bundled into a van by police and driven away from Wangfujing.

A number of human rights activists have been charged with "inciting subversion", a serious crime that can carry a hefty jail sentence. Ran Yunfei, Chen Wei and Ding Mao in Sichuan have all been arrested, as have Hua Chunhui in Jiangsu and Liang Haiyi in Harbin, according to Human Rights in China, a Non Government Organisation.



  2. For all we know, the Chinese government could be toppled within a year or two. I'm not predicting or saying that it's going to happen but in this world, anything can happen and you never know when and what will trigger the change.

  3. Whit, there's a lot of empty brand-spanking-new properties sitting there in shiny new ghost cities, which exist only as a store of value, like gold, and there's hundreds of millions of folks that see 'em and they're anxious for a piece of that pie. That's why I generally laugh when folks talk about the Chinese army going on adventures abroad. Like hell. They're barely enough to keep the lid on the domestic pressure cooker.

  4. This strolling form of protest is absolutely brilliant. Look how the authorities fell all over themselves to make sure that strolling and street life did not happen. How many times can they react with the iron fist in the velvet glove against a possible non-event? How many times will a hard working and innocent citizenry put up with this?

    Someone can hack into an email server, get a few thousand or hundred addresses and spam a thousand times more. Meanwhile, whether a protest is planned or not, the Chinese authorities have to react. The public reacts to the reaction. Meanwhile, the jasmine blooms.

  5. I remember how the ChiComs went apeshit over Falun Gong. This is Falun Gong dot com.

  6. Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years:

    Hey, great idea libs.


  7. The Jasmine Revolution could take "going viral" to a whole new level.

  8. I'm busy today being mean to the proletarian hired help around the house.

  9. ); I was attempting humor (probably failed to be fair). I thought the winky face might have helped.

    No worries though.

  10. I sympathize with the Worm-less Dog. I am a dark horse, running on a dark race-course.

  11. People are free to say what they like, but I won't accept any bad words against my beloved wormless-dog.

    But I love that he can still piss people off.

  12. These are very subtle points, Let me translate for the unhip, OK?

    We need to have in place some sort of path... You know you’re now in favor of some kind of AMNESTY for Bob, right? Not that I’m arguing. It's not a simple issue. Which matters because it precludes any kind of simple solution. Which in turn puts some truly awesome limits on the places you could successfully run to for rest these days.

  13. I had to come back. My imagination is having great fun with the idea of feral cows. Do they roam the city in packs? I mean, I knew of the holiness of Indian cows but it never occurred to me they wander freely though the cities. Now I can rest.

  14. A guy walked into the local welfare office to pick up his cheque .

    He marched straight up to the counter and said, "Hi. You know...., I just HATE drawing welfare. I'd really rather have a job."

    The social worker behind the counter said, "Your timing is excellent. We just got a job opening from a very wealthy old man who wants a Chauffeur and bodyguard for his beautiful daughter. You'll have to drive around in his 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL, and he will supply all of your clothes.

    "Because of the long hours, meals will be provided. You'll also be expected to escort the daughter on her overseas holiday trips.

    This is rather awkward to say but you will also have, as part of your job, the assignment to satisfy her sexual urges as the daughter is in her mid-20's and has a rather strong sex drive."

    The guy, just plain wide-eyed, said, "You're bullshittin' me!"

    The social worker said, "Yeah, well ... You started it."